how much to charge for a long distance move

What to charge for a Long Distance Move?

We’re going to be talking about how much to charge for a long-distance move

It’s really not very difficult, but I will give you some good information on how to do that. And you know what? 

I’m going to give it to you completely for free. 

Hey, all right, let’s get into it guys. 

We are beginning to talk about how much to charge for your long-distance moves

We’re in a whole different economic environment. 

In a whole new environment completely. 

And you guys are far more sophisticated and far more intelligent than you were way back then. 

Back then, it was the dirty, dirty, old west, if you will. 

Today, we’re in a new age. 

Let’s get into it and how much you should charge for long-distance moves. 

What’s a Long Distance Move?

First of all, let’s define a long-distance move. 

In my state, a long-distance move legally is anything over 40 miles. 

40 miles and more is considered a long-distance move. Some states are 50+ miles. Now, the van liners, they don’t consider anything a long-distance move unless it’s a 100 miles or more.

So how much should we charge for that?  

How we Charged Back in the Day

Well, there’s a figure. 

Back in the day, back in when I was doing moves, when I still had my moving business, I would charge around 75 cents per pound. 

If there was packing, I would charge around $1 to $1.25 per pound. That’s with packing, right? So that’s how much I was charging. 

How we Charge for Long Distance Moves Today!

In today’s market, I would really suggest that you charge a dollar per pound for a long-distance move up to $1.50 per pound with packing. 

You could actually go up to $2/lb, but that’s going to be pushing it. 

Now, when I say long-distance move, I’m defining these things as anything over a hundred miles, right? 

That’s what I’m doing with that. 

Long Distance but less than 100 Miles

If it’s a long-distance move, but it’s less than a hundred miles then what I’m probably going to charge, I’m going to charge between 35 cents to 50 cents per pound. 

All right. 

That’s without packing. 

With packing, I’m going to charge about 50 cents to about 75 cents per pound with packing.

Why am I saying with packing? 

Well, because with packing, you’ve got the extra expense of boxes and labor, etcetera, and so on and so forth. 

You really want to get into these higher rates when you’re doing this.

If without packing, you want to start off about 50 cents if it’s less than a hundred miles. If it’s less than a hundred miles, you want to go from 35 to 50 cents per pound. 

How to Estimate How Many Pounds?

Now, how do you figure out per pound? 

Easy peasy lemon squeezy, my friends. 

There’s this thing called a cube sheet. 

If you don’t know what a cube sheet is, then you need to get familiar with a cube sheet. It’s basically a list of all the items that a house may have. 

And it gives you a cubic foot approximation of each of the items.  

How to use a Cube Sheet

So, if you got a three-seater couch, it’s going to give you how much cubic feet that that’s going to use up. 

If you’ve got a refrigerator, it gives you a cubic area that the refrigerator’s going to use up, all the way down to a box, all the way up to your biggest items.

Now, there are going to be some items on a cube sheet that you can’t find, but that’s okay. 

You can basically do measurements of that item as if it was in a box and go your three dimensions and you could get your cubic area for that item. 

If it’s a canoe for instance, and it’s not there, you just measure length, measure its height, measure its width, times them all together, that gives you your cubic area. 

Basically cubic areas, length times, width, times height, very easy peasy. 

For square feet, you just got length times width. That’s your square feet. 

For cubic area, you go length times width times height that gives you your cube. 

So when you’re doing a cube sheet, you’re going to take that cube sheet list and you’re going to mark down all the items. 

Now if you have 50 small boxes, you’re going to mark that. 

If you got two refrigerators, you’re going to put down two refrigerators. 

Estimating Weight with a Cube Sheet

Once you add up all those columns in the cube sheet, you’re going to multiply it about seven times. 

Hypothetically, you say you get a thousand cubes, right? 

You’re going to multiply that by seven, right? 

Which would give you 7,000 pounds. 

Now, it’s estimated that if it’s a thousand cubic feet, it would give you about 7,000 pounds.

You know you’re going to be needing a 26-foot moving truck with 7,000 pounds. 

You should know you’re probably going to need three or four people to do that job.  

Figuring out your Estimated Long Distance Charge from your Cube Sheet

Now if it’s a long-distance move, you’re going to take your seven times a buck and you’re going to go $7,000 to do that long-distance move.

So your long-distance formula is pounds charge times estimated weight, and I’m putting the W as weight, will give you your long-distance charge. 


Easy peasy lemon squeezy, as I’ve said a few minutes ago, so it’s getting old already. 

But there you go, guys, it’s pounds charge times your estimated weight. 

So whatever your weight charge is, whether it’s 35 cents or 50 cents or dollar or dollar fifty, your weight charge times the actual poundage. 

And that gives you your long-distance charge.

In our example, we got 7,000 pounds times one buck, because we’re going to say it’s going to go over a hundred miles, that gives us $7,000. 


That’s how much you figure out your long-distance charge. 

That’s how you figure out how much to charge for a long-distance move.  

How Far your Should Move to Stay Profitable

Now, my recommendation, folks, especially if you don’t have semis that’s going to do multiple people and you got just one, like you’re just taking a truck, maybe even two trucks, but I would not recommend you go over 600 miles. 

Actually, it becomes more prohibitive.

For instance, if I’m in Michigan, which I am, if I’m in Michigan, I don’t really want to move to California. 

I don’t actually want to do a move to Denver, Colorado because it’s over 600 miles. 

I want to stay within 600 miles because then it makes it more affordable, so 600 miles is a two-day trip. 

It’s one day there, one day back, basically. Right?

So my truck is only gone for two days. Do you see what I’m saying? 

Now, in those two days, if I’m doing my marketing correctly, I could make $7,000. If it’s a thousand pounds, I could do a $7,000 job in two days locally. Right? 

I can actually be making more money locally the longer this goes out. 

Therefore, if this is a three-day trip, I can make more money doing local jobs than what it is a long-distance job.

So it becomes financially unintelligent, becomes financially stupid to do anything more than 600 miles, unless you are a van aligner that can place more than one trips, or you’ve got a moving coming back. 



if you got something that’s coming back then that’s, you can go a longer distance. 

The Exception to the 600 Mile Rule

But, if you got a 26-foot truck and you’re going to go to Denver, Colorado, hypothetically, you drop it off. 

You make your $7,000 and on the way back, you’ve got another job. 

You’re going to pick up, hypothetically, you’ll pick up in Lexington, Nebraska, or Omaha or something. 

And you bring it back for another $3500 or whatever it is, then you could go for a longer distance. 

Then it makes it okay to go to places like Denver or Los Angeles or something like that.

But if you’re going to be dead heading back, I would not do anything more than 600 miles. 

There’s your trick guys. 

If you’re going to do a long-distance trip, this is how you figure how much money you’re going to make. 

It just becomes financially idiotic to do anything more than 600 miles if you’re going to be deadhead back, all right?

Just a word of caution there. 

That’s how you stay profitable doing long-distance moves. 

You don’t want to go more than 600 miles. 

Obviously, you can go 650 or something. 

This is just a loose rule that you should follow. 

You really don’t want to be going more than a day out and a day back kind of thing unless you have jobs coming back.  

Where you can Find Return Moves

Now, where can you find some jobs coming back? 

There are boards that you could hook up. 

You could hook up with C.H. Robinson. 

You could do 

It’s a place where you can sign up for and see if you can get some back, even if it’s just a few dollars. 

The only problem with that is you might have to go… You’re not going to go on a direct route, hypothetically. 

You might be going a direct route from Michigan, in my example, to Denver, Colorado.

Well, you might have to go off of that route a little bit, and maybe you have to go south a little bit and pick something up in St. Louis, Missouri, right? 

And if it’s enough financially for you to have that extra distance and provide for the extra cost and makes it worthwhile, then yes, that makes sense to go do, right? 

If you’re going from like Denver, and then you have another trip down in Texas, down in San Antonio, you’ve got to make sure that you’re charging the correct amount of money to make it financially feasible for you to do so. 

Keep that in mind too.  

Stay on a Direct Route as much as Possible

You want to keep it as much on your direct route there and back as you can to make the finances actually work, unless you want to be doing the uShip where you’re going all over the country, and that’s fine. 

You could do that. 

But still, if you’re going from your headquarters to place, then coming back, you only want it if it’s 600 miles, you really don’t want to do it more if you’re going to deadhead. 

However, if you could find another job, by all means, go and do that, right?  

Summing it all Up

So that’s how you figure it is just you figure out your pounds, just to recap times your weight charge, how much you charge by the weight becomes your long-distance charge. 


Very simple. 

Now, something on the cube sheets, when we’re talking about cube sheets, just to retract a little bit, you don’t have to use the figure of seven. 

That is just what’s commonly used.

You could use the figure of six or you could use the figure of eight. It’s really up to you what you want to do and how you want to charge him, but I would really keep it six to eight on your multiple, when you’re doing the multiple, right. 

One way you could figure that out is after you’ve done a few moves long distance, you could actually figure out how much it is and then where you could have done a little bit different on the multiple, right?

If you figure your estimated weight, it was a thousand pounds, and your weight actually came in a little bit more because you took up a little bit more room in the truck, et cetera, then you can increase it to eight, or if you’re finding that your estimation is off a little bit and you’re on the high side, you could change your old multiple to six. 

But I really would do six, seven, or eight. And I would not stray from those three different multiples. Right?

Just take your cubic estimate times seven, hypothetically, that gives your estimated weight. 

Once you have your estimated weight, take your weight times your weight charge, how much you charge per pound. 

And there you go, that’s how much you charge for a long-distance move.