The average professional household move costs a whopping $12,230, according to a 2010 report by Worldwide ERC, an association that tracks mobility costs. However, this cost is for a full-service professional move, in which the moving company packs up your belongings and essentially handles the entire move for you. While many people choose to hire professional movers, others opt to orchestrate the move themselves by renting a truck. This is a good option if you have the manpower to move by yourself, but if that's not feasible, you may need to enlist the help of professional movers.

If you hire professionals, there are ways you can reduce expenses, such as through research and packing up small belongings before the movers arrive. People make moves year-round, but the most popular time for moving is summer, because most families want to move when their children are out of school. You can save money if you move between October and April, because a summer move costs 25% more than moving during those months.

  1. Unload what you don't need. The weight of your load is a big factor in determining the price of a long-haul move. To downsize, get rid of your junk through services such as Hutten Disposal, which will come to your house to take unwanted possessions off your hands. Another option is giving to charity, like Habitat for Humanity "Finding things that you can recycle, donate, give to a friend or throw away, you can reduce the amount of items you have to transport by 40 to 50 percent," Reynolds says. She recommends starting to go through your house 60 days before your move and organizing things by room.
  2. Time it right. A mid-month move will save you the most money, because movers are busiest during the beginning and end of the month as leases turn over.
  3. Save on boxes. You can purchase used, recycled boxes and pack small items yourself to decrease the amount of time the movers will have to spend. You can then typically sell those boxes back to the company that you purchased them from to recoup costs. We like to suggest checking at the grocery store to see if you can collect their empty boxes.
  4. Plan and organize. Order colored tape and label which room each box goes to. That way, you don't have to have somebody at the truck, telling the unloading crew where to put things. Even better, if you snap pictures of your next home and draw on them to show the movers in advance where each item will go, you'll reduce the moving time even more!
  5. Cover your items. A big benefit of hiring professional movers is that you can insure the expensive items you're transporting. Insurance costs extra, but it will save you money in the long run if anything breaks. However, your goods might already be covered by your homeowners or renters insurance, so check your policy first. If you purchase insurance through the mover, be clear about what you're signing. Asking questions such as, "Is this replacement value or market value?" and, "If I pack it, do I pay a different type of insurance than if your movers pack it?" Often, moving companies will offer you coverage of up to 60 cents per pound, so the insurance doesn't necessarily take into account what the items are.
  6. Price it out. Contact at least three professional moving companies to compare prices. You'll also want to get an in-home estimate by each mover. That way, the mover can get a better idea of what they'll be moving and can give you a more realistic estimate for the move. When they come in, it's good to ask questions like, 'Is this something you should handle?' and, 'What are the items I should pack myself?'"
  7. Research the mover. Make sure that you're hiring a legitimate mover - a licensed company equipped with the proper insurance and resources to complete your move efficiently. Unfortunately, it's too easy these days to put your name on the side of a truck and call yourself a professional mover. Also check the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against the company.