Hourly Rates vs Flat Rates: Local Movers Near You

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Preparing for a move is not an easy task, we know that. There are a lot of things that you need to think about when you are relocating. According to statistics, the average person moves around 11 times in his lifetime, so you will get used to it at some point. However, the moving process is always a bit stressful and we will try to help you with decreasing that stress to a minimum. Our team prepared a guide that will help you deal with moving stress more easily. Now let’s start with our topic.

If your moving day is getting closer, probably your first thought is ,“ How much money am I willing to pay for it? ”. If you choose professional movers that will help you with the move, the most chances are that their price is based on the type of your move. Therefore, you can choose to pay

  • a flat rate or 
  • movers by the hour

As if only choosing a moving company is not stressful by itself, you also have to decide what type of payment is better for you. But there is no reason to worry, after reading this article, you will have a much better idea what each of those types represents and what type is better for your particular move.

Finding information online

The Difference Between Flat and Hourly Rates

  • What is a flat rate? – Flat rate is a price that is determined prior to the move. It is a single charge that includes the cost for labor, packing, materials and it is based on different aspects of your move.
  • What is an hourly rate? – Unlike the flat rate where you estimate the time for the move to finish prior to the actual move, an hourly rate is charged per every hour of the job. You will be charged for each hour worked at the price you determined when you booked a job. Are you interested in learning how hourly rates work? Contact us, and you can receive your free estimate!

What are the reasons for choosing movers by the hour?

One of the most important factors in choosing movers by the hour or with the flat rate is – Where do you move?

Where do people move: There are not a lot of options here. They either move within their state (using local movers), move to a different state (using long distance movers) and move to a completely different country (using international movers).

Based on the chart below, 83.7% of Americans move locally, 14.4% move long distance and 1.9% are moving internationally.

moving chart

The distance of your move is a very important factor when it comes to choosing flat rate or movers by the hour. If you move locally, the best option would be the hourly rate.

WHY? Besides moving your items safely, one of the most important things for the moving company is profit. Professional movers have the tendency to give higher flat rates if you are moving a shorter distance, since they include all of the additional costs into that one price (like disassembling your furniture, fuel fees, packing) that are usually not charged additionally and are included in the hourly rate. Local movers will finish your move in a couple of hours and not charge you anything extra.

Prices for local movers usually vary depending on the state you are moving within, and can be different depending on the time of the day, week or month. You are not charged prior to the move, but when the move is finished, since the movers will not know exactly how long your move is going to take.

local movers

This is still not enough for you to decide if the movers by hour are the thing that you need? These are the additional things that you need to consider in order to choose the hourly rate:

Is your move going to be finished within one day?

If you have a bigger house, but moving only a smaller amount of items or if you are moving from a studio, 1 bedroom apartment, hourly rate is just a thing for you. These moves can usually be done with 2 movers (sometimes 3) and will be done fast and efficient.

Movers by the hour base their hourly rate on the number of the movers, moving day, distance that you have between the 2 destinations.

With a smaller move, everything will be done in no time. If you have a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment, it can still be done with the hourly rate, but you need to consider the time the movers will need to disassemble and pack everything. Professional movers are experienced in every type of move, so it would be good to ask a company representative what he would suggest for your specific move.

Sometimes the bigger moves can be split into 2 days (one for packing and one for moving) to make it more affordable.

Do you need less than 6 movers for the moving?

The number of movers is determined by the size of the move and the list of items that you are moving. Labor only moves and every smaller move can be done with 2 movers and the price per hour will be lower.

Of course, if you have a bigger move, you would need more movers as well. The price will be higher, but the movers will do everything faster and more efficiently and at the end of the day you could be paying less if you choose the option with more movers. The company representative can help you with making this decision. Start your moving process with our representative, if you are interested in hearing more about this topic!

couple looking for local movers

Do you need a full packing service or will you pack the majority of the items?

This doesn’t affect smaller moves, since they can be packed and moved in the same day and are very affordable. A lot of local movers offer packing services as well. If you have a big home and everything needs to be packed, it is better to go with a flat rate option, since all of the materials are usually included in the price and the time for packing will not be charged additionally. If you decide to pack by yourself, you can find a lot of helpful advice here.

What is the size of your move?

Are you moving from an apartment, is your move residential or do you need labor movers only? This can determine how the moving process will go. We already learned that for smaller moves, it would be better to go with movers by the hour. However, bear in mind that a lot of professional movers have a minimum charge. If you are moving only several pieces of furniture, it would be better to use a labor only movers or just ask some friends to help you out with the move.

If this is your first time moving and you are not sure how to organize everything, we suggest you to listen to the advice in this video that will help you start with your moving process:

What are the reasons for choosing a flat rate?

One of the main reasons people choose to move with a flat rate is that they are moving long distances. Moving long distances is not something that can be done with movers by the hour. This way the distance will not affect the price (as it can be done with a charge by the hour), you will not worry about the driving time nor the traffic and you will know the price prior to the move. A lot of people choose this option since they are more comfortable with knowing the price beforehand.

Professional movers will need an inventory list on your end and they will determine the price depending on several factors. The number of movers will not be important, since you will be paying the same price and the company will send the number of movers that is sufficient for your particular move. Even if you are moving from a smaller house or an apartment, if it is a long distance move, flat rate is the way to go.

moving boxes behind woman

If you need a lot of disassembling and reassembling that will prolong the move, the flat rate would be a better option.


As mentioned above, the flat rate includes all of the aspects of the move. The price is determined prior to the move and is not flexible to change. So, logically, the disassembling and reassembling time will not have an impact on the moving cost at all. The movers can take time and carefully disassemble everything, and you will not need to rush them in order to make the move more affordable.

There are a lot of affordable movers that will provide good prices for moving long distances with all of these aspects already included in the price. Is this your first time moving out and relocating to another state? You are at the right place! Feel free to read our blog that can help you with your upcoming relocation.

What if you are not moving long distance, but you have a bigger house or a lot of furniture to be moved?

This is another reason why people choose to move at a flat rate. A lot of professional movers will even suggest this option, since it will be more affordable. If you have a house that cannot be moved in one day, even if you pre-pack everything, some local movers would offer this over the hourly rate.

With a flat rate, you do not need to bother with packing, it would be included in the provided price and you can just sit back and relax. On top of the packing that would take a lot of time, if the pieces of furniture are heavier, we need to include heavy lifting in the process. This is why a lot of professional movers organize onsite estimates.

This can be arranged with movers by the hour as well, if there is a need for it. The estimates prior to the move can help the company organize your move better and if everything can be done in one or two days.

local mover with box

Do you need more movers?

The flat price also includes the number of movers and it is the same, no matter how many professional movers the company sends. Unlike the local movers, the price is not based on the number. Moving company will determine the number of movers that are needed for your move based on your inventory list, the size of the move and, if it is needed, the onsite estimate.

Are you moving from a different state to Seattle? We know how relocation can be difficult and finding a new, safe neighborhood is a very tricky thing. That’s why we have several solutions on how to determine how safe your new neighborhood is.

Contact Seattle Professional Movers

Since we went through the hourly and flat rate thoroughly, we assume that you made your decision by now! However, there are several more things you would need to do before you move out of your current home. One of those things is to make the most memorable moving away party and the other one is to contact us right after you finish reading, in order to get the best quote for your upcoming move!