Moving to Birmingham Alabama, can be an exciting prospect. Birmingham is the largest city in Alabama, just below the top 100 in the US, but is known as both a livable and affordable place to live. After declining during the late 20th century, Birmingham has enjoyed a modest resurgence in recent years and is emerging as an industrial and financial powerhouse in the South. Known for ethnic and religious diversity, Birmingham boasts a progressive business climate, devotion to social justice, and more green space per capita than any other city of its size. It has high homeownership (46%) and is affordable for first-time homeowners and renters. If you are moving there for work or personal reasons, you may benefit from a more affordable housing cost.
According to the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), the average cost of an interstate move is approximately $4,300 for a move distance of 1,225 miles. That assessment is based on a weight of 7,400 pounds. We estimate that moving the contents of a four-bedroom house from San Francisco Bay Area to Birmingham, AL (approximately 2300 miles) in October would cost between $4700 and $7800. That’s a wide range and is due to a greater distance than the 1225 average and a larger home, which means more weight. Peak summer season moves usually cost more than winter or fall moves since families prefer to move during the summer to avoid disrupting school schedules.
Remember, you can’t change the distance of the move, but you can reduce the weight, and perhaps the timing. Movers can help you get the most for your money by giving you tips on packing efficiently or packing for you (at an additional cost, almost always charged hourly.) The best way to save money is the carefully review what you are moving. It is worth making a disciplined appraisal of your possessions before deciding what to take with you.
Any move which crosses over a state line (interstate) is subject to regulations made and enforced by the Department of Transportation as interstate commerce. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, within the DOT, supervises the industry and publishes guidance for movers, brokers, and consumers. FMCSA requires a written estimate for every customer. If the customer is within 50 miles of the mover’s business, the assessment must be based on a visual inspection of the items to be moved, unless the customer waives that requirement. The written estimate must be dated and signed by the mover and the customer.
The long distance moving estimate can be binding, in which case the price does not change (unless the scope of work changes; for example, if you add items to the shipment or request packing services) or non-binding, which is subject to change once the actual weight of the shipment is determined after loading. It can also be a “not-to-exceed” estimate, which means it can go down, but not up. Make sure you understand the type you are getting and receive a copy of the mover’s tariff, which spells out what services they charge for. These charges include “impracticable operations,” which are unforeseen obstacles at the destination that add to the move’s complexity. Usually, these are issues with staging the moving truck close to the new residence (in the case of a high rise apartment or a steep driveway), which causes the mover to unload into a smaller vehicle for the last bit of the journey, increasing the labor cost.
Besides the weight and distance, other pricing elements will include ancillary services like packing, which may or may not be worth adding to your move, depending on your circumstances. Storage can be an added expense if you are moving into temporary housing at the destination for any reason. You will have to pay for the time in storage and will incur labor charges for the unloading of the truck into the storage unit and then back into the truck when you are ready to accept the delivery at your new home.
Whether to pack your possessions yourself or have the long distance movers do it will influence the cost and will affect the way you approach the move. Packing services will likely add between $1,000 to $2,000 to the cost of the move. For most people, if the relocation is being paid for by a company, it makes sense to let the professionals handle the details, but if that money is coming out of your pocket, the labor might be a better choice. Another factor to consider is that the movers won’t be able to determine what should go and what should be left behind, donated, or discarded. Moving can be an ideal opportunity to “go Marie Kondo” on your possessions and move a lot less.