Whether you’re moving for your job, to start school, upgrade your living situation, or another major life event, you’re not alone. In fact, experts suggest that one in five households move every year. To put things into perspective, that means roughly 24.1 million household moves occur annually. If you’re currently planning an upcoming relocation, you may be wondering when is the best time to move?
More specifically, you might be wondering what is the busiest moving season? With approximately 60% of moves in the United States occurring between May and August, this makes summer the busiest moving season. Summer is actually known as “peak season” in the moving industry. The high demand for moving services has an impact on pricing, quality, and availability for those who are looking to move during the summer months.
As a result, the cost to move during the summer is roughly 20-30% more expensive than any other time during the year. This fact can make many want to avoid moving during this time altogether. However, let’s take a look at why summer is so busy, some tips for moving during the peak season, and what exactly is the best time to move.
Why is summer the busiest moving season?
There are a number of factors that contribute to summer being the busiest moving season. As you might expect, the fact that kids are off of school is definitely one of the major reasons for this. Not to mention, summer is when many families take their annual vacations. With that said, let’s take a look at all the various reasons why summertime is so busy for the moving industry.
Summer break: Arguably, the most impactful reason why May to August is peak moving season has to do with schools being on summer break. As a result, this tends to be the preferred time for families with school-age children to plan and execute a relocation. Moving to a new town and having to start over at a new school is already challenging enough for kids, especially when it is done in the middle of the school year. Most families choose the summer to move so as to not interrupt the school year and also allow their kids to have the opportunity to say goodbye to their friends.
College movers: Like grade schools, colleges are also on break for the summer. This is the time when a substantial number of students are changing housing. Many of them need to be out of the dorms for the summer, move back home, and then move to campus when the summer is over. Whether they’re graduating, or transitioning from a dorm to an apartment, college students contribute significantly to summer being the busiest moving season.
Military movers: Roughly one-third of military personnel move each year. Most of them tend to move between May and August, with a large majority of these moves occurring from June to July.
Warmer weather: For most of the country, it is simply much easier and more comfortable to move during any time but the winter. Snow, ice, freezing road conditions, and extreme temperatures not only make for an uncomfortable move, they also present potential safety hazards. Another major benefit of moving during the summer is the fact that the days are longer, meaning more daylight and more time to complete your move than in the winter.
Everyone’s lease is up: Since summer is such a popular season to move, many sign their leases during this time. As a result, these same leases will also end during the summer. This creates even more demand for the season. Long story short, the more leases that end in the summer, the higher the demand for moving.
So, when is the best time to move?
Ultimately, the best time to move will be different for everyone and will depend on your individual circumstances. Moving during either off-season or peak season have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, if you don’t have any children, moving while school is in session may not make a difference for you. Consider the following when trying to determine the best time for you to move:
- Housing availability. The end of a lease or the sale of your current home may dictate when it’s time to move. However, peak home-buying season tends to coincide with peak moving season.
- Job requirements. If you have to move for work, you might not have a choice in regards to your moving schedule. Although, depending on your employer, they may be open to negotiating your move date.
- Family schedule. If you’d prefer to avoid moving during the school year, your only choice is to move during the busiest moving season.
- Moving budget. Since summer moving is of high demand, moving services are generally more expensive. Therefore, if you’re trying to save money, it’ll be much cheaper to move in late fall or winter.
- Personal circumstances. In some cases, you may have to uproot your life as a result of a recent divorce, death of a loved one, natural disaster, or some other reason that’s out of your hands and requires little to no notice.
Tips for moving during peak moving season
If you absolutely must move during the summer, you can still have a good moving experience by understanding the trends of the busiest moving season. Also, there are several steps you can take to help simplify the whole process. For instance, begin booking your moving services as early as possible. The earlier you book, the more likely you’ll be to able to secure quality movers and get the best rate!
As far as the specific date that you might want to move, try to book in the middle of the month and on a weekday. There is a high demand at the beginning and end of the month, as well as on the weekends. This means that prices are considerably more expensive, most bookings are full, and delays and cancellations are very common. To reduce the likelihood of cancellation or delay, choose an early morning move! Obviously, you should avoid any summer holidays like the plague. Labor Day, Memorial Day weekend, and 4th of July are the busiest days for moving companies.
To help save some money when moving during peak season, make sure you purge any unwanted items. If you’re moving long distance, you’ll be paying based on weight and since you’re already paying the highest rates during the busiest moving season, this is one way to save a bit of cash.
One last, but definitely not least, tip for the busiest moving season is to have a backup plan. Do some research and know of some last-minute moving companies near you. Though you most likely won’t need it, it’s good to have options when something unexpected happens.
Frequently asked questions
How far in advance should I schedule a move during peak season?
You should schedule your move at least two weeks in advance. However, much further in advance is preferred to ensure that you have the best options.
How will COVID-19 impact peak moving season?
In 2020, the spread of COVID-19 delayed the beginning of peak moving season due to the real estate market stalling and most being nervous about making major life changes. It’s uncertain how the virus will continue to affect peak moving season. However, as many cities are slowly trying to return to “normal,” we’re seeing moving start to take place more frequently again.
What is the cheapest day to move?
During peak season or not, weekdays tend to be the cheapest days to move. That means that if you’re looking to obtain a better rate, choose a moving date that falls on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday.
Is it cheaper to move in the winter?
With kids in school and winter weather making it much less desirable to move, there is a much lower demand to move in the winter. As a result, many moving companies have much lower rates in the winter, than the summer, to compensate for the lower demand.