Should You Hire Flat Rate Movers or Hourly Movers? Pros and Cons

Written by: Eric Foster

We know that moving is a very stressful event, so keeping a clear head throughout the whole process is very important. Residential, commercial, packing or moving out of state is a long process that requires a lot of planning and organizing. In order to have a good experience while moving, keeping a clear head is very important. One of the main things people think about when moving is whether to choose a flat rate or movers by the hour. At the end of the day, everything depends on you, your moving needs and size of the move you have. As for the flat or hourly rate, both have their pros and cons, and it’s not that easy choosing between those two. Here are some things to consider when choosing between flat rate movers or movers by the hour.

mover making a list while loading the truck

What is a flat rate?

With flat-rate pricing, you know exactly how much your move is going to cost from the minute you get a quote from your moving company. There are no additional fees on top, and better yet, no surprising charges. When you do choose this type of payment, you should understand that it offers advantages not only to you but also to the moving company. Most moving companies don’t offer flat rate pricing because it is very difficult to estimate how long the entire move will last, how long will it take them to disassemble and reassemble your furniture, and it is impossible to predict traffic and driving time since that mostly depends on the weather. So it’s important to ask your moving company if they offer a flat rate or just movers by the hour. Also, it depends a lot on your move. If your move is small, the hourly rate seems more reasonable, but if you are moving from a larger residence or long distance, a flat rate is more suitable for you

happy couple writing in notebook while moving

Why is a flat rate a better option?


*The most important part is knowing how much you will pay for your move, regardless of the items, packaging material, the number of boxes etc…
*You don’t need to worry about the time at all. How long will they disassemble and reassemble your furniture is out of your concerns now. You know the exact amount you will pay at the end, so stressing about time is not necessary. Keep in mind that your movers are looking at a worst case scenario when calculating a flat rate

*A more affordable option when the moving situation is not ideal (elevators, heavy items, stairs, etc.)
*You don’t need to worry about any extra fees when you choose to move like this. It is important of course to mention everything that needs to be moved, including heavy and special items. If you didn’t mention something important, there is a possibility that the movers will charge you additionally for it, and worst case scenario, not move the item at all. 

*Ideal for long-distance moves, such as different states or cities. Good thing about this is that everything is included (even traffic and drive time), so you don’t have to stress about it at all.

two movers moving boxes


*Flat rate movers are often priced more than the movers by the hour. Worst thing is, you will never know.
*Any items not mentioned in the original quote can mean higher rate or additional fees.

*Price might be higher. Movers try to think of a worst-case scenario when giving a flat rate.

*To ensure accuracy, most companies will send an estimator toinspect your home and offer a flat rate according to the situation.
*In case your move goes more quickly than expected, you will still pay the same rate.

Any additional items that were not mentioned in the original quote can lead to additional fees. It would be best if an estimator comes to take a look at your belongings, number of stairs, or any special items so you can get an accurate time and price for your move

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house for rent sign

When to choose a flat rate?

  • When you’re moving long distance (more than 100 miles)
  • When you’re moving to a larger household
  • When you’re moving one item or some specialty item like a piano

Make sure that you are clear about everything that is included in your move, in case you won’t have an onsite estimate. Any heavy items, an exceptional number of stairs, tight places, or any other similar detail to avoid last-minute changes because that would mean a higher rate or additional fees. Most importantly, communicate with your movingcompany and feel free to ask if you have any concerns or questions.

Did you decide to move to a different state or city? A flat rate is a great option for this type of move. Depending on how far away you are moving, be prepared that your move can take at least 2 or more days. It does take time to drive to your new city, not to mention the entire process of disassembly and wrapping the furniture. As for the payment, it is usually done on the day of the pick-up, which is different from the hourly rate which is paid after the move is finished.

What is an hourly rate?

The majority of moving companies have movers by the hour and they charge an hourly rate. The hourly rate means that you will be charged by the hour and how many hours your move lasts, that’s how much you will pay. This is an excellent option for many people that are hiring local movers and for those that have a smaller residence. The hourly rate can depend on various reasons such as the size of the truck, number of movers, date, time, number of stairs, or even number of items being moved.

It is very important to mention everything before getting a quote, because moving something that you didn’t mention, might result in a more expensive move. Time will usually start once movers arrive at your location, and they will stop billing once they finish. Drive time is usually included as well, but keep in mind that traffic is an important factor in this situation. So to be on the safe side, you can always hire movers near you, since there is a lower chance that they would have any drive time fees.

two movers carrying a couch

When to choose movers by the hour?

  • When you’re moving locally
  • When you’re moving to a smaller apartment, like a studio or a 1 bedroom place
  • When you’re planning to pack yourself
  • If you need labor-only movers

Why are movers by the hour a better option?


*Very affordable option for short-distance moves
*Great when moving a small apartment (studio or 1 bedroom)
*Affordable option when you are packing yourself
*Disassembly and reassembly of furniture, along with protection material is included with Twin Brothers Movers
*It would probably end up being a cheaper solution than choosing a flat rate


*Time is crucial. More time means more money.
*You can’t predict everything. Weather, traffic, etc.
*Time and date play a very important factor
*Number of movers also depend on the rate
*You don’t know an approximate price that you will pay
If you are leaning towards an hourly service, make sure to ask about any minimum time requirements. Many hourly moving companies require at least a three-hour minimum, so if you thought using a moving company just for an hour or two, a flat rate would be a better choice.

couple of moving trucks on the road

Labor moves

When you want to move to a different city or state by yourself, renting a Uhaul or a truck and hiring movers to help you load the truck and help you with the furniture, hiring movers by the hour is a better option. Be prepared to pay for at least a three-hour minimum even if your move lasts an hour.

3 hour minimum

Most movers by the hour have a minimum. Usually it is a three hour minimum for every job they take. If you have a special item that you need moved and you hire movers by the hour, be prepared to pay for a minimum they need.

office room

If you are planning to relocate your office place or renovate, a flat rate might be a better option, especially if the office is large. Movers can get caught up in time disassembling your furniture and moving it, especially if you have some building restrictions, and then a 3-4 hour move can turn into an 8-9 hour disaster.

woman sitting on bed and making phone calls

When calling for a quote, make sure you provide all information and details so they can provide you with an accurate estimate. Be prepared to pay extra in case you didn’t mention some heavy items or anything else that might change the quote. Communication with your moving company is crucial.

Before calling a moving company, you first have to evaluate your situation and be prepared for any questions that a moving company can ask.

  • How much stuff are you moving?
  • How far away are you moving?
  • How many flights of stairs are involved?
  • Do you have any special or heavy
  • Are there any time restrictions for elevators or your building?

Whether you decide to go with a flat rate or hourly rate, make sure that you know what your moving company covers and whatnot. And by all means, check the reputation of the moving company you plan to move with. It would be best to ask neighbors or friends for a referral, in other cases check yelp or google reviews for better knowledge of the company you plan to call.

When choosing an hourly rate, you probably wonder what is included. Is it only 2 movers and a truck?

couple putting bubble wrap on chairs
  • Service of disassembling and reassembling
  • Dollies, tools, and furniture protection such as plastic wrap and moving blankets
  • Basic insurance coverage
  • Wardrobe boxes that can hold your hanging clothes

Depending on the size of the move and the number of furniture items you own, a 1-bedroom apartment could take around 3-4 hours to move, while a 3-bedroom home may take about 7-8 hours

If you worry that your moving cost can get out of hand, you can prepare yourself in the best way, by planning your move accordingly and in time.
If you choose a flat rate for your move date, be prepared that not all companies offer them. There are several reasons why most moving companies don’t like offering a flat rate:

*It is very hard to estimate how much time will it take to load/unload your furniture
*How much time will it take for the movers to disassemble and reassemble your furniture, especially in case if you have an adjustable bed or something complex as that
*If it is impossible to park the truck close to the loading or unloading location, it will take much more time to load/unload the truck
*It is impossible to predict traffic and weather conditions, especially if you are moving far

Even though these reasons affect the hourly rate almost the same as the flat rate, it still mostly depends on the type and size of your move.

couple wrapping a couch


Both movers by the hour and flat rate movers offer many benefits, and to determine what option works for you best, depends on your move. If you are moving from a small residence or locally, an hourly rate is a much better option. However, if you are moving any special items, long distance or a larger residence, then a flat rate would be the best. So it is important to first evaluate your move and then give a call to Twin Brothers Movers to get a quote. You can also request a free quote on our website and we will get back to you within 24 hours!

Hey, don’t leave just yet. If you aren’t sure about what areas we cover, you can find a detailed list here. Or check some of our other blogs.

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