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Moving Costs in Ontario: What to Expect

Whether you’re moving within Ontario, moving from Ontario to British Columbia or moving to another province, you have three main options to accomplish the move. You can:

  • Use a moving container, like BigSteelBox
  • Rent a truck and drive yourself
  • Hire a full-service moving company

The cost of moving in Ontario can vary quite a bit. The moving method you choose will largely determine the cost. But there are other factors that should be considered as well, like intangible costs, such as the amount of time and effort required. And we’ll include information about storage too, as you may have time a period of time between homes before you can unpack at your destination. All these things need to be weighed when choosing a moving company.

Read on for more information about the average costs of moving in Ontario and from Ontario to another Canadian location. You’ll also learn how moving fees are calculated and what makes a move more or less expensive.

Local Moving Costs in Ontario

What's the cost to move in Ontario? - BigSteelBoxA local move entails moving a relatively short distance within the same city. The price of local moving costs in Ontario will vary by city, based on a couple of factors:

How much does moving cost in Toronto?

As mentioned above, your moving method of choice is a major factor in the cost. Let’s compare the three different options mentioned above to help give you an overview of moving costs in Toronto.

Using a moving and storage container from BigSteelBox
First, we’ll check out what it costs to use a 20-foot BigSteelBox moving and storage container. This is the most frequently selected size for a two- or three-room house in Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Milton, Oakville, and Etobicoke.

If you rent the BigSteelBox for a month and store it at your place, the cost is $474 before taxes*. You pack and load the moving container at your leisure, on your own timeline. That figure also includes moving the loaded container to your new destination and empty pickup when you’re done unloading it at the new address.

Need to store your loaded container at a BigSteelBox location during that month? You can keep it at our Mississauga storage facility for $29/month for 8′ and 10′ or $39/month for a 20′.

BigSteelBox moving truck - service to cities and rural areasFor a reasonable cost, you can also add on extras and moving supplies, like:

  • Padlock rental or purchase
  • Moving blankets and ratchet straps
  • Vandalism protection
  • More rental time, at home or at our yard

This method gives you the option of loading and unloading yourself. Or, you can hire movers to take care of the heavy stuff. Either way, you have at least a month to complete your move before you incur any additional costs.

There may be a few other expenses to plan for, which we’ll discuss at the end of this article.

Renting a truck from U-Haul®
Now, let’s say you want to rent a U-Haul truck to move within Toronto. At first, the cost seems pretty low, at $39.95 per day, plus $1.09 per kilometre, but you also need to factor in the cost of fuel.

So, if you’re moving approximately 30km between your current and new home, and you’re able to pick up the truck at 8am the first morning, complete the move in 2 days, and return the truck before the end of the 48 hours, the total cost to rent a 20’ moving truck would be start from about $250 plus taxes.

For a reasonable cost, you can also add on extras, like:

  • Moving blankets, plastic wrap or bubble wrap
  • Ratchet straps
  • Tie down rope
  • Locks
  • Cardboard packing boxes

This is the most economical option to move within the Greater Toronto Area, but there is definitely more stress because you’re on such a tight timeline. And remember, if you’re driving the truck, you’ll need to plan the logistics of getting to and from the U-Haul store before and after your move. And, if you have your own vehicle, make a plan to get it to your new home as well.

Hiring a professional full-service moving company
What about the option to hire full-service movers? Full-service movers provide packing, loading, and unloading help, as well as the transportation of the items. They usually need to complete moves within the same day.

These companies typically use a formula to calculate moving costs. They use the moving rate and the move duration to arrive at a total cost. Often, additional charges are added in as well.

The moving rate is the hourly rate the company charges. In Toronto, that’s approximately $150-$250 per hour.

The duration of the move is the total time it takes to accomplish the move, including drive time.

What are additional charges? Examples include packing supplies (like boxes, tape, and wrap) or fees to move heavy or bulky items. You might even need an extra-large truck, which could cost more.

It’s worth noting that the hourly rate isn’t the only factor that varies from company to company. Within some moving companies, it can also change based on the day of the week or the time of the year. Saturdays are always in high demand, and summer is likewise a prime moving period. The hourly rate can also go up if the movers have to climb a lot of stairs.

In general, you can expect to pay roughly these amounts for professional full-service movers in Toronto, depending on the size of the home:

  • Studio apartment: $450-$1,100
  • One-bedroom home: $650-$1,400
  • Two-bedroom home: $890-$1,800
  • Three-bedroom home: $1,850-$2,900
  • Four-bedroom home: $2,000-$3,200

You’re obviously sacrificing savings for convenience with this method. And if you’re in tight quarters, even if you take your time packing, you still need somewhere to put all the boxes, unlike with a moving and storage container that sits outside your home and can be loaded as you fill boxes.

Long-Distance Moving Costs

A long-distance move could entail a city-to-city move within Ontario. A common move is from Toronto to Ottawa. Or it could mean a cross-country move, such as from Toronto to Vancouver.

Not surprisingly, long-distance move pricing varies more than pricing for local moves. When doing a relocation to a new city, it’s essential to get a personalized quote. Otherwise, with some moving options, you could be caught with a bill that’s much higher than you expected, as you’ll see below.

Example: Cost of Moving from Toronto to Ottawa

Moving from Toronto, ON, to Ottawa, ON - BigSteelBoxLet’s look at the expense of relocating from Toronto to Ottawa as one example of a long-distance move within Ontario. Now that you know a bit more about comparing moving methods from the sections above, we can layer that knowledge over a longer route.

Using a moving and storage container from BigSteelBox
A move from Toronto to Ottawa starts at $1,890* plus taxes, using a 20-foot BigSteelBox. This includes the 1-month rental of the container and all movements. BigSteelBox can wind up being 40% less than full-service movers with this route depending on the size of your home and types of items you’ll be moving (see below).

All the benefits you reap using this method with a local move, like having more time to load and unload your things, as outlined above are also applicable to moving across Ontario as well.

Renting a truck from U-Haul
Using a U-Haul to move from Toronto to Ottawa would cost about $1,000* plus taxes. This gives you a 20-foot moving truck for 2 days, includes $536km, and allows for a fuel budget of $200. Renting a truck and driving your belongings when moving from Toronto to Ottawa may be the cheapest method…if everything goes perfectly and you can load and unload quickly. If you need more time, those daily costs will start to add up quickly.

There’s the potential for a number of things to go wrong or at least inconvenience you with this method:

  • You need to follow the rental schedule meticulously. You must make sure the truck is returned on the set day and time, or you may be charged extra.
  • You have to trust that the truck’s tires and mechanics are in good working order, lest you have a breakdown on Hwy 7 or 401.
  • Fuel is not included in the price of renting the truck, so that will be an additional cost.
  • You may be required to pay for insurance or extra mileage, depending on your contract.

Hiring a full-service moving company
Moving costs from Toronto to Ottawa can skyrocket with full-service movers. You can expect to pay at least $2,000 for this type of move, and it could be as high as $3,000 or $4,000 for a two-bedroom home based on some of the factors discussed previously, like high-demand periods and homes with large/heavy items and stairs. Costs go up from there with larger households or speciality items, such as pianos.

One issue with full-service movers, once you go further than local moves, is that the timing and truck availability have less flexibility. You may need to wait for a truck to return from Ottawa or have to schedule your move on a less convenient day, and they will rush to load and unload their truck on either side of the move (likely 1 day to load and 1 day to unload), so you’ll have to be prepared to meet their timelines.

Additional Moving Costs

We’ve discussed many of the factors that can impact moving costs in and from Ontario. As a reminder, these include:

  • DistanceFull service moving service
  • Time involved
  • Size of household
  • Extras needed
  • Moving special items
  • How rate is calculated
  • Security
  • Ability to add storage
  • Season or day of week
  • Labour to load and unload
  • Packing services
  • Cross-country accommodations and meals

And we’ve also reviewed those costs that are harder to figure out, like convenience and making the move as stress-free as possible. These aren’t to be dismissed, as moving has the potential to be one of life’s most stressful events…but it doesn’t have to be that way.

There are a few other costs to consider. For instance, in busy urban areas, like many neighbourhoods in Toronto, you may need a parking permit for a moving truck or container. You should enquire about this and make the necessary arrangements in advance.

Also, depending on the route you take when driving, you may have to pay tolls. These can add up, so do the math ahead of time and see if it makes sense to use an automatic device instead of paying with cash.

Final Tips to Save Money on Moving Costs in Ontario

Here are a few last suggestions for making your budget stretch when moving in or from Ontario:

  • Choose your moving date knowing how demand may influence everything, from hourly rates to hotel expenses on the road.
  • Think about selling or donating items before you start packing to reduce the weight and volume of your container or truck.
  • If price certainty is important to you, be sure to get all figures in writing. Understand if they are estimates or firm quotes and how the rate is being calculated (weight, volume, etc.). Know that a moving and storage container gives you more certainty than hiring a professional company.
  • Consider the intangible costs of rushing your move if you have to get it done in only a day or two.

We would love the opportunity to make your move in Ontario feel better for you so you can look forward to moving to your new city rather than dreading the process. You can always request a quote from BigSteelBox online or give us a call at 1-800-373-1187 and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you have.


*All prices are before taxes and subject to change without notice.
Photos Courtesy of:

Toronto building with lights – Photo by Conor Samuel on Unsplash
Family unpacking after a move – Photo by Cottonbro Studio from Pexels
Building in Ottawa – Photo by Benoit Debaix on Unsplash


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