Moving from California to Washington: Movers and Cost

GoodMigrations Whale


Quick Answer: The average cost to move from California to Washington will range from $1,500 to $4,000 depending on the size, route, distance, and timing of the move. Hiring a professional moving company will be on the more expensive side. Renting a truck or using a moving container will save you money but also require a lot more work. Over 600 thousand people leave California every year!After Texas and Arizona, The Evergreen State is actually the preferred destination for Californians.We’ll discuss how much it costs to move, why people are making the move, and our recommendations of places in Washington to move to.

How much will your move cost?: This cost calculator will provide an immediate calculation of what your move should cost. Just plug in your moving dates, the size of your move, where you’re moving to/from and let the calculator do the rest.

Now, let’s get into it.

How Much Does It Cost to Move from California to Washington?

  Professional Moving Company Moving Container Company Freight Trailer Company Truck Rental Company*
Studio/One Bedroom $1,630-$2,100 $1,726-$2,330 $1,330-$1,890 $898-$1,212
2-3 Bedrooms $2,650-$4,100 $2,588-$3,494 $1,853-$2,633 $1,055-$1,424
4+ Bedrooms $3,100-$7,150 $3,236-$4,369 $1,995-$2,835 $1263-$1,705

*Estimate includes fuel cost but no other costs associated such as lodging, tolls, or parking.

Why the Wide Variation in Prices?

An investment in professional movers is costly but eliminates much of the stress of a long-distance move. Moving containers and freight moving companies cost less but require you to pack and unpack.

Truck rentals are the cheapest option but leave you with the full responsibility of packing the truck, driving the truck and unpacking the truck. You must weigh the savings of a DIY move against the stress and labor involved.

Inbound vs. Outbound Moving Demand Impacts Price

California continues to lose population. About 691,000 people left California to live in other states in 2018. In the last twenty years, California has lost more people to other states than it has gained according to US Census Data.

Washington, on the other hand, is leading the nation with inbound move popularity. The state recorded 3,278 inbound moves in 2019, ranking it second nationally for new resident attraction. Keep in mind, a destination state with strong inbound numbers can impact the cost of your move.

The Cost of Moving Season

Along with inbound stats, the timing of your move can also affect your moving costs. Summer is moving season, which means a spike in moving industry costs from pro movers to truck rentals. If you can, plan your move during the offseason, such as the fall or winter months. Even early spring moving can save you money.

Here’s a snapshot that shows how the timing of your move can make a difference in your bottom line.

  • Professional movers, 5-bedroom house: November 4: $3,100-$7,150
  • Professional movers, 5-bedroom house: July 4: $5,350-$9,500

Use the moving cost calculator to perfectly time your move for the lowest cost.

Why Are People Moving from California to Washington?

The migration out of California is mostly due to the high cost of living and high taxes. The attraction of perfect weather is proving not strong enough to keep residents for very long.

Affordable housing and lots of job opportunities transformed Washington into a mecca for Californians struggling to pay rent and mortgages in the Golden State.

Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks are some of the centers of industry that have amplified Washington’s economy and created jobs for newcomers.

Best Places to Move in Washington

Mercer Island

Mercer Island has been voted one of the best places to live in Washington for the second year in a row.

Low crime, and high income sets this island city in the middle of Lake Washington apart from others in the state. A great school system and a demographic of well-educated professionals have made the cost of living a bit higher. A great city for those who can afford it.


Olympia retains its rank as one of the top places to live for four years. Diversity, affordability and cultural attractions have made Olympia a destination for both families and young professionals.

Look for the Washington Center for the Performing Arts and Evergreen State College as cultural hubs in this city. Government, tourism and a thriving small business community drive the economy.


The growth of high tech and biotech has made Spokane, Washington a destination for many in the science field. The median income in Spokane, WA is $42,386 and the median home value is $159,400 so affordability is a big draw.


Just a 25-minute drive from downtown Seattle, is the peaceful Bellevue, Washington community. A small-town atmosphere has made this the ideal residence for those who like access to the big city without the bustle of urban living.

A thriving commercial sector has also taken root in the city and the schools are ranked as some of the best in the state. The biggest attraction? Enjoy the annual Bellevue Arts and Crafts Fair, which has been held since 1947.


If you prefer the gorgeous scenic nature that Washington State has to offer, then your new home should probably be a city like Bellingham.

Only 21 miles from the Canadian border, this city offers everything outdoor fan craves. Awe-inspiring mountain views and the Pacific sea fronts are the backdrop to your daily activities. Microbreweries thrive here and three major universities make Bellingham an educational hub for the state.


Industry and nature.

If you are looking for the best of both worlds in Washington State, then you can find it in Renton.

As the final assembly point for some of Boeing’s most important aircraft, Renton offers ample and diverse employment opportunities from engineering professionals to factory assemblers. On the weekends, you can explore beautiful natural surroundings, including some of the best salmon fishing spots in the US.


The port city of Tacoma continues to attract inbound migrants. International companies have made Tacoma their home base, offering substantial job opportunities in manufacturing.

Tacoma’s greatest charm is that it is a walkable city, no need to always drive to your destination. You will see more bikes and sidewalks then freeways. Lots of parks help make downtime in Tacoma relaxing and peaceful.


Less than twenty minutes from Portland, the city of Vancouver continues to find rank on the best places to live list. A culture of sustainability and organic dining make this location ideal for anyone who is devoted to the environment and wants to seek out like-minded souls.


We can’t forget Seattle. This city is the home to economic giants like Amazon, Starbucks and Nike. Job opportunities abound, but the cost of living is high too. If you can strike a balance between both, you will find Seattle to be an exciting city with lots to do. Outdoor recreation, a thriving entertainment district and sports are the big past times of Seattle residents.


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