Moving from California to Michigan: Movers and Cost

Quick answer: On average, it will cost you between $1,800-$8,000 to move from California to Michigan, depending on the size of your move, when you’re moving, and what mover you choose from our recommendations below.

California ranks among the top states in which outbound moving occurs. In 2020, nearly 64% of people accounted for moving out of state, while only 36% make up for inbound migration. As for inbound migration rates for Michigan, back in 2020, it ranked #29 on the list of where Americans moved.

Some moving advice when making the journey from California to Michigan is that you don’t need a moving permit. However, it is a good idea to contact your city and find out what parking restrictions apply.

Many roads in Michigan are poorly maintained, so check with the Michigan Department of Transportation to plan a careful route. Summers are hot, and winters can get very cold with heavy snowfall. Plan on moving to Michigan during the spring or early fall.

You may also want to consider changing your address online. This will make for a much easier move from California to Michigan. It is simple and inexpensive to do and will ensure your mail arrives at your new home around the same time you do.

Here are some other articles that might help you plan your move:

  • Best California to Michigan movers: The long-distance moving industry is full of scammy movers, and when all of your belongings are at stake, don’t take chances. These are the top movers from California to Michigan.
  • 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.
  • Consider moving containers: Need a more budget-friendly option? With these companies, you load, and they drive! These are the best moving container companies.
  • Best car shippers: Moving your car? Use a company that prioritizes professionalism, cares for your vehicle and is experienced.

How Much Does it Cost to Move from California to Michigan?

If you are looking to move from California to Michigan, below is some helpful information and costs for you to consider when making preparations.

Home Size Moving Company Moving Container Freight Company Truck Rental
Studio/1 Bedroom $1,705-$3,211 $2,349-$2,968 $1,853-$2,520 $1,757-$2,312
2-3 Bedrooms $2,980-$5,000 $3,065-$3,870 $2,613-$3,300 $1,904-$2,405
4+ Bedrooms $4,780-$7,875 $4,237-$5,352 $3,515-$4,440 $2,427-$3,066

*Pricing above does not include gas, tolls, lodging, and other related moving expenses.

What are the best California to Michigan movers?

Company Price Vendor Type Quoting options Storage Minimum Move Size
Proud American Van Lines $$ Broker Phone/virtual estimate Yes, free 30 days 1 bedroom
Safeway Moving $$ Carrier/Broker Phone/virtual estimate Yes, free 30 days 1 bedroom
JK Moving Services $$$$ Carrier Phone/virtual estimate Yes 2 bedroom

Why do moving costs vary so much?

It may appear that a house or apartment looks great on paper. What potential movers need to be wary of is how difficult, if not impossible, it is to estimate all of the moving expenses you will encounter. Moving always tends to be more expensive than you might think because there are external factors that contribute to high costs.

If you are single or first married, this doesn’t apply to you as much as a family of kids. More family members equal more belongings you will have to pack and unpack. With more family members also comes heavier bedroom furniture that would just make more sense and life easier if you were to acquire professional help.

You also want to be mindful that paying for temporary storage or lodging is a very real possibility you might face. The extra costs of storage add up as the moving process is never a neat ordeal. There will always be something to shake up the sequence of events, whether it be delayed closing, paperwork issues, or even inclement weather.

New utilities cost money to set up. Whether you are moving across town or the country, you will need new electric, gas, internet, and television services. Water and sewage or home security systems will add to the cost of moving too.

You should also know that out-of-state moves generally cost more than if you were to stay within one state. Research shows that the higher the inbound migration of a state, the cheaper the outbound.

When looking to move to a new home, if you wish to save money on services, look to see that you aren’t moving at a peak time. Holidays, weekends, and the summer season tend to see a rise in prices for moving services.

Prices are higher if you were to move on or around the 4th of July. A 2-bedroom move size equals $4,230-$7,560 for professional, $3,064-$3,870 for container, $2,613-$3,300 for freight and $1,904-$2,405 for rental truck. You can compare this size move to those above two bedroom-sized move on the date of October 6th.

Why are people moving from California to Michigan?

The driving forces for people to move from California to Michigan are endless. No other state has such a wide stretch of freshwater shoreline than Michigan. Its 3,000 miles of shore and numerous family-friendly attractions are built to encourage an outdoor lifestyle. All residents live within 6 miles of either a stream or lake.


Then there’s Ann Arbor which boasts a vibrant economy, low crime, progressive culture, regular festivals, and free outdoor music. Other areas like East Grand Rapids have some of the best schools, a steady, high-paying job market, a low crime rate, and a high quality of life. Farmington Hills is another one of the most naturally attractive places to live in Michigan.


In regards to the cost of living in Michigan, due to differences in state taxes, transportation and production fees, prices vary from state to state. Despite Michigan ranking fifteenth among the country’s highest property taxes, the cost of living is 8/1% lower than the country’s average. Cities like Detroit and Flint are still in economic decline due to the recession but are slowly getting back to financial security.


Highways and public transportation are easily accessible in Michigan but are not exactly well maintained. We suggest you plan out your moving route first and check with the Michigan Department of Transportation for current updates on road conditions.

  • Roads need repairs, so watch out for potholes, crumbling road surfaces, and rocks flying up off the road.
  • Interstate routes cross Michigan from north to south and east to west. With vast areas dedicated to National Forests, the Upper Peninsula has fewer roads than the Lower.
  • Amtrak provides rail services from Michigan cities to the center of Chicago. Plans to construct a commuter rail between Detroit and the suburbs are underway as well.
  • If you plan on moving to Michigan from California, you will likely fly into the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport. It is the largest in the state and one of the busiest for air traffic.


Families moving to Michigan can benefit from exceptional education opportunities. The top three elementary schools are Edgewood Public Montessori in Okemos, Hemmeter Elementary School in Saginaw and Howe Trainable Center, and Montessori in Dearborn.

High schools like the International Academy of Macomb in Clinton Township, City Middle/High School in Grand Rapids, and Community High School in Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan, Michigan State University, and Wayne State University are among the best colleges too.

What are some of the best places to move to in Michigan?

U.S. News & World Report rates the best places to live in Michigan as follows:

  • Ann Arbor, MI: best known as the home of the University of Michigan, it is near Detroit but still nurtures a Midwestern college town atmosphere. Excellent public schools and an increasingly diverse job market, low crime rate, and robust public park system all contribute to the appealing nature of Ann Arbor.
  • Grand Rapids, MI: an affinity for public art and craft brewery is one of the best in the country. It is a modern-day metro area that has recently begun attracting college students and young families. A healthy job market, affordable housing, and outdoor recreation all add to the appeal of Grand Rapids.
  • Kalamazoo, MI: a fun, quirky city with an abundance of museums, theatres, and live music venues, makes it a hot spot for visitors and residents alike.

Michigan residents can expect mild summers and bitter cold, snowy winters. Still, the relatively low cost of living far outweighs any worries you might have when moving from California to Michigan.

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