Moving from Chicago, IL to San Francisco, CA: Movers and Cost

Quick Answer: The cost to move from Chicago, IL to San Francisco, CA averages from $1,904 to $7,643 depending on how much you’re moving, your move date, and whether you hire a company or do the move yourself. Hiring movers will be on the more expensive side. Renting a truck or renting a moving container is usually cheaper but requires more work.

In this article, we’ll lay out everything you need to know for your upcoming move to San Francisco, CA. But first, here are a few resources if you need immediate answers:

Moving the reverse route? We’ve got you covered with our Moving from San Francisco to Chicago guide.

Moving 2,126 miles is no joke. Here's what you need to know.

How much does it cost to move from Chicago to San Francisco?

Here are average prices to hire a moving company, rent a moving container, or rent a moving truck:

Move Size Moving Company Moving Container Rental Truck
Studio / 1 Bedroom $1,301 - $5,262 $1,764 - $2,968 $1,757 - $2,312
2 - 3 bedrooms $3,596 - $7,643 $3,064 - $4,663 $1,904 - $2,752
4+ bedrooms $6,752 - $11,815 $4,237 - $5,999 $2,427 - $3,379

*These price ranges are a rough estimate based on 2,126 miles and historical averages. The actual size of your move, additional services required, truck parking access, market conditions, and availability can greatly affect the final cost of your move.

The cost to move from Chicago to San Francisco will depend on:

  • Move size: 5 bedroom homes are more expensive to move than 1 bedroom apartments.
  • Time of year: Summer is busy season so moving companies charge more.
  • Do-it-yourself vs Professional Mover: DIY moving services are usually cheaper but involve more work and stress.

How Much do Movers Cost?

Get instant ballpark pricing. No email or phone required. It's fast, free, and easy.

Get instant ballpark pricing It's fast, easy, and free

Get instant ballpark pricing. Fast, easy, and free

Who Are The Best Chicago to San Francisco Movers?

Hiring a moving company is a big deal.

We’ve researched over 500 interstate moving companies, cross-referencing verified customer reviews, license data, insurance data, and federal complaint records to find you the best long distance moving companies in the industry.

If you’re moving a 1 bedroom apartment worth of stuff or more, these are the best full service moving companies.

Company Quote Rating Price
Best Overall Value
Get A Quote
     
4.5 overall rating
American Van Lines
Best industry reputation
Get A Quote
     
4.5 overall rating
International Van Lines
Best customer service
Get A Quote
     
4.45 overall rating

If you’re just trying to ship a few items, here’s a list of our recommended services for small moves.

How much does it cost to hire a professional moving company from Chicago to San Francisco?

To ship furniture from Chicago to San Francisco with a mover will cost between $1,301 to $5,262. The cost to move a 2 to 3 bedroom home will range from $3,596 to $7,643, and a 4-bedroom move or bigger move from Chicago to San Francisco will cost from $6,752 to $11,815.

How much are moving container companies from Chicago to San Francisco?

Moving containers from Chicago to San Francisco will cost you $1,764 to $2,968 for a studio or one-bedroom home. For a 2 to 3 bedroom move, moving containers can cost $3,064 to $4,663. A larger home will cost $4,237 to $5,999.

How much is a moving truck from Chicago to San Francisco?

Renting a moving truck is usually the cheapest option, but it requires you to do all of the driving and labor; these estimates include the estimated fuel cost:

Moving a studio or 1-bedroom apartment in a rental truck will cost around $1,757 to $2,312. A larger move will cost $1,904 to $2,752, and a 4+ bedroom move from Chicago to San Francisco costs from $2,427 to $3,379.

How to ship a car from Chicago to San Francisco

Now that you've picked from the top movers for your belongings, it's time to choose an experienced and reputable Chicago to San Francisco car shipper.

Just like booking a reputable mover, professional car shippers will apply know-how and experience to make sure that your car makes it unscathed during this long-distance move.

Company Quote Rating Price
     
5 overall rating
Ship a Car Direct
     
4.75 overall rating
Easy Auto Ship Logo
     
4.5 overall rating

The type of transport you choose and the size of the vehicle will influence the final price of shipping your car. Learn more about car shipping costs.

Is moving from Chicago, IL to San Francisco, CA a good idea?

Cost of Living: Chicago vs San Francisco

Chicago San Francisco
Average rent cost $1,595 $2,900
Average home value $306,098 $1,579,001
Average income (per capita) $65,601 $123,859
Cost of Living (single person) $1,001 $1,270
Cost of Living (family of 4) $3,584 $4,576
Unemployment rate 9.0% 5.0%
Sales Tax 10.25% 8.63%
State Income Tax 4.95% 13.3%
  • Rent Prices in San Francisco, CA are 82% higher than in Chicago, IL.
  • Home Prices in San Francisco, CA are 415.8% higher than in Chicago, IL.
  • Income in San Francisco, CA is 88.8% higher than in Chicago, IL.
  • Cost of Living for a single person in San Francisco, CA is 26.9% higher than in Chicago, IL.
  • Cost of Living for a family in San Francisco, CA is 27.7% higher than in Chicago, IL.
  • Unemployment rate in San Francisco, CA is 44.44% lower than in Chicago, IL.
  • Sales Taxes in San Francisco, CA are 15.80% lower than in Chicago, IL.
  • State Income Taxes in San Francisco, CA are 168.69% higher than in Chicago, IL.

To put this into perspective, you would need around $2,193.8 in San Francisco to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with $3,000.00 in Chicago.

How is life different in Chicago, IL to San Francisco, CA?

San Francisco Chicago
Population 873,965 2,746,388
AllTransit Transportation Performance Score 10 9
Walkability score 99 77
Bike friendliness score 99 72
Crime Index 50.72 35.19
Safety Index 40.45 33.87
Air Quality Moderate Good
  • San Francisco’s population is about 68% less than Chicago.
  • San Francisco’s public transportation is not as good as Chicago with a score of 10 vs 9.
  • San Francisco is more walkable than Chicago with a score of 99 vs 77.
  • San Francisco is more bike-friendly than Chicago with a score of 99 vs 72.
  • San Francisco's crime rate is higher than Chicago with a score of 50.72 compared to 35.19.
  • San Francisco is considered to be safer than Chicago with a safety index of 40.45 vs 33.87.
  • Air Quality in San Francisco is Moderate, and in Chicago it’s Good.

Considerations for moving to San Francisco, CA

  • Weather: San Francisco's weather is strongly influenced by the cool currents of the Pacific Ocean on the west side of the city, and the water of San Francisco Bay to the north and east. This moderates temperature swings and produces a remarkably mild year-round climate with little seasonal temperature variation..
  • HOA Rules: Check ahead with any neighborhood or community rules on moving to ensure a smooth move.
  • Elevator Reservation: If your building has an elevator you’ll want to check on how to reserve it for move day.
  • Truck Parking Permits: Some cities require parking permits for large vehicles and moving trucks. Find out if you need any parking permits ahead of time.
  • State Licensing: When contacting a local moving company for an estimate in California, make sure each has a “T Number” issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CAPUC). Moving companies with valid T Numbers have met state requirements for insurance, safety, and financial stability and have passed criminal clearance checks conducted by the California Department of Justice. Make sure the moving company you use has a license before hiring.
  • State Regulator: You can verify a California moving license and its status on the state regulator's official website.
  • Moving Permits: California does not require any moving permits, but it is helpful to check local parking restrictions before moving into the state.
  • Change of Address: We recommend submitting your change of address form with USPS at least a week prior to your move. You can set an official move date on the form and this way all of your mail will get properly forward to San Francisco. Get started here.
  • Moving Company Insurance: Every state requires moving companies to carry different levels of insurance. Released Value Protection is the most economical option because it doesn’t cost anything. It is offered by movers at no additional charge, but the protection is minimal. Under this option, the mover is responsible for no more than 60 cents per pound per article. For example, if your mover lost or damaged a 50 inch TV weighing 25 pounds, you would only receive $15 (60 cents x 25 pounds). If you need for the full value of your items to be covered, please consult with the moving company you're hiring for other options or a third-party insurance provider.
  • Moving Checklist: Our moving checklist will help you have the peace of mind that you’ve got everything covered.

Local Chicago Movers

Company Quote Rating Contact
Moovers Chicago Inc Get A Quote      
4.96 overall rating
5359 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL, 60625
(773) 474-2691
STI Moving & Storage Inc. Get A Quote      
4.76 overall rating
7400 Niles Center Rd, Skokie, IL, 60077
(847) 675-1223

Visit our Best Movers in Chicago page to see a complete list of moving companies, including hourly rates, services, and reviews.

Where to live in San Francisco, CA

Now that you've decided to make the move to "The Golden Gate City", these are the best neighborhoods in San Francisco to move to.

Best neighborhoods for singles:

  • Marina District
  • Mission Bay
  • Mission District
  • Noe Valley

Best neighborhoods for families:

  • Bernal Heights
  • Inner Sunset
  • Noe Valley
  • North Beach
  • Presidio Heights

What to do in San Francisco

Moving to The “The Golden Gate City”? These are some of the best things to do in your new California home.

  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Fisherman's Wharf
  • Alcatraz Island
  • San Francisco Cable Cars
  • Golden Gate Park
  • San Francisco's Chinatown
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • The Exploratorium
  • California Academy of Science
  • Twin Peaks
  • Yerba Buena Gardens
  • Legion of Honor Museum
  • Palace of Fine Arts
  • Ferry Building Marketplace
  • Mission District
  • Union Square
  • City Lights Booksellers and Publishers
  • Asian Art Museum
  • Presidio of San Francisco
  • Lands End

Get your sports on!

San Francisco is a great sports town, these are the local teams to support:
  • San Francisco 49ers (NFL)
  • San Francisco Giants (MLB)
  • Golden State Warriors (NBA)

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