Air van north american


#1 Mover in Montana

Air Van northAmerican Van Lines

Of all the interstate movers we researched, Air Van northAmerican stood head and shoulders above the competition when it came to responsiveness, transparency with estimates, damage-free handling of possessions, and overall accountability. With over 1,800 trucks, 40,000 truck shipments per year, 1,500 local agents covering all 50 states, and a real focus on continuous improvement, this mover has the scale, resources and commitment to quality that enables them to provide an exceptionally smooth moving experience despite the complexities of long distance transportation.

Services include:

  • Long distance moves
  • Local moves
  • Full-service moving
  • Corporate relocation
  • Vehicle transport
  • Office moving

Contact: (877) 306-2585

Moving to “Big Sky Country”?

Have you been dreaming of moving to the beautiful state of Montana but worried about the potential costs? Figuring out how much does it cost to move to Montana is key when determining if this potential move is feasible for your budget. This comprehensive guide breaks down estimated moving costs along with other living expenses to provide you thorough picture of what relocating to Big Sky Country would entail financially. And if you want to check out some quality movers first, swing by our recent blog that compares top-rated services with pricing to help your research.


Also known as the Treasure State, Montana is increasingly becoming a popular destination, especially for remote workers and families looking for a higher quality of life. With abundant natural beauty including two renowned national parks, a thriving job market, and a low cost of living, it’s no wonder more people are packing their bags for Montana every year.

But before you call the moving trucks, it’s important to map out both the short-term costs of relocating as well as the long-term day-to-day expenses to maintain your new Montana lifestyle. How much does it cost to move to Montana? depends greatly on factors like the size of your move, whether you hire movers or DIY, and additional services needed. This guide offers a data-driven analysis of average move costs plus everything else you need to budget for upon arriving in Big Sky Country.

Cost of Living Comparison

While Montana remains more affordable than coastal hotspots like California and New York, it still comes with costs—some higher and some lower than the national average. Understanding how prices compare for housing, food, healthcare and more allows you to determine if the financial tradeoffs make sense for your situation.


A bit surprisingly, housing costs in Montana fall slightly above the national median numbers. As of 2023, the typical home value in Montana reached $446,483 compared to $356,480 average in the U.S. Rentals follow a similar trend with average prices in Montana at $836 for a 1-bedroom apartment versus $797 nationally.

So while Montana offers larger spaces and stunning backdrops, you may pay a small premium. On the upside, property taxes shake out to 0.83% in Montana, dipping under the 1.19% national benchmark.


Healthcare prices in Montana land 5.7% over the U.S. standard, amounting to approximately $5,270 per year for individual coverage. Specialists tend to be more limited outside of larger cities, contributing to the inflation. That said, Montana prioritizes wellness and offers pristine landscapes to pursue healthy, active lifestyles.


Dining and groceries align closely with national economics, hovering 8% above the norm at $3,178 annually for a single adult. Some fluctuation occurs across Montana’s urban and rural divide in terms of food access and affordability. Farmers markets thrive during summer months while harsh winters limit seasonal produce in certain areas.


Driving dominates Montana transportation, which comes as no surprise given the state’s sprawling geography. Over 85% of Montana residents commute by car. Gas approximates national averages while insurance lands moderately below at $1,570 per year on average. The tradeoff is minimal traffic, allowing you to breeze through wide open roads with ease.


When it comes to entertainment enjoyably and recreation, Montana offers endless affordability. Yearly ski passes start around $600 while national park entry averages $30 per vehicle. Summertime brings hiking, camping, rafting and more with most activities centered around appreciating Montana’s natural playground.


From electricity to heating, Montana utility expenses compare favorably at 5% under the U.S. standard. While winters carry a chill, upgraded insulation paired with low-cost power allows you to stay cozy. Expect extra savings if you opt for solar given Montana’s 300+ days of annual sunshine.

The Bottom Line

If you tally up all the usual household items from housing to food, Montana rings in at approximately 6% below the cumulative national cost index. The numbers confirm you can indeed live reasonably while enjoying Montana’s beauty and benefits. Property and healthcare nudge slightly higher but recreation, utilities and lack of sales tax offer savings.

Moving Cost Analysis

Okay, so Montana’s day-to-day affordability seems solid. But how much does it cost to move to Montana in the first place? From packing supplies to gas money, relocating brings a long list of expenses into the equation. This section offers a data-driven breakdown of average moving costs based on your situation.

Average Cost To Hire Professional Movers in Montana

Full-service moving companies understandably represent the priciest option, but also the biggest time and effort saver if it aligns with your budget. Average hourly rates to hire movers in Montana land around $128. You’ll also likely pay a bit extra given the long driving distances for interstate moves. Total spend depends largely on your move size and distance as detailed below:

  • Studio apartment: $449 (2 movers, 3 hours @ $179/hour)
  • 1-bedroom home: $627 (2 movers, 4 hours @ $179/hour )
  • 2-bedroom home: $1,020 (3 movers, 5 hours @ $250/hour)
  • 3-bedroom home: $2,370 (4 movers, 8 hours @ $350/hour)
  • 4+-bedroom home: $4,186 (5 movers, 10 hours @ $490/hour)

The golden rule stays true: the larger the move, the bigger the price tag. Hire only as much moving manpower as needed to safely transport your belongings and ask for discounts if items require breakdown like pool tables.

Factors Impacting Overall Moving Costs

Beyond square footage, several other factors influence total cost to move to Montana including:

  • Distance traveled – Cross-country relocations cost more for gas, lodging etc.
  • Season/timing – Peak summer season brings 20-30% surcharges
  • Add-on services – Packing/unpacking, storage fees ramp up price
  • Insurance needs – Valuables may require extra coverage

Doing any heavy lifting yourself keeps costs lower as do moving on off-peak dates. Sit down with movers to review what tasks you can take off their plate. Every bit helps trim expenses.

DIY Options for Moving to Montana

If hiring movers proves too steep, Handles, Montana also offers several DIY options for thrifty do-it-yourselfers including:

  • Truck rental (U-Haul, Penske, etc.) – Cheapest option at $19.95 per day plus $.79/mile for largest size
  • Portable container unit – Pack it yourself then shipped to Montana for $100-$300 monthly
  • Freight shipping – Load a 28’ trailer and driver transports for ~$2,000

All independent moving methods allow you to drive costs down substantially but require serious elbow grease. Make sure to calculate total mileage plus loading/unloading/driving times using Google Maps to estimate real cost differences. Don’t underestimate fuel usage for massive trucks either.

Transporting Your Car

Moving your beloved vehicle along with your household items? Enlist professional auto transport services to have your car or motorcycle safely delivered. Average rates fall around $1 per mile, meaning $1,000+ for West Coast origins. Secure enclosed shipping for classics or luxury vehicles. Here are the top-rated Montana car shipping companies:

  • SGT Auto Transport – $850-$1900 for East/West Coast transport
  • Easy Auto Ship – $750-$1200 for regional and nationwide
  • Sherpa Auto – $1200-$2500 depending on vehicle value
  • Montway Auto – $800-$1200 for cross-country shipping

Compare carriers pricing plus insurance, loaners, real-time tracking to find the best fit.

Adding up gas, hotels, food and incidentals, plan on an extra $2,000 or more to cover a full family vehicle caravan. Streaming movies and audio books make the long haul more bearable for kids.

Taxes in Montana

Tallying future living costs in your potential Montana home also involves projecting local taxes from income to property. Understanding the state’s requirements prevents any surprising bills down the road.

Income Tax

Montana levies average income tax rates ranging from 1% to 6.9% depending on taxable income brackets, falling on the lower end nationally. For example, singles making under $3,000 and married couples earning less than $6,000 annually pay just 1% The threshold maxes out at $18,400 for individuals and $36,900 for those married filing jointly. Monthly mortgage payments and charitable donations can lower owed amounts.

Property Tax

Homeowners pay considerably less in Montana property taxes compared to western counterparts. Average effective rates weigh in around 0.83% – that’s $830 annually on $100,000 home. Condos and land may fall slightly higher up to 1%. Counties determine individual property taxes which vary across school districts.

Sales Tax

This one makes Montana a real winner for relocating shoppers and dealhunters. Montana imposes no state-level sales tax although local municipalities can implement up to a 3% charge. Groceries, clothing and prescription drugs also remain sales tax free so you keep extra saving when stocking the fridge or updating your wardrobe.

Gas Tax

Driving reigns as the transportation king across Montana’s sprawled out cities and towns. At the pumps, Montana tacks on a gas tax of $0.32 per gallon on traditional gasoline. Diesel lands slightly higher at $0.29 due to road usage and environmental fees. Even with the extra few cents, Montana gas prices typically undercut national rates by 10-15%

Job Market and Salaries

Seeking new career opportunities or transferring within your current field? Montana flaunts one of the hottest job markets in the country poised for growth across several industries. Low unemployment plus competitive wages help sweeten the appeal.

Unemployment Rate

The current unemployment rate in Montana remains extremely low at just 2.7% – a full percentage point below the U.S. average. The state has seen stable economic expansion year over year. Both trade and service occupations are ramping up hiring in Montana to match influxes of new residents.

Fastest Growing Occupations

Which jobs in Montana are growing at breakneck speeds? Construction, engineering, healthcare and technology top the list for highest demand from employers trying to entice talent.

  • Foreman – $62,790 average salary
  • Physical Therapist – $77,110 average salary
  • Construction Worker – $37,570 average salary
  • Electrician – $61,580 average salary
  • Plumber – $58,440 average salary

Hybrid and remote openings also continue surging for those open to telecommuting options.

Highest Paying Jobs

Montana salaries compete handsomely with coastal pay rates, especially factoring in lower costs of living. Management, legal, engineering and healthcare professions yield the meatiest paydays topping well over six figures in many cases. Consider getting licensed or certified in Montana upon arriving if required in your respective field.

Here’s a sampling of the most lucrative Montana careers:

  • Chief Executives – $136,740 median salary
  • Nurse Practitioners – $111,010 median salary
  • General Practitioners – $239,138 median salary
  • Lawyers – $108,920 median salary
  • Engineering Managers – $152,030 median salary

Ready to ditch your employer, switch careers or launch a new business venture? Montana rolls out the red carpet for entrepreneurial professionals across diverse industries.

Best Places to Live in Montana

Part of your moving budget also involves selecting what part of Montana to call home. The state houses vibrant cities with reasonable costs of living alongside charming small towns and vibrant communities. This section highlights the 10 top places to live based on affordability, job growth and overall livability.


Cultured and energetic, Missoula ranks as one of Montana’s top destinations thanks to a blossoming food scene, access to nature and University of Montana influence. Tech and healthcare drive the job market with competitive salaries. Median home prices hold below $400k while rent hovers around $1100 monthly for apartments.


Bozeman reputes itself as one of Montana’s most desirable communities courtesy of Montana State University mingling with outdoor opportunities. Home values inch higher nearing $600k although incomes follow suit. A cultural hotspot filled with amenities, Bozeman does come at a cost but supplies enviable quality of life.


Resting in Montana’s gorgeous Flathead Valley beneath the Rocky Mountains, Kalispell lets you tap into small-town charm with metropolitan conveniences. Outdoor manufacturers bring employment coupled with lower than average living expenses. New construction homes run around $350k with low property taxes around 0.8%.


As Montana’s largest urban area, Billings balances urban conveniences with proximity to Yellowstone and the Beartooth Mountains. Energy and healthcare drive industry growth with JD Power naming Billings among the nation’s most appealing cities overall thanks to community vibe and affordability. Cost of living runs 7% below average here.


Picturesque Whitefish woos residents with its postcard views of Glacier National Park and top-ranked ski resort. Though on the pricier end for Montana, Whitefish vibrates with sophisticated amenities you may not expect given its cozy size and location. Median incomes trend higher to support the elevated housing market valued around $600k.


Montana’s capital Helena holds its own for history buffs and outdoor enthusiasts with easy day trip access to acclaimed state parks and recreational lands. Government, tech and manufacturing inform major local business while Helena’s Downtown Walking Mall entertains visitors. Median home pricing stays reasonable at $292,000 aided by cost savings elsewhere.

Great Falls

This pedestrian-friendly former frontier town nurtures community vibes with quirky local shops and restaurants mingling with larger retailers. Neighborhoods like River’s Edge sport new single-family homes around $300k. Cost of living runs 5% lower than Montana averages although healthcare access remains top-notch.


Don’t let the gritty name deter you – Butte cradles unexpected sophistication and cultural charm blended with Old West legacy as a former copper boomtown. Outdoor access proves unrivaled while historic estates and updated row homes stack affordability nearing $200k. Revitalization aims to sustain Butte’s renewed energy and growth.


Scenic Livingston allows you to soak up serious vibes with the Yellowstone River flowing through and mountainscapes surrounding. Close proximity to abundant skiing, fishing and hiking satiates adventure appetites although home pricing reflects demand nearing the $600k mark closer to town. Feed artistic souls at galleries and indie shops characteristic of eclectic Livingston.

Miles City

Eastern Montana may often get overlooked but Miles City serves up small town hospitality right off the scenic Lewis and Clark Trail. Regional healthcare fuels the economy along with agriculture influence. Miles CityPIN also houses the historic Main Street district stocked with boutique retail and dining below downtown lofts starting around $180k.

No matter whether you desire bustling “big city” conveniences or sleepy rural communities, Montana supplies desirable locales across the state certain to fit priorities. Mix and match amenities with affordability to narrow target towns and neighborhoods as your move date nears.


Overall, tallying the hard numbers confirms Montana remains one of the nation’s most desirable places to put down roots without breaking the bank. While average move costs may run $1000+ and home prices skew slightly steeper, savings on property taxes, income tax and complete lack of sales tax help balance the ledger.

Of course, the natural splendor speaks for itself – few places rival Montana’s diverse geography and pristine wilderness sure to fuel adventures for years on end. Before floating job applications or booking moving trucks, create thorough cost of living comparisons using online calculators. And don’t forget the immeasurable benefit of pursuing that satisfying change of scenery you’ve always imagined in Montana’s wide open spaces.


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