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Here are some typical amounts of items you may need moving and a guide to how long it may take. It’s important to remember that it’s not just throwing things into a van and driving off, you’ll want your belongings to be safely secured to avoid them being damaged and this can take a little time. These times assume two people loading and unloading.

  • A large single item, like a sofa: 30 minutes (that’s 15 minutes at each end)
  • Single room, such as moving from shared accommodation: 2+ hours
  • Two-bedroom apartment: 4+ hours
  • Three-bedroom house: 5+ hours
fully loaded van with worker outside holding a box 2

The amount of time you need to book the van for will be calculated using three factors:

Total Time Required = Load Time + Travel Time + Unload Time

These three times added together will give you a booking duration. Here are some of the things to consider when assessing how long you need. You should discuss these with your Man & Van service provider so they can more accurately quote for your move.


The easiest way to save time is to book your move so that you drive outside of the rush hour times, especially if you live in a built-up area or large city like London or Manchester.

Load and Unload Times

The list of what affects the loading times could be endless but here’s three things to carefully consider when planning how long you’ll need:

Access to the properties: parking restrictions, stairs, shared lifts, and large apartment complexes will increase the time needed to load and unload. To help you asses what load time you may need, try timing the walking route from your property to where the van will be parked. Then think of how many trips it will take.
Is the route from the van to the property clear? Steps, blocked hallways, overgrown gardens, and busy roads can all add to the time needed.

Is everything well packed and ready to safely move? The better organised and ready to move you are, the quicker your move will go. Remember, if you really want to speed things up, bring as many items downstairs or close to the exit as possible.

When unloading, do you want your items in a specific place? Sorting items can take longer so if you do want things in a certain room, label them clearly whilst packing.