Summer vacations can conjure up images of sun-soaked beaches and lakeside cabins, but for many, they bring thoughts of moving trucks.

Summer is the most popular time to move, thanks to abundant warm weather and school breaks. But it also can be the most expensive time to hire a highly rated moving company in the Mid-Atlantic region, where temperatures and the demand for movers dip in the winter.

“You can get a lot of discounts in January because it can be pretty slow,” says Chris Williams, a local mover with College Hunks Hauling Junk in Washington, D.C.

He and his moving partner, Trey Cunningham, spent a recent cold January morning on a short move across a Northeast neighborhood in the District.

How much do movers discount winter moves? That all depends on the type of move, but Williams says prices can be discounted 15 percent or more compared to the peak summer months.

Savings and easier scheduling

Not only do January and February bring cost savings, but they also can mean much more flexibility in scheduling your move.

“This time of year, we can work with a customer’s schedule, and you’ll have a better chance of getting a comfortable time for you,” Cunningham says.

Here’s another tip: Try scheduling your move in the middle of the month, regardless of the season.

“Most people are moving toward the end or beginning of the month,” Cunningham says.

Of course, winter discounts don’t necessarily translate for those living in warmer climates.

“Movers stay busy in Florida all the time,” Williams says.

Cost depends a lot on how far you’re moving, how much stuff you have and whether you choose to use a company’s packing services. For a complete overview of hiring a moving company, check out this guide.

To start, you’ll probably want a binding estimate, which is a written agreement made in advance with your mover that clearly describes all services provided. It guarantees the total cost of the move based on the quantities and services written in the estimate.

Compared to a binding estimate, a non-binding estimate is what the mover believes the cost will be based upon the estimated weight of the shipment and additional services required. However, the final charges are based on the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided and the tariff provisions in effect.

Some movers offer a “guaranteed-not-to-exceed” estimate, which allows the consumer to pay the binding estimate or the actual cost, whichever is lower.

Being upfront about costs and detailing charges is something Two Marines Moving in Northern Virginia prides itself on. “We look at every aspect of the moving process from your point of view and tirelessly work to make you feel comfortable and relaxed,” says owner Nick Baucom.

According to recent estimates provided by the American Moving and Storage Association, the average cost of an interstate move is about $4,300, based on an average weight of 7,400 pounds and distance of 1,225 miles.

The average intrastate move costs $2,300, based on the same weight and a crew of four.

Prices may fluctuate, depending on where you live.

And, of course, by season.