Moving isn’t cheap. Whether you’re moving into an apartment or a home, there are a lot of fees associated with closing on a new home or signing a new lease that you need to consider. On top of that, you’ll need to purchase packing supplies and potentially new furniture and decor for your new home. Considering how much money everything else costs, you might be wondering whether you should hire professional movers or do it yourself.
While going the DIY route might be cheaper, cost isn’t the only factor you should consider. Hiring professional movers comes with a lot of benefits, so you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons before you decide on which option you choose.
You don’t have to hire professionals to get a move done. In fact, most people probably go the DIY route for a variety of reasons. While the number one reason might be associated with cost, some other benefits to a DIY move include:
- Complete control over your move – If you need flexibility in your move, then DIY is the way to go. Since you’re handling everything you know exactly what is going into your move from packing materials to truck size to how your boxings are handled. Plus, you have the flexibility to decide what time you want your move to start and end!
- Packing how you want – Professional movers expect all of your belongings are properly sealed and ready to go when they arrive. If some items are not packed, they will pack them for you (for a fee). On the other hand, a DIY move means you have the freedom to pack however you want! You don’t need to box up plants or other items such as pillows, blankets, etc. That means you can save some extra money on packing materials.
- Avoiding scams – There are a lot of moving scams out there unfortunately. Moving yourself means you’re reducing your risk of falling into a scam since you’re removing the middlemen.
Of course, moving yourself also comes with its downsides:
- It’s physically demanding – Are you able to meet the physical demands of moving? Moving a few boxes might not be a big deal, but what about moving large pieces of furniture or heavy boxes? Many people injure themselves during a move because they’re using improper lifting techniques. All it takes is one bad lift and you can seriously injure yourself. Now consider you’re lifting multiple boxes in a short amount of time and it’s a recipe for disaster.
- You need to plan everything – The benefit of having control over your move, also means you have to plan everything. Unless you stay focused and organized, it can be all too easy to become overwhelmed.
- It takes a lot of time – Even if you have friends or family helping you with your DIY move, it will still take a few hours because you’ll want to make sure your fragile items are properly packed and loaded onto the truck. On top of that, you’ll then have to unload everything and arrange the boxes and furniture into the appropriate rooms in your new house. This can eat up a whole day!
When it comes to choosing your DIY, there are a few options to consider:
Use your own car/truck
On the surface this might seem like the cheapest option. If you’re only moving a few boxes and no furniture, this might be the best option for you. You don’t need to spend any money besides what you’ll spend on gas. This is a perfect option for a single person who is getting their first apartment/home. Plus, you can take as much time as you want loading/unloading your vehicle.
With that said, if you have a lot of furniture or boxes, driving your vehicle might not even be possible. Even with a large truck, you likely won’t be able to move everything for a family of 3 or 4 in one trip. Taking multiple trips means loading and unloading multiple times a day or over the span of a few days, which can be draining. Plus, you’ll need to pay more in gas and tolls, which can add up quickly!
Rent a truck
It isn’t until people need to pack and move that they realize just how much stuff they have accumulated over the years. While you can always declutter your belongings before the move, chances are you’ll probably need to move some large pieces of furniture, multiple boxes, and more. If you have kids, the number of stuff you need to bring with you multiplies. However, you’ll be able to move everything in a single trip. Renting will save you at least a couple hundred dollars if not more than hiring professional movers.
If you’re not used to driving large trucks, you might be more likely to make mistakes or cause accidents. Renting a truck also presents logistical challenges such as finding parking space or dealing with low clearance entries. You also will need to fill up the tank before returning the truck, which can cost quite a bit of money depending on how far you’re traveling.
Hire a moving container service
These services have grown in popularity over the years for the people who want the flexibility of a DIY move but don’t want to deal with the driving part. Typically, the company delivers a portable storage container to your home, where you then load it up. Once you’re done, they will then pick it up and deliver it to your new place. While the initial cost might seem higher than renting a truck, you have a few days for loading and unloading included in the base price whereas rental trucks charge by the day.
It’s a perfect option if you don’t want to rush your move. That is, if you have the space. Containers require a flat surface and a lot of clearance for placement. If you don’t have both, you’ll need to take your belongings to a nearby service center, which isn’t exactly convenient.
Hire Professional Movers
Many people think professional movers will cost a lot of money, but that’s not always the case! If you work with a reputable moving company, they will work with you to create a move that matches your needs and budget. Your costs will vary based on the type of move you need (local or long-distance), how much you need to move, and what other extra services you decide to add on. A simple local move might only cost a couple hundred dollars! Even if it ends up costing more than that, many people opt for professional movers because of the many benefits it offers such as:
- Less work – Even if you don’t spring for packing or unpacking services, hiring professional movers means they will handle the actual moving aspect from finding parking to loading their truck to driving everything to your destination. You won’t have to lift a finger on moving day!
- Higher efficiency – Unless you’re also a trained mover, you simply don’t have the experience or knowledge of an experienced moving company. They are incredibly efficient and know proper lifting and moving techniques to make your move faster. What might take you 4-5 hours a two-man crew can get done in 2 hours!
- Greater Knowledge – If you’re working with a professional moving company, the crew they bring on generally know a ton about the entire moving process. They will be aware of the best roads to take, any road closures, tricky parking situations, how to maneuver a large truck, the best way to stack your boxes, navigating narrow halls and sharp corners, and much more. They move almost every day so if you have any questions about the process, they will have the answer
- Insurance – Legitimate moving companies are required to have liability insurance, vehicle insurance, and workers compensation. So if an accident happens during the move that is the fault of the movers, they will pay for any damages and you won’t have to worry about a thing. Your belongings are also somewhat protected from damage during transit as all moving companies offer released value protection which will pay out $0.60 per pound per damaged item.
- Additional services – Many moving companies also offer additional services. Naturally, these cost more money, but you can pay for things like packing and unpacking, storage, and even packing supplies.
Of course, these aren’t any positives without negatives. The biggest downside of hiring professional movers is the cost. When compared to DIY moves it can be significantly more expensive depending on how complex your move is. Other downsides include:
- Less flexibility – You need to work around the mover’s schedule. If you have an emergency that prevents you from moving on the day you scheduled, you’ll be charged a late fee. You’ll also be limited to moving on days and times that work for the movers and not necessarily on your timeline.
- It’s impersonal – Movers might know how to handle boxes and furniture, but they don’t have an attachment to your belongings and might not handle your most prized possessions with the care you think they deserve. While trusted moving companies will do their best to take care of your items, at the end of the day you should handle any items that have sentimental or high monetary value personally.
- More scam risks – Most moving companies are honest and reliable, but there are some that are either unprofessional or straight up scams. While you hopefully won’t run into any issues, the rate of moving scams is around 1 scam for every 15,000 moves. You can avoid scams by researching the moving company thoroughly.
Choose the Option That Fits Your Needs
Ultimately, the decision rests on your needs and budget. If you are only moving a handful of boxes, then a DIY move might be a great option since you can just load them up in your car or van. You’ll save a lot of money and you’ll have a lot more flexibility when it comes to your moving date and time.
However, professional movers are a great option if you don’t mind spending a bit more money. While there’s less flexibility, there’s also less stress and work for you to do. And since you’re leaving the heavy lifting to the professionals, you also don’t have to worry about injuries! Before you make your decision, think about your circumstances and what is important to you. From there, you can decided whether a DIY or professionally-handled move is right for you.
Can I cancel or reschedule my move with professional movers?
Most moving companies allow cancellations or rescheduling two to three days before the move without incurring a cancellation fee. Anything after that you will have to pay. Ask about the company’s policy before hiring them.
What is included in the cost of a professional move?
You’ll want to ask the moving company, but many offer free wardrobe box rentals, standard loading/unloading, basic disassembly and reassembly, TV dismounting, and even packing things like glass coffee tables, lamps, etc.
The movers lost a box. What should I do?
If you noticed a lost box after the movers have already left, call up the main line directly and let headquarters know. They will search the truck for the box. If they can’t find it, you will be reimbursed for the released or full (if you paid) value protection price of the items in the box.