You’ve made one life-changing decision after the next in the past months, but you’ve finally found your future home and are ready to begin making memories in it. The biggest question left to answer is: “Should I hire movers?” or “Is hiring movers worth it?”
The answer ultimately comes down to cost vs convenience.
Hiring full-service movers is the more expensive option, but it puts less stress on your mind and body. Moving yourself is the cheapest option, but it will take hard work, muscle, and time on your part.
Whether the best choice is to hire movers or do it yourself will depend on you and your needs, so the answer varies person by person (or family by family). You’ll want to consider factors like how much stuff you own, how far the move is, and whether you can lift a couch.
There is also option 3: hire a partial moving service to get help where you most need it based on what you can afford.
Let’s get into it.
Should I Move Myself?
Moving yourself requires renting a moving truck or trailer and moving your own belongings to your new house. U-Haul and Penske are two of the biggest moving truck rental companies in the United States.
DIY moving is unquestionably the cheapest way to move into your new home, but it’s not the right choice for everyone.
You will save money, but there are other considerations to make, like what your time is worth. Moving usually takes longer than you expect, and when you move yourself, you have to do every step:
- Plan logistics
- Buy packing materials
- Pack and label all your stuff
- Rent a truck
- Ask friends and family to help with heavy lifting
- Load everything into the truck (strategically)
- Drive the rental truck to your new home
- Unload everything
- Drop the rental truck off after filling up on gas
- Unpack all your stuff
- Toss or recycle used packing materials
You also want to consider and prepare for the stress of moving. Moving homes is one of the most stressful life events you can experience, and all the little bumps in the road (like where to park that giant moving truck to unload) don’t help.
Of course, you should take into account your physical capabilities and how much you have to move. Carrying furniture and boxes is tiring, and your body will be sore. It’s important to make sure you and the friends or family you get to help can safely lift your heaviest items. If your old or new home has stairs, that’s an extra challenge to consider.
Bonus Tip: Consider the weather at the time of your move. Loading and unloading a truck is much less appealing in 100-degree weather or when it’s snowing.
Should I Hire Movers?
There are a few service packages to choose from when you hire movers. The most common full-service option includes loading the truck, driving it, and unloading it for you. If you’re looking for more help, and it’s within your budget, some moving companies offer additional services like packing and unpacking. Mayflower is an example of such a company.
Hiring full-service movers is the most expensive option, and the price goes up with additional services. However, it’s significantly less stressful, saves time, and saves your body the workout.
Using professional movers also means professional handling: they know how to fit that giant weird-shaped piece of furniture through that tiny entryway door without damaging anything, so you don’t have to try it for an hour and throw out your back.
This table summarizes the pros and cons of hiring movers.
Bonus Tip: Get quotes from a few moving services to find the best deal, and always look at reviews to verify their credibility.
Is It Cheaper to Move Yourself or Hire Movers?
Moving yourself is cheaper than hiring movers, but by how much? There are still expenses that add up. Here’s what you can expect to pay for when you move yourself or hire movers.
Expenses When Moving Yourself
When moving yourself, you will have to set aside money for:
- Moving boxes in mixed sizes (how many depends on how much stuff you have)
- Packing paper or bubble wrap
- Packaging tape
- Rental moving equipment, like dollies and furniture pads
- Food to feed the friends who help you move
- A moving truck (plus gas and truck insurance)
How much does it cost to rent a moving truck?
The average cost of a moving truck varies widely based on the size of the vehicle you need. You can rent a pickup truck for the day for as little as $20 or spend up to $100 on a truck large enough to fit everything in a 4 bedroom home.
It’s important to note that these rates don’t include:
- Gas: You have to pay for the gas you use to move. Heavy trucks burn through gas fast.
- Insurance: It’s recommended to purchase the truck liability insurance offered through the rental company in case anything happens to the truck under your care.
- Mileage: Short-distance or hourly rentals often charge a small fee per mile, including the miles driven from and back to the rental facility.
Some truck rentals offer unlimited mileage, like Penske, but it raises their rates to $130 to $1,200 a day. This makes them a better option for long-distance moves.
The Average Cost of Movers
The cost to hire movers to load, drive, and unload your belongings depends on how much you own and how far away you’re moving. The average cost of movers for a short-distance move is between $800 and $2,150. For long-distance moves, the average ranges from $2,200 to $5,700.
These prices don’t include extra services like packing and unpacking or the cost of packing materials if you pack yourself.
The cost of liability insurance is also worth considering when deciding if it is worth it to hire movers. Professional movers are required to offer basic liability coverage of 60 cents per pound at no extra cost, but that won’t be enough to fix or replace expensive lightweight items, like a computer.
You can purchase better coverage from the moving company for better protection, but it will raise the total price.
Bonus Tip: Conduct a home inventory before packing. Doing so will help you ensure nothing gets lost in transit, and it’s good to have for your record keeping.
Meeting Halfway: Other Moving Services Available
Still unsure if movers are worth it? You can stick to the middle road with services that only transport your belongings or only help with the loading and unloading.
Moving Container Delivery Services
Moving container services like U-Pack drop off a container that you load yourself, and then they transport it for you to where you will unload it yourself.
This table summarizes the pros and cons of container services.
Truck Loading Assistance
Truck loading assistance companies like HireAHelper load and unload your belongings, so you only have to drive them to the destination. These services typically charge hourly per worker.
This table summarizes the pros and cons of container services.
Deciding If Movers Are Worth It
Whether movers are worth it for you will depend on your budget, time availability, and physical restrictions.
If money is the biggest stressor in your move, it’s entirely possible to move yourself with the right help and attitude. If you’re more concerned about the stress, physical exertion, or own multiple bedrooms of stuff, hiring movers will make your move exponentially easier.
Once you move in, continue to ensure the best care for your belongings by making sure they are covered under your new home insurance policy.