Moving Yourself vs. Hiring Movers: Which Is the Best Choice for You?

CitizenShipper CitizenShipper · Updated January 16, 2024

Moving Made Easy!

  • Fast and easy
  • Only pay when you book
Two men in overalls inspecting a living room with a clipboard.

When moving, the most common dilemma you will have is how much you can afford to put into your moving budget. Deciding on a budget will also go hand in hand with how much work you want to do yourself, since the more you do yourself – the less you will pay for moving companies or services. Being strong enough to move heavy furniture with a couple of friends is always an advantage, but moving does not come down only to lifting heavyweights. It can be much more complex than that. Packing, storage, parking tickets, insurance, all of this can make a move more complicated and costly. Here are some points to consider before deciding whether to move yourself or hire a moving company. Both of the choices have their own advantages and disadvantages.

Moving Yourself

Pros

  1. You’ll save money  Of course, the most obvious advantage of moving yourself will come from the fact that you will save money. If you have your own vehicle and the helping hand of a couple of friends, all you need is some spare time to organize your packing, loading, and unloading. If you do not have a vehicle, you can rent a truck for around 60-100 USD per day. The price will depend on the city you live in, and the size of the truck you are renting (+around 1 USD per mile you spend driving the truck). Still, even with the price of renting a truck, moving yourself will be much cheaper than hiring a professional moving company.
  2. You have control over your move — apart from getting to choose the truck for the move, you also get more control over the stuff you are moving, making sure that your most valuable possessions are packed with care and carried cautiously. Moving yourself also means that you can be more in charge of the moving date. During the peak moving season, it is more difficult to hire a reputable moving company, and the prices for the moving can be up to 30% higher. During the unloading of the truck, you can also make sure that the boxes end up in the correct rooms, and not in the random ones where the movers leave them.
  3. Pack in your own style — when hiring the movers, they usually expect you to have all of your boxes perfectly sealed and ready to load into the moving truck. However, if you decide to move yourself, you do not have to be so preoccupied with perfectly packed boxes, you may simply use bags for the items that can’t break and can be just thrown into the truck, such as blankets or winter jackets.

Cons

  1. Heavy lifting — As someone who has painful back issues myself, heavy lifting can come across as irritating, to say the least, and sometimes as plain agonizing. Of course, you may rely on the help of your friends and family, given that they have the time and possibility to help you out. Nevertheless, having stairs to climb with heavy items may present another challenge, and demand more agility.
  2. Planning — It may take longer than expected to move yourself, as this kind of move demands a lot of planning. When moving yourself, you need to think in advance about the proper way to arrange the items when you are loading them into the truck. Additionally, you will have to figure out which is the best route to take to your new place, avoiding possible traffic jams or smaller streets that you can not properly maneuver the moving vehicle through.
  3. Unexpected problems  You may end up thinking that it must have been magic that helped get your huge closet through your doorway on its way in. Figuring out how to get large items of furniture out of your house may end up taking hours. Even worse, you may find some items practically impossible to move yourself. Also, sometimes your friends may have different ideas of how the moving should be done, which can add to the stress and the time needed for the move to be done.

Hiring Movers

Pros

  1. No heavy lifting – this is the exact reason the professional movers are hired.  You don’t need to worry about hurting your back, nor that flight of stairs, and not even about scratching the walls while carrying furniture. You may just relax and let the professionals do their job.
  2. Efficiency – with a simple online search, you may find reviews of sites that offer reliable movers, and decide which one to choose. Unlike your friends that may stand you up at the last minute, professional movers are under contract to provide you with the agreed service. They are trained and experienced in moving large objects and have a trick or two up their sleeves about getting that closet through that doorway without hours of contemplating. This will also save you a lot of time that unexpected problems would otherwise consume.
  3. Less nerve-rackingManeuvering a hired truck can be stressful, especially if you don’t have that much experience with driving one. Loading a truck can also be trying if you don’t spend a lot of time thinking through the order in which the boxes should go into the truck so that space is used in the most systematic way.

Cons

  1. Inflexibility – Hiring a professional mover can limit your control over the move. Once you arrange for the date and time of the move, there is not much you can alternate regarding your move.
  2. Costly – Renting a professional moving company may cost you quite hefty. The average cost of moving a local household is $2,300 for 4 movers at $200 per hour. However, this price can vary, and be much higher depending on different aspects, such as moving season. During a peak moving season (that is starting mid-spring all through the summer months), the price can go up to 30% more than average.
  3. Impersonal – Having strangers handle your property can be stressful. It is for that reason that checking online reviews of moving companies is an important step before deciding on one. Furthermore, you can ask a moving company to make an in-house inspection before giving you a quote.

 A Final Word

As you can see there are plenty of advantages and disadvantages to both options. Before deciding think through your move with family or friends who can help you make the best choice.