Should I Move Myself or Hire a Mover?
If you’re planning to move, you might be weighing the pros and cons of moving yourself versus hiring a moving company. While cost is one consideration, your decision will likely depend on a number of factors, including how far you’re moving, how flexible you can be with your schedule, and how much of the moving you’re comfortable doing on your own.
For a simple cross-town move, inviting a few friends to help load and unload a rental truck could be a less pricey and more convenient alternative to hiring a moving company. Moving an entire two-story household over a long distance might go more smoothly with a team of professionals experienced in properly loading a truck and in navigating tight staircases with heavy furniture.
- What will it cost? While it can be a less expensive option than hiring professionals, consider all of the costs before you decide to move yourself. For example, if you need to rent a truck, what size will you need to fit everything you own? How much is insurance for the truck and your belongings? What will fuel costs be for the move?
- How long will it take? Moving yourself provides some flexibility – no moving company is showing up at a certain time expecting all of the boxes to be labeled and ready to go. But it can also take longer, especially if you are unfamiliar with packing boxes and loading a truck or if your plan involves making several trips for a local move. Consider the value of your time and whether you will have enough time to complete the move on your own.
- Who will help? Do you have friends nearby who are ready to help? Factor in planning for meals for them during the move and perhaps a thank you gift afterwards to show your appreciation for their time.
Hiring a Moving Company
- How do you choose a company? It’s important to choose a reputable company. Check with the Better Business Bureau and online for reviews and complaints, and ask friends and family for several recommendations. When you’ve narrowed down the list to three or four companies, request an estimate for their services.
- What’s included? Know what is included in that estimate. Most companies will charge by weight of your belongings, give you an estimate and offer you a refund if moving your belongings ends up costing less than anticipated. Ask about other potential charges, such as insurance and whether it might be necessary to pay for a smaller truck if a larger one can’t fit down your street. Remember that while a gratuity is not included in the estimate, it is standard to tip movers.
- Need more help? Many moving companies offer full-service options, where they pack up your belongings, move them and then unpack them in the new location. While this option adds cost to the move, it will likely save you time and much of the stress involved with packing and moving. If you decide to hire movers to help either load or unload the truck at either end of your move, get estimates from several reliable moving companies.
- When will your things arrive? It can take a few weeks for your belongings to be delivered by a moving company, which can add stress to an already unfamiliar situation.
Protecting Your Stuff
No matter whether you move yourself, hire movers or do a mix of both, make sure your belongings are covered by insurance. Your homeowners or renters insurance policy provides coverage for your personal property but may be subject to limitations and exclusions while being moved. Moving companies may provide insurance but the contract must be reviewed carefully to ensure coverage is sufficient for your needs.
Talk to your insurance professional to find out what specific coverage your policy provides when moving from one home to another.
More Tools & Resources
Read these five questions to ask a moving company to help make sure they're the best fit.