Before moving day arrives, consider these key questions when debating between moving yourself or hiring professional movers.
Moving can be expensive, especially when you add up all the little costs — think packing materials, van rentals, and gas if you’re moving far away. The biggest expense that many people want to avoid is the cost of hiring professional movers, but the expense might be worth it for some, depending on your situation. Before you start a DIY move, ask yourself these questions.
What’s the most precious thing I own?
If your most prized possessions are your laptop and a ring you have never take off, then a DIY move is fairly low-risk.
However, if you have heirloom furniture, fine china or large and fragile electronics, professional movers may be worth the investment. If something breaks, a moving company is insured and can help you finance a replacement item. If something breaks during a DIY move, there’s not much you can do.
How hard is it to pack for my move?
In a DIY move, you and your volunteers should be able to pack clothes, books and most household items without much difficulty. On the other hand, large furniture like couches, heavy dressers and tables that need to be taken apart or maneuvered through doorways and stairwells are best left to the professionals. The last thing you want is to find yourself at your new home, exhausted and trying to figure out how to put your bed frame back together.
How far am I going?
Professional moving services charge by the pound and the mile, so you’ll save more by hauling your own belongings for a long move — but you’ll still have to pay for truck rental and gas. If you’re moving within the same town, you can save by hiring movers for your furniture and large items only, then transporting smaller items through multiple trips in your own car.
What’s my time worth?
When you hire movers, you’re saving yourself a lot of time and stress you’d otherwise spend on tedious moving tasks. If moving your own belongings means taking time off from work, hiring a babysitter, boarding your pets or buying special equipment, take those costs into account. Everyone is different — if your values dictate that those costs aren’t worth it, a DIY move may suit you better.
What’s my budget for my move?
Get quotes from movers online or in person. For a local move, look for a licensed and insured mover with lots of positive reviews. For a longer move, request estimates from a few of the major interstate moving companies. A professional mover will come to your house and estimate the weight of your belongings, but you can also get a rough estimate online based on the size of your house and a general description of your furniture and appliances.
What’s worth the trip?
Moving is a great time to downsize. Some things can’t be moved for safety reasons, so be prepared to let go of things like propane tanks and harsh cleaning supplies. Getting rid of large items you don’t use is a great way to cut costs on a professional moving crew.
You can donate qualifying items to charity and keep the receipts for a possible tax deduction. Consider selling bulky appliances like refrigerators and washing machines to your home’s new owners if you were planning to replace them in your new space anyway.
How flexible is my timeline for my movers?
Hiring professional movers is the busiest — and most expensive — during the summer and at the end of each month. If you can schedule your move at an off-peak time, you may be able to negotiate a better rate.
Are my friends and family willing to help me?
Not everyone is up for helping their friends and family move, but if you’re able to find a small team to give you a hand, it can save you a lot of money. Make sure to be gracious and return the favor when the time comes.
Learn more about other costs that could come along with homeownership.