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Should You Move Yourself or Hire Movers?

Our team understands firsthand that no one wants to take on the moving process without as much information as possible. We’ve created a comprehensive guide to help you decide if you should hire a professional moving company or if you should complete this daunting task with the help of a few friends.

    Best Full-Service Mover

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Best for Extended Storage

    4.6
    • Local, National, & International Moving
    • Extensive Add-On Service Options
    • Short-Term & Long-Term Storage

    Best Customer Service

    4.6
    • Personalized Approach To Moving
    • Licensed Carrier & Broker in All 50 US States
    • 24/7 Customer Care & Support

    Best for Military Moves

    4.5
    • FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
    • Long-Distance Moving Only
    • Packing & One Month Storage Included

    Most Competitive Pricing

    4.7
    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
    • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

    Benefits of Moving Yourself

    While working with a full-service moving company is traditionally the less stressful way to move, there are a number of benefits that you get to take advantage of when you move yourself. Some of the biggest reasons why homeowners choose to move without a moving company include the following.

    • Saves you money: Moving yourself will always be cheaper than hiring a professional moving company to move you. You don’t have to pay multiple workers an hourly wage for their services, and the biggest expense will be renting a moving vehicle and fueling up on the way to your new home. You can obtain free packing supplies from any big box store or supermarket that receives large shipments of product. They will be happy to provide you with their broken-down boxes because otherwise, they have to find a way to dispose of the boxes themselves.
    • You have control: When you move yourself, you have the opportunity to fully personalize your move. You can choose the vehicle you use. You can choose whether you use your vehicle to drag a trailer (if you don’t have very many belongings to move). You can decide whether you want to rent a moving truck or whether you simply want to use a container service with which to transport your items. You also have the option to drive your own vehicle in a convoy of vehicles driven by your friends and family, so that you don’t have to rent any sort of moving apparatus at all.

    Moving on your own also gives you complete control over your calendar. You have control over your schedule, whether you want to pack up in one day or if you want to take a week or two. You can make a long-distance trip all at once or you can make a road trip out of it. The choice is up to you.

    • No unexpected costs: If you hire movers, there is the chance that unexpected costs during the moving process may arise. For example, many movers will charge per extra mile and cost of fuel if there are route changes due to road work or inclement weather. Movers also charge insurance fees, which are mentioned in the quote, but these charges may be subject to change. If you move yourself and account for each step of the journey, you can avoid these little surprises. You can also make a moving fund ahead of time, like a small cushion you can dip into if something comes up (flat tire, change of schedule, etc.)
    • Packing decisions: Any way you wish to pack up your belongings, you can do it. If you have a certain way you want things done, if you are moving yourself, all the decisions are up to you. You can be as organized (or as disorganized) as you prefer.
    • No strangers involved: Moving companies can be impersonal. They are made up of professionals who are paid to do a job. This doesn’t mean that they will be or should be rude—it just means that you will be dealing with people in your life that you are unfamiliar with. If that is a problem for you, then DIY moving can save you the hassle of interacting with unpredictable individuals.

    Benefits of Hiring a Moving Company

    Moving with the help of a professional moving company is more expensive than moving on your own. However, working with the pros does come with plenty of benefits, including the following.

    • No heavy lifting: You will be saved from heavy lifting both literally and figuratively should you decide to hire a full-service moving company. Once you choose which one you wish to work with, then the planning process begins. The only thing you have to do is provide your ideal moving dates. The company will then handle each step of the process so you don’t have to. If you don’t have the proper experience or equipment, trying to move heavy items like furniture can be hazardous. When you work with a professional moving team, you don’t need to worry about sustaining some of the most common moving injuries.
    • Professional drivers: Drivers for moving companies operate enormous 18-wheelers and vehicles with lengthy trailers every single day. This is second nature to them, and they have been trained to do this. You may have never even sat behind the wheel of a commercial-grade vehicle, let alone driven one cross-country or found a place to park it. You can rest easy without the burden of driving your possessions in an unfamiliar vehicle through unfamiliar territory when you let the pros handle the driving for you.
    • Less stress: It is enough of a challenge to move to a whole new neighborhood, city, or even state, let alone having to figure out the logistics of how to get there all on your own. You can focus on your family, your new job, and settling into your new area if you hire a full-service mover to do the hard work for you. This can help you manage your stress in anticipation of beginning a new job or school as well.
    • Planned for you: As mentioned above, the only thing that moving companies need in order to begin your relocation process is the date of your move, your origin, and your destination. They then come to your house to check out how many rooms it has (and hence how much vehicle space they will need) and to pack everything up. The whole process from start to finish is taken care of by someone else who has been doing this same thing for years—you only have to answer questions every now and then.
    • Customizable: If you choose to hire professional movers, many offer moving plans that are as detailed or as simple as you want to get. Would you prefer that they pack up only the antiques and furniture? That can be arranged. Do you want to pack up everything yourself but have the movers load and drive? You have that choice as well.

    Who Should Hire Professional Movers?

    How do you know if hiring professional movers is right for you? If you fit into one or more of the following categories and if you’ve got the budget for it, hiring a moving company may make your move a less stressful experience than if you were to attempt it on your own. Even if you don’t fit into these categories, you may want to spend the money to hire a moving company just to make it easier on you.

    Anyone Who Needs to Move Quickly

    If your schedule is tight and you need to relocate as quickly as possible, hiring movers is the best way to go. Instead of trying to plan your move, pack everything up, load the vehicles, and travel all the way to your destination yourself only to unload and unpack everything once you get there, you can hire movers because they have entire teams that can pack up and load your whole dwelling in hours. The speed and efficiency with which they work will fit right into your tight schedule and have you in your new home as soon as you need to be.

    Those Moving with Older Family Members

    If you are a caretaker for an older relative, they will likely not be able to help you pack up and move objects to prepare them for moving. It can be worrisome simply taking care of your older family member’s everyday needs, so adding relocation into the mix could be a real stressor. Hiring a moving company will take any pressure that would be on you and your family off your shoulders so you can have peace of mind.

    Anyone Who Needs to Start a New Job

    It may happen that you need to start a new job at your destination point, in which case you would leave before the rest of your household. If this is the case, you can hire movers to plan your move and execute it without you so that you can take care of your job priorities. The movers can pack everything up and bring it to you so that you don’t need to worry about it.

    Those With Specialty Items

    If you have large and/or expensive items, such as a piano, a pool table, or antique furniture, you may feel more comfortable leaving the responsibility of relocating those items to movers. They have years of experience in packing these delicate items with the utmost care, and they know the best techniques to load them onto trucks and secure them for the journey. If you are concerned about damaging any of your specialty belongings, or any belongings, leave it to the movers.

    Those With Small Children

    If you have multiple small children, life can be unpredictable and stressful without planning or attempting a relocation. Families with small children also tend to have all kinds of supplies and toys for the kiddos, which means more small things to pack up. If you would like to have the worries of packing and moving removed, you can hire a moving company so that you can focus on your children—everything else can be handled by those with experience and know-how.

    Those Moving Long Distances

    You may feel more comfortable with professional drivers moving your possessions long distances than driving them yourself. Unless you have commercial vehicle driving experience (and insurance) or if you’ve moved yourself long-distance before, it’s possible that you won’t be prepared to drive a cumbersome transport vehicle hundreds (or possibly thousands) of miles. If you have a long-distance move ahead of you, you can feel more comfortable letting the moving company meet you at your destination with the truck.

    Who Should Move Themselves?

    There are several reasons why you might want to complete a DIY move rather than hiring a moving company. Most of the reasons depend on what you are comfortable with doing and what kind of attitude you have walking into this experience.

    Anyone Who Needs to Move Affordably

    As we’ve mentioned, a DIY move is always much more affordable than hiring a professional moving company. Gathering materials, packing, loading, driving, unloading, unpacking, and setting everything up will always be cheaper if you do it yourself rather than hiring a team. This doesn’t mean that you don’t need any sort of moving budget (a cushion of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars can really help in certain circumstances); it simply means that the cost is heavily reduced when you take your move into your own hands.

    Homeowners Moving Locally

    Local moves are usually considered moves that are a couple of hundred miles or less. If you’re not moving to a different state, consider a DIY move. The distance you have to drive limits your chances of something unpredictable happening on the road. You may not even need to rent a moving vehicle if you’re moving locally and you downsize beforehand—just a few carloads can do the trick.

    Anyone With Experience Driving Large Vehicles

    Maybe your job or training you’ve had has prepared you or a family member to drive large commercial-grade vehicles. In that case, you can be confident that you can drive a moving vehicle to wherever it needs to go. Renting a trailer or moving truck is always cheaper than hiring a driver to transport your stuff.

    Anyone With a Leisurely Schedule

    If you’re not in a rush to move and you have a considerably wide time frame before you need to start the planning/packing/going process, consider moving yourself. You can pack as quickly or as slowly as you want, and if you’ve got time, it’ll give you more opportunity to save up money for a moving cushion. You can work and drive on your own time, which many people find relaxing.

    Our Recommended Professional Moving Companies

    If you do decide that hiring a moving company is the right choice for you, you’ll need to take your time and ensure that you’re working with a reliable company. After all, the last thing that you need during a move is the stress of getting caught up in a moving scam. If you’re not sure where to begin your search for the best movers, consider a few of our favorite service providers below.

    International Van Lines

    International Van Lines (IVL) is one of the largest and most reputable moving companies in the industry. IVL has experience moving between all 50 states as well as more than 150 countries all around the world—no matter where you’re headed, IVL’s team can get you there quickly. If you are moving internationally, their team offers customizable port-to-door or door-to-port moving processes to help you balance convenience and cost.

    IVL’s customer service team is also responsive and proactive, having been recognized by major publications like Newsweek. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re moving long-distance for the first time and you’re worried about the logistics of the process. IVL also has a more generous cancellation policy when compared to many other moving companies, which can be helpful if your moving plans may change.

    Best Full-Service Mover

    4.8
    • Local, Long-Distance, & Int'l Moving Services
    • Licensed Moving Carrier & Broker Nationwide
    • Live Chat & 24/7 Customer Service

    Safeway Moving Systems

    Safeway Moving Systems is a moving broker that can help arrange a more affordable moving team on your behalf. After connecting with a Safeway representative and telling them about your moving needs, Safeway will arrange a partner moving team to assist you on your behalf. This is a win-win for both you and the moving company—you enjoy discounted moving rates, while the moving company gets to maximize its profits by booking more jobs.

    Safeway uses a strict filtering process when it chooses which moving companies to pair its customers with. Safeway is so confident in their partners that they guarantee each move booked through their company. This can make Safeway a strong option for anyone who wants or needs a moving team but who also needs to control their costs.

    Best for Military Moves

    4.5
    • FMCSA-Licensed Broker Nationwide
    • Long-Distance Moving Only
    • Packing & One Month Storage Included

    U-Pack

    A moving container service like U-Pack can be an ideal combination of affordability and convenience. With U-Pack, professional drivers will deliver a moving container to your home, where you’ll load it with your things. U-Pack will then take care of transportation, moving your container to your new property. After transportation is complete, you’ll unload your container and U-Pack will remove it when you’re finished.

    U-Pack is one of the most well-known moving container services in the country, providing long-distance moving services in all states. You can get an instant quote online for most moves through U-Pack, which can help make the scheduling process easier. U-Pack also provides you with up to three days to load and unload, which helps you enjoy a more leisurely moving process.

    Most Competitive Pricing

    4.7
    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
    • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

    Booking a Moving Company on a Budget

    Most homeowners choose to do their own move without assistance because they want to save money. While this might be the right choice for some, know that hiring a moving company doesn’t necessarily have to break the bank. We recommend getting a quote from each of our recommended moving companies before you finalize your moving plans. Getting at least three quotes helps you get a better idea of what you can expect to pay for your move—and ensures that you make the best financial decision for your unique situation.

    Moving FAQ

    Is it better to get movers or move yourself?

    It depends on your circumstances. It’s certainly cheaper to move yourself. But it’s much less pressure to hire people to move you, especially if you get stressed easily or if you have a tight schedule.

    What are the advantages of moving yourself vs hiring a professional mover?

    Some advantages of moving yourself are that you can pack and move at your own pace, strangers aren’t involved in your moving process, and you save money because you’re not paying for labor or expertise.

    Advantages of hiring professional movers are that you can be as hands-on or as hands-off during the process as you would like and you don’t have to come up with any logistics. Moving professionals have years and years of experience that you likely don’t have, as well as experience operating Class C vehicles.

    Why do movers charge so much?

    Movers have a business to run and employees to pay. Not only do the laborers who pack and move your things need a wage; moving companies have customer service representatives, administrators, and drivers that need salaries as well. Drivers need to pay for licensing, insurance, and fuel costs, as well as maintenance on their vehicles. It takes money to run a business, and you’re also paying for the movers’ expertise, efficiency, and reputation.

    How do I keep moving expenses down?

    There are a few things you can do to keep costs low before you even start to pack. Have a yard sale to sell things you don’t need or use anymore. You can donate the rest of the stuff you don’t want to transport to your new place. You can also get packing supplies from schools, offices, breweries, and grocery stores for free.