Professional Movers vs DIY Move

Weighing Your Options: Hiring Professional Movers vs DIY Moving

What’s covered in this article – click on a link to learn more:

Okay, so you are on the verge of moving. Whether it’s a cozy corner across the town or a new pad many miles away, there is a big decision dangling in front of you: “Should I hire movers or opt for a DIY moving approach?”

It might seem like just a choice between saving some bucks or saving some back muscles, but it’s more than that. Whether it’s moving yourself or hiring professional movers, both have their sets of advantages and challenges. You’ve got to chew over what fits snugly into your plans. So, grab a comfy seat and maybe a cup of coffee as we go over the basics of going pro versus going solo on the moving day.

Cost Considerations

When you are gearing up for a move, crunching the numbers is your first task. Calculating DIY moving expenses is more than just the truck rental fee. You’ve got to tally up the fuel costs and don’t forget those packing materials — they add up. If it’s a small move across town, grabbing a rental truck is a no-brainer and your wallet will thank you. But, if you are covering more miles, the gas and mileage costs can sneak up on you. A silver lining? If you are a college student or military personnel, some truck moving rental companies offer sweet discounts. Here’s an example of what you could expect to spend* with three DIY moving truck companies:

Budget (3-day rental)Penske (4-day rental)U-Haul (3-day rental)
1 Bedroom$296 (16 ft. truck)Starts at $850 (16 ft. truck)$426 (15 ft. truck)
2-3 Bedroom$348 (22 ft. truck)Starts at $920 (22 ft. truck)$511 (20 ft. truck)
4-5 Bedroom$763 (26 ft. truck)Starts at $950 (26 ft. truck)$639 (26 ft. truck)

*Figures calculated using a date during the off-season; in season moving rates may be more expensive. All three moving truck companies offer unlimited miles (which helps if you’re moving across the country) but fuel will be an additional expense. These figures do not include professional movers to load and unload. If you are interested in utilizing a service like Hire a Helper, you could expect to spend an average of $630 for two helpers to load for two hours and two helpers to unload for two hours.

Now, if you’ve got a coin to spare, hiring professional movers can take a chunk of stress off your plate. The costs vary since different moving companies offer various packages. Some will pack up your stuff, move it and unpack it, while others might just do the heavy lifting. And if you have a piano or an aquarium, that is going to be extra. When you hire a full-service mover, they will come to your home to examine what needs moved so that you have a more accurate estimate. Here’s a scenario of what you could expect to pay with three of the most popular full-service movers* going from Des Moines, Iowa (zip code 50309) to Chicago, IL (zip code 60605) during the off-season.  

Allied Van LinesAmerican Van LinesInternational Van Lines
2-3 bedroom house$5,777 – $6,349$5,395 – $6,050$6,780 – $7,234

*Full-service moving includes packing and unpacking as well as loading into the truck and unloading into the rooms of your choosing in your new home. If you have a smaller or larger home to move, the cost could go up or down based on the size of your home. Similarly, if you are moving across town in a local move vs. going across the country, you can expect to pay more or less depending on those factors.

Here’s a little heads up though. Hidden costs are like those sneaky calories in a restaurant meal. For instance, if you are moving cross-country with a full-service moving company, the delivery time can stretch out. This might bump up your bill, along with other delays or accidental damages that nobody wants. So, when you are jotting down your moving budget, having a little extra for “just in case” is a smart move.

Pro tip: Research moving companies, get estimates and make sure you get everything in writing to avoid moving scams.

Back to Top

Convenience and Time Savings

Kicking off a DIY move? Buckle up for a hearty time commitment. The clock starts ticking when you rent a mover truck, rolls on as you bubble-wrap your belongings and keeps going as you heave boxes, drive to your new spot and unload. Moving yourself entails a significant time commitment which unfolds in episodes of packing, loading, driving and unloading. It’s a mini project management stint, and your to-do list will probably feel endless.

Now, flip the coin and there is the professional movers’ way, the superheroes of relocating. With a knack for maneuvering couches down tight stairwells and a speed that comes from years on the job, they significantly cut the time spent on the moving process. Their efficiency shines through as they streamline every step, from packing your grandma’s china to navigating through narrow hallways.

And then there is the sweet spot. Maybe you’ve got a day job, a dog and a yoga class you can’t miss. Balancing convenience with your regular routine is where moving container services can offer an in between option. Unlike the ticking clock of truck rentals, these services offer a more relaxed timetable for loading and unloading, much like having a buffer in your moving schedule. They drop off a container, you fill it up on your own schedule and they whisk it away to your new place whenever you are ready. It’s a compromise that fits right in between the DIY sweat and professional movers, letting you juggle your moving saga with everyday life.

Back to Top

Expertise and Equipment

You know what’s a real brain-buster? Getting that fragile vase to its new home without any cracks or chips. Or trying to navigate that massive wardrobe down the tight spiral staircase, keeping it free from dings and scratches. Thankfully, professional movers come with muscle, experience and the right gear for the job: lifts, dollies and all sorts of tools for heavy or fragile items.

Now, let’s get real for a minute. Assessing your own packing and lifting abilities is crucial. You might be good with a tape gun, but what about moving that king-sized bed? If the thought of wrangling your couch through the front door sends a shiver down your spine, it’s a sign. Maybe leaving it to the professionals, who come with the right tools and knowledge, is a wise call.

Balance what you can do with what they can do, effortlessly and with a guarantee that your possessions will reach their new home in one piece. And who knows, saving yourself from a sore back or a broken heirloom might just be the best housewarming gift you give yourself.

Back to Top

Stress and Physical Strain

Let’s not sugarcoat it; moving can be a beast. The challenges of a DIY move extend beyond heavy lifting, and include the stress of logistical coordination. More than simply moving boxes, you are trying to fit your whole life into a truck, and that is a colossal task. Figuring what best goes where can truly churn your stress levels. The emotional and physical toll? It’s real and it’s hefty.

Each box lifted and every stair climbed with a load add a bead of sweat and a notch of strain. What you need is a team of moving ninjas, aka professional movers, who swoop in and tackle the heavy lifting, the packing puzzles and the loading logistics. Physical relief? Checked. But what’s more important, knowing that your belongings are in expert hands can be a balm to the moving day jitters.

You may think of prioritizing well-being during the moving process as being a luxury, but it is in fact a need. You get to start a new chapter on a positive note and having a team of professionals managing the heavy load lets you focus on the exciting change ahead with a lighter heart and a much lighter back.

Back to Top

Packing and Protection

Packing isn’t just tossing things into boxes. It’s more like a strategy game, especially when dealing with fragile heirlooms like your grandma’s vintage mirror. Professional movers bring their own bag of tricks to prevent damage during the move, particularly for large or unique items. Their packing is an art form in itself – wrapping, cushioning and securing to avoid any mishaps such as scratches, dents or breakages.

Then again, there is always a DIY moving path, but it may often feel like walking a tightrope. The biggest DIY packing risk is the lack of professional packing techniques which may result in damages. Ensuring items are properly secured without the pro tools and skills is a gamble. One wrong move and that vintage lamp could be history. It’s a bit of a shaky territory especially if you are a packing newbie.

Okay, let’s get into your breakables and precious stuff. Sure, you can swaddle your crystal in bubble wrap galore, but you also need to have packing smarts. You might think hiring pros is extravagant but for cherished or delicate items it’s money well spent. They’ve got the right gear and skills plus they give you peace of mind knowing that all your goods will make it to your new digs unscathed.

Back to Top

Liability and Insurance

Let’s face it, the open road isn’t always a friendly place, especially when you are behind the wheel of a rental truck packed with all your earthly possessions. In a DIY moving scenario, you assume all responsibility for damages and accidents. Driving a massive truck down unfamiliar roads? It’s not everyone’s cup of tea and the risks are real.

Now, let’s pivot to the pros. One comforting perk of hiring professional movers is the insurance blanket they bring along. They usually offer insurance options to protect your belongings and, while the specifics might vary, the essence is to cushion you from the financial sting of the unexpected. It’s about having a safety net for your stuff.

And then there is the peace of mind, the real gem in the moving chaos. Knowing that your belongings are under professional care and insured, it’s a load off, literally. This assurance, the reduced liability on your end, eases you into your new chapter without the nagging worry of “what if”. 

Back to Top

Customization and Flexibility

With DIY moving, you are in the driver’s seat. The process is yours to mold according to your preferences. You set the timetable, decide what gets packed and determine the loading order. The control is undeniable, although it demands a good chunk of your time and a well-thought-out plan.

On the flip side, professional movers bring a level of adaptability to the table. They can adjust to changing circumstances, albeit sometimes for an extra fee. A sudden change in weather or a rescheduled closing date? They have the protocols to handle these hiccups. Their experience equips them to manage unexpected situations with a level of ease.

The crux is finding a happy medium between having control and the flexibility to adapt when needed. Perhaps you take charge of the packing, while the professionals tackle the loading and unloading. This way, you shape the move to fit your needs, yet have a skilled team ready to handle the unforeseen.

Back to Top

DIY Moving Preparation

Going the DIY route for moving? Preparation is your new best friend, and a detailed moving timeline is crucial for the success of a DIY move. Craft a roadmap to navigate through the chaos that moving can often become and mark important dates, from when to start packing, to utility switchovers, to the big day itself. 

Let’s talk packing gear. You are going to need all shapes and sizes of boxes, a ton of packing materials and some handy tools. Check out local listings or swing by nearby stores for free or budget-friendly moving boxes. Saving cash here means more money in your pocket for other parts of your move. Unlike hiring pros who bring the needed supplies with them, when you go DIY-style, it’s on you to hunt down everything required — like tape and bubble wrap.

And don’t forget your personal moving army — rallying friends and family to help can be a game-changer. Sure, they might not have the expertise of professional movers, but what they lack in experience, they make up for in moral support and the personal touch. Just remember, you will likely be paying them in pizza and gratitude.

In the end, DIY moving is about rolling up your sleeves, getting a little grubby and tackling the logistics head-on. With meticulous planning, the right supplies and a little help from your close ones, it is entirely doable. And who knows, it might just come with a few laughs and memories amidst the hustle of relocating.

Back to Top

When To Choose Professional Movers

Complex or not, each move comes with its own set of hurdles. If you are looking at the map and your new place is states away, or if your family home is bustling with people and things, it might be time to call in the pros. Multiple items, a hefty amount of furniture and the intimidating mileage ahead? That is a lot on anyone’s plate. Professional movers have the knack for handling long distances and large households, making sure everything gets to the new spot, with no hitches.

Sometimes moves come with a tight deadline, maybe because of a new job or a lease that is ending. Time waits for no one, and certainly not for the countless unexpected hitches a DIY move can entail. This is where professional movers really earn their keep. They have the experience to get your move done on a tight schedule, which is a load off when you are racing against time. The clock ticks, but with a pro team at your helm, it ticks without giving you the jitters.

Lastly, if your friend list is coming up short or everyone is suddenly busy on your moving weekend, it’s a sign. A DIY move hinges largely on having a troop of helpers. No man is an island, especially when there is a house to pack up and move. Hiring professional movers bridges this gap effortlessly. They show up, get the job done and suddenly the move is not all on you. Sometimes rolling up your sleeves for a DIY adventure fits the bill, but in scenarios laden with complexities, time constraints or a lean support network, reaching out to professional movers is the wisest choice.

Back to Top

When To Opt For DIY Moving

Budget often dictates our choices, doesn’t it? Especially when it’s a tight one. If minimizing costs is the goal, DIY moving tends to wave back with a friendly price tag, especially for smaller moves. Renting a truck and getting a few hands on deck can indeed ease the financial tug, making a lot of sense when every penny counts.

Next, let’s eye your living area. If you are rocking a snug studio with just a dash of stuff, going DIY for the move makes even more sense. Minimal belongings shave off a good chunk of the moving hassle. Fewer items to pack and shift means less time, less effort and honestly, less of a headache. It’s pretty straightforward — less stuff, less fuss.

And here’s where the charm of locality plays in. If your new place is just a hop, skip and a jump away, DIY moving can be a pretty smooth ride. Short distances allow for easy back-and-forths without burning too much fuel or time. It’s almost like moving next door. You can take your time, make a few trips if needed and keep the costs low. This is a setting where DIY moving may be the better option because of its cost-effective and practical approach.

Back to Top

Moving Yourself vs Hiring Movers

So, we’ve walked through the ins and outs of getting professional movers on board or taking the DIY route. Each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Now, it’s your turn to put on the thinking cap. What sings to you — the hands-on hustle of a DIY move or the ease and expertise of professional movers? Is hiring movers worth it or are you better off moving yourself?

You’ve got the reins, so steer the way that sits right with your situation. Consider all your needs, tally up the costs and give a good squint at your schedule. Whatever path you pick, with a little bit of planning and insight, you are setting yourself up for a less frazzled moving day.

Back to Top

Categories DIY Move Moving Professional Movers