DIY vs. Professional: How to Decide Which is Best For Your Move

The age-old debate rages on, but which is the better option?

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Like sands through the hourglass of time, summer leases once again expire, and the pesky question of how to get from point A to point B enters our lives once more. Regardless if you are moving to a studio apartment or a two-story residence, deciding whether to hire a moving company or tackle the adventure on your own is no easy task. In addition to all of the other factors to worry about during a move, such as finding a realtor finding a house and even finding furniture, no one needs the added stress of an unnecessarily hectic moving day.

Of course, as with many projects, both DIY and professional moving come with their own unique lists of pros and cons. Here is an in-depth guide to everything you need to know about both options so you can be sure to move like a champ.

DIY Moving

Pros

Save that Cash - Most likely, the smaller price tag is a huge advantage, especially if you are on a budget. While moving truck expenses can add up a bit, the cost of hiring a moving company is often thousands of dollars more than you will pay on your own.

Do What You Want... - Nobody is thrilled with the idea of another person touching their things, even if those people are professionals. With a DIY move, you can be sure that you are in complete control of your belongings, from sentimental items to fragile electronics. Beyond that, you can control how you load into the truck and how much attention you give to each and every aspect of the packing. If you get anxious about your valuables easily, a DIY move could be worth the extra work.

...When You Want - Perhaps even more valuable than having control over how you move is having control over when you move. The timeline can be made completely on your schedule. If an unexpected event comes up that requires immediate attention, there are no qualms with last-minute changes. Of course, a DIY move still requires quite a bit of planning, but luckily that planning is 100% up to you.

Cons

Doin’ the Work - Somehow, every time you move, you are once again surprised at the amount of work that is involved. Before you decide to move on your own, make sure you really map out what will be required. For example, don’t just guess how much time it will take to pack all of your clothing—actually lay it out and organize! Also, everyone knows heavy lifting is a part of moving, but often a dresser or bookshelf is much heavier than it appears to be. Density? Who knows. Speaking of bookshelves—keep in mind that a box full of books quickly becomes VERY heavy. If you are an avid reader, don’t underestimate that crowded bookshelf.

Time is Money - As we already discussed above, DIY moving means everything is up to you. While some may consider that a “pro,” others will be overwhelmed by the concept. Keep in mind that all of the planning will be on your watch, meaning a good deal of time will need to be devoted to working everything out. This is time that could be spent on all of the other responsibilities that come with a big move. If an unexpected problem arises during the move, it is on you to solve it and keep the train moving.

DIY Doesn’t Mean Free - Although cheaper than a moving company, the DIY method still comes with its expenses. The main one is usually the rental truck, whether it be U-Haul or otherwise. Advertised at only $19.95 a day, U-Haul rentals usually cost much, much more than that, as the daily rate is only applicable to local moves. For a cross-country move, expect to pay upwards of $1,100 including gas, taxes and insurance. Depending on the distance and size of the move, this can still be significantly cheaper than hiring a moving company.

Professional Movers

Pros

Nice and Easy - By enlisting hired help, you can be sure to never lift a finger. Most people would consider this the biggest perk, especially if you don’t live near any acquaintances who could provide a helping hand. With the help of a reputable moving company, you will have all the time in the world to plan future home renovations, change your mailing address or just relax.

Getting It Done Right - While we all think we are expert movers, professional moving companies guarantee a certain level of efficiency. They will be there on time with the tools needed to get the job done as effectively as possible. For example, no wasted time struggling to, let’s say, fit a couch through the door in every angle before eventually deciding to cut off one of the legs (trust us, this situation is best avoided).

No Stressin’ - Any way to avoid driving a box truck across the country or maneuvering a heavy trailer behind your little car is helpful in reducing stress. Do your best at really imagining every aspect of the moving scenario—from the drive to the truck loading—and if it all seems too stressful, then maybe movers are for you!

Cons

Unpredictability - As previously stated, having strangers in charge of moving your whole life from one spot to another can be a little unnerving. While movers usually offer efficiency, it is important to remember that you are on their schedule. If the company doesn’t have any openings, it may take longer than you’d prefer to get the move started.

The Big Bucks - The pricey bill of a professional move comes from a variety of factors. While the movers themselves cost an average of $200 per hour, this doesn’t include insurance, gratuity and additional fees. Even if you are only moving down the street, the costs can certainly add up. Try to thoroughly read any paperwork that may come up to ensure that you are getting the most bang for your buck.

Trusting the Company - In order to feel confident in the people you hire, be sure to check out online reviews, ask neighbors for advice and get as much information as possible before signing up. No one wants to deal with moving scams and no one should have to. While most moving companies are totally reputable, this could be considered a “con” in that it gives you one more thing to worry about.

There you have it. All the pros and cons of DIY moving vs. professional moving. At the end of the day, it depends mostly on the type of move, your budget and the amount of work you are willing to take on. Good luck, movers!