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Hire a Mover or Move Yourself?

At risk of saying the obvious, moving is hard work. You have to pack up everything you own, lift it and move it — often over long distances — to another location and somehow manage not to break, lose or forget anything. Then there's the cleaning, sorting, organizing, and repopulating of the new space to think about. For these reasons and more, if you have the money, it makes a lot of sense to hire professionals to help you move.

But is it always worth the investment to pay a mover? Do you hire a moving company or move yourself? It can be a difficult decision, so take these points into consideration before you leap.

Pros of moving yourself:

  • Total control over your move: You get to call all the shots. When to move, how to move things, and anything else that needs to be decided - it’s your call to make. You don’t have to follow the guidelines or processes of a moving company - choose whatever you want to do or works best for you.
  • It’s cheaper: This way, you don’t have to pay professionals. What you need to keep in mind is that this doesn’t mean it’s near free - you still have a lot of things to pay for, such as the moving truck, packing materials, and the like. Those will cost you, but nowhere near as much as hiring professionals to do the move for you.
  • You can pack however you want: How do you want to pack up and arrange things? You get to do whatever you want to do this way, with complete freedom to choose the timing, the checklist to follow, and any other decisions you want to make. As we said before, it’s all under your control.
  • It’s as flexible as your lease is: When you’re in charge of moving, you can move any time that your expiring/new lease allows, and even make changes to things at the last minute. Moving companies aren’t likely to be as flexible.

Cons of moving yourself:

  • You have to do the heavy work: You literally need to do the heavy lifting this way. Okay, yes, you’ll probably get friends or family to help you, but you’re going to need to do a lot of heavy lifting yourself. This can result in injury or other health risks.
  • It takes lots of planning: Remember the freedom you have to do this however you want? You have to plan all of it and execute it yourself or manage other people you get to help you. However much work you might think it is to move, it’s going to be more, and you’re responsible for every bit of it. That’s the price you pay for control -- you have to do all the work, too.
  • You’re not as good as professionals: Your move is probably going to have problems that you wouldn’t have if you were hiring professionals. They do this for a living, while you do this every few years? Even accounting for all the extra work, it’s still going to be a lot more difficult than it would be with professionals.
  • It’s time-consuming: All that extra work means a lot of additional time you have to spend. This should be obvious, but it’s worth reiterating.
  • You have to drive the truck: Are you comfortable driving a 10 foot or longer moving truck? If you’re not, do you know someone who is? You’re going to have to find some way of driving a moving truck to get your stuff over to your new place. This also means you assume the liability of any damage to the truck, your stuff and the public at large.

Pros of hiring movers:

  • You don’t have to do the heavy work: This is probably the biggest advantage. The movers will do all the heavy lifting, and you’ll have to do very little of it.
  • They’re faster and more efficient than you are: They’re professionals, so they’ve done all the parts of a move many, many times. They’re going to be faster than you are and get things done with a lot less wasted time and effort.
  • You have less stress: You don’t have to plan and manage everything this way. It’s not zero stress, and you have to manage some things, but the movers will take care of most of the hard parts for you.
  • They have insurance for damages: If something gets lost or damaged, they’re insured to cover the loss, which you may or may not have when moving yourself.

Cons of hiring movers:

  • Movers cost a lot: This is the elephant in the room: movers are expensive. This alone is why many people never use professional movers; it’s often too expensive to consider. You already paid a lot to rent out the place, and now you're going to add the cost of movers on top of that? It's too much for many people.
  • Moving is less flexible: You’re going to be moving the way that the company typically handles things, on a date you tell them well in advance. How they want you to pack or inventory your belongings is the way you’re going to do it. This is probably worth the tradeoff, but it’s still a thing to keep in mind.
  • Movers have a large range of trustworthiness/skill: You want to make sure you get a good moving company before you sign anything. Check to make sure that they have a good history and positive reviews, not just basing your decision on who gives you the best quote.
  • You’re handing your stuff to strangers: Even if they’re trustworthy, you don’t know your movers. You have to hand everything you own to people you just met. For this reason, even if you hire movers that you really trust, you’ll want to keep some things with you the whole time you’re moving. This especially applies to valuable documents such as forms of ID and financial or legal documents, but could be anything you consider too valuable to hand to a stranger.

Choosing to hire a mover or move yourself doesn’t have an answer that fits everyone. Based on these pros and cons, however, it should be a lot simpler to determine whether or not one option fits you better than the other.

Categories: Renters

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About the Author
Zac Kandell Headshot

Zac Kandell is a freelance writer based in Atlanta. In addition to contributing to Rentals.com, Zac has previously written for Apartment Guide and AT&T. During his spare time, he enjoys reading comics and spending way too much time listening to podcasts.