Should I Self Move vs. Hire a Mover?

Relocating to a new home can be an exciting yet daunting task for many individuals and families. One of the primary decisions that arises during this process is whether to self-move or hire a professional mover. Each option comes with its advantages and disadvantages, and considering the various factors will help ensure a smooth transition to the new living space.

Self-moving is often seen as a cost-effective alternative to hiring professionals, allowing individuals to take charge of the process and save money in the long run. However, this route may require extensive planning, physical labor, and a significant time investment. On the other hand, hiring a mover can alleviate most of the heavy lifting and logistical challenges, providing peace of mind and a seamless experience. However, this alternative may come with a higher cost, and one must also carefully evaluate potential moving companies for quality and trustworthiness.

The decision to self-move or hire a professional mover ultimately depends on factors such as budget constraints, time availability, distance of the move, and personal preference. It is crucial to weigh the pros and cons of both options, considering one’s own abilities and resources, in order to make a well-informed decision for a stress-free moving experience.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between moving yourself and hiring a professional mover, there are several factors to take into consideration. These include the distance of the move, the time you have available, your budget, and the size of your move. Let’s delve deeper into these factors.


The distance you are moving can greatly impact your decision. If you are moving locally or within a short distance, a self-move might be more feasible as you can handle multiple trips if necessary. However, when moving long distances or across states, hiring a professional mover may offer more security and convenience in transporting your belongings without multiple trips and reduced risk of damage during transit.


Consider the amount of time you have available for the move. If you have a flexible schedule and can allocate a considerable amount of time to the moving process, a self-move could be an option. On the other hand, if you have limited time available, hiring a moving company may save you time and effort as they handle the packing, loading, transportation, and unloading.


Your budget plays a significant role in the decision-making process. A self-move may initially seem cheaper as you only need to rent a truck and moving supplies. However, if you consider additional expenses such as fuel, packing materials, and potential damage to belongings, the cost can add up. Hiring a moving company may appear more expensive at first but includes a comprehensive service that encompasses all aspects of the move. Local moves typically cost between $550 and $2,200, while long-distance moves range from $2,000 to $7,500. Comparatively, renting a truck for a self-move costs around $120 to $200 for local moves and $1,500 to $2,300 for long-distance moves.

Moving Size

The size of your move also influences your decision. If you have a smaller move with fewer belongings, a self-move might be more manageable. On the other hand, if you have a large home with numerous items and heavy furniture, a professional moving company will have the necessary equipment and experienced personnel to handle your move more efficiently and securely.

Weigh the factors of distance, time, budget, and moving size when deciding between a self-move and hiring a professional mover. Consider your personal capabilities and preferences to ensure a smooth and successful moving experience.

Considering a DIY Move


A DIY move can offer several benefits to individuals who prefer to have more control over the moving process. Some of the primary advantages include:

  • Cost savings: By handling the move yourself, you can potentially save money on professional movers’ fees. Renting a moving truck usually costs around $120 to $200 for a local move or $1,500 to $2,300 for a long-distance move.
  • Flexibility: A DIY move allows you to decide your packing and moving schedule, as well as the pace of the process.
  • Control: By moving yourself, you have complete control over packing, loading, and unloading your belongings. This can help ensure that your items are handled with care and minimize the chances of damage during transit.
  • Gas: Since you are in charge of the moving truck, you can choose when and where to refuel, giving you the opportunity to find the most cost-effective gas options along your route.


While there are clear advantages to a DIY move, consider the potential drawbacks as well. Some of the main disadvantages include:

  • Physical effort: A self-move can be physically demanding, as you’ll need to load and unload heavy boxes and furniture on your own or with the help of friends and family.
  • Time-consuming: Moving yourself can be a time-consuming process, particularly if you are inexperienced or lack adequate help. It can take significantly longer to pack and move your belongings than it would with professional assistance.
  • Responsibility: Taking on a DIY move means you are responsible for every aspect of the move, from packing to navigating the truck to unloading at your new destination. This can be a stressful and challenging task for some people.
  • Risk of damage: Without professional experience, there may be a higher risk of damaging your belongings or even injuring yourself.

When weighing the pros and cons of a DIY move, assess personal factors such as time, physical capabilities, and willingness to take on responsibility. This will help you make a more informed decision about whether moving yourself or hiring professional movers is the best choice for your unique situation.

Hiring Professional Movers


Hiring a moving company to handle your relocation offers several advantages. With professional movers managing the process, you can expect:

  • Expertise: Movers have experience handling various items, including delicate and bulky pieces, ensuring their safe transport.
  • Efficiency: A professional team can pack, load, and unload your belongings more quickly than you might be able to do on your own.
  • Time savings: Outsourcing the move frees up your time to focus on other aspects of the relocation, such as changing your address or getting utilities set up.
  • Reduced physical strain: Professionals handle the heavy lifting, reducing the risk of injury or fatigue.
  • Reliable Transportation: Movers provide a truck suitable for your move, so you don’t have to worry about renting or driving a large vehicle.
  • Insurance: Most moving companies offer coverage options to protect your belongings during the move.

When selecting a moving company, to request an estimate and read reviews to ensure you are hiring a reputable and trustworthy service.


Although there are advantages to hiring professional movers, some drawbacks must be considered as well:

  • Cost: Hiring movers can be more expensive than doing the move yourself. Fees may include labor, truck rental, and additional services, such as packing or unpacking. On average, local moves can cost between $550 and $2,200, while long-distance moves range from $2,000 to $7,500.
  • Limited control: Working with a moving company means you’ll have less control over the packing, loading, and unloading process. The movers’ timetable may not perfectly align with your preferred schedule.
  • Risk of scams: Unfortunately, some disreputable companies may try to take advantage of customers with hidden fees or damaged belongings. Carefully vetting potential movers and reading reviews can help mitigate this risk.

Hiring professional movers has both benefits and drawbacks. Evaluating your specific situation, budget, and priorities will help you determine whether hiring a moving company is the right choice for you.

Cost Comparison

DIY Costs

When considering a self-move, there are various costs to consider. The primary cost stems from rental trucks required for transporting belongings. Prices for rental trucks typically range from $120 to $200 for local moves, while long-distance moves can cost between $1,500 to $2,300. Apart from rental trucks, other expenses related to a DIY move can include:

  • Packing materials (boxes, tape, bubble wrap, etc.)
  • Gas and tolls
  • Truck insurance
  • Vehicle and equipment rental (dollies, furniture pads, etc.)
  • Potential lodging during long-distance moves

Be mindful of these expenses to accurately estimate the total cost for a self-move.

Professional Movers Costs

On the other hand, hiring professional movers comes with its own set of expenses. While it may be more costly upfront, the convenience, expertise, and time-saving aspects can add value. Costs for professional moving services can vary greatly, based on factors like distance, size of the move, and additional services. Here are some elements that may affect the cost of hiring a mover:

  • Local vs. long-distance moves
  • Size and weight of possessions
  • Time of year (peak season rates may apply)
  • Extra services (packing, unpacking, disassembly, etc.)

Obtain quotes from multiple moving companies to find the most affordable option that suits individual needs.

Note: Some professional movers also offer insurance that covers belongings during transit. This insurance can be a significant factor in the decision-making process, as a self-move may not offer the same coverage and protection for personal possessions.

Packing and Unpacking

DIY Packing

When opting for a self-move, individuals can have total control over the packing process. This allows them to choose the boxes, packing supplies, and ensure that their belongings are packed safely and securely. DIY packing can often be more economical, as individuals can source their own materials and allocate their time according to their schedule. It also provides an opportunity to declutter and organize personal items before the move. However, self-packing requires good organizational skills, time, and patience to ensure items are packed effectively and without damage.

Hiring Packing Services

In contrast, hiring professional packing services offers the benefit of speed and efficiency. Professional packers have experience in disassembling and wrapping furniture, as well as properly packing delicate and valuable items. They can complete the packing process in a fraction of the time compared to a DIY process, which can be a lifesaver for individuals with a large home or limited time. Additionally, professional packing services typically provide insurance coverage for items packed, giving reassurance and peace of mind.

However, hiring packing services can be costly and may not be customizable to individual preferences and needs. Additionally, entrusting personal belongings to a third party carries the risk of damage or loss, despite the insurance coverage available.

Moving Options

Full-Service Moving Companies

Full-service moving companies offer a comprehensive solution for those who want to outsource their entire moving process. These companies provide services such as packing, loading, transportation, unloading, and unpacking. Their professional approach helps ensure the safety and proper handling of your belongings. Some advantages of hiring full-service movers include:

  • Efficiency: They have a team of experienced professionals who complete the task quickly and safely.
  • Convenience: Stress-free moving experience, as they handle everything from start to finish.
  • Safety: Proper handling of heavy or fragile items, reducing the risk of damage.

However, the cost of hiring full-service moving companies can be high, especially for long-distance moves or larger households.

Moving Containers

Moving containers, also known as portable storage units, are a flexible option for those who prefer a hybrid approach to moving. In this option, the moving company delivers a container to your home, and you pack and load it yourself. Once the container is filled, the company picks it up and transports it to your new location, and then you unload it. Some benefits of using moving containers are:

  • Flexibility: You can take your time packing and loading the container at your convenience.
  • Cost-effective: Generally cheaper than full-service movers, since you handle the packing and loading yourself.
  • Storage: The option to store your belongings in the container if your new home is not ready for move-in.

On the downside, you still have to handle the packing and loading process, which can be labor-intensive and time-consuming.

Truck Rentals

Renting a truck for a DIY move provides the most control and cost savings but demands the most effort. Truck rentals involve reserving a moving truck, packing all the belongings, loading the truck, driving it to the new location, and unloading it. Key aspects to consider with truck rentals are:

  • Cost savings: Renting a truck is usually the cheapest option, particularly for local moves.
  • Control: You have full control over the entire moving process, from packing to transportation.
  • Availability: Rental trucks are widely available, making it easy to schedule your move on your preferred timeline.

However, the DIY approach requires more time, effort, and physical labor, as well as facing the potential risks of driving an unfamiliar, large vehicle.

Insurance and Liability

DIY Move Insurance

When considering a self-move, review the costs and considerations related to insurance. While moving yourself can help you maintain control over the process and save on professional labor costs, it may entail additional expenses, such as insurance coverage for the rental truck and your belongings. For example:

  • Rental truck insurance: Check with the rental company to determine the types and extents of insurance they offer for the truck and its contents. Make sure appropriate coverage is in place for potential mishaps or damages.
  • Homeowners/renters insurance: Review your current homeowners or renters insurance policy to determine if it provides coverage for your belongings while in transit. Some policies cover contents during a move, while others may require additional coverage or endorsements.

Be sure to factor in these additional insurance costs when planning your DIY move budget.

Movers Insurance

Hiring professional movers may cost more upfront, but they typically offer greater protection for your belongings and help mitigate risks associated with the moving process. Movers are often required to provide insurance coverage, such as:

  • Basic liability coverage: Also known as “valuation,” this coverage is included by default at no extra charge and provides limited protection by reimbursing you based on the weight of the damaged item multiplied by a specific rate per pound.
  • Full-value protection: This comprehensive insurance option, usually offered at an additional cost, provides greater coverage for your belongings. Movers are responsible for repairing, replacing, or providing a cash value to settle a damaged item claim.

When engaging professional movers, ask them about the types of insurance coverage they provide and the charges for each option. Don’t hesitate to verify their claims by requesting documentation and confirming their insurance status with the provider. Incorporate these costs into your budget for a complete understanding of the expenses associated with hiring movers.

Making a Decision

When considering whether to self-move or hire a mover for your relocation, weigh the pros and cons of both options. Evaluating your specific situation and needs will help you make the best decision for your moving experience.

In a self-move, you have total control over every aspect of the process. This can be beneficial, as it allows you to be flexible with your timeline and handle the packing and transportation of your belongings firsthand. However, this option can also create more work for you, and costs associated with supply and rental truck fees can add up. Additionally, self-moves can often take longer, depending on your experience and availability.

On the other hand, hiring professional movers can relieve you of the heavy lifting and stress associated with relocating. Movers are experienced in handling various types and sizes of items, ensuring your belongings arrive at your new location in good condition. Though this option is often more expensive, it can save you time and effort in the long run.

You might also consider a combination of the two, utilizing professional services for specific aspects of your move, such as packing or transporting large items, while handling the rest yourself. This approach offers a customized solution to meet your unique relocation needs.

When making your decision, it’s crucial to consider the costs involved with each choice. For self-moves, truck rental and insurance prices should be factored into your budget, as well as the cost of moving supplies and equipment. For hiring movers, obtaining quotes from multiple companies can help you compare pricing and services, ensuring you receive the best value for your money.

Ultimately, deciding between self-moving and hiring movers depends on your personal preferences, budget, available time, and the complexity of your move. Keep in mind the benefits and drawbacks of each option while considering your specific relocation needs to make a confident, well-informed decision.

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