Manage Moving Expenses

Moving Yourself or Professional Movers?

Do you think hiring professionals will cost you more than moving yourself? Think again. Although it might seem like you have gotten a great deal on a rental truck, all the effort and sweat you put into the move and the gas money to keep the U-Haul's tank full may just make hiring the pros worthwhile. However, if you are still undecided, here are some things to consider.

Do it Yourself

Handling the move yourself comes with both pros and cons. On the pro side, you are in control of your move. You can choose to go in a single day or spread it over several days. You also handle all the boxes, so you can take special care of items that are fragile. If you are doing the moving, you can decrease stress and the cost of fuel by avoiding rush-hour traffic. A move can also turn into an opportunity to spend time with family or friends who might lend a hand to help you with the move (although it might cost you if you buy them pizza and beverages!).

There also some cons with a DIY move. The biggest by far is the amount of heavy lifting that you (and your family and friends) will have to do. Also, since you are transporting your fragile items, if they break during the move, there is no chance for you to get reimbursed for mishandled items.


You might find that you have less flexibility with moving dates and times if you choose to hire professional movers. There are also some unreputable movers out there, so you will need to do your due diligence and read reviews or get references.

Chances are the cost will be more to hire a professional mover too, but you are also getting peace of mind. Other benefits of hiring a professional include:

  • They're experienced and fast. Moving on your own can take up a lot of your time. Professionals know how to move people efficiently and quickly.
  • They have their own truck. The can evaluate how much stuff you have and bring the right sized truck for the job. If you are moving a significant distance, making the move in a single trip will make a big difference.
  • They bring tools. Professionals bring their hand tools, handcarts and other essential tools to make the move simpler.
  • They are careful. Experienced professionals know how to transport even fragile items without breaking them. Also, you might be able to insure your items and get reimbursed if something gets broken.

Shopping for Professional Movers

If you are considering hiring professional movers, be sure to get at least a few quotes from different moving companies. Although you may think you cannot negotiate with movers, it is possible especially during their off-season when they will lower their rates.

Before hiring a professional moving company, do a background check on them. Ask for references, look up reviews online or check the U.S. Department of Transportation's Safety and Fitness Electronic Records.

DIY Packing Tips

There are ways to cut down on your packing costs too.

Have a garage sale. Moving is the perfect time to go through your stuff and get rid of things you hardly ever use. Have a garage sale to sell items you no longer need and use the extra money to help cover your moving costs.

Don't pay for boxes. Of course, you need boxes to pack your things in, but you do not have to pay for them. Moving companies charge absurd amounts of money for boxes. Instead of buying them, there are ways you can get boxes for free such as:

  • Getting them from your workplace.
  • Asking a friend.
  • Getting them at stores.
  • Checking with your neighbors.

Start early on collecting boxes before your move to save you time. You will likely know months in advance that a new place to live is on the horizon. That is an excellent opportunity to get a jump on collecting the boxes you will need.

Use what you already have. Use plastic bins or suitcases to pack some of your things. Linens and sheets are great for wrapping items.

DIY Truck Rental and Storage

If you do decide on a DIY move, you are going to need a rental truck. Your rental should be big enough to accommodate all your belongings. Although you probably won't feel comfortable driving a large truck, renting a truck that's too small will cause you to take multiple trips and will cost a bundle in gas money. It will also be more time-consuming.

You may need to store some things as well. You can often find good deals on off-site storage services, such as getting your first month free. In some cases, there are storage unit companies who offer combo deals where you can also rent a van or truck along with your storage unit.

Whether you choose to hire a professional mover or do it yourself, the costs of moving are unavoidable. You can keep your moving costs down, but you just have to plan ahead, compare prices and think outside the box when packing.