Should You Hire a Professional Mover or Do It Yourself?

Six questions to ask yourself when planning your big move.

U.S. News & World Report

Should You Hire a Professional Mover or Do It Yourself?

Before you rule out a professional moving company, ask if you're willing and able to take on the task yourself.(Getty Images)

Moving can be one of the most stressful and hectic experiences when it comes to finding a new home. Making a big or little move can be emotionally and physically draining, so making the right choice on whether to hire a professional mover or do it yourself can be crucial.

Hiring a professional mover or moving company will take care of everything for you, but can also be expensive. On the other hand, moving can require heavy lifting, strategic packing and a lot of organization, from large furniture items to packing up every knick-knack and decoration.

Here is what to consider when planning your move.

What does your schedule look like? Do you have a lot of free time, or is your schedule jam-packed during the time of your move? If you do everything yourself – from shopping for packing supplies to the packing and unpacking – it will take a lot longer than a professional moving company, which will be skilled in moving everything in and out efficiently.

A professional moving company can be scheduled for a specific date and time, complete the work easier and faster, and are experts in the process from start to finish.

Do you have a budget? The cost of moving can get expensive, so you should determine if you need to stick to a strict budget, or if you have money to spare when it comes to getting your belongings from one place to another.

Moving yourself will require purchasing packing supplies and transportation costs, which can add up quick if you are traveling far or moving large items, whereas a professional mover will charge a lump sum based on time spent or weight of your things.

How big is your move? Packing up and moving a three-story house is very different from moving out of a one-bedroom apartment. If you have large, heavy items like refrigerators, couches, dressers and beds, you will need to think about how you will move each item on your own.

A professional will be able to get their hands dirty and do all of the heavy lifting with the proper equipment and transportation. For bigger and longer moves, consider hiring a professional to make the process easier.

How far are you moving? Hiring a professional for long-distance moves will make for a smooth transition to your new home. A moving company will transport all of your household items across the country, but make sure the company you hire is reliable, trustworthy and offers insurance to cover any potential damage during the move.

Relying on yourself and a few friends to move your items over a long distance may make for a great road trip, but it can be time-consuming and, depending on the amount of belongings you have, may require multiple trips.

Do you have the right moving equipment? If you don’t have packing supplies, such as boxes, tape, pads, plastic wrap, moving straps and a furniture dolly or hand truck, packing and moving on your own can be tough.

A good professional mover will be able to determine which equipment will be necessary for your move, and include the use of those materials in the overall price, not to mention using the equipment in a safe and efficient manner. If you have antiques or items that need to be handled with care, for example, a professional will ensure these items are packed properly.

Do you want to do the packing and moving? While this might seem like a simple question, really consider whether or not you will be able to handle all of the factors that go into moving. Do you want to pack up every item in your home? Do you have friends or family members that can help you carry that heavy couch down the stairs? More importantly, would those friends or relatives want to carry that couch down the stairs? If you’re hesitant on the idea of moving yourself, let a professional do the work for you.

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