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Move yourself or hire movers: Here’s how to decide

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Ross Sapir

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Upending yourself and moving to the other side of the country can be stressful. The same kind of applies, even if you’re only moving to the other side of New York City. From the day you start looking for your new place to the day you start unpacking, the process is full of challenging decisions.

A recent survey conducted by OnePoll found that 45% of respondents considered moving to be the most stressful event in their life, topping getting married, having children, and going through a divorce.   

One key decision you have to make is whether to move yourself or hire movers. On the surface, it appears to be an easy decision. However, look a little closer, and there are lots of factors to consider.

Let’s put the pros and cons into a table so you can quickly compare each option. Then, in this post, we’ll expand on these and look at each one in more detail. Being able to compare hiring a moving company vs. do it yourself will help you come to the right decision. You’ll also answer another question: Is hiring movers worth it?

Moving Yourself vs. Hiring Movers: Is Hiring a Mover in NYC Worth It?
Moving optionsProsCons
Move yourself– Control over all aspects of your move
– Costs less
– It’s done according to your timeframe
– Much more work
– Costs can add up quickly
– It’ll take much longer than you expect
– Storing items means a double move
– DIY moving can be distracting
– DIY moving can be logistically challenging
Hire movers– Movers are experienced
– Movers have all the right tools, supplies, equipment, and expertise
– Far less work than moving yourself
– The movers do all the heavy lifting
– All your belongings are insured
– Movers often offer storage services
– You move according to the mover’s timeline
– Less control over how the move goes
– More costly than moving yourself (but not always)

For some people, the best method for moving is an obvious choice, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore other options before committing. That way, you won’t feel overwhelmed or regret your choice later.

Let’s first explore some of the factors you should consider when deciding whether do it yourself moving or hiring movers is the right option for you.

Factors to take into account

Here are some of the things you should consider when asking yourself, “Should I hire movers or do it myself? 

Timeframe

Not everyone has all the time in the world to organize and then move all their belongings. When you’re relocating, you’re often on a deadline. 

For example, relocating for a job means you might not have the time to pack, transport, and unpack all your belongings because you’ve still got to work. 

If you’re moving as a family, stretching out the process can make it more stressful for everyone involved, and do you want to spend several days on the road?

However, if your schedule is entirely flexible, and you’re more than physically capable of packing/unpacking, loading, and unloading your belongings, moving on your own might be easier.    

Amount of stuff

If your home has been in one location for several years, the number of items you’re going to have to pack can be very intimidating. You’ve got a houseful of furniture and decades of belongings that all need to be boxed up, labeled, loaded, and then unloaded and unpacked at the other end.

Choose professional movers, and they’ll do it all for you. Leave the experts to pack and/or load and then unload and unpack at the other end, and you’re free to concentrate your attention on other things.

However, if you’re planning or indeed looking forward to decluttering before you move, a DIY move could be an option. 

Cost

Moving by yourself can seem like a cheaper option until you look at all the costs involved. When deciding whether to move without professional movers, consider the following costs:

  • Truck rental: You’re likely going to need to rent a moving truck. Prices depend on the size of the truck and the distance you’re moving. A small truck for an in-town move will be cheaper than a large truck for a cross-country move.
  • Insurance: Remember to include the cost of truck rental insurance when you get your estimates. 
  • Gas: Gas is something you’ll need to include whether you’re taking your own vehicle or renting a moving truck. Remember to include the cost of fuel when working out your moving budget. 
  • Moving helpers: If friends and family are going to help on the day of the move, you’ll need to provide food and drinks. You might also want to consider giving them a small thank-you gift after the move. Alternatively, you might need extra help in the form of an independent moving help company. You often find this type of business advertised in local classified ads or websites. 
  • Accommodation and food: If you’re going to be on the road for several days, don’t forget to factor in the cost of hotels or motels along the way and food to keep you going. 

It’s also important to remember that there’s more than just the financial cost of moving to consider, such as the amount of time and physical effort you’ll have to put into your move. 

Moving costs vary considerably, based on where you are relocating. Local or intrastate moves are much cheaper than long-distance moves. Here are a few average costs of typical move-types:

Long Distance Move

  • Moving Company: $5,000 to $8,000
  • DIY Move: $4,000 to $7,000
Moving Yourself vs. Hiring Movers

Local Move

  • Moving Company: $1,100 to $2500
  • DIY Move: $1,300 to $1600
local moving

Moving Supplies

Moving supplies are a necessary expense that will add to the total cost of your move. The average cost of moving supplies for a one-bedroom apartment in NYC is $80. A two-bedroom apartment will cost you more than double that, $188; and a four-bedroom apartment will cost an average of $357. There are also additional costs such as the cost of a dolly rental ($8) and moving pads to prevent furniture damage ($60). A professional NYC moving company will include these costs in their estimate

Hire a Mover vs. Moving Yourself

Distance

How far you need to travel between your old and new home is another critical factor. If you’re moving within the same building or just down the street it might be easier if you do it with the help of just a few friends.

For longer distances, such as New York City to Philadephia, Washington, Nashville, or Las Vegas, hiring one of the best moving companies, such as Roadway Moving, means you’ll be able to arrive at your own pace and handle any additional details makes a lot more sense. Roadway Moving prices are also very reasonable.        

Value of your belongings

If your belongings include fragile, valuable, or antique items, it might be worth paying for a white glove service, such as the one offered by Roadway Moving. 

Only a professional moving company will have access to the best possible equipment and materials for keeping such items safe. They will also have the knowledge and experience to pack any delicate items safely and securely. 

It’s unlikely to happen, but should anything get damaged during the move, professional movers will have insurance that can help mitigate the cost.  

Stress

Moving is a very emotionally trying time, but you can offload some of the stress by hiring professional NYC movers. You’ll be able to delegate the more physically challenging and relatively simple tasks such as packing, unpacking, and transporting. 

When someone else is doing these tasks, it leaves you to focus your attention and energy on the many other tasks involved with moving. At the very least, it provides an opportunity for some much-needed downtime. 

Manpower

Movers have highly-trained teams that can execute a move very efficiently but at the same time carefully.

Let’s not forget that movers also have a truck for every size of household. Plus, the moving teams have plenty of truck loading expertise and know-how to fit a wide range of items efficiently and securely in place. 

Compare all this with doing it yourself. The process could drag on for weeks, whereas pro-movers typically have your belongings boxed in a few hours. 

Experience

If this is your first move, you won’t know what to expect. Compare that with a team of movers who’ve been moving families for decades. With many years of experience under their belts, they’re bound to be quicker, more efficient, and a lot more careful with each of the items. You get all this and more with an affordable Roadway Moving price.  

Seasonality

If you can choose the time of year when you move, it’s essential to understand how the cost of moving is affected throughout the year.

There are two main factors regarding the time of your move that can affect the Roadway Moving cost and how smoothly it goes. These two factors are the season and the day of the week. 

You may have already realized you can save money according to the season. But you might not have appreciated that the day of the week can also affect the cost and ease of your move. 

Moving Yourself

One of the main reasons people even consider renting a moving truck, packing, and then driving themselves is to save money. 

Moving yourself is definitely a cheaper alternative to hiring a full-service mover, but you’re not going to save as much as you think. Plus, there are many other contributing factors and Roadway Movers cost less than you might think. 

Pros

Total control over your move

One of the most significant advantages of a DIY move is that you’re in complete control of the entire moving process. You get to choose the truck, your moving supplies and handle all the boxes yourself to ensure nothing inside breaks in the process. There’s also the flexibility to decide when to start and when to end your move. 

If the weather is bad, it’s down to you to determine how best to protect your belongings. You’re also in control of loading and unloading the truck, so you don’t have to worry about the movers dumping items in the wrong rooms.  

Save money

Another reason that people choose a DIY move is to save money. It doesn’t matter how far you’re moving, the expenses you incur from hiring a moving company can quickly add up and could exceed your expectations.

Is it cheaper to rent a U-haul or hire movers? When it comes to cost, hiring movers vs. uHaul works out to be more expensive. For example, U-haul’s largest moving truck option holds the contents of a four-bedroom house and can cost as little as $40 to rent. Of course, hiring movers would cost more than that, but the price isn’t the only factor to consider.  

Pack however you want

With self-move hire, you don’t have to stress about perfectly packing all your belongings. A mover will want all your boxes to be sealed and ready to go when they arrive. Move yourself, and all those off-shaped items might not need to be boxed. Lamps, plants, blankets, and pillows might not need to be boxed either. 

You’ve got much more freedom in how things are packed and how much you pack because, for you, the most important thing is getting it all in the truck and ready to go on moving day.  

Cons

Lots of heavy lifting

One of the most significant downsides of a DIY move is that you’ve got to move everything yourself unless you’ve got some beefy mates who can help. Even if you’ve got some friends to help, there’s still a lot of heavy boxes and chunky pieces of furniture to lift. 

If you’ve got to negotiate stairs, it’s not going to be a walk in the park, that’s for sure. If you’re inexperienced movers, you might also find yourselves scratching walls, marking furniture, even breaking the odd item or two. 

When your home is a small one-bedroom apartment, you could move without the help of a professional. However, anything bigger could end up breaking your back.

Planning

When you’re coordinating an entire move yourself, you’ll need to do a lot of planning. There’s the logistics of getting your stuff from point A to point B, planning the best way to load your rental truck properly, and how to arrange your stuff once it’s inside the truck.

Slower

Professional movers have been working in the industry for many years and may have helped hundreds of people move. This means they’re good at lifting, minimizing damage, and negotiating narrow spaces quickly and safely. They’ll also be experts at organizing and arranging items in the moving truck. 

You, on the other hand, might take a little more time getting everything right. 

Unexpected problems arise

You’re more likely to encounter unexpected issues when you move yourself. For example, professional movers could have avoided getting a bed frame stuck in the door, or a couch stuck on the stairs. 

Potential safety concerns

When you’ve got nobody to help you move some of the heavier items such as chairs, desks, dressers, bed frames, and kitchen appliances, you could injure yourself seriously. If you call people in to help, you’ve then got the worry of coming into close contact with them and increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

Professional movers are far more likely to follow risk minimization procedures that might be overlooked or ignored by family and friends. 

Costs associated with moving yourself

Most people choose to rent a moving truck and move themselves because they want to save money. While we can’t deny it’s a cheaper alternative, you probably won’t save as much as you think.

Here is the typical cost of hiring a moving company vs. renting a truck and moving yourself:

Moving company

  • Two movers and a truck in NYC will cost $145 per hour, plus the mover’s tip.

Moving Yourself

  • A 14-foot truck rental (1 or 2-bedroom apartment in NYC) costs $190 per day
  • A 24-foot truck rental (4 bedroom house) costs $240 per day plus insurance of up to $150.

In addition, you’ve got to fill the truck with gas at least once. You might need to do it a couple of times, possibly even more, because moving trucks are very thirsty. 

There are also moving supplies to add to the total cost and these can quickly add up. The average cost for a one-bedroom apartment moving kit is $80. A two-bedroom apartment moving kit is more than double at $188, while a four-bedroom house moving kit is $357. There are also additional costs such as the cost of a dolly rental, ($8) and moving pads to prevent furniture damage ($60). A professional NYC moving company will include these costs in their estimate. 

The rental truck company will also charge you for the total distance you travel if you’re moving locally. These costs can creep up if you’re not careful. For long-distance moves, you’ll generally get unlimited mileage.

Is Hiring a Mover in NYC Worth It

When you should move yourself

You should move yourself if:

  • You want more control over how your belongings are packed, loaded, and transported.
  • You don’t have much to move.
  • Your belongings are easy to move.
  • You have some reliable people who can help you with the move.
  • You don’t mind taking a road trip.
  • Your timeline is very relaxed.
  • You can access all the supplies and equipment you’ll need for the move.
  • You want to save money.
  • You have helpers.
  • You don’t mind driving the moving truck.
  • You or your helpers have moving experience.  

Should I hire a moving company?

Hire full-service movers, and you’re removing much of the stress of moving. Companies like Roadway Moving take care of the entire move. That includes packing your belongings and disassembling your furniture, right through to transporting your stuff and then unpacking it in your new home. So, what are the benefits of hiring a moving company? 

Pros

You can leave it all to the professionals

When you hire movers, you leave all the heavy lifting to the pros. They are trained movers, and you hired them for this very reason, so let them get on with it. 

You won’t have to worry about lifting and carrying any heavy couches down flights of stairs and through doors. There will be no risk of straining muscles or scratching up new floors. You won’t have to beg your friends or neighbors for help with the lifting.

When the professionals get on with your move, you can focus on other important things, watching your children or pets, or simply relaxing. 

Efficiency

If you hire a legitimate and experienced moving company like Roadway Movers, you can be sure they’re going to be reliable. In addition, the moving company is under contract to assist with all aspects of your move, unlike friends who could flake out of helping. 

The movers will arrive on time, be prepared with all the appropriate moving supplies and equipment. There will be no need to get dollies, furniture pads, bubble wrap, or anything else required for a seamless move. 

Hire a moving company, and you’ll be saving lots of moving hours that can be better spent doing other things.

Hire a moving company vs. Moving Yourself

Overall it’s less stressful

Hire a moving company, and it will save you from many of the everyday moving day stresses. There are not just time-saving benefits. You’ll also be saved from maneuvering a giant moving truck down the highway. 

Moving trucks are pretty tricky to drive and can be very challenging. Driver’s license requirements vary from state to state, but you will most certainly need to possess a valid driver’s license in order to rent a moving truck. 

Some rental companies may even require a Commerical Driver’s license, though this is not common. You usually have to be at least 18 years old to rent a truck. It’s advisable to call ahead or check online to ensure you’ve got the correct license to operate the rental truck.  

Cons

Not so flexible

When you hire professional movers, you won’t have quite so much control over the move. You do, of course, have the option of specifying a date and time when you want to move. However, once that’s done, you’re stuck with the arrangements. 

More expensive

The average cost of movers in NYC is more than you’d expect to pay for hiring a rental truck. 

Costs associated with hiring movers

It’s only natural to wonder “Is it cheaper to hire a moving company?” We’re not going to tell you that a full-service move is going to be cheap. However, rates do vary from company to company and can be affected by various things such as distance and seasonality. 

Studies show that the cost of moving within the US can range from $1,300 to $12,000. Some of the variables that determine the cost of your move include:

  • Distance
  • Location
  • Home size
  • Family size
  • Shipping requirements
  • Time of year

Why are moving companies so expensive? You have to bear in mind that you get what you pay for with a full-service mover. The cost includes the convenience and peace of mind that comes from knowing your personal possessions and belongings are being handled and transported by professionals.

When you should hire movers

You should hire movers if:

  • You can’t or don’t want to deal with the heavy lifting side of things.
  • You’re moving long distance.
  • You’re moving lots of stuff.
  • You have items that are difficult to move.
  • You already have a lot on your plate.
  • You live in a walkup.
  • You have lots of valuable antiques or large items.
  • You’re pressed for time. 
  • You don’t want to drive the moving truck.
  • You’ve never moved yourself before.

Is it worth it to hire movers?

It’s essential to start by saying that every move is different and every person will have different requirements when they move. Let’s give you an example: A family of six, shall we say, moving out of a five-bedroom house will have very different needs when you compare them to a college student who’s moving to a dorm for the first time in their life. 

What these vast differences show is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. If you’re wondering “Should I hire movers or do it myself” there’s no wrong or right answer. However, there is a one-size-fits-most answer, and that’s to hire a full-service moving company whenever you want to move. If you’re asking yourself, “Why hire a moving company?” we hope you’re found the answer.  

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