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Pros and Cons of a DIY Move Vs. Hiring Professional Movers

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Moving is one of the most complicated tasks we will have to complete in life, simply because of the number of individual tasks required to get it done. There is so much to plan and so many things to decide when moving, and it all begins with one initial decision--will I hire professional movers or will I handle the move by myself? There are many advantages and disadvantages to both options, and it important to weigh all the factors involved before coming to a conclusion. The following guide with provide you with some insight into which move is right for you.

Pros of DIY Move

  • Affordability. Depending on the size and distance of your move, hiring professionals can become quite costly. By moving on your own, you will only incur the expenses of packing materials and perhaps a rented U-Haul. If you already have access to a truck or a van, you can increase your savings even more.
  • You make the schedule. If you are moving yourself, you can decide when you want to move without worrying about the company's availability. If something comes up that disrupts your plan, there won't be any cancellation fees for changing the day of your move. When you already have so much to do, being able to work around your needs can be comforting.
  • You have more control. If you are conducting the move, you have control over how your possessions are handled, how the truck is packed, and when the move takes place. You will make all the decisions about the best way to accomplish the move and protect your belongings during transport.
  • You won't be at risk for scams. While most moving companies are reputable and reliable, there are some that are looking to scam you out of your money. Moving yourself eliminates that risk.

Cons of DIY Move

  • It's a lot of work. The reason so many people hire professional moving companies is because moving is hard work. Not only do you have to carefully pack away all of your earthly possessions in boxes, but you have to haul them out of your house and load them onto a truck. It takes a great deal of time and energy to plan and execute.
  • It's physically demanding. Lifting and carrying heavy boxes, furniture and appliances can be back-breaking work. Even if you enlist the help of a few strong friends, you are susceptible to serious injury. The last thing you want when you are in the middle of moving is to be laid up in bed with a strained back or broken ankle.
  • Lack of experience. If you are not in the moving industry, chances are you don't know the proper procedures for moving heavy items, protecting your furniture, and loading or driving a moving truck. Inexperience will put you at risk for damaging your items or hurting yourself. It may also make your move much more difficult and time-consuming if you spend hours struggling to fit your most cumbersome items in the back of the truck.
  • You may miss more work than you anticipated. The added time of moving yourself will likely require that you take extra time off from work. While you will be saving money by doing the move yourself, you may be losing some by taking off additional days.

Pros of Hiring Professional Movers

  • You'll have more time to focus on other tasks. With the aid of professional movers loading, transporting, and even sometimes packing your belongings, you will have extra time to focus on the millions of other things that require your attention--caring for your children, preparing pets for the move, setting up utilities in your new home, and changing your mailing address.
  • You'll have less responsibility. While moving yourself enables you to have more control, with great power comes great responsibility. When hiring a moving company, you can relinquish that responsibility to someone else and alleviate some of the anxiety moving inevitably causes.
  • They take care of the heavy lifting. Movers know how to lift heavy items in a way that prevents injury or damage to the goods. Allowing professionals to take care of the physically taxing work will make your moving experience less stressful.
  • They are experienced. Movers are trained professionals and know the best ways to wrap your furniture for protection, how to protect your floors and walls from damage during the move, and the most efficient way to position your belongings on the truck to conserve space and prevent mishap. Hiring movers increases the probability that your move is pulled off without a hitch.
  • They are skilled at driving the truck. Maneuvering a large truck weighed down with all of your possessions is a difficult task. Hiring movers eliminates this challenging responsibility for you.

Cons of Hiring Professional Movers

  • It can be expensive. Depending on the size and distance of your move, hiring professionals can be very expensive. Finding movers that are reputable as well as affordable requires considerable research, which can become time-consuming.
  • You have to trust them with your belongings. Many people find it very difficult to leave their most prized possessions in the hands of total strangers. If the thought of your most treasured family heirlooms becoming lost, broken or stolen is devastating to you, you may think twice about hiring professional movers.
  • You could be at risk for scams. While most moving companies are honest and reliable, there are some that scam customers out of their money, usually by offering a drastically low estimate and then hiking the price up after picking up your items. Preventing such a scam requires thorough investigation of a moving company's background, which will take some time and diligence on your part.
  • You have to work around their schedule. Life is unpredictable, and if you have an emergency that prevents you from moving on the day you booked your movers, you may be charged a cancellation fee for the inconvenience.

The Bottom Line

The decision to move yourself or hire professionals is unique to your personality, needs, and the specifics of your move. If you are moving long distance or you have a large home, a DIY move will be much more difficult. Also, if you have children and many other responsibilities to focus on, hiring a moving company will make the process a much easier and less harried one. However, if you are single, on a budget, have a small home or apartment, and just a few pieces of furniture to transport, a DIY move may be better suited for you. Before making the decision it is important to contemplate your circumstances and what is most important to you--safety, control, scheduling, ease and cost are all important factors to consider when deciding if a DIY move or a professionally-handled move is the right move for you.

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on March 6, 2013

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