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Low-Cost Moving: Your DIY Moving Options

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For budget moving, it just makes sense financially to move by yourself. And while many people say that the time and effort of a DIY move isn’t worth it, more people have moved successfully without any help.

A DIY move doesn’t have to be stressful if you know what your options are. Follow this guide to learn more about the best ways to pull off a quality DIY move.

Renting a TruckDIY Moving Options: Low-Cost Moving

One of the most common DIY moving methods is renting a truck to move your things. This option can put you in charge of the entire move process – from packing to unloading.

Is Renting a Truck Right For You?

Cost and convenience are the two major factors to consider when determining if a truck rental is a good choice for your DIY move.

  • If you have a busy schedule and live alone, then taking the time to load all of your belongings and drive the truck to your new home may not be possible.
  • if you are moving long-distance, you will need time off of work to drive the truck. It might be worth it to pay movers or do a self-service move after accounting for used PTO in your truck rental costs.
  • Rental truck agencies charge a flat fee for each truck size, but charge fees for mileage and fuel. If you are going a long way, the mileage charges plus drive time may offset any cost savings.

How is Pricing Determined?

Pricing for most truck rental agencies is determined by the size of the truck required plus the miles traveled. The more days you keep the truck, the more you will pay.

Prices will vary based on truck size:

  • a 10-foot truck is about $19.95 a day
  • a 14-foot to 17-foot is $29.95 a day
  • a 24-foot to 26-foot is $39.95 a day

Mileage costs also vary by company and even time of the scheduled move but typically range between $0.79 a mile to $1.29 a mile. Factor in fuel costs, too. Most rental companies expect you to rent the truck with at least a half tank of gas (and then fill it up to that point again upon return).

What size do I need? The size truck you'll need will depend on the size of your home and the volume of your belongings. Call the truck rental agency to better estimate the truck required for your moving inventory or follow our guide.

Portable Storage, Freight, and "You Load, We Drive"

Portable storage units are a perfect option for those that seek a partial DIY move. Affordable and convenient, this self-service moving method can be effective if your budget and timeline are important.

These services provide a moving truck for you to load by yourself but transport your shipment with a professional driver.

Is Portable Storage Right for You?

Companies offering portable storage will deliver the unit to your home, where it will remain on your property until you have finished loading your goods. Once you are ready, you simply call the company and a driver will pick up the unit and deliver it to your new location. Eliminating the task of driving a cumbersome moving truck, portable storage puts you in charge of the loading and leaves the rest up to the pros.

How is Pricing Determined?

Many portable storage companies do not charge you for mileage– instead, you a charged a flat rate for use of the unit for up to a month.

Pricing will vary depending on the company, and you should always inquire about the possibility of extra fees before making your reservation. PODS or U-Pack can cost between $600 to $6000 depending on how many containers you use.

Freight companies will charge by the linear foot for shipping – which is a 1’x8’x9’ area. This option can be economical for long-distance moves for any size move.

What Size do I Need?

Just like a moving truck, the size of the mobile unit you'll require will depend on the size of your home and the volume of your belongings. Available sizes include:

  • 7-foot (holds one room)
  • 12-foot (holds two to three rooms)
  • 16-foot (holds three to four rooms)

    For a freight service charging by the linear foot, you can calculate your approximate charges by:

1 Bedroom Apartment600 - 800 sf6 Linear Feet
1 Bedroom House 800 - 100 sf8 Linear Feet
2 Bedroom House 1400 - 1600 sf14 Linear Feet
3 Bedroom House 2000 - 2200 sf20 Linear Feet

For assistance in determining what size would best accommodate your needs, contact the portable storage company or freight servicer for a more accurate assessment.

Moving Labor Services

If you need a little help with your DIY move, you can always hire what is known as labor-only movers or moving labor service. Moving labor services are movers without a truck– they load or loading your belongings if you have rented a moving truck, freight trailer space, or portable storage unit.

Is Moving Labor Right for You?

If you don’t have the desire or time to load your boxes and heavy furniture, then paying for moving labor makes a lot of sense. If you are moving alone and have no friends or family available to assist, then paid labor will help you complete the loading process quickly and smoothly.

How is Pricing Determined?

Moving labor services charge by the hour. Rates can range anywhere from $40-$120 an hour per person – depending on where you live and what kind of service you use.

When you receive a quote, make sure someone visits your home to survey your goods and accurately provide an estimate.

Where Can I Find Moving Labor?

You can compare quotes from reliable moving labor services in your area today at Movers.com.

Using Your Vehicle

If you are moving to a very small one-bedroom or studio apartment, you may be consider loading up your vehicle (or a friend's truck) and heading off to your new home. While this is most likely the cheapest option, it can sometimes be unsafe for both you and your belongings.

  • Your things may not be secure. Packing as much as you can into your car, especially for a long-distance move, can result in poorly packaged goods and broken belongings. For your possessions to arrive safely at your new home without damage, they should be properly positioned and secured– not crushed together in a small space.
  • Your vision may be compromised. If your car is over packed, your view may be obstructed. If you do decide to pack your vehicle for your move, it is important to have a clear view of all of your mirrors and blind spots.
  • It can be bad for your car. Piling too much weight into your car can damage the vehicle. If the weight you're transporting exceeds the suggested limit, you can damage the transmission, put a strain on the suspension, wheels, and engine.

    Riding low from extra weight can leave you susceptible to undercarriage scraping and damage from potholes. Your steering could also be affected, which can cause unsafe driving conditions.

  • Should I ever move in my vehicle? If you have a large truck (or access to one) and you are moving locally, then moving in your vehicle can be safe and simple. Ask a few friends to help and take multiple trips if everything does not fit safely the first time around.

Considering Full-Service Movers Instead?

If you have decided that full-service moving is the best option for you, you're not alone!

Millions of people move each year and opt to hire full-service movers. If you are seeking a reliable full-service moving company to service your relocation, simply fill out our fast and easy quote form today! You will be contacted by up to seven professional movers in your area with FREE, no-obligation moving quotes!


Myles Compton  Posted by Myles Compton on December 16, 2020

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