Moving Questions: Hire Movers or DIY?

There is no question that moving is stressful — and the bigger the move, the more stress involved. If you are facing a relocation or even just moving across town with a large household, you are probably wondering to yourself whether it is better to hire professional movers or to do it yourself.

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. A wide variety of factors comes into play when making this decision, which is why you are the only one who knows the answer. There are, however, a number of factors you should take into account to help you decide.


Your daily life is likely filled with work, family, and community activities and organizations. If you have children your calendar is probably over-scheduled. Do you have the time available to do everything yourself, even with the help of family and friends? Packing up a home, loading a truck or van, driving to the destination, unloading and unpacking adds up to a lot of time you could be spending on other things. Add to that the time needed to arrange, pick up, and return the truck, collect (and dispose of) packing materials, and coordinate the help of friends and family and moving becomes a major job, if only a temporary one.

Time also comes into play when you have to move in a short amount of time. If you are relocating for a job or other pressing reason, you may need to be there yesterday. The shorter the time frame for completing the move, the more attractive hiring professionals will look.


The greater the distance you are moving, the more likely you are to consider hiring professionals, especially if you are moving overseas or out of the country. If you are simply moving a few blocks or neighborhoods away, you can probably complete the move yourself. Professionals are adept at completing long distance moves and are trained to deal with international moves.

Size and Difficulty

If you live in a small apartment or house with few belongings, it is much easier to handle a DIY move than if you live a larger home filled with possessions. There is a reason truck companies have different size rentals and that movers will ask you about the size of your home before they give you a price quote. More stuff — and larger items like furniture and appliances — require more work and more time and add more weight to the move. This is why one of the first things experts recommend is culling your possessions before you move, so there is less stuff to pack, transport, and unpack.

Related to size is the difficulty of the move. Do you have lots of fragile, valuable, or unwieldy belongings that will require special packing and handling? Do you know how to do that? Professionals do. Do you have health or physical limitations that would make moving heavy furniture difficult or even dangerous? What about the location of your current or future home? If there are too many stairs, narrow walkways, or other obstacles to navigate, an experienced moving team will know how to get your stuff safely to its destination.


Getting quotes from professional movers early in the decision-making process will help you make your choice. You should also figure out the cost of a DIY move to make a fair comparison. Remember that DIY is more than just renting a truck. You will need to purchase packing supplies and perhaps rent dollies or furniture pads. Add in costs of insurance against theft or damage (of the truck as well as your belongings), mileage costs on the rental, gas, food, lodgings if your move takes several days, and even any lost wages you or your spouse may “spend” while moving. Once all those figures are calculated, you’ll be able to see the financial difference in the two options and can balance that against the other factors.

One last option to consider is to do a split move. You can choose to do all the packing yourself and hire professionals to do the transporting or vice versa. Find the solution that works best for you for this move — and realize that the next time you move the answer might be something completely different.

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