3 Ways to Move. Which is the Best Option for You?

When it comes to moving, costs can quickly add up. I know. I’ve moved across the country twice, and made a few smaller regional moves. From paying for the gas to make the move, to truck rentals, to packing materials, you might be surprised at how quickly the costs add up. In some cases, though, it’s not always about cost —  convenience plays a roll as well. You might want to hire movers to do most of the heavy lifting, even though it costs more — sometimes much more. As you consider what might be the best option for you, here are three different choices to consider.

Photo by jblyberg via Flickr

1. DIY Moving with Truck Rental

In many cases, the least expensive way to move is to do it yourself. If you have your own truck, you can actually load it up, without paying a rental fee, and move your things. However, few of us have a truck that carry all of our things to a new location. In such cases, it becomes necessary to rent a truck. Companies like Uhaul and Budget Truck Rental can help you haul your things at a reasonable price.

The downside to moving yourself, of course, is that you have to do all the work. You pack everything up, load it on the truck, and then you have to drive it. If you rent a larger truck, navigating some terrains can be difficult, especially as you drive through cities, find parking when you stop for the night, and if you have to go over mountains. Plus, you have to pay for the gas, and that can get pricey, since moving trucks aren’t known for their fuel economy.

2. Hiring Movers

Of course, you can hire movers to do most of the work. Some movers will charge you a little bit less if you pack your boxes yourself. And, of course, there are some full service movers that will pack everything for you. The main advantage is that you don’t have to do as much work, and you don’t have to worry about driving the load. However, a reputable, full service mover can cost up to twice as much — or more — than it would cost for you to do it yourself.

Another thing you have to be aware of with movers is that some of them are a little shady. They have hidden charges, beyond the estimate given you, or they might hold your household goods until you pay an extra fee. You should check with the Better Business Bureau, and look for reviews online before hiring a full service mover.

3. Hybrid: You Pack, Someone Else Drives

My favorite option for cross-country moves is actually the pack it yourself, and have someone else drive method. Companies like ABF and PODS drop of a trailer or a storage container, and you pack it yourself, Then a driver comes and picks it up, and delivers it to your new home. We actually found this to be a rather cost-effective method of moving across the country. We were very happy with our experience. However, when you pack it yourself, make sure you have the driver verify how much space you are taking up, since you will pay by how much space (with the ABF trailer, we paid by the linear foot). You might pay a little bit more than you would doing it yourself, but for me, the convenience of not having to worry about driving the load was well worth the extra cost.

About the Author

By , on Oct 5, 2011
Miranda Marquit
Miranda is a professional personal finance journalist. She is a contributor for several personal finance web sites. Her work has been mentioned in and linked to from, USA Today, The Huffington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other publications. She also has her own personal finance blog: Planting Money Seeds.

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Leave Your Comment (8 Comments)

  1. Ron says:

    I have moved by all three of the above methods and hiring a mover is the easy way to go. It really depends on how much stuff you have to move, do you have large vehicles and friends to help.

  2. Shaun says:

    I used to be able to move via borrowing a family members pickup truck, alas it will not be an option. Next time it will be by rental.

    However, I find that the hiring someone decision should be linked to the, “how heavy is my stuff and how hard is it to get places” factor.

  3. Jenna says:

    @Pinyo – So sorry we didn’t get to chat! Hopefully our paths will cross again soon!

  4. Pinyo says:

    @Jenna – You are in the young category (I saw you at the conference by the way, but didn’t get a chance to say hi)…so I can see how DIY worked out well for you. I think moving is long and tedious process no matter what you do.

    @Vincent – Hybrid sounds good, but I don’t know if I want to move the big pieces myself. I think I would still pack the small stuff (and may be even move them) myself, but the big pieces are definitely for the movers.

  5. Vincent says:

    When I was a bit younger, I would always move myself. The benefit of this is that I saved money, which is very important. However, I did end up losing money on damaged items and replacing furniture. These days, if I need to move soon, I would opt for the hybrid method. I can guarantee my items are packed safely (because I pack them) and find a mover that will replace anything that’s damaged.

  6. Jenna says:

    I moved myself to a different part of town and it was a really long process. Multiple car loads over multiple days. I think the next time I move I’m going to hire help.

  7. krantcents says:

    Maybe it is my age or that I have a choice, I prefer hiring movers. Moving is exhaustive at best anyway and I would rather pay a few hundred dollars vs. saving it.

    • Pinyo says:

      @Krantcents – Definitely an age group thing (and also a financial thing). I have never hire anyone in my 20s (always doing it with friends who are themselves also asking for favors). But in my 30s, I am seeing more of my friends and family using movers. I am still too cheap and do the last move on my own with some help from friends and family — but that was probably the last one to do that…everyone are getting too old.

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