By now, you know there are a lot of questions to answer when planning a household move. This article will help you answer the question of whether you should move yourself or hire the services of a professional mover.

Like most questions of a personal nature, the answer will vary tremendously from one person to the next based on a variety of factors such as time available, money, family size, geographic distance, and complexity of the move.  For example if you are single and moving across town, it probably makes more sense to move on your own.  While if you are moving a four-bedroom household clear across the country, it would be prudent to look at the different available options.


Basically, there are three ways to move your household:

  1. On your own,
  2. With a full service moving company, or
  3. a hybrid of options 1 and 2.

Before jumping into which option is best for you, you would be well served to take a close look at your personal situation and determine what your greatest priority is – time, money, seamless, etc…  To help you, below are a few questions to ask yourself.

  1. How much stuff do you have? The more you have, the more time it will take to pack, load, unload, and unpack.
  2. How far are you moving? Generally, the farther you move the greater the cost and complexities.
  3. How much time do you have available? It can take considerable time to pack, load and drive to your new destination?
  4. Do you have additional help? Friends or familycan be of great help.
  5. Do you have fragile or special items that will require special handling? Are you able to move these yourself – this includes your appliances?
  6. Don’t forget hidden costs such as additional insurance or packing supplies.

By now you should have a sense of what the physical move entails and what matters most to you.  So, let’s review the three ways to move:

  1. On your own,
  2. With a full service moving company, or
  3. a hybrid of options 1 and 2.

Option 1: Moving on your own

Moving yourself is the most straightforward option.  If your main concern is adhering to a tight budget, perhaps moving yourself is the best option.

To establish an estimate for truck rental, you will need to know the size of the truck needed, how far the move is, mileage, fuel costs, meals and lodging during the travel time.

While several on-line tools will help you estimate what size truck you might need, Here is a simple rule of thumb:

  • 26’ will move 4+ bedrooms
  • 24’ will move 3-4 bedrooms
  • 17’ will move 2-3 bedrooms
  • 14’ will move 1-2 bedrooms
  • 10’ will move a small or studio apartment

When preparing your budget, be sure not to forget one-way rental charges, if applicable, packing materials, and additional home insurance if required.

If you decide to move on your own, be sure to read our article entitled “How to rent a moving truck”.

Option 2: Moving with a full service moving company

There are several reasons to choose a professional moving company over moving yourself, not the least of which is that a moving company can save you time, effort, and stress. While at first you might think that hiring a professional would be more expensive, you may soon realize that based on your personal situation that may not be the case. Hiring a professional will free you of the time needed to pack, load, drive, and unload.

It is also important to remember that your belongings are important to you, regardless of their worth. Professional movers do this for a living and are skilled in handling your belongings. If something happens to your items, the movers are responsible.

A full service moving company will pack all your furniture, appliances and belongings, load them into a truck or van, transport them to your new location, unload them from the truck and place them where you want them.

Option 3: A hybrid of moving yourself and hiring professionals

If neither of these options seemright for you, consider going a hybrid route.  There are many ways to combine your efforts with those of a professional – you do some or all of the packing, or, you do all the work and a professional does the driving, or, a mover packs and loads a rental truck and you do the driving.

Your move can be broken into three parts:

  • Packing – generally, it will take two professional movers one day to pack a two to three-bedroom home.
  • Driving–if your move is far, you can use a moving company to pack and load your stuff into a rented truck so that you can do the driving. With larger moves, the farther you drive, the more you save, since you’re cutting out many hours of paid labor.
  • Loading and unloading– loading a truck is physically difficult and it takes skill.

These details and points to consider should provide you with the information needed to make an informed decision.  But remember that it never hurts to obtain quotes from multiple sources in order to compare the costs of different options.