Moving is consistently ranked as one of the most stressful life changes a person can undergo. You’re taking care of buying or selling your home, and you’re constantly on the phone with utility companies. Most stressful, of course, is actually coming up with a plan for moving all of your possessions from one place to another. When you start to consider moving yourself or hiring a company, you need to know the benefits and drawbacks of each option.The biggest reason that people have for moving on their own is cost. Companies will charge a flat rate or by the hour for the muscle, but you won’t charge yourself anything. However, take the time to do some quick calculations first: If you have to move on a weekday, account for the lost wages that you’re missing out on for the whole day. You can always bribe friends to help by buying everyone pizza and beer, but that can add up. In fact, you may find that “hiring” your friends isn’t significantly cheaper than hiring a stranger with experience. Finally, be honest and take stock of your body and your furniture. It is easy to injure yourself while moving, and most people don’t consider the risk they take. If you have had problems with your back, knees or other joints in the past, it might be cheaper to sit this one out. Medical care is expensive, and the fees would have been entirely avoidable.
The second reason most people opt to move themselves is because they want to stay in control of their valuables. It can be hard to trust a group of strangers: You certainly don’t want anything broken or stolen. Actually, most companies will train their movers on proper packing, so they probably know even more than you do about fragile items. It’s easy to do a background check on any moving company, which you should be doing anyway. But if you’re worried about theft or clumsy movers, check online reviews and see if you can contact a few past customers. Any successful moving company will have to have a spotless record. So then ask yourself: Can you and your friends be as meticulous?
The leading reason for hiring a moving company is to save time and effort on your part. A team of five movers can get the job done in a fraction of the time it would take you. Of course, if you want to supervise the process, it can still take up a couple hours, so you’ll have to factor that in. It can be stressful to watch strangers handle your items, but you can talk to your movers and moving agent beforehand. Taking five minutes before the move to tell the company your priorities and concerns will save you time later if you don’t have to hover around the workers.
One thing that you might not factor into your decision is that moving, packing and storage companies also provide expertise. Do you have questions about what to pack and what to leave behind? Or the most efficient way to pack your boxes? Company representatives can answer your questions, and packers and movers will know the best way to do their jobs.
Ultimately, it will depend on your own individual situation whether a self move or using a company is best. Part of your process should include calling companies and getting quotes even if you haven’t decided yet. Sometimes, the way a company treats you over the phone can help make the decision for you, and you might be pleasantly surprised to hear what moving rates can be today. Remember, gather all of the information before you make your decision, and you’ll be fine.