Hiring Movers vs. DIY Options: What’s Best (and Cheapest)?

It depends on the size, distance and complexity of your move — and your tolerance for physical labor.
Tracy Scott
By Tracy Scott 
Updated
Edited by Alice Holbrook

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Nerdy takeaways
  • For small moves across town, truck rental is cheapest. Gas and mileage costs go up for greater distances.

  • For longer moves, renting a moving container saves on labor costs — and you don’t have to drive.

  • Hiring movers is most expensive, but can make any size move less time-consuming and physically taxing.

The cost of hiring professional movers might make you wonder, "Should I just do the heavy lifting myself?"

Certainly, a do-it-yourself move can be less expensive than hiring a full-service moving company. For small, shorter-distance moves especially, renting a moving truck can be a smart money-saving option. But your cost to move isn't the only factor to consider — after all, it’s hard to put a price on reducing physical or emotional stress on moving day.

Here's how to decide between three common options: full-service movers, moving container services and DIY truck rentals.

Full-service moving

When you hire movers, a team of trained professionals handles moving logistics, loading, driving and unloading your belongings at your destination. Each company has its own packages that list which services are included in “full service.” For example, you might pay more for additional tasks such as packing and unpacking.

Pros:

  • Someone else does the heavy lifting. You don't have to lift a single box if you don't want to. Full-service movers will get your belongings on and off the moving truck so you can focus on other things. They’re also trained to navigate stairs, tight corners and other accessibility concerns safely.

  • Pros can handle items needing special care. For an extra cost, you can find movers who are trained to pack and transport oversized or specialty items, such as pianos, aquariums or safes. If you mishandle these during a move, you risk damage.

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