How much does moving yourself really cost?

Amy on

orange truckIt’s a fact of life: moving is rarely as cheap or as simple as we’d like it to be.For that reason, lots of people assume that renting a truck and recruiting some volunteersis the easiest and best way to go when it comes to relocating from one home to another, but when it comes to long-distance moves, that couldn’t be further from the truth.Here at Moveline, we know a thing or two about saving a few bucks during a move,and we’ve got some knowledge to drop about what that DIY move really costs.

The lay of the land

Most folks think there are only two ways to move: hiring a moving company or renting a truck.The truth is, there are a few options in between as well, and depending on the size, scope and details of your move, some might be worth considering more than others.

Self-storage units often come into play during a move, for example, but here’s a little-known fact: unless you need more than a month of storage in either your original or new city,it’s likely not worth the cost involved; instead, if you’re willing to be flexible on delivery dates, your stuff could be professionally packed and protected on a moving truck, making its way to your new destination without your having to lift a finger.And although most major storage container companies offer the first month free on a longer contract,you’ll still incur extra charges for loading and reloading your stuff multiple times if you’re using a pro mover, not to mention the extra headaches, back aches, and pains in the (ahem) you’ll be dealing with if you’re doing it all yourself.And in either scenario, your items are at greater risk for damage from being handled over and over again.

A smarter choice: freight shipping. Working with a freight shipper is often the most cost-effective way to move your stuff if you don’t want to hire an actual mover or handle it all on your own.If you only end up using 20 feet of a 28-foot truck, for example, 20 feet is all you pay for.With this option, your items stay on the trailer rather than being unloaded and reloaded in multiple locations,and you’re given a daily rate (or you can even negotiate a monthly fee if you need to store your stuff for that long) after the initial period of free storage.And perhaps the best part: you don’t have to drive.With this option, heat waves, fog, icy roads, rainy conditions and the overall safety of your belongings are no longer your problem. If that’s not a load off… literally... nothing is.

What that do-it-yourself approach actually costs you

Let’s say you really, REALLY want to rent that do-it-yourself moving truck and drive it on your own.Sure, no problem. But… have you ever driven one before? Across state lines? Across multiple state lines?Can you ensure its safety in a hotel parking lot each night? And by the way, how much are those hotel nights with all their add-on fees going to cost you in the end?Let’s not forget meals, fuel, and incidentals while you’re on the road, as well as one-way fees (which can reach into the thousands) for returning the truck to a different location than its origin.These things add up; be sure to pad your budget as you’re planning that route and make sure a pro mover isn’t actually a better option.

The most important thing to ask yourself, though, is whether or not you’ve got the right amount of stuff for a DIY option.That 3-4 bedroom house in the ‘burbs you’re moving out of? It will probably take two trucks(and therefore two trips) to pack it all in and get it to its new home.So unless you’re perfectly willing to ask someone else to drive half your life’s belongings on an extended road trip with you(or, conversely, make the trip back and forth yourself twice), you might get more of a hassle than you bargained for… and really, that’s no bargain at all.

One final thing to remember: if you’re towing your car behind a rented moving truck,there’s the issue of backing up. When you pull into hotels, rest areas and gas stations,things might get a little tricky. Make sure you’re up to the challenge (and ready to pay for damages) before you get yourself into a situation you can’t back out of. Pun intended.

Why DIY?

For local moves, plenty of variables can make all the difference in determining whether a DIY or professional move is best for you, not to mention any of the variants in between.For long-distance moves, though, every mile increases the cost of moving yourself to the point where it can quickly become more expensive than paying a team of professionals to get the job done more efficiently, more safely, and with fewer mishaps.(Be aware of “cash labor” schemes, too: often, cash laborers haven’t been background-checked and aren’t trained movers;not only is your stuff at risk, but you could be held liable for any injuries they incur during your move.If you’re going to hire movers, hire professionals. Simple as that.)

As a rule of thumb, anything over 500 miles will probably be cheaper with a professional at the helm,while moving just up the street or across a couple of ZIP codes offers more leeway (and more savings) when it comes to doing it on your own.

If you need help determining costs and figuring out the best way to go, let Moveline assist for free.Our team of move captains and pricing specialists can give you the lay of the land,narrow down your options and explain how we can help you get where you’re going with your wallet and sanity intact,and we’ll stick by you every step of the way, helping you find the best prices,secure the right materials and labor, and get where you’re going as seamlessly as possible.Moving is stressful enough in and of itself; we’re happy to take away those extra headaches and let you focus on more important things, like life.

So, if you’re planning a move (whether it’s long-distance or local), don’t go it alone.You can let us assist you by planning your move through the Moveline homepageeven if you’re only a couple of weeks away from your move date.Forget the stress and strain and let us help you #movebetter.