If you're on a limited budget, you might believe that a do-it-yourself move is the greatest approach to save money on moving expenses. But while moving yourself will most certainly be less expensive than hiring a full-service moving company, keep in mind that it will still cost. At the very least, you'll have to pay for gas along the way, which may add up quite a bit when traveling long distances.
Every move is unique, and each person will have unique needs and because of these disparities, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, hiring movers might, in some cases, not only make things simpler and stress-free but also get you close to pretty much the same costs as a DIY move.
When it comes to the topic, especially talking about hiring NYC movers, it’s understandable that the premise might not sound well. But bear with us. If you're thinking of renting a moving truck to pack and drive yourself, you're definitely looking to save money. There's no doubting that moving yourself is a less expensive option than hiring a full-service mover—but in the end, you might not save as much as you think, and here’s why:
- Packing materials and moving boxes can total quite a bit
Moving boxes and packing supplies are the most overlooked but necessary DIY expenses. Unless you want to literally throw your belongings on the back of a truck, you'll need moving tools to transfer items safely and securely. You may require cardboard moving boxes, plastic bins, specialty boxes, packing tape, plastic wrap, foam peanuts, foam pouches, and labeling markers. While these goods aren't necessarily costly on their own, they definitely pile up, especially if you are moving out of a bigger house and have loads of items that need packing. So the best idea is to put down everything you need (in the right quantities) and calculate the total cost of packing materials before you dive into move prep.
- Moving heavy items? Then you definitely need some equipment.
To complete the move properly, you will most likely need to rent a dolly and other moving equipment. Moving blankets, straps, hand trucks, loading ramps, and trailers are examples of moving equipment that you may need to rent or buy while moving yourself, in addition to dollies. These goods should be available for rent at your local Home Depot or through a truck rental provider. The cost of renting moving equipment will vary according to the individual item required, the length of time borrowed, and the current demand. Not to mention that this equipment is crucial for your safety.
- If you don’t have a friend with a truck, you’ll need to rent one.
Unless you have a friend who can lend you a truck, you will most likely need to rent a moving truck from a trustworthy truck rental company. While renting a truck is less expensive than employing a full-service moving company, it is still not inexpensive.
A one-way transfer across the country with a rented 10 ft. box truck can cost anything from $500 to $1800 or more. For cross-country moves, larger truck rentals could cost $2,000 or more. Of course, truck rental costs are heavily influenced by seasonal demand, distance traveled, vehicle size, and whether or not the transfer is one-way. Fortunately, there are a plethora of moving truck companies to select from, each with its own set of offers and price points.
Also, don't forget about the cost of gas! Whether you drive your own car or rent a truck, you will be responsible for refueling the vehicle at all times during the transfer. If you opt to rent a moving truck, keep in mind that gas can be pricey.
- DIY doesn’t mean doing it alone and in some cases...you really shouldn’t!
Unless you have friends and relatives who can assist with the heavy lifting, you’ll most probably (and also safest) need to hire professional movers. After all, no one should be lifting and lugging a sofa, bed, or other large things alone. You can find a labor-only moving service, which often specializes in load and unload services, or they are simply professional movers willing to send people out on labor-only moving projects. This will, of course, cost you money. You'll most likely be charged by the hour, but if you don’t want to throw your back out or worse, it’s safest to just hire movers.
- Time is money! You know that...
A do-it-yourself move requires a major time investment. You must pack everything you own, carefully load your truck, travel to your new home, unload the vehicle, refill the gas tank, return the truck, and then come home to unpack your belongings. This entire process always takes longer than you expect. Not to mention the stress of moving. There's a lot of issues that might come up and that you've probably never dealt with before and that you might not know how to mitigate. Not to mention that god forbid a tire breaks or you get a parking ticket because you don’t know where it’s good to park or not...you might end up with some unforeseen costs that can be quite high. Movers already have answers and are prepared to tackle any such issues that might occur, at no extra cost for you.
And let’s not forget about the physical strain that a do-it-yourself relocation places on your body. Unless you're a professional bodybuilder, you'll be sore for a few days after loading and unloading. When arranging the logistics of your DIY move, you need to be practical and not only think about your safety but also of the safety of your friends (if you’ve convinced them to help) and your possessions. If you are moving say, heavy musical instruments such as a piano, you don’t want to break it and you most probably don’t have the experience to lift it and move it safely.
In conclusion, moving on your own is always less expensive than hiring a full-service moving company but if you take all of the above into consideration, the savings are not always as big as expected, and there are other things to consider, such as time, tension, and the required effort.
Moving yourself is a wonderful option if you have few belongings (no huge furniture and only a few boxes) and only a few miles to go. But if that’s not the case, the best thing to do is just use experienced NYC movers.
About the Author
Michaela Smith is the marketing director at EMPIRE MOVERS, an experienced residential and commercial moving company based in New York City.