Should You Hire Movers or Do-It-Yourself?

Amanda Williams
October 26, 2021
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Most of us will have to move at least once in our lives. Whether it is to the house next door, the next town over, or an entirely new state, a move is a life-changing experience. Figuring out where and when to move is only part of the process—you also need to figure how to move: you have to decide whether hiring professionals or doing the heavy lifting yourself is the right solution.

Since many factors can go into each move, there isn’t always a clear-cut option between a mover and the DIY solution. Scroll through the three primary moving options and check out each of their pros and cons to determine which one of them best suits your situation.

The Full-Service Mover

A full-service moving company will typically send out its team of trained movers to your address. They handle everything from the logistics of the move, no matter where you are going, the loading, driving and unloading. Some of these companies will also offer services like professionally packing your items for an additional price. In other words, hiring a full-service mover means you don’t have to do much throughout the process.

Before hiring a full-service mover, check the areas they serve. Be sure they can move all your belongings to your new address, particularly if you are thinking of moving internationally.


  • The movers do all of the heavy lifting for you. If you don’t want to or don’t have the time to do it, the team can take care of everything.
  • Trained professionals can pack special items, especially precious things you don’t want to be damaged. For example, if you have an instrument that needs moving like a grand piano, you might not want to leave that to the care of your family or friends.
  • Professional movers have experience with various challenges, such as stairs and narrow turns. They can safely get items into and out of the living space without damaging them.


  • Hiring a professional moving company is generally the most expensive option.
  • Delivery isn’t always immediate, especially for long-distance, cross-country moves. These can take a week or longer if they need to go further than a couple of hours away. Expedited shipping is often even more expensive in these scenarios.

Most Applicable Moving Scenario(s):

Hiring a full-service mover is best when you aren’t particularly fussed with the budget of the move. This option is often the number-one choice for those who care more about the move’s efficiency, but who don’t have the time or willingness to manage it themselves.

The Grey Area: Moving Container Companies

Although this option can fall under DIY, it can also be classed as hiring a specialized moving company. For example, let’s say that you are moving internationally or across the country. One option many people in this category select is using a moving container company. These might often send out a couple of people to help you load up the container as effectively as possible. They might also drop off boxes and packing materials that are best suited for container delivery. However, the company often is only involved in picking the container up and dropping it off near your next address.


  • You can easily move most of your bulky items without having to make numerous trips.
  • A team from the company might help you pack your items into the container or supply packing materials.
  • More time to pack your belongings.


  • You don’t receive as much help but are still paying to have someone move your items from A to B. Still, the cost is less then that of a full-service moving company.
  • You might need a permit to place the container on the street outside your house. If you live in an apartment building it also might be hard to place a container on the premises.

Most Applicable Moving Scenario(s):

Using a container moving company gives you the option to load up as much as you can and not have to worry about the transport and logistics of moving with a large rental truck. It also saves you from having to make more trips to bring along your bulkier items. If you have a lot of furniture to move or things you can put in large boxes, this is an excellent choice in the middle ground.

DIY Option #1: Moving Truck Rental

Using a moving truck is one of the classic ways to get your things from your old address to your new one.

It typically involves renting a truck from a local moving company that you’ll use to move from your current location to the new destination. When you are ready to load up and head out, you rent the truck of the most appropriate size for a fee each day. If you choose this option, you will do all your own packing.  So to save money, it is best to get the truck when you have everything ready to go. The fewer days you have the truck, the less you’ll have to pay.


  • Renting a truck is less expensive than the previous two options. Depending on your age, student status, if you are in the military or a member of an organization like AAA, you might get a special discount.
  • It allows you more control over the packing, loading, and unloading of your items than a moving company does.
  • There are varying sizes of rental trucks available. You can pick the size that best suits your needs.


  • If you hire a large moving truck, you might find it difficult to drive over long distances or through cities. Ensure that the logistics are taken care of before renting the truck, i.e., the size of the parking garage you might have to use or the space available at your new location.
  • You have to do all the work yourself.

Most Applicable Moving Scenario(s):

It is best to choose to move using a moving truck if you want to save as much money on the move as possible. It puts you in complete control of how fast the move goes, how many trips are required and how your belongings get packed. It is also best for those who are fine with making the entire move and don’t have that much stuff to pack up into the truck.

You should consider the length of the move you have ahead of you. A DIY option is one of the most effective choices when you are doing a local move, like one across town or to a neighboring city.

DIY Option #2: Using Your Own Vehicle

The next option is to go it entirely on your own. This is really only an applicable option for those with minimal belongings or who are lucky enough to have a friend with a very large vehicle. If you can only take one load at a time or don’t need to move all your belongings at once, find storage on SpareFoot so you don’t have to worry about the safety of the items you leave behind.


  • This is the cheapest option by far since the only thing you need to pay for is the gas money to get from one place to the next.
  • You have complete control over every aspect of the move.
  • It is less stressful because you won’t be trying to get a rental truck back to a lot or suit a professional mover’s timetable.


  • You can only use your own vehicle if you have a large enough one (or if you own a truck). Or you know someone who does.
  • You may have to make multiple trips.

Most Applicable Moving Scenario(s):

If you don’t want to stress about the move and are lucky enough to have access to a free, large vehicle, this option could be the best. Again, a local move will make this option more viable for you since doing multiple trips across the country in a van isn’t a desirable option for most people.

Should You Use a Mover or Opt to DIY?

Using a mover makes your life much more convenient in many ways. However, it can also put a strain on your budget. You need to take a step back and be critical about how much you have to move, your schedule and the timeframe you want it all done before making a final decision.


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About the SpareFoot Blog

The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
Contact the editor: [email protected]

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