Moving into a new place is about more than just going through your belongings, signing paperwork and setting up the utilities. Even if you're only moving out of a studio apartment and don't have a lot of stuff, getting it all from one place to another can be a logistical challenge — not to mention expensive if you hire professional movers. And with more available options than ever, it's natural to consider whether a DIY move might end up saving you money. Here are a few things — and costs — to consider before you start packing.
When you're deciding whether to rent a truck or hire movers, first consider the distance. Moving across the country is going to be a lot more expensive than moving across town, no matter how you do it. A full-service cross-country move will run $2,200 – $5,700 on average, whereas a local move will be closer to the $600 – $1,650 range.
A moving company can pack things up in one place and unpack them in another — and you don't have to lift a finger. The average packing cost is around $1,000, and then you'll need to budget for the cost of labor on top of that, which can run anywhere from $25 to $50 per hour, per worker.
A more affordable option is to do the packing yourself and then hire professional movers to do the rest. For distances farther than 100 miles, most movers charge an average of $0.50 per pound and $0.75 per mile. These rates often decrease as the distance increases.
The farther you have to move, the more you can save by packing and driving your own stuff. In fact, if your relocation is over 100 miles you could potentially save up to $1,000. But there's more cost to DIY moving than just the truck. Consider the cost of gas, the cost of hiring friends and family (or someone else) to help — whether you pay in cash or pizza — and the time commitment for you and your helpers.
Make a decision
Every move is different, and knowing when to hire movers depends on what matters to you most at the time. Usually, the best way to decide is to solicit quotes from multiple moving and truck rental companies. Use the calculators here to estimate the cost of moving. Then, see which of the three versions makes the most sense for your wallet and time.