How to Decide if a Moving Company or Truck Rental is Best for You

Thank you, U-Pack for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

What’s better; should you hire a moving company or drive a rental truck yourself? There are so many decisions to make when you have to move your life across town or across the country. We should know – we’ve moved roughly 9 times in the last 11 years. Through research and experience as we planned our big relocation to Boston, we’ve come up with a list to help you decide what’s right for you.

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10 Questions to Help You Decide Whether to a Hire a Moving Company or Do it Yourself

1. How many rooms of furniture are you moving?

If you don’t have a lot of items to move, you can probably do it yourself fairly easily. However, if you’re moving an entire home, across the country, like we are, it is so much easier and more efficient to use a professional moving company.

2. Is this a long distance or local move?

If you are moving very far, like we are, there are a lot of factors to consider. You have to consider the cost, the time, the gas, the mileage/wear on your car. A cross-country move is a lot more taxing on you personally and on your wallet than a shorter move.

3. What’s your moving budget?

It’s true that professional movers are slightly more expensive than a DIY move. However, you need to account for all of the costs before making your decision. For example, if you do a DIY move, you will need to pay for: the truck, the gas, insurance (or hope your car insurance covers it), nights in hotels, food on the road, tolls, etc.  Also, how much is your time worth? Not only do you need to consider the time in driving the truck, but consider all the stress and the time that goes into planning a cross-country move.

If you hire a moving company, you only have to pay one fee and you’re done. After looking at a lot of different moving companies, we chose U-Pack. One of the reasons was they were totally affordable. You pack, they drive, so you save money. Plus, you only pay for the space you use, so you know the exact price you will pay as you load. You can also get a quote online and there are no surprises or hidden fees. The quote they gave me was right on target, within 1 foot! Also, you can choose between a ReloCube or a trailer, depending on your budget and moving needs. For us, U-Pack made the most sense. We like packing our own items anyway, and we hired movers to load and unload the truck

4. Will your family and friends help you pack, load, and/or unload?

If you have family and friends who are willing to help load/unload your truck, pack boxes, and help with other logistics of your move, then you might be fine with a DIY move. However, for our family, we didn’t feel comfortable asking people to help us in the horribly hot Phoenix heat, so we hired movers.

Also, our family wasn’t able to assist with watching our kids, so it wasn’t even an option for us to drive a truck across the country again. There is no way we would make our kids ride in a car for nearly 40 hours. Plus, I’m pretty sure I would lose my mind. So, if you don’t have a lot of people who are able or willing to help you, it’s probably better to leave it to the professionals.

5. What’s your time worth?

As I mentioned above, it’s not just the hard costs you have to consider, what is your time worth? If you think about spending 2-3 days driving a truck across country, that could account for a lot of money, depending on how you value your time. I personally don’t have a lot of free time. Plus, I’m spending a week in Minnesota at my sister’s house, enjoying a summer vacation with my kids, while my stuff is being safely shipped across the country for me. All of the memories we are creating are worth a lot of money if you ask me!

6. Do you need total control over the moving process?

If you choose a professional mover, you do give up some control. We hired movers to pack our truck, and U-Pack to ship our things for us. Thus, we are trusting other people to do their jobs. Honestly, they are professionals, they have a heck of a lot more experience with moving than I do, so I completely trust they will do their jobs well!

However, if you’re a bit of a control freak, a DIY move might be more up your alley. Then, you get to control everything, but that also comes with a lot of stress and a lot more planning.

7. How much of a planner are you?

Don’t get me wrong, hiring a professional moving company requires some planning. However, it requires significantly less planning than a DIY move.

Another benefit of U-Pack is a that it is a one-stop-shop, so I don’t have to worry about anything. They provided me with suggestions for movers to load/unload our truck, companies that could ship our car, places to store our items during the move, and even places to get boxes and moving supplies. Their website also has tons of tips on moving (I’ll share packing hacks next week!).

8. How well do you handle stress?

Although a DIY move gives you full control, it’s also a lot more stressful. I can’t even tell you just how stressed we were the entire 2-3 days it took us to drive from KS to CA. The entire time, I was clenching the truck door handle, just hoping no one would hit us, the trailer wouldn’t detach and our car would fly off, you know, all of the stress with driving across country in a massive truck with our car behind us. It was just so stressful, that I would much rather give up some control and pay a little more to know our items are safe.

9. How flexible are your moving dates?

If you DIY your move, you can control exactly when your items arrive. If you do a professional moving company, like U-Pack, it usually takes 6-8 business days for your items to arrive. The timing worked perfectly for us, as we were able to spend a week at my sister’s before getting to Boston. However, if you’re crunched for time, you might need to consider a DIY move.

10. Are you in good physical shape to move?

Moving is hard work! I would highly suggest you hire movers to load/unload your truck or moving trailer unless you’re in excellent shape and want to lift heavy items for hours on end. For us, it was totally worth it to hire movers to load our U-Pack trailer and then hire another set of movers to unload once we get to Boston.  They know what they are doing, and they do this for a living, so they are much better equipped to handle the moving process.

If you’re considering hiring a moving company vs. a truck rental, I’d highly suggest you consider the 10 questions above. If you’re pressed for time, don’t have a lot of items to move, have people to help and aren’t moving too far, then a DIY move is probably for you. However, if you have a lot of stuff, are moving far, don’t have family/friends to help, and don’t feel like planning, then a professional moving company is probably for you.

You will probably notice I didn’t talk too much about cost. Well, the reason is that a lot of people underestimate the actual costs of a DIY move. It’s not just the cost of the truck. Be sure to account for gas, stress, insurance, tolls, hotel stays, food/snacks on the road, etc. Make sure you consider all of the costs to see if the DIY savings is enough to account for all of the extra trouble and time.

I hope these 10 questions help you decide what’s right for your next move and give you some insights into whether to hire a moving company or rent a moving truck.

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