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Moving requires either a lot of time or money—and sometimes both. As you try to balance cost and convenience, you may wonder whether hiring professional movers is worth it.
To help you make an informed decision, our team has spent hours reviewing what the top moving companies have to offer, including their pricing, services, and customer service. We have also thoroughly researched the ins and outs of DIY moving. This article will outline each approach’s benefits and drawbacks so you can determine the best option for your situation.
Are Movers Worth It?
The question of whether professional movers are worth it does not have a one-size-fits-all answer. If you are planning a relatively small local move, you may not need or want professional help. In that case, you can rent a U-Haul moving truck or a PODS portable moving container for a self-service move. However, if you are relocating for a new job or have a large house to move, you may lack the time or energy to tackle the process yourself.
To help you decide, let’s compare the benefits of hiring professional movers versus moving on your own.
Benefits of Hiring Professional Movers
Hiring professional movers is the most expensive way to move, but it has several compelling benefits.
Movers Handle the Heavy Lifting
When you hire a full-service moving company, you can sit back and relax as professionals load and unload your packed belongings. This is a far easier and safer approach than carrying boxes and furniture up and down stairs on your own, even with the help of friends and family members. Letting professionals handle the loading and unloading is particularly appealing if stairs or long carrying distances are involved.
Movers Offer Insurance
Under regulations by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), interstate movers must provide complimentary released-value protection for every interstate move. This insurance covers up to 60 cents per pound per item. They must also offer full-value protection, which covers a minimum of $6 per pound per item, for an additional cost. Some full-service movers offer additional insurance options that cover the full declared value of your items.
You can purchase moving insurance for a DIY move, too. However, moving yourself leaves little room to hold anyone else liable for damaged belongings.
Movers Have Experience and Equipment
Items that are fragile, bulky, or heavy are challenging for homeowners to move on their own. Although you can rent a moving truck, dollies, lifting straps, and other special equipment, the costs will add up—and you still will not have the same expertise as a professional mover.
A professional moving company has the tools and know-how to safely pack, load, and transport your most delicate belongings, such as instruments and artwork. They may even offer crating services, van cranes, certified antique movers, and piano moving specialists.
Movers Provide Guidance and Convenience
Full-service movers can handle more than just loading, unloading, and transportation. They can also pack and unpack your belongings, assemble furniture, install appliances, transport your vehicle, and clean. These companies can be a one-stop shop for all your moving needs.
Most companies also assign a dedicated moving coordinator to each move. This person will be available to answer your questions, offer advice, and help coordinate your move. Some companies even provide 24/7 customer support via phone.
Benefits of DIY Moves
Planning a DIY move will be more time-consuming than hiring professional movers. However, this approach does come with a few noteworthy benefits.
You Determine the Timeline
When you move by yourself, you have much more control over timing. Your only limitation will be the availability of the equipment you need, but you can counter that by booking your truck rental a couple months in advance. You decide when you will move and how long it will take.
With a professional mover, you have little control over how quickly your move is completed. You can shop around to find the most efficient movers, but that does not guarantee your expectations will be met.
You Control the Process
Professional movers typically have years of experience under their belts, plus special training and equipment that makes it easier for them to pack, load, and unload your belongings. However, you will have little control over how they go about these tasks.
With a DIY move, you can personally oversee the entire moving process. You can decide how things are packed and organized, including the boxes and materials used. You will manage the loading, unloading, and transportation. Although this means more work, it also means greater control.
Your Valuables Stay With You
No matter how reputable a moving company seems, it can be unsettling to entrust a stranger with your most prized possessions. There is always a risk that your belongings will be lost, stolen, or damaged.
Moving by yourself will not completely eliminate the risk of damage. Accidents happen, whether due to human error or natural disasters. However, DIY moving puts you in the position to minimize the chance of theft. You may also be less likely to misplace, drop, or otherwise damage your own belongings.
You Can Customize the Price
When you hire a professional mover, the company ultimately sets the price. You can compare moving quotes and get a binding estimate, but the pricing may be less transparent than you would like. If you do not like the cost of hiring a professional mover, you have very little leverage to negotiate.
The total cost of a DIY move is much more malleable. You have control over every line item in the budget. You can decide what size truck to rent, who to rent it from, where to fill it up, whether to take toll roads, and how fast to drive. All these decisions will impact the cost. You can also choose whether and where to purchase packing materials.
Services Professional Movers Offer
In addition to loading and unloading, long-distance moving companies may offer some or all of the following services:
- Packing and unpacking: Most moving companies offer both full and partial packing. With the former, the movers will pack all your belongings. With the latter, the movers might pack only your most valuable, fragile, or bulky items.
- Cleaning: The moving company can clean your old home after you move out or your new home before you move in. Some companies also offer debris removal services.
- Storage: Many moving companies also offer short- and long-term storage solutions, including climate-controlled storage units.
- Vehicle transport: Movers can transport your primary vehicle if you will be flying to your new home or your second vehicle if you are driving. They may also be able to ship classic cars, motorcycles, recreational vehicles, and boats.
- Pet relocation: A few movers can help transport your pet safely and comfortably to your new house.
- Furniture assembly: Most movers are willing to disassemble furniture at your old home and reassemble it in your new home. Basic assembly services may even be included in your moving quote rather than as an add-on cost.
- Appliance installation: Your moving company might be able to handle appliance installation in-house, or it may outsource this service to a third-party professional.
- White-glove moving: Not all companies offer white-glove moving, and the exact definition may vary. However, this service often includes packing and unpacking, cleaning, assembly, installation, and even home decor setup.
Compare the Top Moving Companies
If you decide to hire a professional for your local or cross-country move, we recommend the following companies:
- International Van Lines: Best for International Moves
- American Van Lines: Best for High-Value Goods
- Interstate Moving & Relocation Group: Best for Major Cities
- Moving APT: Best for Coordinated Moves
- Safeway Moving Inc.: Best for Condos and HOAs
- JK Moving Services: Best Mobile App
- Allied Van Lines: Best Customer Experience
- North American Van Lines: Best Appliance Movers
- 1-800-PACK-RAT: Best for Self-Service Moves
Most people who choose to move on their own do so to save money. You might also plan a DIY move to exercise more control over the moving process or keep a closer eye on your belongings.
However, hiring a moving company is the most convenient way to move. A professional move may not be entirely stress-free, but it will require much less time and hassle. If convenience is your main concern, it is worth it to hire professional movers.
The best mover for you will depend on your desired services and spending preferences. Compare quotes from at least three top moving companies before deciding on a provider.
FAQ About Professional Movers
Is it worth buying packing supplies?
It may be worth buying special packing supplies for fragile items. Sometimes, though, you can use blankets and towels instead of bubble wrap or furniture padding. You can also ask local businesses for free used boxes before purchasing new ones.
Should I tip movers?
Tipping your movers is not required. However, tipping your movers or offering refreshments can be a great way to show appreciation for their hard work. Tipping may be particularly appropriate if the work was completed ahead of schedule, the move involved heavy or bulky items, or the movers had to navigate stairs or other obstacles.
Should I pack my own boxes?
You can save money by packing your own boxes, and you will know how and where everything is packed. However, the released-value and full-value protection offered by your moving company may not cover items you pack yourself. To save time, you can pay movers to pack your belongings. They also have specific techniques for packing fragile items to ensure they are less likely to shift and break in transit.
Is it worth hiring movers when you have a lot of stuff?
Yes, it is usually worth hiring movers when you have a lot of stuff. This is especially true if you are planning a long-distance move.
How We Chose the Top Long-Distance Moving Companies
We researched and analyzed dozens of full- and self-service moving companies and formulated a moving review methodology based on a number of factors, including package options, pricing, and reputation. We also identified customer pain points based on customer-review analysis, proprietary consumer surveys, and interviews with former and current moving professionals.
Speaking directly to a representative at each company, we determined the number of package options available, the coverage provided, the types of moves available (long-distance, local, and international), and any extra perks offered, such as mobile apps, moving checklists, and 24/7 customer service.
We also gathered pricing data from each of the companies and determined whether they provide ballpark estimates or binding quotes. To determine reputation, we evaluated companies based on their rating with the Better Business Bureau as well as their overall score on Yelp.