Should I do my move myself or hire a professional?

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By John Barnes

With spring here and summer fast approaching, the moving season has begun. With all the options–rental trucks, moving containers, or full-service moves–moving yourself might be less expensive, or may not be the best option.  How do you know if you can do it all yourself, or if you should bring in the pros to help? Review the following questions and see.

Do you have time to do the job?
Packing can take several days or several weeks depending on how fast you can pack. Loading, unloading and driving can be very time consuming.

How much do you need to move?
Large homes are more difficult to move than small apartments. There may be heavy furniture and appliances that need to be packed and loaded.

Are you physically capable of loading/unloading on both ends of the move?
Assess your situation. Never take on a role too big or over-exert yourself under any circumstances. Cross-country driving is very tedious.

Will you have family & friends whom are willing to help?
Always have people help you through the relocation process. Remember that safety is the primary concern. Anyone handling heavy furniture is susceptible to injuries, even professional movers. However, moving companies have liability insurance for their employees in case of injury. Obtaining extra insurance for your self-move would be more costly.

Keep in mind that the availability of your family & friends can depend on the timing of your move. You may have to consider hiring labor on both ends of your move.

How much is your shipment worth?
Extra coverage may be necessary for your items because the coverage provided by the rental truck company will only protect your items if the damages are caused by vehicular malfunctions, not load shifting or driver-caused accidents. However, insurance companies charge a lot less when you use a professional moving company. Much more damage is expected to occur during a self-move. You’re solely responsible for any damages to your items.

Can you drive a big truck?
Rental trucks handle differently from your average car. They are top-heavy and the braking distances are longer.

Will you be making arrangements for your spouse, children and pets?
If your move is long distance, consider if there is enough space in the truck for your family and your pets. You’ll have to make provisions for them to follow in a separate car or to reserve flight seats. If you are making a long-distance move, factor in the costs of food and lodging.

No matter what you chose as your moving solution, plan well, pack well and be realistic.  Understanding is half the battle!


John Barnes is the owner of Bargain Relocation and has over 15 years’ experience in the moving and storage industry.  For more information, visit


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