Moving can be an expensive proposition. Buying supplies, insurance, and hiring movers can really cut into your bank account. There are plenty of movers out there, but depending upon much stuff you have to move, the cost can be anywhere between $2,000 and more than $8,000. If you aren’t being moved as part of an agreement to start a new job, you can find yourself spending a great deal of money, just to get your things from point A to point B.
The expense involved in hiring someone else to move one’s things is the reason that many people choose to move on their own. They rent trucks and pack up everything themselves, and then drive it across the country. Die-hard self-movers claim that this saves them plenty of money, in exchange for a little extra elbow grease on their parts. In fact, the conventional wisdom that you will save money doing everything yourself is the reason that so many people just assume that they should take care of everything on their own.
But is moving yourself really worth the extra trouble? Do you really save enough money to make it worth it? The answers lie in your specific situation, including how far you have to go and how much stuff you have.
If you have a long way to go, it might actually be better to have some sort of moving help. Many people are uncomfortable driving the large rental trucks over mountains. If you are driving across the country, however, that is precisely what you will have to do. Additionally, it can be difficult to park a large truck at the hotels that you are staying at if you are not experienced. While these can be annoyances, the real consideration becomes money. The farther you drive the rental truck, the more it costs to rent it. Renting a large enough truck to get you across the country can cost as much as $3,000 or more, depending on how large of a truck you need.
Additionally, you have to pay for all of the moving supplies. And if you choose to buy supplies from the company that you rent your truck from, you may find that you spend even more, since those companies often charge more for their supplies. And don’t forget ramp rentals (if necessary for some large items), dollies, and other equipment that you might need.
There are moving companies that will drive your possessions across the country, if you pack them up yourself and load them on the truck. These companies charge, on average, between $1,500 and $5,000, depending on how much space you use in the truck. If you have a small two to three bedroom apartment or a small one to two bedroom home, you might actually save money by paying someone else to drive your things across the country. Even if it costs $100 to $200 more than driving yourself, most people find that the aggravation of driving a large truck more than 2,500 miles is worth a couple hundred bucks.
Another consideration is how much stuff you have. If you do not have very many possessions, hiring someone to move it can seem unnecessary, especially a full service mover. However, if you have a lot of things, it can become overwhelming to pack up everything and load it onto a truck. Additionally, the more you have, the bigger the truck you will need. While this is not usually a problem when traveling distances of less than 400 or 500 miles, it can become daunting when the distances become really significant. Quality movers can help you pack your things properly so that they do not break, and they can take care of the heavy lifting and loading. For many people, when they add up the savings of doing it themselves, they find that the time, effort, and frustration involved is not worth what they had saved.
You can determine how much your time is worth with a simple calculation. Figure up how many hours you will spend boxing everything, loading everything, and the extra time it takes to drive the truck (you usually have to go 15 to 25 miles per hour slower than the speed limit in a moving truck), and multiply it by how much you make per hour at your job. When you add that amount to the actual cash you are spending, you can see how much more currency you are spending in your valuable time and effort. For some people, this does not matter, but for others, it discourages them from moving themselves when they could be doing something else.
The bottom line is that if you are only going a short distance, and if you do not have very much stuff, it is probably worth it to move yourself. If you are moving across the country, however, and have even an average amount of possessions, it is probably not actually worth the stress of doing everything yourself, although it is probably worth it to pack and load on your own, and then have someone else drive it.