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Should I Hire a Professional Mover or Do It Myself?

Depending on which of the three moving methods you choose, the details of your next big move could vary greatly. From $2,000–$10,000, a few hours–days of effort, find out which method is best for you. Editorial Team

March 24, 2023

Ask the Professionals

Whether you’re planning to move across the street or across the country, the journey is a balancing act between your finances, time, and effort. There’s no right or wrong way to move, but there is a way that will best fit your unique situation.

There are three ways to move: with a professional moving company, with a container moving company, or all on your own. Let’s find out which method is best for you.

Doing it Yourself

The DIY method is the cheapest option but it also takes the most effort. DIY movers do everything on their own: packing, hauling, and unpacking.

That said, while DIY moves are cheap, they’re not free. DIYers save money by not paying for labor, but most will still have to rent a moving van, pay for gas, rent a dolly, and purchase moving accessories (such as cardboard boxes, plastic wrap, wrapping twine, tv coverings, and cushioning foam).


Cost: DIY moves are the cheapest moving option. When compared to a full-service move, a DIY move of the same distance is nearly a fifth of the price ($9,000 full service vs $2,000 DIY).

Flexibility: DIY is also the most flexible way to move. If you own all of your own equipment, you can move anytime that suits you. If you have to rent a truck or a van, rental companies typically offer generous grace periods for renting and returning equipment.


Effort and Time: DIY moves are physically demanding and time intensive. You need to pack your belongings, load all of your items onto a rental truck, drive the rental truck to your new destination, unload your items into your new space, and unpack your boxes in your home.

Hazards: For inexperienced DIYers, moving can be dangerous. Some rental companies allow you to rent trucks with 20-foot beds. If you haven’t been professionally trained to drive that large of a vehicle, highway, and city driving can be dangerous in even the best of weather. Additionally, the lifting required to pack and unpack your things can be dangerous. If you slip, drop, or lift incorrectly, you can seriously hurt yourself or someone else.

Who It’s Best for

People on a Budget: For some, saving money is the most important thing. DIY moving is far and away the cheapest way to move.

People with Few Items: When it comes to DIY moving, the fewer items you have the easier it is to complete your move. If you don’t have a lot to move—such as couples living in a studio or 1-bedroom apartment—you’ll save both time and money by keeping your move DIY.

Container Moving

Container movers require you to pack your belongings, but you don’t have to transport them; this makes a container move a good “middle of the road” option for both price and effort.

If you hire a container mover, an employee will drop a large, steel box onto your driveway or side street for you to load on your own time. Once you’ve filled the container, a company employee will pick up and haul your steel box of belongings to your new home. Once the box arrives at your new home, you have a few days to unpack the steel container before it’s retrieved by the company.


Flexibility: Container moving companies let you take your time during your move; you can tell your company how much time you need to load and unload it (generally about a week) and they’ll leave it in your driveway. If you don’t know your moving date, this flexibility could work well for an unplanned schedule.

Balance: Container moving companies represent a comfortable balance between price and effort. If a DIY move sounds too stressful, but a professional move sounds too extravagant, consider container moving to be your perfect solution.


Labor requirements: Although you get to skip hauling your cargo container, you still have to load and unload it.

Space limitations: Moving containers are often smaller than the moving trucks used by professional movers. Once your container fills up, you’ll need to move anything left over.

Who It’s Best for

Long-distance movers: If you’re moving across the country, the drive from your old house to your new home may take lots more time than packing. To save yourself from a long, potentially hazardous haul, skip it entirely with a container move.

People with an uncertain moving date: Container moving gives you about a week of flexibility on both sides of the packing and unpacking process. If your plans are a bit up in the air, a container move might better suit the coming days.

Professional Moving Companies

Professional movers are the most expensive, but least labor-intensive, moving option.

Professional moving companies handle every part of your move. A professional moving company will load your belongings onto a company truck, haul everything to your new destination, and unload your items into your new home.

Many professional movers provide additional services, such as long-distance automobile moving, item storage, junk removal, and relocation services for enormous objects (e.g. pianos) or fragile items (e.g. artwork).


Convenience: Professional movers can make your move completely hands-free. With no packing, no hauling, and no unpacking, hiring a professional mover is the best method for saving yourself the time and physical effort it takes to complete a move.

Expertise: When you hire a team of professional movers, you’re not just paying for labor but for years of experience. Professional movers have the know-how necessary to carefully pack delicate items, drive safely, and unpack without making a mess of your new home. Also, the professionals know how to handle tricky situations, such as inclement weather, heavy furniture, or fragile artwork.


Cost: Professional moving fees can be high. Local moves cost an average of $7,500 and long-distance moves cost an average of $9,000.

Commitment: Although there are certain exceptions (such as for inclement weather), most professional moving companies need you to commit to your selected moving date. If something changes on your end—for example, your start date for your new job gets pushed back—your movers probably can’t reschedule without advance notice.

Who It’s Best for

People looking for a stress-free move: Moving to a new place is hard enough as it is. A professional moving team could help take some of the extra weight off your shoulders.

People who are short on time: Whether you’re a busy professional, a parent, or a person with other responsibilities, you might not have the time to plan and operate a move. A professional mover can handle most of the work for you, freeing up your schedule for your typical schedule.

Find Your Perfect Move

Your moving needs are special to you. Whether you prioritize saving your time, effort, or finances, there’s a moving solution out there that will protect what matters the most to you.

If your right-fit solution requires a professional moving company, let us save you the research. At, we’ve found the best short- and long-distance moving professionals in the country to help you get where you’re going safely. Check out our list of professional movers, below:

Find Your Professional Mover