Relocating is a gentle balance of cost, comfort, and efficiency. One of the hardest choices is figuring out whether to hire professional movers or rent a truck and do it yourself.
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Costs with Movers
Moving companies operate in crews of 3 or 4, charging $25 to $35 per hour per crewmember.
Local Moves (less than 2 hours of driving time)
- Studio or one-bedroom home - $200 to $300
- Two- to three-bedroom home - $300 to $400
- Four- to six-bedroom home - $400 to $600
Long Distance Moves (coast to coast)
- Studio or one-bedroom - $2,700 to $3,500
- Two- to three-bedroom home - $3,500 to $5,500
- Three- to four-bedroom home - $5,500 to $8,000
Note that these costs don’t reflect:
- Minimums, which usually total two hours’ work
- Taxes and insurance fees
- Additional charges for specialists (disassembly of items, disconnecting gas/water mains, etc.)
- Charges for heavier items (pianos, lawnmowers, etc.)
- You have more time to focus on other aspects of your move.
- You don’t have to worry about carrying heavy objects, preventing potential injury to yourself and damage to your goods.
- Movers are experienced. They know how to:
- Wrap furniture for optimal protection
- Efficiently position your belongings in the truck to maximize space and prevent damage
- Protect floors and walls from damage during the move
- Safely operate and maneuver a large moving truck
Why Hire Movers?
Cost to DIY
Renting your own truck can save up to half of the cost, but remember you would have to:
- Load and unload the truck yourself
- Potentially deal with heavy appliances
- Factor in the cost of:
- Additional insurance (if your policy doesn’t provide coverage)
- Food and lodging (for longer trips)
- Packing supplies
Moving yourself saves money, but you’re still spending time.
- You pay less.
- You have more flexibility in your schedule.
- You don’t have to worry about the moving company’s flexibility.
- If your plans go awry, you don’t have to worry about rescheduling or paying cancellation fees.
- You have greater control over:
- How your possessions are handled
- How your belongings are packed
- When the move takes place
The Middle Ground: Self-Service Moves
With self-service moves (also known as “you pack, we drive”), you are responsible for loading your belongings into a truck, trailer, or pod.
The moving company then transports your possessions to your destination.
This costs more than a complete DIY, but comes with the service and expertise of a professional moving company.
An Example: From Atlanta, Georgia, to Modesto, California
For a 3-bedroom home:
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- Full-service move = $3,600 to $4,400
- Self-service move = $670 to $818
- DIY = $36 to $44 per day + fuel