If you want to save on moving costs, the surest way to do so is to do everything yourself. Aside from the actual rental truck and fuel costs, you really only have to worry about boxes and packing equipment. But with handling things yourselves comes a lot more physical and logistical work. If you live in an apartment, chances are you don’t have nearly as many possessions as living in a larger single family home, but we could be wrong. You have to assess your needs, budget, time, etc. Here are the pros and cons of doing your own move.

The Pros of Moving Yourself

  • It costs much less: Since you’re not paying for a moving service and all that comes with that service, you’re likely to save hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars. The national average cost of moving is around $1,400 (2 man team, less than 100 miles), which means you’ll save that much and possibly more. If you’re moving to another state, those moving company costs climb quickly. 
  • You don’t have to stress about your belongings (much): Trusting a moving company isn’t exactly a trust slam-dunk. When you have total control about how things are packed, you can make sure it’s all done the way you want it to be done. You know exactly where things should go, and you can label everything the way you prefer.

  • You control the schedule: Shy of figuring out scheduling the freight elevator in your apartment buildings, old and new, you can figure out the day and time that works best for you. You can take two days instead of one. Sure, your will have to rent the truck for longer, but that increase shouldn’t be substantial.
  • You can ask your friends and family to help: This might not seem like a pro, but if you manage things properly, you can get free help and cement friendships. Just make sure you’re willing to be flexible on time, and also get everything packed before everyone arrives. Make sure you buy drinks and dinner for everyone. Good pizza and beer (not the cheap crap) goes a long way. Get everyone a nice gift just to say thanks. You can get a decent multi-tool for less than 20 bucks. Bam!

The Cons of Moving Yourself

  • Moving is hard work: We’re guessing you own some heavy stuff. Furniture, mattresses, televisions, appliances, cookware, etc. This can all weight a lot, and even the light stuff crammed in a big box can be heavy. Keep in mind that moving takes physical labor, and if you’re not cut out for it or if you have a bad back, you just might want to pay a moving company instead of putting yourself at risk.
  • Moving stresses people out: Handling everything yourself can tax relationships. Friends, spouses, family members. You really push each other’s buttons, especially if you have a bunch of Type-A personalities. Even if you have the best of intentions, stuff can go wrong quickly. If a friend breaks something that’s important to you, that could end things.

  • Driving a truck isn’t easy: Unless you’ve done it many times before, driving a big box truck isn’t the same as driving a car. It’s way bigger, has generally worse visibility, and you have to plan your turns really well. If you’re not confident you can do this, especially in crowded urban environments, then it might be better to pay a professional.
  • You damage, you pay: In the process of moving, you might run into walls, damage wood floors, or heaven forbid, get into an accident with the moving truck. Moving companies have insurance that covers damages (in most cases), but if you move yourself, then it’s all on you. Be prepared to take on those costs if you’re not careful. Even if you are, accidents happen that are oftentimes out of your control.