The Hidden Costs of Moving: DIY and Professional Mover Methods

So, you’ve bought a new house, finalized the sale, and there’s nothing you need to fix in the home. Everything’s good to go, and that’s the last you have to worry about money for a while, huh? No, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The truth is, it costs money to move, and you may not be expecting all the expenses that come along with it. Trust us. Most people don’t.

So, before you get excited about moving day, let’s talk about some of the hidden costs behind the DIY method and hiring professional movers. From there, you can figure out which one will lower your costs based on your situation.

The Hidden Costs of DIY Moving

DIY moving is when you move with whatever truck you can get ahold of, a few cups of coffee, and some good old elbow grease. In short, you do it yourself in an attempt to save some cash on professional movers. Do you save cash, though?

Let’s look at the different factors you may not be considering.

Gas Prices

Even if you rent a box truck, you can’t escape the fact that you’ll be paying for a lot of gas to transport all of your stuff. This is even more of a problem if you use a standard pickup truck, or heaven forbid, a car that barely holds anything.

You’ll be making multiple trips back and forth from your old home to your new one, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll have to refuel at least once or twice. With the average civilian vehicle costing roughly $50 to refuel entirely, that’s a fairly hefty price. Even if you rent a box truck, the total cost of the rental can exceed $500. That’s more than a moving service in some cases.

Lost and Damaged Items

If you’re dragging every item you’ve accumulated over the years across the state with a pickup truck and some straps, you can bet that you’ll lose something along the way. Maybe a box of paperwork will crack open with the wind and launch your necessary files across the highway, or maybe your TV will jostle itself free and become a pile of debris on the road. Either way, you’re going to lose something if you’re trying to carry it all in a civilian vehicle.

In a lot of cases, the loss of such items might nullify any savings you gained by foregoing a moving service.

Unexpected Injuries

It costs to miss time off work, and a short while after you’ve finalized buying a house is not the time for you to be missing crucial work hours and income. So, imagine how costly it can be to pull your back, drop furniture on your foot, or otherwise develop a moving-related injury that keeps you out of work while you recover. It probably won’t be your ideal scenario, and on top of the pain, it can hurt you financially quite a bit.

In almost any case, missing nearly a week of work because you cannot physically move your back or walk after an injury is going to be infinitely more costly than hiring professionals to take that risk.

Wear and Tear

If you’re using your vehicle, there’s more to worry about than just fueling it. You also have to worry about the wear and tear associated with making repeated trips between houses. This is especially true if you’re moving across a considerable distance.

Let’s say you have a standard pickup truck that has done a lot of great work for you over the last ten years. Until now, it’s taken you to the store, maybe a couple of family vacations, and your day-to-day errands and work commute, but nothing too ridiculous. The miles are adding up now, though.  You decide to move across the state, and you want to use your favorite truck to handle it. You will have to make multiple trips, and even if you could have squeezed another five years of day-to-day errands out of your truck those repeated long-distance trips will add so much wear and tear that you can guarantee you’ll start to see issues with it.

Your tires may wear out and need to be replaced, your brakes might wear out, or serious engine troubles might ensue.

In any case, the added wear and tear of repeatedly driving your vehicle over long distances will often outweigh what you save.

The Hidden Costs of Hiring Professional Movers

If you’re dealing with a truly professional company, you won’t have to worry about the horror stories of surprise fees and other nonsense. Since we don’t support shady businesses, we won’t consider those cons. They’re not professional services, and they don’t belong in the same category. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any costs you need to worry about, though.

Hourly Fees

A lot of professional services charge by the hour per worker. So, if you have two movers handling your move, that’s $80 per hour. For reference, a small studio apartment may take 3 or 4 hours to move.

This is a fair way to handle costs, but you have to do your part to minimize the time spent on the job. If you pack all your boxes properly, place them in easy-to-reach areas, and label them according to which room they should go to, you can cut a couple of hours off the expected time and save money. If you don’t put in any of that effort, you may pay nearly $200 more due to the added man-hours.

Insurance and Add-Ons

Most companies offer insurance coverage and other perks. These CAN save you money in the event of an accident, but if nothing happens, you spent money with no tangible benefits. You have to balance the cost and risk of such add-ons, or your overall cost might be higher than average.

This isn’t really a hidden cost, it’s just something most people don’t expect. Some customers often expect insurance coverage as part of the deal, and that’s simply not the case. Granted, if a new part of the team drops your TV off a cliff, a good company will try to make it right regardless. However, insurance is still something to consider, and if it costs extra, it’s well worth it. It’ll cover accidents that aren’t so blatant or obviously the company’s fault.

The Final Verdict

DIY moving is ideal in very specific situations. If you’re just moving down the street, have plenty of friends to help, and are physically capable of moving all your heavier belongings, it might save you some cash. However, a professional is clearly the cheaper option in most scenarios. You’ll save yourself physical stress, gas funds, and several other problems.

However, you need a moving service you can trust. For that, we recommend 1StopPacknShip: The best movers in the business.

Tina Johnson helped bring The Marketing Folks from a-weekly newsletter to a full-fledged news site by creating a new website and branding. She continues to assist in keeping the site responsive and well organized for the readers. As a contributor to The Marketing Folks, Tara mainly covers industry new.