Should You Move by Yourself or Hire Professional Movers? Decide the Best Way to Move

Nick P. Cellucci
Written by Nick P. Cellucci
Updated March 8, 2022
A woman in new apartment unpacking
Photo: Westend61 / Getty Images


  • Moving by yourself is more affordable, but it involves more work. 

  • Moving truck rental costs $120 to $200 for a local move or $1,500 to $2,300 for a long-distance move.#You can mix and match a custom package of professional services.

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Moving into a new home is exciting, but it also comes with the stress of sticking to a moving timeline, staying on budget, and, of course, packing a lot of boxes. You may be considering whether to hire local movers to help you handle the workload. Start by comparing the pros and cons of moving by yourself and hiring a moving company to find the option that best fits your needs.

The Pros and Cons of Moving by Yourself

A young couple moving furniture into new home
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When you opt to move on your own, you’re responsible for every aspect of your move. If you take the DIY moving route, prepare to pack up all your own belongings, and, depending on how much space you need, load them into either your own vehicle or a rented moving truck and drive them to your new home.

This option works best if you’re on a tight budget, if you already own or can borrow a truck, and if you aren’t moving far from your current home. If you need to rent a moving truck, the average flat fee is between $120 and $200, plus mileage for a local move or $1,500 to $2,300 for a long-distance move. Those totals don’t include the cost of gas, liability insurance coverage, or moving tool rentals.

Pros of Moving by Yourself

  • This method is the most affordable option with no labor costs.

  • You have full control over the packing, handling, and transporting of your belongings.

  • You have the chance to sort through your belongings and declutter.

  • You can move on your own schedule.

Cons of Moving by Yourself

  • Moving by yourself involves significant personal time and labor investment.

  • You could risk physical injury.

  • It puts physical stress on your body.

  • You may need to rent and drive a large moving truck on your own.

  • You’ll need to purchase boxes for moving and other packing supplies.

The Pros and Cons of Hiring Professional Movers

A man unloading boxes from van
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On the other hand, a full-service moving company will pack up your belongings, move them, and unpack them at your new home. This moving option works best for homeowners on a tight timeline or anyone who needs to offload some of the hassle and physical labor of moving. Plus, professional movers have the skills and experience necessary to transport any and all items.

The cost of hiring movers varies by season, distance, and location, but you’ll typically pay $550 to $2,000 for a local move or $2,000 to $7,500 for a long-distance move. The most expensive moves can cost as much as $12,000


  • The movers handle all packing, organizing, heavy-lifting, and transporting.

  • They’re experienced in moving large, bulky, or oddly-shaped items properly.

  • Your belongings are transported for you.

  • You can purchase moving insurance to protect your belongings in case of damage.


  • This method is significantly more expensive than moving by yourself.

  • You have less control over how your belongings are handled.

  • You have to schedule your move around the movers’ availability.

  • You can expect to pay for additional expenses like moving insurance. 

Moving by Yourself vs. Hiring Professional Movers

Two workers moving large box
Photo: kali9 / E+ / Getty Images

If you’re unsure which approach to moving is right for you, consider the key advantages and disadvantages of the DIY and professional moving routes to help you decide.

Options & Customizations​

When choosing how to move your belongings, you have the option to mix and match options to meet your needs. When you move entirely by yourself, your options are more limited. You can either use your own vehicles and equipment or rent a truck and dolly. If you don’t need help with moving but your organization skills are lacking, you can hire a moving organizer.

Rental truck companies, movers, and portable storage unit providers offer a range of services that allow you to choose the level of professional involvement you need. For example, you can pack on your own, and then hire pros to load your belongings into a moving truck and drive them for you. Being able to customize your service allows you to save money compared to having pros handle every aspect of the move.

Most customizable: Hiring professional movers


The cost to hire movers varies depending on how many items you have, how far you’re moving, seasonality, and whether or not you choose to insure your belongings for the move. However, the average rate for local moves is between $550 and $2,200, with a rate of $2,000 to $7,500 for long-distance or out-of-state moves. 

This cost is significantly higher than the cost to rent a truck and move by yourself, which ranges from $120 to $200 plus mileage for local moves and $1,500 to $2,300 for long-distance moves. Keep in mind that these totals don’t include the cost of gas for the truck, renting a dolly and other equipment, or liability insurance. Despite that, moving by yourself is typically the more affordable option.

Most affordable: Moving yourself


Certain factors can shorten your moving timeline, such as a quick closing date on your home sale or a time-sensitive job transfer. In these instances, moving speed is critical. A DIY move is possible to execute with a tight turnaround as long as you have enough time to organize, pack, and transport your belongings.

If you don’t have enough time to do it yourself, professional movers can provide the speed you need. They are trained to efficiently handle a large number of items and tricky situations, including getting heavy furniture around tight stairway corners. By hiring movers, you can dedicate time to other moving-related tasks while they tackle the rest of the job.

Fastest option: Hiring professional movers


When deciding whether to hire professional movers, consider the time investment of moving yourself, as well as the stress and possible hazards. Moving heavy boxes and furniture can put physical stress on your body, especially if you and your helpers don’t have the proper tools and training. Sore muscles, strained backs, and hernias are all risks when moving without professional help.

There is also mental stress, whether from trying to stay on schedule, juggling the other logistics of your move, and operating a large rental truck you’re not used to driving. If you’re not equipped for the task of moving yourself, professional movers offer a much easier option.

Easiest option: Hiring professional movers


When you hire professional movers, you will need to work around their schedule. Moving companies tend to book for specific time slots months in advance, especially during the peak season of April to October. Your movers will arrive promptly at your scheduled time, and you’ll need to be ready for them when they do.

If you have the time and ability to move yourself, you’ll have much more control over how and when you move your belongings. Plus, you’ll have full control over how things are organized, where they are placed, and how they are handled.

Most flexibility: Moving yourself

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