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When Is Hiring Movers Worth It?


May 02, 2020 by Maurie Backman
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Moving to a new home can be an exciting endeavor -- but also, a stressful one. After all, packing up an entire home can be time-consuming, and you'll need to put some thought into how you'll manage to get your belongings from your current home to your new one. In fact, according to Millionacres' Spring 2020 Home Buyer & Seller Survey, the idea of moving furniture and packing up belongings is a key point of stress during the homebuying process.

Anyone who's ever packed up a home before can attest to the fact that it's no easy feat. And transporting heavy furniture can be extremely laborious (and in some cases, hazardous) even for folks who pride themselves on never skipping the gym. Therefore, if you're not sure whether to hire movers, the first thing you'll need to do is take a look at your budget and see if you have the money to do so. You'll then need to decide what's more important: making your move easier or saving money.

How much does it cost to hire movers?

There's no such thing as a universal fee for hiring a moving company. The costs you incur will depend on where you live, how much stuff you have, and how far away your new home is. MyMovingReviews, however, provides some guidance as to how much a move can cost on average, so you can use the following information to determine whether hiring movers will be worth it to you.

The cost of a local move

You'll typically pay an average of $25 per hour, per mover. Of course, that's just an average; in some parts of the country it can be much more. Also, you may be hit with a surcharge if, for example, you live in a building without an elevator and your movers have to hike up and down stairs to transport your belongings, or if you have certain bulk items, like a piano, that require extra care. Therefore, use that $25 per hour as a rough estimate only. With that in mind, here's what your costs might look like:

Type of Home Number of Movers Needed Number of Hours It Takes to Move Total Move Cost
Studio apartment 2 @ $25 per hour 3 to 5 $150 to $250
2-bedroom home 3 @ $25 per hour 5 to 7 $375 to $525
3-bedroom home 4 @ $25 per hour 7 to 10 $700 to $1,000

Data source: MyMovingReviews.

What if you have an even larger home? Well, expect to pay more. If you have a five-bedroom home with a fully finished basement loaded with furniture, you may need a team of six movers, and it could take 10 hours to transport your belongings. Your total cost estimate? A whopping $1,500.

The cost of a long-distance move

With a local move, you'll generally pay an hourly rate. With a long-distance move, your costs will depend on the distance your movers need to travel and the weight of the items you have to transport.

Assuming your new home is 1,000 miles away from your current one, for a studio apartment, you may be looking at 1,800 to 2,000 pounds of household items and a total cost of $1,500. For a two-bedroom home with 5,000 to 6,000 pounds worth of furniture and boxes, that total climbs to $3,500 or more.

Again, these are just estimates, but know that a long-distance move could prove very expensive.

Extra services and costs to consider

Whether you're moving locally or far away, you can generally expect to pay $25 to $35 per hour for packing services. That includes the cost of boxes and packing supplies.

You should also factor the cost of tips into your moving budget. Though you're of course not obligated to tip your movers, it's customary to do so. For a move that only takes a few hours, $20 per mover may suffice for tipping purposes. But if you have movers spending the entire day hauling your belongings, a $50 tip per mover may be more appropriate. And if you live on a fourth-floor walk-up, you'll want to pad that tip even more.

The cost of moving yourself

The amount you spend to move on your own will depend on whether the move is local, how much stuff you have, and what packing materials you need to transport everything safely.

You can generally rent a small moving truck at a cost of $20 to $35 per day. For a larger truck, you're looking at more like $80 to $100 per day. But if you're doing an interstate move, your move could take multiple days, and so your tab could be quite high.

As far as packing supplies go, you may spend anywhere from $1 to $3 per box on moving boxes and $3 to $8 per roll of packing tape, depending on how heavy duty you need it to be.

Another option? Using a portable container like PODS and having it transported. If you go this route, you load up a container and have it moved from your current home to your new one. The average cost of renting a PODS container for a local move is around $300 to $500, while the average cost of using a PODS container for a long-distance move is around $1,200 to $3,000. These figures include a month of storage.

Of course, PODS is just one company you might use, and you may need more than a single storage container, or a larger one -- it depends on the size of your home and how much stuff you have.

What's the best option for you?

While the above numbers can give you a sense of what hiring movers versus moving yourself might cost, ultimately, you won't know what expenses you're looking at until you meet with moving companies and get estimates, and also until you take inventory at home to determine how much you're likely to spend to move your belongings yourself.

But remember, the decision shouldn't necessarily boil down to money alone. Moving yourself could result in:

  • Injury.
  • Stress.
  • Damage to your belongings.
  • Lost wages.

As such, you may find that while moving yourself is more economical, hiring movers just plain makes more sense for you.

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