Jacob Beckstead
May 20, 2021
Article type:
Understanding Bailey's Moving
Applies to:
All Moving

How to Know Who Should Use A Moving Company (And Who Shouldn't)

"I need to move, and my church/friends/family can help!" Almost everyone has said this at one point or another. As a moving company, we know not everyone is the right fit to use a moving company. Some people prefer to move themselves. Whether they use friends, family, or a church group though, it's a big decision.

The bottom line is that moving is difficult no matter how you do it. That's obvious. It’s a major life change, so it follows that it will be expensive, time consuming and stressful. But should you DIY move or hire it out? Here are a few things to consider to help you decide.

#1 - Do You Have Time?

Between packing, loading, driving, unloading, coordinating help, and doing it all between your everyday life, it takes most people about 3 to 4 weeks to complete a DIY move. It can feel like a second full-time job for most people because it requires extensive time and attention. Which isn’t a bad thing, it just depends on whether you have the time to do it.

To start, one of the complex parts that may surprise you is that it's hard to "pack in place." When you pack a little at a time, you find that you have a lot of things that you need; you can't pack them until you're ready to leave your home. Things like dishes, underwear, and bedsheets are typical candidates for this problem. With essential items needing a later date for packing, it creates a problem. What can I pack now?

That's why moving companies send packers a day or two before the load: to minimize your time without essential items. A team of packers arrive to pack everything quickly. By contrast, if you pack yourself, you won't be able to do that. You’ll need to pack a little at a time, while you have the time so you'll need to live without crucial things a little longer.

Is it right for me: If you have the time and ability to execute your move over 3-4 weeks without putting a crunch on everything else in your life, DIY might be the right path for you.

#2 - How Much Do You Have to Move?

DIY is possible at any scale, but the more you have the harder it becomes. Remember that you must count more than just furniture; boxes (which you haven’t packed yet) are also factored into this count.

When a mover creates an inventory, they go room by room and create a detailed list to know exactly what and how much they will move. It would be best if you did the same to get a complete list of how much you need to move. Realistically knowing how much you have will help you decide whether you can handle the size of the move with DIY.

Is it right for me: If you have one or two pickup trucks worth of belongings to move, DIY is probably a great option. However, if you have more than that, your move becomes more complex. To accomplish a large move on your own, you will need to find more help, make more time, and conduct more extensive planning.

#3 - Can You Lift Heavy Items (Or Do You Want To)?

There are two factors to consider on this point. First, how many heavy things do you own? Next, how able are you to lift them? If not, who will? There's an age-old meme that's traveled around the internet that spells it out perfectly:

It's funny to read, but it's worth considering. Who will lift the heavy belongings? Additionally, can you and your chosen moving help realistically handle the scope and size of your move? Again, if you have one or two pickup truck loads to move, this isn’t as big a deal as a whole moving van. Getting someone to help you move a few heavy items is after all, a different conversation than “Can I have your entire day to help me move?”

Is it right for me: If you have a group of people you trust who can lift heavy items and do it for several hours (remember you need to load and unload), then DIY might be right for you. And hopefully no one will slip a disc.

#4 - Are You Worried About Damage?

Moving is likely to cause some damage to your belongings or home. It's a lot of movement, but the more experience that people packing and loading have, the less damage is likely. When you DIY, that experience with moving is often limited. More damage is likely to happen to both your home and your belongings.

Damage happens in a few ways. Inside the box, it's all about how you pack. Friction is the enemy, and it typically what causes damage to items inside a box when they rub together without padding between them. In the truck, it's similar. Look at the pictures below. One is a DIY move, and the other is a professional move.

Is it right for me: Now is an excellent time to be honest with yourself. If you aren't concerned about the increased risk or damage to your home or belongings, DIY may be right for you. If you are concerned about damage to your home or belongings, consider ways to get more experienced help.

#5 - How Do I Judge Cost vs Benefit?

The last point to consider is your motive behind making your decision; it comes down to money. DIY is sometimes cheaper than using a moving company (though would it surprise you to know that isn't always the case?). However, it also creates costs in other ways, such as time, stress, damage, and work.

Compare that to a moving company which charges you more money but saves you those other costs. So, you're going to pay the cost of the move either on your own or with a mover, but what you pay with depends on you. That's a point to consider strongly. Are you trying to save every penny? Are you willing to save some time, stress, and disruption to your life by paying a professional?

Ultimately, you should decide what best suits your move. Though, we might recommend that you shop for both options. Compare the other costs (time, energy, stress, damage, etc.) that come with a DIY move to decide the right way to move forward. Yes, that's right, we made a moving pun.

Is it right for me:

Typically, DIY is better for:

  • Smaller moves
  • Short distance moves
  • Moves where you have younger (and willing) help
  • Moves where damage to your home and belongings doesn't worry you

The further away you are from that list, the more likely you'll want a professional to help.