Moving Options Explained

How to choose a DIY, storage container, or full-service move.

Which moving experience is right for you? Are you a do-it-yourself kind of person, or would you prefer top-notch movers to take care of everything for you? There are options at both ends of the spectrum, plus a mix of each in the middle.

The DIY route may make moving expenses easier on your wallet, but there are other factors—like stress and time—to consider. Not surprisingly, furniture is heavy. Lugging it around can be tough on your back, especially if you’re by yourself. Full-service moves are the most convenient, but they’re also the most expensive. If you’re moving more than a few boxes and can’t afford professional movers, you may consider a moving pod or trailer rental. Luckily, you have a range of options when booking a move; we’ll explore three of them below.

Get the full treatment with a full-service move.

Save yourself stress and time by hiring help for every step of the way. If your employer is paying for you to relocate, why not splurge and have the best movers assist you with packing, transport, loading and unloading your stuff. Even if your boss isn’t footing the bill, you’d be surprised at how affordable a full-service move can be, especially for local moves. Consumer Affairs reports that for $80-$100 an hour, you can hire two movers and a truck. If you’re moving a studio, expect to spend $200-$500, or $800-$2,000 for a four-bedroom house. For long-distance moves that are 100 miles or more away, the cost jumps up considerably—between $2,000 and $5,000.

Whether moving locally or cross-country, the true benefit of the full-service move is saving time, saving your back, and buying the peace of mind that your furniture and valuables will be expertly packed and moved. But keep in mind that packing and unpacking costs are hourly, so plan to add $300-$500 for packing services to relieve all the worries and time crunches that come with your moving day.

Road ready with moving container or freight trailer rentals.

If a full-service move isn’t in the budget, you can still lessen the load without going broke by renting a moving container or freight trailer. The moving company delivers the container or trailer to your home. You have to pack it up, and the company will drive the pod or trailer to your new location, where you can unpack and settle into your new home at your convenience.

Moving containers rent for roughly $500 for a local move. For long-distance moves, a moving container costs $2,000-$3,000, and freight trailers cost about $3,000. This is a great option if you need to move a lot of stuff on a budget or deadline without the hefty hassle of driving a moving truck.

On the road with a moving truck rental.

Need a cheap move that’s totally within your control? Then a moving truck rental might be your best bet. While frugal, it is 100% DIY, and is also the most time and effort-intensive choice.

Renting a moving truck ranges from $100 for a small truck and local move, to $2,000 for a large truck trekking cross-country. Since long-distance moves require a one-way rental, the DIY option is most cost-effective for local moves. As an added bonus, keeping a move local means you should be able to find friends willing to help you pack boxes and load furniture.

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