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Week 6

Moving Options: Hiring a Moving Company vs. Self-Moving

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Two professional movers with boxes loaded on a dolly and line art moving truck in the background.

The Benefits of Hiring a Moving Company

First, hiring movers means you won’t break your back hauling every box on your own. When you leave it up to the pros, you’ll also get peace of mind with insurance on your belongings and transportation using the right equipment.

This week, you'll learn how to pick a moving company and when do-it-yourself moving is the right choice.

When to Choose a Moving Company

Hiring a moving company to handle all of your belongings is an important step. Especially if you have a lot of stuff, choosing quality movers can help ensure a smooth move — no lost boxes, broken tables or shattered stemware.

Pro Tip: It's usually best to get on a mover's schedule as early as possible — if you have the wiggle room, even a couple of months ahead isn't too early

Line art dolly with orange box loaded on it.

How to Choose Movers: 9 Detailed Tips

Line art man calling friends for feedback on local moving companies.

1. Get Recommendations

When hiring a moving company, ask friends and family for moving company recommendations and to share their experiences. Hearing first-hand feedback from someone you trust can make all the difference.

2. Look Into Green Moving Companies

Limit the environmental impact of your move by choosing a green moving company. From eco bubble wrap and recycled moving boxes to fuel-efficient trucks, green movers offer an eco-friendly alternative to moving.

Line art moving truck with recycling icon on the side.
Line art person screening moving companies with magnifying glass icon.

3. Check Reviews

Take a few minutes to dig into the background of your moving company list with some quick online searches. Refer to organizations like the Better Business Bureau, the American Moving and Storage Association or Movingscam.com for in-depth background checks.

4. Request In-Home Consultations

During a consultation, a professional estimator performs a quick walk-through to determine the weight of everything you need to move. For the most accurate estimate, be ready to explain which items you plan to move and which belongings will be trashed or donated.

Line art clipboard with positives and negatives of different local moving companies.
Headshot photo of Bonnie Joy Dewkett, The Joyful Organizer

“When you’re moving, you’re paying to have items brought from point A to point B. Ask yourself if the item is worth paying to move. If the answer is no, donate it and skip the cost of moving it.”

Bonnie Joy Dewkett,
Founder, The Joyful Organizer

Line art clipboard with inventory of boxes in home.

5. Take a Moving Inventory

A reliable moving company asks for a thorough inventory of your items room by room. This should include everything from inside dresser drawers and kitchen cupboards to garage shelves and boxes in the attic. This detailed inventory list protects you from losing items and ensures an accurate estimate.

6. Ask About Extra Fees

Be sure to ask the estimator about extra fees to move appliances or other large items. For instance, when moving to or from a two-story house or a high-rise apartment, stairs and elevators might result in surcharges.

Line art of refrigerator and washing machine appliances that might result in additional charges.
Line art scale showing the comparison of moving prices.

7. Always Compare Prices

After in-home visits from a handful of moving company options, compare each of them side by side to find the highest quality option for the lowest price.

8. Never Pay a Deposit Upfront

The only time you should make a payment is upon delivery. Trustworthy movers won’t ask you to pay cash or a large deposit before the moving service is completed.

Line art hand handing over orange dollars.

How Much Do Professional Movers Cost?

The average cost of hiring professional movers is between $90 and $120 per hour. When determining the price to hire movers cross country or for long distances, keep fuel and transportation costs in mind. For larger items like pianos or appliances, you might be charged extra fees. Be sure to ask your moving company about all of these factors to avoid any surprise charges.

Line art of blank moving contract with pen to sign.

9. Never Sign a Blank Contract

Make sure everything is in writing before signing. Verify that the estimate, extra fees and moving dates are all correct.

Find a Dumpster to Toss What You Don't Need

FAQs for Hiring Movers

How do I choose a good mover?

Do you tip movers on both ends?

Do movers prefer boxes or bags?

What do movers move first?

Line art with crossed out checklist items that movers will not accept.

Which Items Will Movers Not Move?

During your in-home consultation, your estimator should run through their list of prohibited items with you, including:

Hazardous Materials


Flammable Items


Power Equipment with Fuel



Perishable Food

Valuable / Personal Items

Specialty / Especially Heavy Items

Self-Moving Options: When Do-it-Yourself Moving Makes Sense

For small-scale moves, renting a truck and moving by yourself might be an option. If you’re moving back home from a college dorm room, from apartment to apartment, or even into a starter home, you may not have enough furniture to fill an entire moving truck.

9 DIY Moving Tips

  • Research multiple truck rental prices in your area.
  • Ask for help from friends and family in advance. Never move alone.
  • Practice safe lifting. Don’t hurt yourself.
  • Fill the truck with the heaviest items first.
  • Strap boxes and other items down as you load.
  • Wrap furniture in cloth to prevent scratches.
  • Consider wearing gloves, a back brace, or knee pads for safety.
  • Load boxes from the same rooms together.
  • Thank your friends for the help with a pizza.
Moving tips line art illustration with pizza box and beverages for moving team with open boxes in the background.

Take this week to decide whether you need a moving company or if do-it-yourself moving will do the trick. Next week, we'll declutter your home and collect packing supplies.

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