When I was in my 20s, I moved a lot, but the idea of hiring a moving company never even crossed my mind. Moving companies were for grownups, I thought, a distinction I apparently was not. Moving companies were for people with spouses and children, something I definitely was not. Moving companies were for rich people and my cupboard full of ramen proved I was far from that. Renting a moving truck was the way to go in my 20s. But is it still worth it while I'm *ahem* not in my 20s?
DIY moving is still very much a thing. Sometimes, having complete control at all times is a good thing, and sometimes you can save a lot of money. You may also cause yourself a lot of headaches.
What are the pros and cons of renting a truck for moving?
Pros1. You can save money, sometimes lots of it.
If you are moving locally, renting a truck may not be the worst idea, at least if you have some strapping young friends to help you out. For a move from Fremont, CA to San Jose, CA, rates hovered around $100 to $150 a day. That doesn't include gas or any moving supplies, like boxes, tape, blankets, dollies or ramps. You should plan on around another $300, plus gas, for supplies. Unless your place is very small, it would probably cost you at least twice, if not three to four times as much, to hire a professional mover.
Interstate moves aren't quite so cut and dried. A move across country can cost between $3,000 and $4,000, not including gas, which will likely cost you between $500 and $900. Supplies are also not included in that price. There's a very good chance that a professional mover will cost you less in the long-run. We'll get to that in a bit.2. You have control.
If you are a control freak, and when it comes to everything we own in the world, who isn't, it's sometimes good to know exactly where everything is at all times. A moving company will have your goods in its possession for hours, days or sometimes even weeks. That can be disconcerting at times. For some, it's simply more comforting to be able to see and touch everything.
Cons1. It doesn't always save you money.
As I mentioned, if you are moving across country, the cost of gas and renting a truck can easily cost more than $4,000. In many cases, a professional mover can move you for that cost or less. It's also quite difficult to find out exactly how much your move will cost. Advertised rates are rarely the rates you'll pay.2. It will cost you a lot of time.
Even if you are only moving locally, you are still responsible for all the packing and lifting. The majority of people underestimate the amount of stuff they have, and more often than not, they rent a truck that is too small. A local move could mean multiple trips. An interstate move could mean worse, like leaving many of your precious belongings behind.3. Maintenance is their responsibility, but it's also yours.
If your rented moving truck breaks down, of course, the company will replace it, but that's all they'll do. You could breakdown on the side of a highway and be stuck there for hours or even overnight before your replacement truck arrives. Once it does arrive, the responsibility for moving all of the items from the broken-down truck to the new one is all yours. Where are all those helpful friends you left behind?4. Rates can fluctuate, a lot.
Moving is a seasonal business. Some moving companies charge a bit more during busy times than during slow times, but moving companies also have to register their rate structure with state and federal licensing agencies. Truck rental companies do not, which means that if you are moving at the end of June, well, you may have trouble getting a truck, but if you do get one, the cost can go through the roof. On the plus side, though, if you have a lot of flexibility in your moving date, you might find better deals. Moving companies can also discount their prices during slower times, but they cannot suddenly and dramatically spike their rates during the busy season.5. All of that backbreaking work.
Moving companies have professionals that do the job every single day. They know how to lift pianos or huge credenzas. They know how to pack valuable pieces of art or electronics.
Featured image via Wikipedia.