It’s time to make a move. Perhaps you landed that new job and you’re looking to live closer to work. Maybe you’re finally getting that extra square footage—and the backyard—you’ve always wanted. Or maybe you’re downsizing to a smaller rental. Moving is a fact of life. According to the U.S. census, Americans will move approximately 11.7 times during their lifetime.

But the big question is, will you do it yourself? Or will you hire movers? Here’s some guidance so that you can decide.


Moving Comparison At-a-Glance

Do-It-Yourself Hybrid Moving Companies
Most affordable Affordable Most expensive
Time-consuming Time-consuming Least time needed
Need help from family, friends Don’t necessarily need help No help needed
Risk of injury, risk of lost or damaged goods Risk of injury, risk of lost or damaged goods Risk of lost or damaged goods


Do-It-Yourself Moves

You’re strong and capable. You handle a lot of tough tasks in your life. Why not a move? Do-it-yourself, or DIY, moves are popular because they’re generally less expensive and we all want to save money. If you’re thinking about a DIY move, consider what’s involved in this type of move:

    • You will need time in your schedule. If you don’t have enough time, this type of move is not for you.
    • You will have to do all the organization and packing.
    • You will likely need help from friends and family on the actual move day if not before.
    • You will likely need to rent and drive a moving van or truck. You will have to pay for fuel and tolls.
    • Factor in the time you will need to take off of work when you are moving yourself.


Hybrid Options

You don’t have to choose between a DIY move or a moving company. There are options that feature the best of both.

    • Consider paying for labor to help with loading and unloading. Many truck rental companies offer add-ons of labor help. That way, you can do a DIY move with help.
    • You can rent a portable moving container. In this type of move, a company drops the container or pod at your property. You load it up, and the company moves it to the new location, where you unload it.


Moving Companies

If you don’t have the time, or if you have a large move to make, hiring a moving company makes sense. Professional movers don’t just do the heavy lifting. They make moving less stressful and more efficient. But their services come at a cost. There are several factors that go into a moving company’s cost estimate:

    • The size and weight of your belongings
    • The travel distance, mileage and fuel, and time
    • Packing and moving supplies if the company is contracted to handle those
    • The moving date (Generally, moves done mid-month and midweek offer the best discounts).


What To Consider

Get a written cost estimate from your prospective mover. (We recommend getting at least three cost estimates from three different providers.) Make sure that the mover you choose is licensed and insured. Read the agreement carefully, including the small type, to ensure that there will be no surprises. Beware of moving companies who provide estimates for your move without visiting your home and taking an inventory of your belongings. Watch for movers who ask for cash or a large deposit before the move. You should only pay on delivery.

Most renters and home insurance policies will not cover your belongings while they are being moved. The moving company will offer liability and valuation coverage. You may decide to purchase additional moving insurance from a third-party provider. If you’re considering an interstate move, learn your rights and responsibilities as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Do you need to tip your movers?

Yes, it’s standard practice to tip each person who is moving you. Consumer Affairs recommends tipping 15% to 20% for long-distance or large moves. You can tip less, 5% to 10% for shorter, closer moves. This amount is split among the moving crew, so if your move costs $2,000 and you’re just going across town, plan to tip about $200 total.


How to Cut Costs and Save Time on Your Move

    • Hiring a mover? Ask if there are cheaper dates and times to move.
    • Downsize before moving. Donate or sell items that you no longer need or want. That way, you’ll have less to move.
    • Use the buckets, baskets, clean trash cans, and suitcases that you need to move anyway to store items that you want to move. Use blankets and towels, in the same way, to protect and cushion breakables.

Be safe when looking at ways to cut your moving costs. You will often find websites offering helpful tools for moving such as moving cost calculators that require you to enter your information to get the link. What they neglect to tell you is that they will be sharing your information with moving companies. You will start to get calls immediately from dozens of companies trying to sell you services. Think twice about entering your information online.


Don’t Forget!

Whether you’re moving from a rental or you own a home, there are apps that can help you to organize your move and take away some stress. Here are some popular ones:

    • MoveAdvisor
    • Moved
    • Dolly
    • Unpackt

And if you’re moving because of work, your moving expenses may be tax-deductible! Keep your receipts and use IRS form 3903 to document your move when you file your taxes.

Here’s to the start of a wonderful adventure in your new home.  Have a safe and successful move.



This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

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