- planning a huge event for your local school, house of worship, or volunteer organization?
- dealing with the aftermath of an unexpected homeowner’s claim?
- about to move cross-town?
- looking at buying or inheriting a new-to-you, gently-loved piano for your budding musician??
These are all situations when you might be tempted to go it alone rather than hiring a local mover, thinking you’ll save a bundle over hiring the pros. But is that the best way to go?
I’ve been in all the situations above, more than once in my life. And I can assure you that while there is a time and a place for DIY moving, sometimes hiring a local mover just makes more sense.
Ready to find out whether moving trucks are right for you? Then read on!
This is a collaboration post. However, please know I stand behind everything written here, and only include links to products/services/resources I’m willing to recommend personally.
Hiring a Local Mover vs. DIY-ing Short-Haul Moving Projects:
1. You’re in charge of a big event
- You’re the PTO president in charge of the annual funfest – and all the district’s supplies, including the district-owned bouncy house that makes its rounds of all the schools, are stored off-site.
- You’re the owner or manager of a small business. Say, a pop-up children’s resale event that happens several times a year in your local area. And those clothing racks aren’t magically gonna walk themselves from your barn to the sales floor.
- Your church’s annual bazaar, rummage sale, craft fair, whatever is coming up. The event at which you regularly clear over 5 digits’ worth of profit. Only all your supplies are generously stored off-site by one of your members in the back of her business’s warehouse. And you need to get them over to the fellowship hall in one afternoon.
Especially with the first and the third scenario, you might be tempted to try to make do with volunteers and the use of their private vehicles.
But unless you have a member who owns a small van, you might be better off hiring a local mover to do the schlepping for you. Not only will they get it done in one fell swoop (and quickly!), but you’ll save your volunteers for work that you really can’t outsource.
(Because I don’t know about YOUR organization, but the ones I belong to seem to find it harder and harder to get all their volunteer slots filled, as all our lives become collectively busier as our kids get older and involved in more activities.)
2. You’re short on time and/or humanpower
- You’re buying a new, bigger house just across town. But you sign over your old house and close on your new house on the same day.
- You’re the lucky Troop Cookie Mama for a girl whose Girl Scout cookie review goes viral. Only instead of those 24,000 boxes going to U.S. troops overseas, they’re all going to your local community. Meaning YOU’RE in charge of getting them from the distribution site to your troop’s cookie headquarters.
- You’ve realized your home has a water leak, and you don’t have enough storage space to hold all your stuff while you get the damage fixed. And the sooner you get things moved to offsite storage, the safer they’ll be.
- Your cross-town move coincides with a holiday when all the usual suspects who’d help you are away. Or even worse, it coincides with a pregnancy, broken bone, or something else that puts you out of commission.
If you’re moving across town over the course of several months, you can afford to do things one carload at a time, just renting a van for the bigger furniture at the end. But if you’re closing on your old house hours before you close on the new one, having movers pack up and move everything for you is the far more time-effective option.
Hiring the pros also forces you to deal with things faster. When our basement flooded last year. It was an inch of water at most, and only affected a small area of carpet. The insurance settlement would have covered hiring movers to empty our basement and move everything to storage short-term.
But because we wanted to get a little extra work done at the same time by the insurance money, we opted to pack and move things to our garage by ourselves [thus saving that money for other projects.] Yes, I know what’s in each and every box, and where each box is. But fifteen months later, half of them are still in our garage, waiting for me to schlep them back down to the basement.
And as for the Girl Scout cookies:
This is the math of being a Troop Cookie Mama:
Each case has 12 boxes. A minivan with the seats removed holds about 150 cases. As it was, our troop’s top seller last year sold over 50 cases in the initial selling period, and we had to have her parents help us by collecting her cookies directly from the distribution site in their family’s pickup truck. This was the only way we could collect our troop’s entire order in the single 10-minute slot that each troop gets at the distribution hub.
So you do the math: If you have a kiddo who sells thousands of boxes, you’re gonna need at least a small moving van to pick them up. The more your troop sells, the more money the Council gives you back per box. Thus it may well be worth the time and effort to hire a local moving company to do your pickup from the distribution site, and have your volunteer sorting team waiting on the other end to receive the shipment there.
3. You don’t have the right equipment to do the job safely
But what if
- you’re inheriting a piano from your parents as they downsize?
- you’re getting a new-to-you refrigerator, or washer/dryer set, from a local reseller or a neighbor across town?
- you’re getting brand-new appliances and want to donate your old ones to a local homeless shelter?
For any of these scenarios, I’m willing to bet you don’t have the right equipment to do the job safely.
Which is less expensive in the long run – hiring a local mover with the right dollies and straps for a job like this, or trying to DIY and ending up in the emergency room with a crushed foot? (That then requires months of surgery and rehab before you can use it again?)
And even if you do have the right dollies, let’s suppose your unit (or the destination) is up or down a flight of stairs. Still confident you can do this without hurting yourself or putting a hole in the wall?
Large furniture is difficult to move in part because of its size and bulk, of course. But also keep in mind that pianos are remarkably delicate instruments. When some friends of my parents went overseas to teach English for several years, we got to take care of their piano. And pianos don’t fare well being moved from point A to point B unless the pros do the job; mishandling a piano in a move can do a huge amount of expensive damage to its inner workings.
Fortunately, as we also learned, local moving companies are often experts at moving pianos safely for this very reason.
The bottom line:
In the end, it all boils down to your hourly rate and your expertise/equipment. I’m a firm believer that everyone should know their hourly rate when trying to decide what it makes sense to do themselves vs. hiring out to someone else. If you have to take unpaid time off from work to do a job, ask yourself which leaves you more money in your pocket: hiring someone else, or DIYing and losing out on that chunk of your paycheck.
Hiring professional movers to help you will cost you more, but it could save you time and ensure that no items are damaged during transit. And depending on how much your time is literally worth, there are plenty of situations in which it’s definitely the way to go.
Have you ever been in one of these situations? Did you decide to DIY or hire a local mover? Let us know how you made out in the comments!
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