Moving Yourself vs Hiring Movers – Which Is Best?

Moving Yourself vs Hiring Movers

While there are a lot of things to think about when moving house, one of the big decisions will be over moving yourself vs hiring movers to do it for you.

And since moving home is one of life’s most stressful undertakings, you need to consider carefully whether you should move yourself or have professionals do it. The debate boils down to:

  • Moving yourself can be cheaper, but it’s also a lot more work;
  • Hiring movers will cost you more, but it’s a lot less hassle.

So, which is the best option for you? It really depends on your individual circumstances and here, the Property Road team looks at some of the things to think about when making your decision.

We’ve tried both options and moving yourself might be cheaper but it’s definitely much easier to use a removal firm – especially if you have a lot of things!

The pros and cons of self-move vs removal companies

Perhaps the biggest issue when it comes to deciding whether to self-move vs removal companies will be cost. There are other issues as well, including:

  • How much stuff do you have to move?
  • How far you’re moving;
  • How much time and energy are you willing to put into the move?

Let’s face it, if you are organised and have a lot of help, moving yourself can be a great option.

However, if you’re not as organised or don’t have as much help, then hiring a moving company may be the better choice.

It’s important to weigh all the factors before deciding – as we explain:


How much does each option cost? Moving yourself will usually be cheaper than hiring movers, but it all depends on how much stuff you must move.

If you’re on a tight budget, then self-moving will undoubtedly be cheaper than hiring professionals.

However, it’s important to factor in the cost of renting a van – if you don’t have one already – as well as any potential damage to your belongings during the move.

We managed to get a bargain when we last moved. We hired a removal firm for just £500 – that was for moving a 5-bed house to another county (about a 2 hour drive away).

To be honest, we’d have struggled to get it much cheaper if we had done it ourselves once we had factored in van costs and fuel. In that case, it was complete no-brainer for us.

While bargains like this are rare (the firm we used were absolutely brilliant, too), our experience does show it’s worth at least getting a few removal firm quotes even if you intend on moving yourself.

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The hassle factor

How much hassle are you willing to put up with? Moving everything yourself is a lot of work, but it’s also very rewarding. Hiring movers takes away a lot of the stress and hassle, but it’s more expensive.

While hiring professionals will obviously be more expensive than self-moving, it can often be worth the extra cost for the convenience and peace of mind it offers. With professionals, you don’t have to worry about renting a vehicle or damaging your possessions – they will take care of everything for you.

Keep in mind the professionals also know how to best organise things in the van to maximise space while keeping everything secure. If you go it alone, expect to spend more time on figuring these things out – and you might still make mistakes that lead to breakages!


If you have experience moving and packing your things, you might give it another go and save some money.

Do you have experience moving house? If you’ve never done it before, then hiring movers might be the best option. They’ll know exactly what they’re doing, and they’ll be able to get the job done quickly and efficiently.

As with many issues when moving home, the process for those who have never done it before means it will inevitably take longer, be more involved, and more stressful than they thought possible. It can also be physically demanding moving everything yourself.

And you really shouldn’t underestimate the physical strength and stamina needed to do a house move yourself! I remember once trying to move flats when was young. I went out the night before on my leaving do and was a little worse for wear the next day. I found it so difficult to keep up with the physical demands and regretted not hiring someone all day!


How much time do you have to move? If you’re on a tight schedule, then hiring movers might be the best option. They’ll be able to get the job done quickly and without any fuss.

However, if you have some flexibility with your schedule, then self-moving may not take as long as you think – especially if you get friends or family to help you out.

One thing to keep in mind, though is that if you’re selling a property, you’re likely to have a deadline for moving out of the property on the day of completion. Typically this is around lunch time or just after lunch.

That means you’ll need to make sure you can get all of your belongings out of the property and loaded on to the van in the morning. If you fail to get everything out in time, the new owner may be able to take possession of the property and kick you out!

When to book your removal

Our cat hiding in a packing box
Our cat did her best to help us move, but human help is generally preferred!

You will also need to shop around for professional mover quotes between four and six weeks before your move.

When making the decision of whether to move yourself or hire professional movers, many factors come into play.

The cost of the move, the proximity to the new location, and how complex the move may be are all important considerations.

Ultimately, it comes down to what you’re comfortable with and what you’re capable of doing.

If you don’t feel confident in your ability to move heavy furniture or don’t have the help of friends or family, hiring professional movers may be the soundest move to make.

Just make sure that you get them officially booked as soon as you have your completion date confirmed.

We’ve always asked our removal firm if we can ‘pencil’ in a date with them while we are trying to arrange a completion date with the rest of the chain. Most will usually allow this, though they might only agree to hold the date for a few days.

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Moving home yourself – a checklist

As we have seen, there are pros and cons to both moving yourself vs hiring movers. The cheapest option is to move yourself, but you need to understand:

  • When moving yourself, you will need to pack, load, and transport your belongings;
  • Self-moving saves money, but it can be more complicated and time-consuming.

You should also consider the following factors before deciding:

Van rental

If you’re only moving a short distance or have few items, you may be able to save money by renting a van and doing the move yourself. Be sure to factor in the cost of van rental and insurance when deciding.

You’ll also need to ensure you consider when you’ll be able to collect and drop off the van as this may mean you need to hire it an extra night or two.

The cost of fuel

Fuel costs should always be taken into account – especially if it’s a long-distance move. This is whether you’re renting a van or using your own vehicle. By factoring in fuel costs, you can ensure that your budget can cover the whole journey.

Keep in mind that a fully loaded van will burn much more fuel than an empty one! The bigger the van used, the more fuel it will need too.

Asking for help

You will need a few helpers when moving home, and remember that if you do ask for help, you may have to repay the favour at some point. If you move yourself, you will have to put in more physical labour, but you will not have to spend extra cash.

Hiring a professional moving company – a checklist

Hiring a professional company to move your belongings will cost you more money but will save you a lot of trouble.

When you hire a professional moving company, they will handle everything related to the move for you.

This includes packing, loading, and transporting your belongings. While it may cost more upfront, it can save you a lot of time and stress in the long run.

Some people choose to pack their own belongings to ensure that everything they need is brought with them, but this can be a lot of work.

And when you compare the costs of using a moving company to doing it yourself, you may find that it is not as expensive as you thought and is worth considering.

Moving costs

Different companies have different ways of calculating moving costs, but most typically base the volume of items being moved.

The distance to be travelled and other factors such as whether you pack yourself or use the company’s packing services will also impact the quote. Packing yourself will usually end up being cheaper overall but is more time-consuming and can be stressful.

We’ve always done our own packing to save on money as we prefer to know we have everything secured the best we can.

However, we have taken advantage of several other add-ons removal firms often offer such as wardrobe boxes which allow for your clothes to be moved while still on the hangers.

This was a massive time-saver on our last move. As was using our removal firm to dismantle our wardrobe and bed frame. We didn’t want the hassle of doing this ourselves on the day so we left it to them and, quite frankly, they did a better job than we would have probably done anyway!

Moving insurance

The worms in our wormery would have invalidated the removal firms insurance if we hadn’t made other arrangements!

Most licensed movers provide some level of liability coverage, but this may not be enough to cover the cost of replacing any expensive items that are damaged or lost. Always look for a firm offering comprehensive insurance coverage.

It’s also worth checking with them what can and cannot be moved too. Often they’ll have rules around things like petrol lawn mowers and animals.

We encountered this on our last move when the company weren’t sure they could take our wormery (a compost bin that uses worms to speed up composting) due to the ‘no animals’ rule in their insurance. Rather than risk invalidating their insurance, we made arrangements to transport the worms ourselves.

Tipping the movers

You may also want to tip the movers. This is common practice but we don not feel anyone should ever feel ‘required’ to tip.

On our first move, we didn’t tip at all as, while the company did a good job, we felt we paid a reasonable price for it. We did, however, help them by recommending them to friends and leaving them a review.

However, on our most recent move we did tip the firm a fair amount as we felt the price we had agreed to pay them was too little. It was significantly less than others had quoted and the removal team did such a great job.

Our move had been delayed a little on the day so they didn’t finish unloading until gone 8pm. We felt they deserved a good tip so we gave them one!

Reduce the risk of injury

One of the problems of moving yourself is the consequences to your body, so factor them in when making a decision.

Hiring professional movers reduces the risk of injury during your move. Professional movers are experienced in lifting and moving heavy objects and will take care to avoid injuring themselves or damaging your belongings.

Moving yourself puts you at risk of spraining a muscle, dropping something heavy on yourself, or worse.

This was definitely a factor in our decision to hire a removal firm rather than try and do it ourselves. When I was in my 20’s I didn’t mind doing the moving myself so much. For one I had fewer belongings to move!

However, now I’m in my 40’s I know that it doesn’t take much to injure myself and the recovery period is much longer than when I was young. Given we also have many more belongings, I’ve not even considered trying to move myself for many years now.

Be more productive

One important factor is time. If you have a busy schedule, hiring a moving company can save you valuable time.

That’s mostly because they’ll take care of everything for you. They already have the van and the team to do the move. they’ll turn up at the right time (hopefully) and get everything loaded without you having to do much at all.

They can even do your packing for you and provide you time-saving services such as wardrobe boxes and furniture dismantling services.

All of this can help to free up more of your time to focus on getting to completion!

Are you trained?

If you’re planning on moving furniture yourself, it’s important to make sure you have the proper training and equipment.

Moving furniture down a flight of stairs can be difficult and stressful, so it’s important to know what you’re doing before you attempt it.

Otherwise, you run the risk of damaging your furniture or injuring yourself. If you’re not sure you can handle the move yourself, then consider hiring professional movers.

The cost of hiring professional movers

Moving yourself means hiring a van for a day or two, and with insurance cover, there are some great rental deals available.

Hiring professionals will be more expensive, so you should budget for:

  • Moving the contents of a three-bed house 50 miles will be around £800;
  • Add furniture dismantling and packing and that goes up to £1,200 – you will also be paying for furniture reassembly;
  • Prices increase the closer you are to London;
  • Tuesday is the dearest day to move – Sunday is the cheapest;
  • Prices increase in summer because it’s a popular time for moving.

When we last moved we found that moving a 5-bed house around 50 miles cost anywhere from £500-£5,000! The amount quotes varied was staggering.

To be fair, the average quote was around £1,200. The expensive quotes all tended to come from the larger well-known national chains, whereas the small quotes came from independent local movers.

While we used the £500 firm and they were great, I will say it’s rare to get a bargain as good as that and we really were quite lucky.

Moving yourself vs hiring movers – which is best?

Ultimately, when it comes down to deciding on moving yourself vs hiring movers, the best option for you will depend on your specific circumstances.

If you’re on a tight budget and have some time to spare, then self-moving may be the way to go.

But, you need to consider the distance you are moving and be aware that packing and then moving is likely to take a LOT longer than you may have planned for.

You’ll also need to ensure you have the strength and stamina for it and learn how to lift heavy items safely. Good spacial awareness will also be necessary if you are to get away with as small a van as possible while ensuring your belongings are safe in transit.

However, if you’re short on time or worried about damages, then professional movers will give you peace of mind and a hassle-free move.

In addition, they’re likely to keep your belongings safer and ensure you’re out of the property on time and in to your new home quickly.

Moving home is one of life’s most stressful experiences because so much needs to be done and done well – which makes this Property Road article on what you should consider before deciding very important.

We’ve used removal firms and carried out moves ourselves and I know which one I prefer – let me pay for professional help every time!


  • Steve Lumley

    Steve Lumley has years of experience writing about property. His output has covered everything from property investment, news for landlords and student tenants to articles on how to run a successful portfolio and starting out as a property investor. He has also written several books on the subject.

  • Paul James

    Paul James, is a marketing expert with a passion for property. As well as being a property investor, Paul has also worked within the marketing departments of some of the UK’s leading estate agents. Paul is the founder of Property Road.

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