So, you’re moving into a new apartment, and you have no idea where to begin. You’re not alone. Packing up all your belongings and transporting them– sometimes a great distance, can be overwhelming, not to mention exhausting.
For starters, you have to figure out what kind of move fits your needs and budget. Right about now, you’re scratching your head wondering, “There are different kinds of moves?”
Indeed, there are three distinct types– the traditional DIY move that has you doing everything, the full-service move that has you doing nothing but at a great cost, and the hybrid move, which sounds like a Prius but is really just a way to hack a full-service move at a fraction of the cost. Without further ado, here is an outline of each option and some moving tips:
1. DIY Move
Traditionalists (not to mention the ultra frugal) are attracted to this one. DIY movers research truck rental options, choose one, and then do everything– from packing to loading and unloading the truck.
Usually, they do the driving, unless they opt for portable storage units or freight trucks (in which case your stuff shares space with other people’s stuff and, don’t worry, doesn’t get cooties). Depending on the size of the truck you need and the distance you have to travel, a rental could run between a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars.
For this move, smart people recruit naïve, kind family and friends, who are willing to put in a few hours of hard labor in exchange for pizza and beer.
Cost Level: $
Other than refreshments, some toilet paper for your loved ones, who are pitching in, and the price of the rental truck (and gas for it), you have no other costs. By far, this is the cheapest option.
Pros: Duh! You are saving a lot of money.
Cons: You will be doing a lot of back-breaking labor, you might not have family and friends left after you punish them with this exercise, and you could run up costs, especially if you’re not used to maneuvering a big truck and take more time with the rental than estimated.
2. The Full-Service Move
This is a breeze. You call up reputable, full-service moving companies, have them come to your home to give you an estimate (although this part could take up to a week, which let’s be honest, Millennials like us don’t have time for), and you pick the one you like best.
Then, they do all the work while you sip mojitos and decide how to arrange the furniture in the new place. If you have a flat-screen TV, that’s going to be your responsibility to pack and you’ll have to gather up essentials that you’ll need even during the transportation phase of the move (think clean underwear and your toothbrush and toothpaste).
At this point, you’re thinking, “Oh yeah, the full-service move is for me.” Of course, everyone wants this one because it’s easy breezy. But there’s a catch. It’s super – and I mean super – expensive. It can cost thousands, depending on the size of your apartment and the distance of your move.
For example, a 1400 mile full-service move from Los Angeles to Austin for a 1000 sq. ft. 3 bedroom apartment would be about $4,500. Just think about all the interest $4,500 would accrue in your IRA (or what a cool vacation it could buy).
Unless you have a bank account the size of Texas or a physical ailment that prevents you from doing much of the work involved in moving, it’s hard to justify that steep of a cost.
Cost Level: $$$
Too much (unless you’re Beyonce).
Pros: You barely have to lift a finger.
Cons: You’ll go broke (unless, of course, you really are Beyonce, in which case you’d have someone reading this for you anyway).
3. The Hybrid Move
As with everything else, the Millennial generation, those born after 1980, invented this frugal and less physically taxing system of moving. Of course, they gave it a cool name to boot; enter the hybrid move. The aim here is to hack a full service move without paying the hefty price tag that comes with it.
Usually, people decide they are going to move and round up loved ones willing to help them schlep their stuff from one place to the other. You still do that, but you don’t need as many because you also get professionals to do the heavy lifting, such as loading your boxes and furniture onto a rental truck or portable storage container. If you go with a storage container or a freight truck, you don’t even have to do the driving.
Depending on how many hours you need the labor on either leg of your trip, you might spend a few hundred to a couple thousand dollars. Either way, you’re spending far less money than you would for a full-service move. That same 1400 mile move from Los Angeles to Austin for a 1000 sq. ft. 3 bedroom apartment would only be $1,500 with a hybrid move.
Plus, you’re spending far less time than you would for a DIY move, which you could put towards more important things like browsing Pinterest for ideas for your new place. Also, your to-do list becomes more manageable.
Priority number one is to look for reputable companies that vet the movers for you and make sure they work for licensed, established moving businesses and have good reviews from former clients. After all, you shouldn’t trust your worldly possessions to just anyone.
Of course, you also have to research and select a mode of transportation based on reputation, cost, and whether or not you are willing to drive one of those big boys. Finally, most people pack themselves, but you could have the movers help you with that, too, if you’d like.
Cost Level: $$
While this costs more than the DIY move because you’ll have to pay for both mode of transportation and the professional movers loading and unloading at your pick-up address and final destination, you’ll also be saving yourself from hard labor and unnecessary headaches.
Cons: You have to do your homework to find the right prices from legit vendors, so you don’t get ripped off. And you have to become the great organizer and delegator.
Pros: If Millennial Goldilocks were testing out these three types of moving, she would deem this one just right. You get to do less work at a fraction of the cost of a full-service move. Both your cousin Frank and your back will thank you.
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Francesca Di Meglio is a full-time freelance writer and editor who’s no stranger to moving. She’s joined forces with the moving insiders at HireAHelper.com to spread her knowledge across the web.