Should You Hire a Moving Company?
No one likes moving. It's a time intensive and exhausting exercise which usually means something will get broken or lost along the way. But for most people it's a necessary evil since it's estimated by the U.S. Census Bureau that 43 million Americans move every year. That's over 14% of the population. They also estimate that the average American will move nearly 12 times in their life. We are a transient society, and with all those moves many people look for help when it comes time to pick up roots and start over.
If it's a small move, say from your first apartment into a larger one, then you can probably handle the move yourself with the help of a couple friends. There's not a lot of worry about breaking stuff because you probably don't own a whole lot yet, things like expensive and valuable furniture or belongings.
But what about bigger moves? If you have been relocated for work, or bought your first house, no doubt you are going to need help with the this bigger move. You could call in a lot favors from friends and relatives, but not all of us have that kind of support network - and often those family and friends are just as busy as you are. Not to mention, most people avoid being a moving helper like the plague. Just ask someone to give up their weekend to help you move and see how many people raise their hands. Even if friends are willing to lend a hand, most are not going to be moving experts and may break something. That's why a lot of people like to take the hassle out of a major move by hiring a moving company.
There are two basic kinds of moving companies - the first kind of moving company does it all for you. This is a truly hassle free way to move as packing up boxes and loading the truck is all handled by hired labor. This is the option you want if you aim to make your move as easy as possible. You don't even have to worry about moving supplies (things like packing tape, moving blankets, boxes, and packing peanuts) since everything is purchased by the company as part of their fee. They also include the costs of gas, mileage, and tolls in their final charges.
These all inclusive moving companies are the most expensive option, often costing in the thousands of dollars, since you are hiring and paying for a lot of labor in exchange for the luxury of having someone else do absolutely everything for you. If you have a job that is moving you for work, often the company will offer some kind of relocation assistance that makes the cost of the move more manageable. But this all inclusive moving approach isn't an option for many people. The costs may just be too high, or the move isn't big enough to warrant the cost. That's why many people turn to the second option - containers.
The second, and more affordable, option for a big move is the shipping container. In this option, specialty moving companies offer drop off services where a container is delivered to your door (or somewhere close by) which you load yourself. The most known of these companies is PODS, a company that offers many container sizes to fit your moving needs. Using a container versus a full service moving company saves a lot of money since you are providing all the labor of packing, loading, and unloading as well as supplies yourself.
Once the container is loaded, the company comes back to pick up the container and gives you an estimated arrival date for your belongings. Depending on the distance of the move, the delivery date can vary widely. One of our writers, Jeremy Wright, was telling us about his moving experience and it gave us cause for alarm. He used a company similar to PODS and found that the delivery date was far from the one promised. Here is his story:
I hired a moving company for a cross country move I was making with a friend. We decided we wanted to get where we were going and enjoy a cross country drive without the hassles of trying to manage the huge truck we needed for all of our stuff. We hired one of the companies that drop off a container to your residence, which you load yourself. After it's loaded, you call them to pick it up and they give you a delivery date. Our expected delivery was a week out - perfect timing for us because it allowed us time to enjoy our drive, make a few new friends to help out, and prepare the new apartment for unloading. The problem is, our stuff ended up taking about 30 days to arrive which meant we went a long time without necessities like a change of clothes and pots and pans for cooking. We also ended up being charged more than we agreed to - they said that the area we used was over our allotted space and they charged us for each extra foot of space used. It was so expensive that the cost of the move doubled. If I had it to do again, I don't think I would use a moving container company. If I did, I would do a lot more research.