What is Self Service Moving and When is it the Best Way to Move House?

Guy in the back of a moving truck with packed boxes
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Self service moving is a great option if you're not sure if you should move yourself or hire movers to do the move for you. Sometimes this decision comes down to cost and time – both of which are critical to a successful move. So if you don’t want to move yourself, yet you can’t afford to hire full service movers, then self service moving might be the best compromise.

What is Self Service Moving?

Self service moving refers to movers who provide a very limited service.

Unlike a full service mover – one who moves your household goods into a truck, drives the truck to your new home then unloads your things – a self-service mover simply drives the truck. You’re responsible for moving and packing the truck and unpacking it when it arrives at its destination. This is an ideal option for people who want to save some money, but are concerned about driving a large truck, especially through a residential area or an area with narrow streets and lots of traffic.

What Services are Included in Self Service Moving?

Self service moving usually includes a professional driver and the moving truck. All other costs are your responsibility, including packing your household, packing the truck and unpacking on the other end. Some self-service companies will provide you with a moving container – a large mobile unit – that you can store on your front lawn for a few days prior to your move.

This kind of service allows you to pack the container over a longer period of time. It also ensures that you’re not tripping over boxes as you continue to pack your home. Plus, you can take as much time as you need to load the container and unload it at the new home. 

How Much Does Self Service Moving Cost?

Costs will always vary depending on how far you’re moving, how much stuff you have and the area you’re moving from and to.

Costs will also depend on what kind of service you require: if a mobile container is needed or if you require the truck for a longer period of time. Ask the company upfront what services are included in the cost and what extra costs might apply. No matter what, a self service mover will usually be less expensive than a full service move, depending on your circumstances. Plus, you can also ask the mover how to reduce costs and ask for a full breakdown of your estimate so you can see where to cut back if you need to keep within your moving budget

Is Self Service Moving Really Cheaper?

Not necessarily. To decide if this is the right service for you, you need to determine the time it’ll take to move your things into the truck and how many people you’ll need to help you move. If you have the time and a lot of people to assist, than this might be the right service for you. But make sure you weigh the costs of a self service move against a full service. Often you’ll find that the full service is worth the price, especially if you have a lot of large, awkward items to move or you are limited by time and resources.

Do your homework. If you’re not sure which type of move to choose, weigh the options based on costs, time, effort, stress and how valuable your things are – the more valuable the items you’ll be moving, the better it is to hire professionals to move you. Also, keep in mind that moving specialty items such as heavy appliances, a piano or awkward items like a large sectional, might require extra help that a mover can provide. Remember, cheaper isn’t necessarily always better.