Hidden Costs of Moving (Without a Moving Company)

The Hidden Costs of Moving (Without a Moving Company)

Moving is expensive.

Whether you’re upgrading to make room for your growing family or downsizing to save money, nobody moves for free.

Which is why many people opt to move themselves instead of hiring a professional moving company to do the heavy lifting for them. After all, why pay all that money when you can do it yourself? You’ll only be out $100 for the moving truck, right?

Think again.

Moving by yourself is hardly the “free” or even cheap option you were hoping for. There are many hidden costs of moving yourself you should consider before you start stockpiling those empty grocery store boxes.



tiny toy moving van

It’s the whole point of moving: your stuff is in one place and you need it to be somewhere else.

But getting your furniture and clothes and vintage vinyl collection from Point A to Point B isn’t as easy as you want it to be.

Even if you’ll be moving yourself, you have a few options when it comes to transporting your belongings. You can use your own car for local moves. Your friends might even be nice enough to load everything up into their cars. But you’ll have to make several trips to get everything over. Even a pickup truck can only hold so much.

With the price of gas nowadays, you’re far better off renting a truck to get everything moved over in one fell swoop.

But renting a moving truck isn’t always the cheapest option. Don’t forget, you’ll still have to pay for the gas in the rental truck, too, on top of the rental and mileage fees. And rental trucks are much heavier than your sedan (even before you load them up with furniture and boxes), so they don’t get the same great gas mileage.


Moving Supplies & Equipment

smiling woman holding decrepit cardboard box

Organizing your own move also means that packing is all on you. Again, you have a few different options here.

You can keep moving costs down by going the “free” route: making lots of trips to your local grocery or retail stores, tracking down boxes that are sturdy enough to protect your belongings. It also means buying bubble wrap, newsprint, packing tape, and markers to pack and organize everything safely.

The problem with most DIY packing jobs is that safety often takes a backseat to affordability. You might pass on the bubble wrap and use old newspaper instead, but your lampshades and chinaware will be all the worse for that decision.

You may also need extra dollies, furniture movers, padding, plastic sheeting, and other things to protect your things and your house while you’re loading and unloading. Again, many people skimp on these safety measures, but if you damage your furniture or homes in the process, you could be facing some costs that you weren’t expecting.

Which brings us to…



foot about to step on banana peel

Moving exposes your property to a lot of risk.

Transporting furniture down staircases, packing items into boxes, and putting everything onto a moving vehicle means that accidents can (and sometimes do) happen. But you might not know that your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy isn’t enough to protect you during your move.

To make sure you are completely covered, talk with your insurance agent about a moving insurance rider, which will help cover the cost of any damages that happen during transit.

If you’re renting a truck for a self-move, it’s a good idea to purchase the insurance through the rental company. It’s relatively cheap and will cover the vehicle, contents, and everyone inside. However, you should know that this insurance still won’t be enough to replace all of your things in the event of a disaster (usually between $15,000-25,000). You’ll need much more than that if you need to replace everything you own.


Long Distance Moving Costs

birds eye view of highway flyover

Moving to another state comes with its own host of complications…and costs.

First, there’s the additional cost of renting a moving vehicle long-term. Rental, gas, and insurance costs will all be higher, and you’ll also have to pay for the gas or shipping fees for your personal vehicle.

If you’re moving more than several hours away, you’ll also have to budget for airplane tickets or lodging during the trip.

Of course, moving cross-country is not usually an avoidable expense, but it’s always best to be prepared and calculate the cost of your long-distance move beforehand.


Non-Monetary “Costs”

woman covering her face with another pair of hands holding her head

The hidden costs of moving yourself aren’t always financial. There are plenty of other sacrifices you’ll have to make if you’re foregoing a moving company.

The first is the amount of time you’ll have to spend. Packing and moving always take longer than you expect, and you’ll likely have to use more than one vacation day to get everything done. (Do you really want to waste your vacation days on moving?)

You’ll also have to expend a lot of extra mental energy organizing everything and keeping everyone moving on moving day. Between kids running around underfoot, friends that don’t know where to start, and the stress of orchestrating a whole-house relocation, you can expect to be tuckered out for the next few weeks.

Then, there’s the physical toll that moving takes. If you don’t do it all day, all that heavy lifting can cause injuries, especially if you don’t know how to do it right. Best case scenario is that you’ll be tired and sore for a few days, but the worst case scenario involves a trip to the ER. (All the more reason to make sure your insurance policies are in good shape.)


Moving Company Costs

man moving boxes on hand truck

If this all sounds like too much work, we don’t blame you! Millions of families worldwide agree with you.

That’s why moving companies like us come in!

Moving companies can save you time, money, and injury by performing the whole relocation quicker and safer than you and your friends can do it. They often offer packing and unpacking services in addition to moving day transport, and they have insurance coverage for extra protection.

But you have to make sure you choose a reputable local moving company that comes well-recommended and well-reviewed. A bad moving company can end up costing you money if they are a fraud or if they break everything.



When you’re preparing to move, deciding between hiring a moving company and moving yourself can be just one more decision in an already stressful process.

But the hidden costs of moving yourself can sometimes make the “cheap” option anything but.

When you’re deciding whether or not to hire professional movers, make sure you factor in all the costs of moving. The rental truck, moving supplies, insurance, and physical costs might put a self-move out of the question.

And if you end up hiring a moving company, make sure they’re trustworthy and professional. Of course, Cento Family Moving & Storage would be happy to assist with your move, whether you’re moving across town or across the country.


Start Your Quote