Moving Options: The 5 Best Ways to Move

Moving is never easy, but choosing the right moving options for your move can help lower your stress level tremendously.

Gone are the days when you only had one choice of how to move. Whether you want to hire a full-service moving company, prefer to move everything yourself, or want something in between, you have options when it comes to your move.

We know that no two moves are alike and the moving process looks different for everyone. Here at moveBuddha, we have worked with many of the best moving companies to create this comprehensive list of moving options for you to consider as you plan your next move.

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Ready to design your perfect move? Read on to learn all about your options come moving day.

Types of moves

Whether you are planning a local move or perhaps one across state lines, you can consider several different types of moves. Below, we break down the most common types of moves in the moving industry.

Full-service moves

Now it’s a myth that stress-free moves exist, but if you want to have the lowest-stress move possible, you should consider hiring a full-service moving company.

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A full-service moving company is one of the most comprehensive service options, requiring very little exertion on your part. In most cases, you will accept a moving quote and the company you selected will send professional movers on moving day prepared to do the packing, loading, driving, and even unpacking on your behalf.

Of course, this is typically the most expensive option, and it isn’t without its risks. When hiring a professional moving company, you’ll want to start with a free quote and check customer reviews to ensure the company is trustworthy before you make any commitments.

Don’t have time to read the reviews of every moving company you come across? Check out our best long-distance moving companies to see some of the companies we recommend.

DIY moves

DIY moves tend to be the most budget-friendly moves, but they do require the most input and energy. With a DIY move, you will need to rent a moving truck or  moving container (or use your own vehicle or rely on a friend’s), then arrange to pick it up (some moving containers can be delivered).

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Once it arrives at your home, you’ll need to buy packing materials and plan to do all the packing, heavy lifting, and even driving yourself.

While this might sound like a lot of work, the amount you can save compared to a commercial moving company can be astronomical, especially when you choose one of our best moving truck rental companies. But before you get stuck on the dollar signs, know that DIY moving is becoming less popular because of the hassle involved.

Want to pack and load everything yourself but not comfortable driving a truck? Check out our best moving container companies for DIY options that include a professional driver.

Hybrid moves

A hybrid move is a type of move between a full-service move and a DIY move. While you will still be doing some aspects of the move yourself, you can get help with other parts of your move to lower your stress.

The cool thing about hybrid moves is that you can choose what part of your move you want help with. If you want help with furniture disassembly and packing, HireAHelper can help you find people to help you on either end of your cross-country move.

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If you’d rather do all the packing and loading yourself, you can look into hiring a professional driver or a hybrid moving company to help with that part. Hybrid moves have become so popular in recent years that many full-service moving companies also offer hybrid moving options designed to meet all moving needs.

5 best moving options

Are you unsure which type of move is best for you? We’ve made a list breaking down the five best moving options to help you make your decision.

1. Hire full-service movers

Hiring full-service movers has several upsides, namely that your move will mostly be handled by professional movers, leaving you free to devote your time and energy to other aspects of your move.

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On the other hand, many online customer reviews tell stories of professional movers breaking fragile items and customers not purchasing the proper insurance coverage to have them replaced. Because of this — and the fact that it’s expensive — many people choose not to hire full-service movers.

The average cost of a full-service move can vary widely, being as low as $2,000 for a local move and upwards of $15,000 for interstate moves.

Use full-service movers if:

  • You want to do the least amount of work for your move
  • You don’t mind paying a little extra for packing services to lower your stress level
  • Overall cost isn’t a major factor in your move

Don’t use full-service movers if:

  • You are on a tight budget or worried about hidden fees
  • Have several specialty items that you would rather pack yourself rather than risk them being damaged in transit

2. Rent a moving truck

Renting a moving truck is considered one of the budget ways to move. It has several upsides, mainly that you save money and retain full control over all aspects of your move. You know your household goods will arrive on time at your new home because you are the packer, driver, and unpacker!

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Of course, renting a truck also has downsides. If you have a lot of stuff, you will need to enlist family and friends to help, especially if someone needs to drive you to pick up the truck. You also could injure yourself during all this heavy lifting, and if something is damaged in transit, you will have no one to blame other than yourself.

Renting a moving truck has a much lower average cost than hiring movers, as small moves can cost as low as $300. Long-distance movers, though, may find their costs are closer to $3,000–$5,000, depending on their moving date and the mileage they intend to put on the moving truck.

Rent a moving truck if:

  • You’re physically capable of packing and moving all of your stuff on your own
  • You don’t require any additional services and don’t mind being solely responsible for your move to save a few dollars
  • You want to save money on your move

Don’t rent a moving truck if:

  • You can’t lift heavy loads
  • You don’t have a driver’s license or are afraid of driving a large vehicle

3. Rent a moving container

Renting a moving container is a newer type of move known for its overall cost-effectiveness. It’s kind of like renting a moving truck… without having to drive said moving truck. The upside of renting a storage container is that it allows you to pack at your own pace without having to pay a daily rental fee. Additionally, your stuff can be moved long distances and easily placed into long-term storage.

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The downside of renting a moving container is that you’ll still be doing all the packing and lifting on your own, and you won’t have specialty crating options. Plus, if you have a last-minute move, you might not be able to use storage containers as you need to book in advance because moving containers are in high demand.

The average cost of using moving container providers for your move is between $3,000–$8,000, depending on how long you keep the container between drop-off and pickup and your long-term storage needs.

Use a moving container if:

  • You want to pack your stuff yourself but don’t want to drive a moving truck
  • You need long-term storage options as part of your move
  • You are physically capable of packing and loading your storage container

Don’t use a moving container if:

  • You are booking your move last-minute
  • Packing and loading everything could cause injury

4. Rent a freight trailer

Renting a freight trailer is similar to using a moving container company, as the moving company will drop off a freight trailer in your driveway. You will have a few days to load it before it is picked up and hauled across the country.

For many people, the upsides of renting a freight trailer is that it’s less expensive than a full-service move, but it doesn’t involve driving a moving truck. It also allows you to pack your items into the trailer as you see fit, ensuring heavy boxes are at the bottoms of stacks.

The downside of a freight trailer is that it is more time-restrictive than a regular moving container (like PODS) but still requires the same physical labor. Additionally, freight moving companies don’t typically rent trailers to local movers, nor do they offer options for those who are moving their stuff to a storage unit.

The cost of renting a freight trailer will vary based on the company and the number of items you are planning to move. In general, you should expect to pay anywhere from $2,000–$10,000, depending on your specific move.

Use a freight trailer if:

  • You don’t mind a time limit on loading and unloading
  • You want to save money on your move but don’t want to drive a rental truck
  • You are moving long distances and/or across state lines

Don’t use a freight trailer if:

  • You need to use storage facilities during your move
  • You aren’t physically capable of participating in the packing and loading portion of your move experience
  • You are making a local move

5. Ship your belongings

Shipping your belongings is a moving option that doesn’t involve driving or loading your stuff into a trailer. It can be expensive but also convenient, as your items simply show up at your new home.

The upside of shipping your items is you can take time to pack your items and significantly shorten your moving checklist by arranging for a shipper to come to your home to pick them up. Then you can fly to your new home without stress.

Unfortunately, the downside of shipping your belongings is that it can get very expensive really fast. Plus, once you ship your belongings, they could be damaged or lost in transit, and without the insurance that moving companies have, you could be left with the cost of replacing your most valuable items.

The average cost of shipping your belongings depends on the distance you plan to ship and the amount of items you have. For reference, a TV can cost $100 to ship, while a bike can cost $700 or more. These costs can add up fast, which is why shipping belongings is only recommended for small moves.

Ship your belongings if:

  • You are making a small move and don’t have a lot to ship
  • You want to fly to your new home while your stuff makes its own way there
  • You are moving across an ocean, and driving isn’t an option

Don’t ship your belongings if:

  • You have a lot of belongings and it would cost more than a full-service move to ship your items
  • You have specialty items that could easily break in transit

Comparing the best moving options

We know how hard it is to pick the right moving option to fit your moving needs. Check out the table below to help you get a better snapshot of the right option for you.

Moving option Best for Average cost
Full-service mover Those who need lots of help with their move $2,000–$15,000+
Moving truck Those who want to save the most money possible on their move $300–$5,000
Moving container Movers who require storage during their move $3,000–$8,000
Freight trailer Those who want to do their own packing and loading but don’t want to drive $2,000–$10,000
Shipping International movers $2,000+

Pro tip: Save money and time with a hybrid move

If none of the above options fit your moving needs, then it may be time to consider a hybrid move. A hybrid move is one that combines the expert assistance of a professional moving company with the cost-effectiveness of a DIY move.

Many full-service movers offer hybrid options and are willing to come up with solutions to make your move a success. There are a few different options for hybrid moves, some of which entail hiring labor to help with the heavy lifting or hiring a driver to help with the driving.

No two hybrid moves are alike, and you will need to contact a full-service moving company directly to find out whether or not they cater to hybrid moves.

Some examples of hybrid moves include:

  • Hiring labor-only movers to help you load and unload a rental moving truck or moving container
  • Hiring a moving company to load/unload and drive the truck but doing all the packing and unpacking on your own
  • Using a freight trailer along with a local app like HireAHelper for assistance with packing, unpacking, loading, and unloading the trailer

FAQs about moving options

What is the cheapest method of moving?

The cheapest method of moving is renting a moving truck and doing all the physical labor on your own. You’ll have to do a lot of work, but you’ll only pay a rental fee, mileage fee, and gas to get all your stuff to your new home.

What are the benefits of moving with a moving company?

Choosing a full-service moving company can help reduce the stress associated with your move. They can help with packing and unpacking, as well as the heavy lifting associated with loading a moving truck. They also have compulsory insurance policies that can help cover any damages that may occur to your stuff in transit.

What are the pros and cons of moving yourself?

The pros of moving yourself are you will save money and spare yourself the worry that someone else is not taking care of your stuff while in transit. However, the cons are that you’ll have to put in a lot of physical labor and you won’t have specialty crating options if you have delicate household goods or antiques.

How can I reduce moving costs?

You can reduce your moving costs by taking on more aspects of your move. Ask your moving company about hybrid moving options to see if there is a reduced fee for doing some parts of the move on your own.

What are the best options for international moves?

For those moving to another country, it is best to purchase a shipping container to get all of your items to your new home. You can load the container at your leisure, and once you are finished, the items will begin their journey to your new home while you make your way there via airplane.

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