Even with the extra costs involved in a road trip, the cheaper option is to rent a moving truck than hiring a full-service moving company, but with a lot stress put to work. However, you wouldn’t mind paying the additional cost to enjoy the convenience and service offered by full-service movers if you can afford it.
While the cost of renting a moving truck can be $1,000 – $5,000 cheaper than hiring a professional moving company, it is not as cheap as it’s made to appear.
Also, DIY moving features so many inconveniences and risks that hiring professional movers protects you from. That is why we often recommend going for full-service moving companies if you have the budget.
Continue reading to find out more.
Moving Truck Rental vs. Full-Service Moving Companies
Moving coverage included
500 miles move (cost)
1000 miles move (cost)
Renting a moving truck often means you take care of all the moving labor by yourself, even though moving services are available with the service provider. If you need help, moving labor professionals will be sent by the company to perform packing and loading, but you will pay hundreds of dollars for these services. To save money on your self-move, you have to perform the tough work yourself and maybe get help from some of your good friends.
Extra Truck Rental Costs
Together with the price of your rental truck, you should also add these additional costs into your budget if you are planning a moving truck rental for your move:
When you book your moving truck rental, you should also buy moving coverage for your rental truck, yourself, and your shipments to protect against accidents or if you break an item inside the cargo area. U-Haul has many different coverage options, but the most affordable one, Safemove®, was usually around $50 and $90 on the quotes we obtained.
For comparison, all well-licensed full-service movers offer basic liability coverage with no cost together with your move. Basic liability coverage is actually basic. It protects your shipments for just $0.60 per pound, so the full market value of your belongings is not covered, but it doesn’t cost you anything and is better than no coverage at all. Full-service moving companies also offer more advanced coverage but comes at a price.
When you hire professional movers, you don’t have to carry your heavy furniture items down the stairs or drive a large moving trucks hundreds of miles. You only have to leave well-trained professionals to take care of it as that is what they do best, taking care of your belongings with care and hauling them to your new home where they will also unload it.
To be honest, your furniture and moving boxes are much safer in the hands of professionals who have the relevant moving equipment than they would likely be if you and your friends were to perform your move yourselves. Your budget is definitely a major concern, but if you value convenience and security the more, then hiring expert movers is always worth the cost.
Miles per gallon
Cost of gas
This is the next cost you should plan for when you are making plans for a relocation road trip. Since there will be a minimum of two people (you and the backup vehicle’s driver) making this trip, for this example, we will make a budget for 2 people. The cost of food when making a DIY moving trip can be around $40 per adult per day. You should never attempt to drive beyond 500 miles in a day, so assuming your 500-mile trip takes 1 day and the 1,000-mile journey takes you 2 days. In this case, you should plan to pay around $80 for food on the 500-mile trip and $1.60 for the 1,000-mile journey. To reduce the cost, try and pack meals and do not go into fast-food restaurants.
As highlighted, your daily driving shouldn’t exceed 500 miles, so you likely don’t need to include a hotel in your moving budget for a 500-mile journey. You only have to wake up early in your origin, drive your rental truck to your destination home that day, and have your first night’s sleep there. However, to move 1000-mile, you need to plan to spend a minimum of one night in a hotel. The median price for just one night in a hotel room cost $180, although it can be pretty expensive in luxurious hotels or in highly populated areas. If you need somewhere to stay for a lesser amount, Airbnb might be a better deal for you.
Pros and Cons of Moving Company vs. Truck Rental
- Full service package: There are companies that offer everything including packing, furniture disassembling, moving, unpacking, and reassembling of your furniture.
- Moving efficiency: Professional moving companies do this all the time. They will load their moving vehicle maximizing space in it. They will secure the shipment appropriately to prevent damage to your items. The entire process will be faster than if you were to DIY by renting a truck.
- Zero driving safety risks for you – movers will do the driving.
- No risk of severe injury for you, your friends, and family giving you a hand on the move – Movers will perform the tough lifting. Professional movers don’t have many risks of severe injury because they do this type of work every time.
- A moving company will be liable for any damage to your shipments during loading and hauling: Make sure your movers offer such coverage (partial or full) together with their services.
- Great customer service all through: In case there is an unexpected occurrence, the movers will have to come up with a solution. Less stress for you to handle.
- Moving companies charge by the hour, so you should plan your relocation in advance to avoid delays, like reserving an elevator, getting space for parking your truck, pack all your shipments in advance, and so on.
- Know that a moving scam exists! Yes, there are some unreliable movers. Those are normally the cheap estimate companies on the market. Do your research and review your moving company of choice thoroughly.
- Renting a moving truck is cheaper, and can be much cheaper in some cases than hiring an expert moving company
- Total control – you have 100% control over your shipments all the time
- Time – you don’t get charged hourly fees as rental providers charge per day
- Logistics: Weekends are costlier and also the busiest time for rental providers, which make it tough to get a rental truck when most of your friends are available to give you a hand
- Hidden costs: Mileage fees, fuel, truck insurance, packing materials rental or purchase (like tape, bubble wrap, mattress bags, and so on), moving equipment (like dollies and straps), buying pizza/drinks for the people helping you with the move).
- Physical labor: You will need to perform the entire heavy lifting, exposing yourself to risks of injuries. What if your friend or a family member gets injured on the move and not you?
- Your time: You will need to dedicate most of your time to your move (especially to pick up the moving truck before the move and also drop it off after the move when you are tired). DIY move will take longer than when professional movers handle it.
- Risk of moving vehicle breakdown: Not every rental moving truck provider properly and regularly maintains their fleets. The majority of rental trucks are old. You don’t want to have your truck break down in the midst of a move because you will have to wait many hours for another moving truck to arrive, then you will unload your belongings from the faulty moving truck and load the replacement moving truck.
- Shipment coverage: Your shipment is not insured or protected. If any item breaks in transit, you are liable.
- No customer service: Because of fierce competition, rental truck providers concentrate on their products and not on customer service.
It definitely seems cheaper to rent a moving truck than hire a moving company to take care of your moving. However, make sure you are including everything inside the overall cost of your move. A lot of people forget to add packing materials, tool costs, the cost of their time as well as the cost of fuel into the overall cost of renting a moving truck.
When deciding between renting a moving truck and hiring a professional mover, you don’t need to gamble. In general, you can save lots of money by renting a moving truck. But you will save much effort with a professional full-service moving company. It all depends on your priorities.