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Chapter 11:

Self Moving Basics

Hiring a professional moving company can be expensive, among other things. However, the only alternative that many people know for hiring a moving company would be to do everything by themselves. However, moving yourself can be as challenging and unpredictably expensive, if not dangerous, as with a moving company.

Apparently, there is a third option - self moving. Read the following topics to learn about the self moving option:

  1. What is self moving?

  2. Costs of self moving

  3. Is self moving the right choice for you?

  4. Unloading tips


What is self moving?

Self moving companies are often referred to it as "U-load We-drive". As the name imply, when you hire a self moving company, you do all the packing, loading, and unloading yourself, but you leave the hard part of driving the truck to a professional driver.

The process of self moving is very simple. After you have agreed on a price and other details, the company drops a number of weather-resistant crates in front of your house, according to the estimate you get from them. You load your belongings and furniture inside, lock the crates up, and the company comes to pick them up. Once you have arrived at your new home you call them up, they bring the crates and drop them in front of your new house.

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Costs of self moving

Self moving has many financial advantages, when compared to other options.

Full service moving company will charge for the labor it provides you with (which can turn to be a lion share of the whole charge for your move), and for the transportation of your goods. Self service moving company, on the other hand, charges you for the number of crates you will use, and for the transportation to your destination.

On average, a self moving crate will hold up to 450 cubic feet, or roughly 3,000 pounds of household goods.

Moving yourself can prove to be cheaper than full service move, but not necessarily cheaper then a self service moving. Although renting a U-Haul can seem to be cheaper, don't forget the gas, tolls and other expenses.

And, of course, there is also an issue of opportunity costs. Spending time on getting the U-Haul and later driving it all the way to your destination can prove to be an exhausting experience. Otherwise could have spent that time earning money.

For those who still believe that moving yourself can be cheaper than using the self moving company, check the following issues to avoid loosing extra money:

  • Personal Insurance: When drive a rented truck you might not be covered by your automobile insurance. Check with your insurance agent if your policy covers commercial vehicles.

  • Insurance Rider: You should protect your shipment by purchasing an insurance rider. Belongings damaged in transit may not be covered under your homeowner's policy.

  • Damages to property: Beware of the situation when while moving you will damage the house or the apartment you are moving from. Such damage can lead to claims from the incoming buyer of your house, or your ex-landlord.

  • Rental truck: If the truck you rented for your move breaks down while in transit you will have to pay for repairs. It will take some time until the company will reimburse you for that. And, of course, take into account the losses dealing with the delay.

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    Is self moving the right choice for you?

    Self moving has both advantages and disadvantages. Consider those to make the right choice:


  • When compared to full service, self moving leaves you in control of how your belongings are handled. Since you pack, load, unload and unpack by yourself you reduce the chance that things will be mishandled or stolen.

  • Your belongings are kept in separate containers. It reduces the chance that your things will be mixed with other shipments, or get lost.

  • You don't need to worry about renting a truck, driving it, or dealing with repairs in case it breaks down.

  • Of course, as shown in Cost of Self Moving, it can prove to be the cheapest option of all.

  • Disadvantages

  • You may find it a difficult task to actually pack, move and load your furniture and boxes all by yourself. You can ask for some help from your friends or family, but it is still not something you or they specialize at. Many things can go wrong, like if the weather does not agree with you, etc. If not careful, you might even hurt yourself…

    There are many companies offering moving labor for hire. You are welcome to visit our Moving Labor section to learn more.

  • You still need to devote a significant amount of time to organize and coordinate the whole move.

  • If you are moving locally, it might prove to be easier and cheaper to do it all yourself or actually hire professionals. Self moving companies in general are more suitable for the long distance customers.

  • For small moves hiring a self moving company might prove to be cost ineffective.

  • For self-moving the cargo insurance is limited to $25,000, and it only covers damages caused by fire or crashes.

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    Unloading tips

    If you did choose a self moving company to help you with your move, you might find yourself dealing with another issue: how to unload all your belongings correctly.

    Rule number one when unloading your things – keep the whole process organized and under control. Keep you little ones away form the real activity by sending them to their new rooms and ask them to make plans and prepare it for their furniture once it arrives.

    Unload the heavy furniture first. You won't be as exhausted in the beginning as you would be in the end. Getting the furniture unloaded first will allow you to place other items more or less exactly where you want them.

    Don't let the empty packing material pile up all over the place. Fold up the boxes and put them all in one place. The packing paper, bubble wraps and plastic covers should be crumpled and thrown away. Also, make sure to place the unpacked items right where they belong. This way things will not get lost.

    And always remember: whether you are loading or unloading your furniture or boxes wear a protective gear, such as a weight-lifting belt or gloves.

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