Having friends or family help you move can either be the greatest blessing or biggest curse. Planning an entire household move, whether locally or across the country, is stressful enough on its own. Packing up all of your belongings, forwarding your mail, and getting comfortable in a new place can be difficult. And on top of all the preparation is coordinating the actual move itself. Add your family into the mix and things can sometimes get a whole lot tougher.
When you’re planning a move, the first thing you’ll likely think of is to enlist the help of family and friends. You can hire a moving service to do most (if not all) of the work for you, which is the easiest option, but can sometimes be pricey. So before you decide what’s best for you, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of having your friends and family help you with your move.
Affordable: Since you are not paying for a professional moving service to come out to your home with a big moving truck, dollys, etc., you will be saving hundreds, maybe even thousands of dollars depending on the size of the move. When helping a friend or family member move, most people know they are not going to be paid for their service. Instead, many times the person moving will pay their friends and family back by providing them with food, drinks, small gifts, and maybe a little bit of cash depending on the size of the move.
Large Team: Since you are not using a moving company, which may only have a few people come out for your move, you can enlist as many of your friends and family that are willing to help you.
Relaxed Timeframe: Most moving companies charge by the hour, which means that you want the move to be done as quickly as possible. When using friends and family to help you move, they are not being paid so you have a little breathing room and can move at your own pace. You are also not under a contract, so you don’t have to worry about making any last minute changes with the move.
Financial disputes: Most people know that they will not be compensated when they help a friend or family member move. However, depending on the size of the move, they may feel entitled to some form of payment. These situations occur a lot when there are unexpected problems during the move or extra items that need to be moved that you didn’t tell them about beforehand. The best way to avoid financial disputes is to be transparent from the beginning and let them know everything that needs to be moved.
Reliability: Since you are not working with a moving company, you aren’t working with people who are under contract. There is nothing forcing your friends or family to help you with your move, so there may be less commitment. They may not show up on time or may not show up at all, which could add extra stress to your move if you don’t have enough people to move your larger items.
Hidden Costs: You’ll have to factor in potential costs like gas prices, hotels and food for long distance moves, rental truck costs, etc. Day rates for a 10-17 ft. truck range from $19.99-$29.99, day rates for a 20-26 ft. truck range from $29.99-$39.99, and mileage prices typically range from $0.69-$0.79 on weekdays and as high as $0.99 on the weekends
No Insurance: Moving companies almost always have some kind of insurance, either built into their contract or available for purchase, that protects your belongings if anything gets damaged. If you are moving with the help of your friends and family, you don’t get that insurance and peace of mind from knowing that if something breaks it will be taken care of. You are already most likely not paying your help extremely well, so there is very little chance that your friend or family member will pay for an item that was damaged during the move.
Long Distance Moves: If you are moving to a new home in your immediate area, having friends that helped you pack all your things help you unpack them into your new home may not be an issue. But what do you do if you are moving from New Jersey to California and don’t know anyone out there to help you move your things in? Your friends and family will more than likely not make the trip across the country just to help you unpack your things, especially after they just gave up an entire day to help you pack your belongings. There are other options available to you, such as looking up helpers on either end of your move that can help load or unload your things. However, the added assistance will increase the price of your move.
Relationship Stress: Whenever you are having friends and family help you move, there are going to be times when you’ll have to tell them what to do, which can sometimes rub people the wrong way. Your friends and family are doing you a favor out of the goodness of their heart, so when you start telling them what to do in an already stressful situation, tensions can rise quickly. The best way to avoid emotions running rampant is to let your friends and family take their time moving your things and try to let them do it their way. You are not under a time constraint since they are not being paid hourly, so let them do it whatever way is most comfortable for them.
While having your friends and family help with your move may be more affordable, the stress of reliability and risk of items being damaged during the move may not be worth it, especially for larger or long distance moves. There are times when you may not have much to move, like into a college dorm or your first apartment—in these situations, having your friends and family help you is the most practical choice. Before you dive into your next move, make sure you take these pros and cons into consideration when choosing your moving team.