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Removal company or DIY move?

Spring is fast approaching, bringing with it better weather that is not yet too hot. This makes it the ideal season to move house. However, whilst the timing might be perfect, those who decide to move will still face further dilemmas. Is it worth hiring a removal company? Or can I save money by moving by myself with help from a few good friends? Professional movers versus a DIY move. We compare the advantages and disadvantages of both options.

Your moving situation

The decision whether to move with professionals or do it on your own will mainly depend on your moving situation – i.e., what you need to move, the location of both properties as well as your personal contacts and resources. Moving can prove very time consuming and be a real test of patience. So it's important to carefully consider your individual circumstances:

  • Time: How much time can you make for tasks in the run-up to the move and on moving day itself?
  • Household items: Do you own “moving-friendly” furniture – easy to dismantle, not too heavy, relatively cheap and robust? A piano, for example, should be moved by professionals to prevent damage to the instrument and avoid seriously injuring the people moving it.
  • Distance: Is it only a short distance between the properties and are they both easily accessible? Take into account any steps and whether there is a lift. Will you be able to move all your belongings from A to B in one go?
  • Parking: Is there enough free parking available near both properties? Or do you need to organise a temporary “no parking” permit with your local authority?
  • Removal van: Do you know someone who has a van? Make sure you sort out the relevant insurance and liability cover as a precaution in the event of damage.
  • Moving helpers: Can you get together a moving team from friends and contacts? There is also an advertising portal for moving helpers.
  • Packing: Do your helpers already have packaging materials that you can use for your move? Great, then you can save money on buying or renting moving boxes, tape and protective covers.
  • Family: Your children need to be kept occupied with something else or looked after by a trusted friend or family member. On moving day, you won't have time to take care of children and oversee the move. Have a read through our guide: Moving with kids.

Moving by yourself

As you have probably already realised, you can save on moving costs by organising the move yourself. However, the time needed, and potentially even the costs involved, can unexpectedly skyrocket and, in the worst case, moving under your own steam can end up more expensive than hiring professional movers.

Moving by yourself makes sense:

  • ...if you have enough spare time.
  • ...if you can organise lots of things yourself and don’t have to rent everything individually.
  • ...if you don't own too many household items.
  • ...if your furniture can be carried by two people.
  • ...if you are trying to save money.
  • ...if your helpers are motivated and have time.

 

Zebrabox tips:

  • Scrutinise your plan and compare the cost of hiring professionals with the cost of having to rent and organise everything yourself.
  • Be aware of hidden costs when organising the move yourself, such as pressures on your time and nerves and potential damage to an expensive piece of furniture.
  • Brief your helpers at the beginning and give them clear instructions and tasks.
  • Fill out a liability agreement with your helpers in case of damage.
  • Read our moving checklist and skilfully manage your DIY move.

 

Moving by yourself

Advantages
Saves moving costs: The costs associated with professional movers to cover the work, staff and transport are avoided.
Flexibility: You are not tied to the removal company’s available dates and you can move whenever suits you.
Trust: You can rely on your moving helpers (family and friends).
House-warming party: After all the hard work is done, you can celebrate moving into your new home straightaway and raise a toast with your close friends.

 

Disadvantages
Takes strong nerves and time.
Insurance: There is no insurance to fall back on if expensive items are damaged.
Packaging materials: You have to organise all the items for the move by yourself.
Removal van: The van has to be organised by you. Issues such as insurance and liability as well as fuel costs and price per km all need to be considered.
Moving helpers: Reliable moving helpers need to be arranged, briefed, fed and rewarded.

 

Young couple moving boxes

Moving with professionals

Start the day as normal in the morning and go to bed in the evening in your new home with all your belongings in place. That is possible with professional movers. However, even when you hire professionals, you still need to do a bit of work.

The removal company needs information about the type and quantity of furniture, the distance between the properties, the location and the available access. You will also still need to empty the moving boxes yourself once they arrive. And while professional movers do save you time and stress, they do also cost more money. Consider your individual moving situation when making your decision.

Moving with professionals makes sense:

  • ...if you have a lot of belongings.
  • ...if you don't have time or don't want to organise the move yourself.
  • ...if you want an all-in-one service.
  • ...if you think it is worth paying the required fee.
  • ...if you need to move heavy items such as a piano, washing machine or safe.

 

Zebrabox tips:

  • Compare different offers and check which services you want to use.
  • With good preparation (wrapping, disassembly) you can save on some moving costs.
  • Inform your removal company about the items that need moving, the distance, the location and the access to both properties and avoid additional costs which may arise if you make unexpected changes.
  • Move small, light items to your new home in advance.
  • Pay attention as to how professional and reliable the removal company seems. A quick look at the removal van can give you an insight into how the company works.

 

Umzug mit Profis

Advantages
Saves time and stress: Everything is organised in one place. 
Reliable: The removal company will commit to providing the staff and removal van on a fixed date.
Organisation: The company organises the van, the “no parking” restrictions, a lift where needed, and items such as boxes, covers, straps and bubble wrap.
Waste disposal: Any furniture which you no longer want can be disposed of by the professional movers on request.
Final clean: A final clean is also often offered as an additional service.
Delicate furniture: Delicate or heavy furniture is professionally packed and carefully transported.
Efficient: Boxes can start to be unpacked in the new property even during the move.
Insurance: Your furniture and belongings are insured in the event of damage.

 

Disadvantages
Brief professionals: Even professional movers need information about your inventory and location.
Children: You need to arrange childcare so that you can focus on the move.
Costs: Professional movers charge an hourly rate. The more they have to do themselves, the more it costs.


Removal professionals in front of a van

Summary

Ultimately, it is possible to move successfully both on your own or with professionals. However, both options require good preparation. The end cost will depend on what you can and can’t organise yourself.

Moving with professionals saves time and stress, but without the right preparation it can end up costing a lot of money. Hiring professional movers is an obvious choice when the move involves a property that is difficult to access with bulky, delicate and expensive furniture, where long distances are involved or in situations where you are not able to organise helpers or a van yourself. Removal companies also often offer a complete service, including waste disposal, final cleaning, disassembly and reassembly as well as transport.

Moving without professionals takes strong nerves and you’ll need to set aside time to prepare and organise. The more accessible your home is, the more manageable your furniture, the shorter the distance between the properties, and the more you can organise on a friendly basis (e.g. van, childcare, packaging materials), the more it makes sense to move under your own steam.

Moving with Zebrabox

Moving house tends to go hand in hand with a new stage in life. During this chaotic time, it is reassuring to have as much as possible planned and arranged in advance. As well as deciding whether to hire professional movers and which company to use, another common dilemma is where to store your furniture for the time between moving out of your old home and into your new one.

Here at Zebrabox, we can arrange everything for you. Thanks to our partners, we can even organise your move and your final clean. In addition to hiring out Zebrabox removal vans and packaging materials, we also offer temporary furniture storage. With different storage units available ranging from 1 m2 to 50 m2, we can find a custom-fit solution for your storage requirements. Thanks to our regular temperature and humidity checks and providing access from early till late, your items are stored in good hands and accessible at any time.

 

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