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Back-to-College Moving Tips: Hiring Movers VS. DIY

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Linsay ThomasGuest Blogger
August 12, 2016 · 1.8k Views

College will be starting soon, and for many of those fresh out of high school, that means it may be time to start preparing to move. Whether your new residence will be several hours away or several states away, you’ll need to find a way to move your belongings with you.

This can be a difficult choice to make, depending on whether or not you have a car and the amount of stuff you plan to bring. Should you use your own car, hire professional movers or rent a U-Haul or SUV?  Use this guide to help you choose the option that’s right for you based on your personality and situation.

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 Renting a U-Haul

Source: Star Local Media

You might be tempted by U-Haul’s $19.95 moving specials, but many consumers say these deals are too good to be true. U-Haul allegedly makes its money off overbooking and charging outrageous fees to customers who fail to return vehicles on time.

Click here to subscribe to receive our U-Haul emails so you can save on your next big move.

Pros: U-Haul offers a variety of vehicles, from pickups to 26-foot trucks. These spacious vans allow you to haul couches, beds and other large furniture. Trucks come with ramps for easy loading and unloading. You can opt for a one-way rental, in which you can drop it off at the U-Haul location that’s closest to your destination, saving you time and money. There is also the option to tow your car behind the U-Haul trailer, so you don’t have to worry about how your car will get to the new destination.

Cons: There’s a strong possibility you’ll end up paying more than you bargained for, as unexpected fees tend to be common. You still have to do all the moving yourself, so you’ll need to provide the boxes, bubble wrap, tape and other supplies. If you have a lot of large items, you’ll need to move them yourself or have someone help.

 Using a Moving Company

Source: Dorm Delicious

A moving company provides everything, which means less stress for you. You have more time to say goodbye to friends and family, or you can start heading toward your new destination and start getting things set up there without having the stress of packing and unpacking.

Pros: A moving company is all-inclusive. It’s less stressful and you don’t have to worry about moving fragile items, as movers have experience with this. You get peace of mind while the movers carefully pack your belongings. Most movers carry insurance policies, so they may replace items if they become broken during the move.

Cons: Because you get movers, trucks, supplies and labor, expect to pay much more than other options. Depending on how far away you’re moving, you could pay $1,000 or more. This method requires a lot of research to ensure you hire a reputable company. You’ll have to make sure the company you choose is fully licensed and insured and accredited by the Better Business Bureau.

 Using a Rental Car

Source: Teen Life

A rental car may be a good option if you have a small car – or no car at all – and don’t have so much stuff that you’d need a huge truck or a van. Rental car companies such as Avid and Hertz offer mid-sized cars and SUVs that can help you move your belongings with ease.

Pros: Rental cars are good for small moves. You can drop off the car at the rental car company’s closest location. Prices are typically reasonable. Promo codes, coupons and offers are readily available.

Cons: You still have to do all the moving yourself. You’ll be in charge of packing and moving everything from one place to another, as well as gathering all the materials needed to do so. Plus, a rental car won’t be able to haul large items, so if you have a bed and other furniture you want to bring, you’ll have to choose an additional method.

 Using Your Own Car

Source: Hero Images via Getty Images

Using your own car is pretty much the same as using a rental car in terms of space. The only difference is that you’re using your own equipment and doing everything yourself.

Pros: You don’t have to pay anyone. You’re not renting a vehicle or hiring movers, so this is the most cost-effective option if you have just a few items. You don’t have to worry about dropping off a vehicle by a specific time.

Cons: This method requires an extreme amount of organization and planning. You’ll have to purchase all the supplies. You’ll need to make sure your vehicle is efficiently packed so you can haul everything. You’ll need to clean it out thoroughly before the move, since space will be limited. You’ll likely be hauling a full-capacity load, so driving will become more difficult and your gas mileage will suffer. 


Moving is a stressful process, as there are many details to keep in mind. You’ll need to decide if you’d rather save time or money. Are you looking for convenience or the ability to take care of everything yourself? Choose the option that’ll make your move the least stressful and you’ll be able to start college on the right foot and have a chance to enjoy your new surroundings with peace of mind.


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Linsay Thomas is a seasoned writer and editor who has written thousands of articles about topics such as saving money, healthcare, law, pets and education. She hails from California, where she lives with her husband, two children and a menagerie of pets. When she's not writing, she enjoys sports, breeding chocolate Labs and visiting the beach.