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The Cost of DIY Moving

Wall with boses labled and ready fpr shiping

There are many decisions to be made when planning a move, starting with whether to hire a professional moving company or do it yourself.

DIY moving may seem like the least expensive option, but it all depends on the distance of your move and the amount of your belongings that need to be moved. The main expenses that affect a DIY moving budget are the price of the truck rental and the purchase of boxes and packing materials. However, there are other costs of which to be aware.

Here are some insights into DIY moving expenses that will help guide you as you put together your DIY moving budget.

Truck rentals

The advertised prices for truck rentals may seem straightforward, but there are other factors that can influence the overall cost of your rental:

  • Truck size – Consider first the size of your move; are you moving from a one-bedroom or three-bedroom home? Truck rental websites can also advise as to what size truck will best accommodate your move. Typically, a small truck rental is about $19.95 per day and can increase to $39.95 per day for a larger truck. These daily rental rates can vary however, depending on where you live and if you will be returning the truck to the same pickup location.
  • Miles – After the daily rate, there is also the mileage fee. Truck rental companies charge for every mile the truck is driven. The fee is usually $.99 per mile.
  • Fuel – The cost of fuel is not included in the rental price. Fuel consumption can be anywhere from 7 to 10 miles per gallon, depending on the size of the rental truck. If you rent a 26-foot moving truck and your new home is 1500 miles away, you may use 200 gallons of fuel.
  • Insurance – Is driving a large truck within your comfort zone? Are you prepared for incidents that can damage the truck, such as a small rock cracking the windshield? Although purchasing damage coverage can add several hundred dollars to your bill, it is an important option to consider since major credit cards and most car insurance policies do not typically cover truck rentals.
  • Extra costs – You may need to rent additional equipment such as moving blankets (to protect your belongings from being damaged/scratched) and a dolly (to move appliances and other large items). To avoid any additional fees, be sure to return the truck in its original condition and with a full tank of fuel.

Boxes and packing material

To ensure your belongings are well protected, it is best to purchase proper boxes and packing materials for moving, such as:

  • Small boxes – about $1.00 each
  • Large boxes – about $1.70 each
  • Extra-large boxes – over $2.00 each
  • Wardrobe boxes – start at about $8.00 each
  • Packing tape – $2.00 to $4.00 per roll
  • Furniture pads – about $8.00 each
  • Packing paper – about $10.00 per 10 lbs
  • Bubble wrap – about $20.00 per box
  • Foam packing peanuts – about $5.00 per bag
  • Bubble bags – about $25.00 per (60) bags
  • Cushion foam sheets (to place between dishware) – about $5.00 per (40) sheets

Sometimes the more boxes purchased will reduce the cost per box. Also, other specialty supplies may be needed including dishpack boxes (for dish and glassware), picture frame protectors and mattress covers.

Hotels and meals

If you are moving long distance, do not forget to include the cost of hotels and meals. Perhaps also budget for orders of pizza to reward your friends and family for their help and hard work.

Apartment/condo moves

If you are moving into – or out of – a large/high-rise apartment or condominium building, be sure to inquire with management as to whether or not residents are even allowed to perform a move themselves without the aid of professional movers; some buildings and/or homeowners’ associations have specific move-in/out rules due to insurance and liability issues. There may also be applicable fees for use of elevators, hanging padded blankets to protect hallway and elevator walls, and coordinating with building staff. Some buildings also only allow moves within specific times of the day.

Finally, make sure that you and your friends and family can endure the physical consequences of moving furniture and heavy boxes. The last thing needed after a move are achy muscles and a sore back, perhaps costing you the most expensive price to pay – your precious time and energy that should be spent enjoying your new home.

This article was originally published at Angie’s List.