This is a key question when you're about to move house. It's one you really need to think about, as soon as you've accepted an offer on your home. There are pros and cons to both options, both in terms of cost and work. There's also the matter of protecting your entire household goods and those valuables. So weigh up your choices carefully before deciding.
Doing it yourself has the massive appeal of being cheaper. At least, it does on the surface. If you're moving into your first home, moving from a one bedroom flat or house and/or moving locally, it may well be. Your main outlay in these cases tends to be on the van hire, unless you have one you can borrow from friends and family. Either a 3.5 tonne or six tonne may well be enough, and most peoples' driving licences will cover those. If you need a larger lorry, you need to check carefully that your licence allows you to drive one. Many van rental companies also have a minimum age of at least 25 years old.
You'll also need to ensure you're adequately insured, not just to drive the vehicle on moving day but that your house contents are covered in transit. You should take out specialist insurance for the day, and certainly for any nights where the van might be packed up, even if its right outside your home. Unfortunately, opportunistic thieves do watch for people who are moving house, and it's best not to leave the van packed overnight with all your worldly goods in.
If you have plenty of strong, willing friends and family, moving yourself can be a lot of fun. But doing it alone is definitely hard work. Don't forget: there's going to be a lot of manual lifting of not just boxes, but potentially of heavy furniture too. At the risk of sounding like your grandma, you really need to watch your back. Lifting correctly is vital to stop you doing yourself a serious injury, and starting your new life in your new home in a lot of pain – which is no fun.
Provided you have the means, using a professional removals company can remove not only your goods safely, but remove a lot of the work and strain. Now, a national chain can be quite expensive, often several thousand pounds. But it will give you the peace of mind of a fully insured, professional team working for and with you; people who do this day in, day out. They can even do all your packing for you, should you wish.
When cost is an issue (and when isn't it), shop around for local quotes as well as looking at the big chains too. You may well find that a smaller firm near you, with lower overheads, can provide a keener price. Get at least three, and preferably five quotes and you may well knock hundreds of pounds off the removals company bill. Of course, you also need to check that they are reputable, well established, insured and preferably a member of a professional or trade association of movers. Word of mouth and personal recommendation is also key.
A good middle ground is to hire a man with a van. Costs for even two or three men, and a full eight hour day of moving, run into the mid hundreds, not thousands. Especially if you live in one of the big cities, there should be an experienced, trustworthy man with van company to do your move. With a small team, you do the packing but they do the loading, driving and unloading. This is an option well worth exploring when it comes to your move.