When You Can‘t Afford Movers: The Pros and Cons of Getting Help From Family and Friends

Men Carrying Sofa Helping With Move Into New HomeAs a first time renter, one of your biggest concerns is how you are going to get your belongings to your new place. The easiest way would be to hire a moving company to do the work but that can become very costly and many people can’t afford that expense. So what are your other choices?

You can rent a U-haul and drive yourself to your new destination, you can take as much as your hands can carry and take public transportation (bus, train, plane) to your new home (depending on how far you’re moving), or you can recruit your family and friends to help. If you decide to go with the last alternative, there are lots of benefits that come with that arrangement. But don’t be fooled; there’s also a downside.

Pro: They’re cheap

When you “hire” your family and friends to help you move, they will most likely lend you their services for free. Your close relationships with them makes them unselfishly assist you with this daunting task. Be careful not to just take advantage of their charity. You should still “pay” them somehow for their help. Whether it’s buying lunch for your group or making it up to them at a later date, dont leave them empty handed. They didn’t have to help you. Which brings me to my first con…

Con: They’re not being paid by the hour so there’s a good chance they won’t be punctual. Its not that easy to tell your family what to do.

For someone who is a stickler for punctuality, this rude awakening stressed me out! Everyone was at least a half an hour or more late to arrive. This not only pushed my schedule back, it also forced me to deal with weather I wasn’t prepared to deal with.  It started to rain towards the end of my move and a lot of my stuff got soaked, even damaged. If they had just been on time, I wouldn’t have had to worry about the rain.

Pro: They care about your stuff and wellbeing.

Since they are related to you, they won’t be so cavalier about your belongings. They will try their hardest to move your things without causing any damage. And when things aren’t going smoothly, they will be aware of your feelings and sincerely try to make things better for you. There’s not one moving company in the world that will give you that much attention and love. It’s so reassuring that you almost forgot about your dresser drawer being broken in half…

Con: They aren’t professionals so they are bound to break something.

Since this may be the first time they’re helping someone move or they’re don’t necessarily know the proper way to carry certain things, something of yours is bound to break. Do not fight it; do not try to rationalize it. All you can do is take it in stride and pray to whomever you pray to that it’s not something that’s irreplaceable. Just know that they didn’t break it out of malice. It truly was an accident… that you can’t ask for a refund for.

Pro: They can stay behind and help you unpack and assemble your furniture.

Let’s say you do have a professional service helping you move and they break something. Do you think they will stick around to try and help you fix it? If you move in with a deconstructed bed, do you think they will help you put it together without charging you an extra fee? I don’t think so. That’s one of the great benefits of having family and friends help out. They can stay afterwards and help you put the essentials together. All you have to do is (nicely) ask.

Con: They will have opinions on top of opinions about how you should place your furniture and where to put your things.

Speaking of being nice, it might be hard to keep your cool when you start to get A LOT of unwanted advice about how to organize, style, and lay out your apartment. When you have professionals helping you move, they won’t offer their two cents on your décor. When you get family and friends involved, the tips, tricks and opinions will start pouring in. It can start to get really stressful and overwhelming but just try to remember that they’re only trying to help… no matter how annoying they may be at the moment. And you never know, they just might give you a few gems of advice that will help you along the way.

With all these pros — and even the cons — family and friends can make the moving process a bit more fun. The memories you get from involving them in this new chapter in your life are sure to be priceless. If nothing more, at least you saved a few bucks along the way.

Have any of you been helped by friends and family with your move? Let me know what your experience was like! Share your stories and tips in the comments below.



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Author My First Apartment

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I am a first time renter who was born, raised, and still lives in New York. I had a few stints with campus apartment living in college so I know a thing or two about roommates, decorating, and $2 meals. I've learned a lot thanks to my past experiences and my healthy obsession with HGTV but I'm still learning as I go along. Come learn with me!

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Comments (5)

  1. Avatar packers5thin

    When you can not trust movers for safe and accurate packing and shifting your belongings in your shifting: this information is good for professionals and opposition professionals and friends, this is a good post. To share this information and share it with us

  2. Avatar Nathan Johnson

    I have helped a lot of people move, mostly family and friends. I agree that this is the cheapest way to go. My wife and I are getting ready to move this summer and we are grappling with the idea of hiring a moving company. We’ll see what happens. Thanks for the info!