Does it cost more to move house yourself or hire a removalist?

October 11, 2018

When you’re moving house, even if it’s to the next suburb, it can be a complicated chore. There is just so much to consider. High among the factors is cost. Of course, you want the most cost-effective choice, but you also want the certainty of knowing your possessions are in good hands and that the inevitable moving-day delays aren’t going to blow your budget.

At Southern Cross Truck Rentals we have a decade of helping people move by themselves. In fact, we have become so good at it that we offer you a handy Moving Truck Volume Calculator for free. Just choose what stuff you have to shift and it’ll return a reliable estimate of what size of moving truck or van will suit you. If you’d like more details, just read on.

Moving a studio apartment

The typical amount of furnishings in a small apartment will fit into a standard commercial delivery van, the sort that can be driven on a normal car licence. We offer a selection of these such as our own 1-tonne Toyota HiACe and 1.5-tonne Mercedes Sprinter vans. A normal amount of furniture for a studio apartment is:

  • 1 double or queen bed
  • 1 bookcase
  • 1 couch
  • 1 dining table and 2 chairs
  • 1 desk and 1 chair
  • A few boxes of miscellaneous household items.

This much furniture is usually quite easy for two people to load and unload to and from a van. If you’re moving to a new place in the same city, then half a day is a reasonable timeframe to expect – depending on traffic.

  • Drive-yourself van hire: $70 per day
  • Removalists average 4 hours to move a studio: expect $360

Moving a small family home

Of course, a 2-bedroom cottage or apartment will include much more furniture than a studio. With the second bedroom and more living space, shifting the furnishings of this type of home often takes twice as long and requires a vehicle with twice the volume as needed for a simple studio apartment. A normal amount of furniture in a small home includes:

  • Main bedroom: queen bed, dresser/wardrobe, chair
  • Second bedroom: single bed, dresser/wardrobe, bookcase and chair
  • Living room: lounge, armchair, TV, entertainment unit, bookcase, coffee table, sideboard
  • Kitchen/dining: fridge, microwave, dining table with 4-6 chairs
  • Some gardening equipment
  • Miscellaneous household items in a few boxes
  • Perhaps a pushbike.

This amount of furnishings usually fits neatly into a 3-tonne pantech moving truck. Able to be driven on a normal car licence, these small trucks have optional tail lifts that can safely raise or lower up to half a tonne. Bed-base too heavy for you? It won’t be for the tail lift!

  • Drive-yourself 3-tonne truck hire: $125 per week day or $320 for a whole weekend
  • Removalists average 8 hours to move a small home: expect $720

Moving a whole family home

It’s true that the average Aussie family home is larger than ever. Houses today are nearly 40% bigger than they were in the early 1980s and people naturally tend to fill the space they have. This means that the typical couple with 2.3 kids will simply have a lot of stuff. If this is you, you’ll have this much, at least:

  • Main bedroom: queen bed, dresser/wardrobe, bookcase and chair
  • Each additional bedroom: single or double bed, dresser/wardrobe, bookcase, desk and chair
  • Living rooms: two lounge suites, two armchairs, two TVs and entertainment units, two coffee tables, multiple bookcases/sideboards
  • Kitchen/dining room: fridge, freezer, microwave, dining table with 8 chairs
  • Artworks: between 5 and 20 pieces
  • Gardening and/or pool equipment
  • Miscellaneous household items
  • Multiple pushbikes.

As well as much more time to pack and unpack this stuff, it requires a much bigger vehicle. A 6-tonne or 8-tonne pantech truck will be a good match. It’s not the necessarily the weight (that’s just how truck categories are named) – no, what you need to move a family home is cargo volume. And these vehicles have that in spades.

Trucks of this size are, however, too large to be driven on a standard car licence and will require a properly accredited driver. We’re happy to supply one. Even when you choose to use a staff driver from Southern Cross Truck Rentals to operate your moving truck, you can still expect to come out ahead over choosing a removalist to do it all for you.

  • Drive-yourself 6-tonne truck hire: $430 for a whole weekend, plus driver hire (if needed)
  • Removalists average more than 1 full working day to move a full family home: expect $1000-plus

How smoothly will my move really go?

Once you know how big the vehicle you need will be, the next most important factor is time. When we talk to our clients about their moving plans we ask them their expected timeline. Our reply when they tell us is often ‘you’ll need half as much time again, plus a bit more’.

The unexpected delays that can occur with what needs to be moved, where it needs to go, how it’ll get there and who will do it could fill a book. We’ve been helping people move for more than 10 years and sometimes even we are still surprised by the complications people run into.

This is an important point too, because home removal services typically charge by the half hour. This means if they face complications – such as heavy traffic – they just keep on billing. But when you hire a drive-yourself truck, you can control this cost much more easily – especially when we help you make a realistic estimate of what you’ll need and how long things will really take.

Packing materials

Of course, there’s much more to moving house than just trucks and timelines. Actually, for most people, the move begins weeks or months in advance when they begin packing up their belongings. It is a time-consuming and emotional process – certainly not something to be rushed through on the last day.

To safely shift all your stuff, you’ll need:

  • boxes
  • tape
  • tie-downs
  • ropes
  • padding
  • blankets
  • trolleys.

It can be pretty expensive to buy it all – especially if it is only going to be used once. At Southern Cross Truck Rentals, we keep a large stock of moving supplies available for you to hire temporarily. After you’ve moved in there’s no need to find a place to store all the empty boxes and moving accessories either, you can just leave them in the truck for when it’s returned.

Drive yourself and save

Our advice on all the points in this article is available free and with no obligation. All you have to do is call us up and let us know your plans. We’ll be happy to help.

For additional information, read our rough guide about what truck size your need.


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