You never know how much stuff you have until you need to pack it up. Packing for a move, even if you have minimal stuff, is a time-consuming journey. It’s a task that may inspire you to do a deep declutter, or by going through your memorabilia, send you on a slow trip down memory lane. That makes packing for a move a huge undertaking, one that you may want to outsource.
Thankfully, there are professional packing companies for moving that can come pack up your house for you. Packing services will handle all the organizing, wrapping, and packing of boxes, from your grandmother’s china to your kid’s toys. You can even outsource buying moving supplies to them to make your move even more stress-free.
If you’re thinking of using a packing service for moving, there are some things you should consider: time, cost, and reliability, to start. So before you sign on the dotted line, read on to see what you need to know about professional packing services.
What You Get When You Use Packing Companies for Moving
So what’s included with packing services, anyway? Like any home service, you have plenty of options to customize packing services. Most packing companies for moving break their service offerings into these levels:
The Basic Package
No matter how much stuff you want professionally packed, a pro packing service will offer trained packers who will come take care of the items (or rooms) you designate and pack everything effectively and safely. The inexpensive “basic package” just covers the difficult items to pack up: your TV, any antiques, china and glassware, etc. Think of it as entry-level packing services: it’s inexpensive and helpful, but it won’t take care of all your packing woes.
The Per-Room Package
Just need your kitchen packed up? Or perhaps you only need help with the pesky storage areas, like the kitchen and the basement? A per-room packing service lets you offload a chunk of the packing work without spending all your cash. This is a great solution if you want to cut down on packing time, but are still willing to do some of the work yourself.
The Full Home Package
With a full home package, the packing service will pack up everything in your home, from the clothes in your closet to the silverware in your kitchen. It’s the most expensive package by far, but it allows your entire packing process to be done in one or two days, without you ever having to pick up a box.
In addition to all the different service levels, you can also decide if you’d like your packing service to provide their own materials, or if you can provide adequate boxes, tape, and packing supplies. It’s almost always cheaper to get the materials yourself, but in some cases, like TVs or dishware, you may find that the specialized boxes the packing company supplies do a better job than a box you snagged from the hardware store. Ask your packing service if they’ll allow you to do a combination of bringing in your own supplies and asking the service to bring a few extras–most will have no problem with that.
How Much Do Professional Packing Services Cost?
Unsurprisingly, professional packing services cost more than doing it yourself. But that doesn’t mean it’s an unaffordable luxury that you must immediately rule out. You may be surprised to find that professional packing services for moving can be affordable, depending on how you use them.
For one, you’ll want to decide what service level you want. A full house worth of packing is going to cost more than just one room. However, most companies decrease the hourly price by the more packers you book per hour, or vice versa, so it may be worthwhile to book a bit of extra time and tack on another room to save money.
The prices themselves can vary, but according to home services provider Thumbtack, most companies charge between $32-$42 per hour, per packer. Generally, the more packers you book for more hours, the cheaper the rate.
Keep in mind that Thumbtack’s numbers are national averages, so you may find that your area–especially if it’s a pricier city–is more expensive. Upgrades and add-ons, like reusable boxes or environmentally friendly packing options, will also drive your price up.
So what does this add up to? In an average home, you might pay:
- One-bedroom home: $300-400 with your own boxes, $500+ for boxes included
- Two-bedroom home: $500-600 with your own boxes, $750+ for boxes included
- Three-bedroom home: $650-700 with your own boxes, $900+ for boxes included
- Four-bedroom home: $800-1000 with your own boxes, $1200+ for boxes included
If you do go the route of just one room or a few items, you’ll likely pay for 2-3 hours worth of work with 1-2 packers–likely the $150-200 range. Whether that’s the right price and fits into your moving budget is entirely up to you.
Those estimates may vary greatly from what you hear if someone from the packing crew checks out your home. One way to get an accurate price and filter out any scammer companies is to have the packer provide an assessment of your home, where they walk through the rooms with you and note how many boxes they believe they’ll need for each space. At the end of the assessment, they’ll be able to give you a more accurate price to expect, and you’ll walk away with an assurance that the company is legitimate.
Things You Should Remember When Considering Packing Services
By now, you get it: professional packers might cost you an arm and a leg, but they definitely make life easier. But there are a few more considerations to make before you hand over the packing paper.
When you’re packing yourself, if you pack a box wrong and break your expensive crystal decanter, you’re out of luck. But if a professional packer’s work results in objects breaking, you’re covered. While it’s not a guarantee that anything broken will be fully reimbursed, professional packing services for moving are required to carry insurance, so you have a much better chance of getting some money back.
Professional packing services will air out your dirty laundry, so to speak. They’re packing up everything you own, so there won’t be much privacy as they pack up your secret collection of action figures, or that ugly sweater your significant other gave you years ago that you tol them was lost. The packers have seen it all, so they aren’t looking to judge, but if you’re uncomfortable with strangers working their way through your closet, a professional packing service might not be right for you.
It’s clear that professional packing services aren’t cheap, so if you’re on a budget, make sure you don’t allocate all your funds towards them. Even after you’re packed up, you still need to pay for moving help, any new furniture, a security deposit at your new home or a down payment, and any additional moving expenses. If you’re looking to save money elsewhere, use Dolly for moving help. Our Helpers will provide the truck and muscle for your move with guaranteed pricing, so you have no surprises come moving day.
One last consideration to make: whether your packers will also be your un-packers. You can book unpacking services as well, but keep in mind that the unpackers may not necessarily put items exactly where you want them in your new place.
Professional packing companies for moving are a great solution for the difficult problem of packing, but they’re not the right option for everyone. Weigh your options out and stick to your budget before deciding on whether to use packing services. And if you need help come moving day, Dolly is here to provide truck and muscle at an affordable price to make your move easy.
Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.