Move house on your own, or hire a removal company?

You’ve signed the tenancy agreement and can start planning. And calculating the costs too. New furniture, a security deposit and countless visits to the DIY store: moving to a new home is costly and rarely an affordable affair. So it comes as no surprise that many movers wonder whether they should hire a removal company or save themselves this extra investment.

Is moving house with a removal company worth it? We’ll help you decide.

Moving with the pros: the advantages of hiring a removal company 

In Switzerland, there are many removal companies that transport furniture and boxes on the daily. So moving with professionals brings you some advantages:

  • Less work and less stress: if you decide to hire a removal company, they’ll do most of the work and organisation.
  • No guilty conscience: the removal company is paid to move your furniture and boxes – unlike your friends and acquaintances, whose time is precious.
  • Legal protection: your belongings are insured when you move with the removal company. It is liable if something is broken or damaged in transport.
  • No problems under special circumstances: do you live on the sixth floor of a block without a lift? Or is your apartment slap-bang in the middle of the city centre where there’s nowhere to park? The professionals always have a solution up their sleeves in situations where private movers reach their limits.

Do it yourself: the advantages of moving privately 

While moving with a removal company is indeed practical and convenient, organising your move on your own can also prove beneficial depending on your specific situation.

  • Save money: there’s no two ways about it: moving privately is far cheaper than hiring a removal company.
  • Flexibility in terms of time: if you move yourself, you can also split your move over several days and be more flexible with the organisation.
  • Helpers you can trust: you know the people who are transporting your belongings.
  • The fun factor: despite all the effort and exertion, moving with friends and family can also be fun and a good excuse for long-overdue reunions.

Cost versus stress: when should you hire a removal company? 

When deciding between moving privately and hiring a removal company, you’ll need to weigh up the cost factor against the stress factor in the vast majority of cases. After all, moving with a removal company is usually less stressful and more convenient than a privately organised move. But it’s also more expensive. Whether the investment would be worthwhile depends on various factors and is a very personal decision in each case.

Our checklist can help you decide whether moving privately or hiring a removal company is right for you. Answer the following questions about your situation and find out whether hiring a removal company would be worth your while:

Are the two apartments near each other? 
If your new apartment is just two streets away, you might be able to move a lot of your stuff bit by bit. But if it is several hundred kilometres away, the move will probably have to be completed in one day. Moving on your own might be difficult in this case.

Do you have to move out of your old apartment and into your new one on the same day? 
If you can be flexible in terms of time, you can split the move into several parts and ask different people to help you on individual days. But if the entire move has to be done and dusted in a single day, professionals will save you a great deal of stress and effort.

Does your living situation and the size of your household make the move very arduous? 
Most people underestimate the sheer volume of their belongings and are surprised at how much they actually own when they move. But, beyond that, there are moves where it’s clear from the outset that the process won’t be a walk in the park. Do you live on a high floor in a block without a lift, for example? Do you have large bits of heavy furniture that won’t even fit through the doors? Or is there no parking in front of your building, meaning you have to carry all the boxes and furniture to the next corner? If so, you might not want to put your friends and acquaintances through that.

Can you drive a van, or do you know someone who can? 
Moving without a removal van or a small truck is almost unthinkable. But if you can’t drive one and don’t know anyone who can, you might just have to hire a removal company.

Do you have enough helpers? 
You can’t move apartments all on your own. Do you know enough people who would be willing to help you? Think about how many helping hands you will need and whether you have that many available. Remember: you can also hire private movers, as they would be far cheaper than a removal company. 

Can you afford a removal company? 
The most important question, of course, is whether hiring professional movers is within your budget. Because if your wallet is already empty, you’ll have to make your move privately.

Moving with professionals: what does a removal company cost?

A removal study, created for the period between January 2018 and July 2019, calculated the average cost of moving a 1.5 room apartment at CHF 781, with an average of CHF 1,417 for a 3.5 room apartment, CHF 1,816 for a 4.5 room apartment and CHF 2,608 for a 6.5 room apartment. An hour of moving costs about CHF 200.

But these are only average figures; they naturally vary a great deal in each individual case and depend on the individual factors of the moving situation. Of course, the further away your new home is, the higher the costs of travel time and petrol.

Only very few people think about the loading and unloading addresses. Moving home furnishings from the fourth floor and over a narrow garden path will be more expensive than moving out of a ground floor apartment. In other words, the more steps the movers have to negotiate and the greater the distance from the parking spot to the door, the more expensive it will be.

If there’s no lift, the removal company will work with its own furniture lift if necessary. And last but not least, of course, the most important thing is the volume of the inventory. The larger, more valuable, heavier and/or more fragile the items are, the more expensive the move will be.

Moving situations can be very different. This is why many removal companies will make an offer only when they have made an on-site visit. However, with some companies it is possible to provide the information they require online and receive an offer.

Moving with a removal company: tips to save money 

In some situations, moving with professionals is simply unavoidable. But this doesn’t necessarily have to eat up a huge portion of your moving budget. A tip or two will help you save money when moving with a removal company.

1.     Compare quotes: competition is good for business. Get at least three quotes from different removal companies and compare them in detail.

2.     Leave the professionals to do the heavy lifting: can you pack and unpack the boxes all by yourself? And can you also comfortably transport a piece of furniture or two? Then leave the professional movers to do the work that you can’t do on your own; for example, the removal company might only transport only the heavy furniture. Or you might choose not to have the professionals set up the furniture in your new home because you can handle that yourself. Opting for a hybrid between private and professional moving can be a good and affordable alternative.

3.     Agree on a flat fee: most companies offer two pricing plans. One is ‘pay by time’, where the hours worked are added up and calculated at the end. The other option is a flat fee that is agreed in advance. In this situation, the company estimates the time and effort involved in the move in question and calculates a flat fee at which all the services are performed. Although a flat fee means that you run the risk of paying too much because the move was completed faster than estimated, it is also highly advantageous in that you know how much you will pay in advance and can budget accordingly. That way, you won’t get a nasty surprise in the form of an unexpectedly high bill in your brand-new letterbox.