Should you hire professional packers?

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Where are you moving to?

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The packing process is always one of the most time-consuming tasks when moving. When you step back and look at how much stuff you have, it can be overwhelming to think of packing it all up, transporting it and then unpacking it in your new home.

It’s no wonder people with a lot on their plate opt to use professional packers to reduce this burden. Read on to see if this is the right option for you.


Key insights

Hiring professional packers is an added expense, but it’s one that saves time and reduces stress.

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Professional packers can minimize damage to your belongings.

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A professional packer does not offer organization or decluttering help.

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Items like pianos or cars should be packed and transported separately by specialty movers.

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Who might choose to hire packers and unpackers?

Not everyone wants or needs a professional packing service, but for those who do, it can be a game changer. Consider hiring packing help if you:

  • Have physical limitations
  • Are packing in a hurry
  • Are moving a long distance and will arrive before your belongings
  • Have work or family obligations that leave little time to pack
  • Have the room in your moving budget for them

What services do professional packers supply?

When you hire professional packers, it’s important to know what they will and won’t do. While they can cut down on your workload considerably, there are still tasks you’ll have to do yourself.

You can expect packing crews to do the following:

  • Go room by room wrapping and packing your belongings
  • Ensure fragile items are protected by wrapping them in packing paper or bubble wrap
  • Bring packing supplies like boxes and tape to your home for their use
  • Label each box according to the room it came from

On the other hand, professional packers probably won’t perform these services:

  • Help you decide what items to take with you and which to leave
  • Provide an inventory for what’s in each box (the labeling will only be per room  (e.g., kitchen, bedrooms, living room)
  • Organizing

Who provides packing services for moves?

If you know you’ll be hiring a full-service moving company, the crew can usually provide packing services — but it will cost you extra. However, if you plan to rent a truck and transport your own things, you can still schedule a packing service with a moving company or an independent business in your area. Whatever route you go, be sure you vet the company first.

Professional moving companies almost always have an established training program for their workers, and they’re required to carry certain licensing and insurance. Local companies will have different requirements based on the state they’re in, so you should always ask about this.

There are also reputable companies that offer independent packing services, or you can hire freelance labor through online marketplaces like TaskRabbit, which is mostly available in metro areas. Though the laborers aren’t trained or employed by a moving company, you can see recent customer ratings and reviews on the platform. It’s also possible to hire workers from TaskRabbit for same-day service.

Specialty packers

There are some household items that will need separate arrangements to pack and ship. Items like pianos, valuable artwork, pool tables, wine collections or cars usually require a specialty mover that has the training and equipment to move these things safely.

That said, you should check with your moving company first to see what they can offer — just know it will almost always include an additional charge.

» MORE: Best auto transporters

Pros and cons of hiring professional packers

With any home service, you’ll have to weigh the pros and cons. The benefits of hiring packers include easing your stress, saving time, reducing the likelihood of your belongings being damaged and giving you one less thing to do yourself.

Some cons include the expense, which can be significant, having strangers rifling through your things and having less overall control over the process.

Pros

  • Less stress
  • Peace of mind
  • Saves time
  • Less damage
  • Includes moving supplies

Cons

  • Impersonal
  • Expensive
  • Less control

Pros of hiring professional packers

For those who can afford it, working with professional packers has a lot of advantages:

  • Less stress: Without a doubt, moving is a stressful experience, and anything you can do to minimize this pressure will help, especially outsourcing the job of packing.
  • Peace of mind: Professional packers are just that — professionals. This means they’re trained to pack up houses safely and efficiently, and you won’t have to worry about whether boxes will open up, spill out or shift around during transport.
  • Saves time: Packing up a whole house takes most people several days, but professional packers will have your house packed within hours.
  • Less damage: Professional packers have the supplies and training to handle and pack your belongings to minimize damage.
  • Includes moving supplies: Professional packers come equipped with all the packing supplies they’ll need, including boxes, tape, bubble wrap and packing paper.

Cons of hiring professional packers

Though there are many incentives to hire professional packers, there are some drawbacks:

  • Impersonal: Professional packing is an inherently impersonal service. The workers don’t know you or what things are important to you. This can be hard when it comes to handling sentimental items like family heirlooms, photos or memorabilia. You also may feel uncomfortable having strangers in your home touching your things and emptying out drawers.
  • Expensive: Every service comes with a cost, and packers can be pricey. A full-service packing job for a two-bedroom home will cost an average of $2,000.
  • Less control: Your packers won’t consider which items within a room should be boxed together, or what makes the most sense for unpacking; they’re only focused on the most efficient way to pack. The bottom line is, when you hire packers, be prepared to relinquish some control.

How to find professional packers

Those living in or near a metro area have a lot of choices for moving and packing services, and the first place most people look is to a moving company. You can begin with a simple internet search, but also ask friends and neighbors if they have worked with companies they’d recommend.

In either case, be sure to read third-party reviews and get quotes from at least three different companies to compare services and pricing.

» COMPARE: Best moving companies

How to vet a professional packing service

All major moving companies should be licensed and bonded, but independent packing services may have different state regulations, so be vigilant about which company you hire.

You should vet any company you work with, but doing so is particularly important if you’re working with independent packers (i.e., not through a moving company). Do your homework by contacting references and reading reviews, but don’t feel like you need to find a company with a perfect record (there isn’t one); rather, look for customer reviews that talk about how the company resolved conflicts that did come up.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask about the company’s hiring and training process.

Where are you moving to?

FAQ

How can I ensure packers won’t damage my property during the packing process?

There’s no way to ensure your property won’t ever be damaged, because people aren’t perfect (and actual humans are the ones packing up your belongings). What you can do to maximize success is only work with reputable companies and make sure you understand what the insurance covers in case of damage. If you’re truly concerned, you can take out separate liability coverage or you can move certain valuable items yourself.

Will a new job requiring relocation reimburse my packing expenses?

Sometimes your company will reimburse you for packing expenses if you’re relocating for a job, though it's not a requirement. Ask your new employer about a relocation reimbursement package — this is a common benefit that can be negotiated. These packages may cover only a portion of your moving expenses or everything, including packing, transport and temporary housing while you’re between homes.

Should I pack private items such as records/documents before the packing crew comes?

Whenever possible, personal items like this shouldn’t be packed or transported by your movers. If you can, pack and move these yourself so they’re in your possession the entire time. Before your packers come, designate a “no pack” zone where you put everything you plan on transporting yourself.

Do I need to be home when a packing crew comes?

Most professional packers require someone to be home when the crew is working. Plus, you’ll want to be present in case questions or issues come up, but you mostly want to stay out of their way.

How do you designate how an unpacking crew should unpack your items?

This answer depends on the level of service you’ve chosen and the terms of your contract. Some companies only place boxes into the room they’re labeled for and set up furniture like couches and beds. Others may actually take items out of the boxes, but they won’t set up rooms or place things in cupboards or drawers. For that service, you’re better off hiring a professional organizer.

How long will it take for professional packers to pack?

Most people are surprised at how fast professionals can pack up an entire house. With a trained team of two, you can expect a one-bedroom home to take two to four hours, a two-bedroom home to take three to six hours, and a three-bedroom home to take six to ten hours.

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