Monday, November 21, 2005

Movers or Friends and Family?

Decisions, decisions.

Do I hire professional movers, or try to bribe friends and family into helping with pizza and beer?

As many times as this has been asked, you'd think there would be a clear heuristic for measuring this. As it turns out, the answer depends on who you ask.

First off, finding a reputable moving company isn't easy. Every moving company I have read up on has had at least one detractor, and the general consensus seems to be "find out who a friend used." That done, I ended up with the name of Phillip Massad, a mover in Worcester who has been in business since the fifties.

I called to get an estimate, and spoke to the president of the company for a while. He quoted an hourly rate and a number of hours, which I put together to get about $800. I was thinking the number of hours was a little excessive, but several coworkers who have used movers have said it's likely to be the real number.

On the other hand, I can go to Penske truck rental and get a truck for about $50 before mileage and fuel. If I spend a hundred dollars on those, we're talking about $150 for the actual truck. Add $50-$100 for beer and pizza, and we're still talking about a $500 difference.

So what is that $500 buying me? Is it worth it? Again, it depends on who you talk to.

Jess's mother: "Don't be silly. Between your dad and your brother, it won't take that long."
Seth at work: "Pay yourself and your friends for a day and a half of work, and see if it comes out to less than $500."
Colin at work: "It's not like you're buying a day of stress-free moving. You have to babysit them the entire time anyway."
Clint: "It's an easy call. Truck rental places are bullshit."

Here are some other data points.

Against the movers:
  • These movers can only move me Friday afternoon, and not Saturday. There's a nonzero chance the sellers will still be resident on Friday afternoon. There's even a chance they'll be moving at that time. That means moving into the basement on Friday and then carrying stuff up stairs the next day anyway (granted, I may be able to find other movers who can move me on Saturday).
  • I know my friends and coworkers won't steal my DVD player or TV. I'd be more paranoid around movers.

Against DIY:
  • The move is likely to be split into two days, and finding good help for both days will be hard.
  • I may not be able to find as much help as I want, meaning hard work for those who do volunteer.
To be honest, at this point I am hovering on the edge of accepting DIY. It's just hard to give away five hundred bucks a few weeks before Christmas. Then again, that could be our Christmas presents to each other ... heh.

I don't know. I'm going to talk to Jess tonight, maybe see if the sellers have a better move timeline yet, and decide. Maybe there are other moving companies I can get information on, who can move on Saturday.

The longer I wait, the more likely I won't have a choice anyway....

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