Q: Do Americans hire movers when they move?
A: There are many different kinds of services these days. In the US, most people move without using a traditional moving service. In fact, I know very few people who have ever used this kind of service. In general, it seems that wealthy people, people who are moving to a difficult place (like an island or somewhere less accessible) or people who are moving and being reimbursed by their companies are the only people who use these services. These are full service movers, who come to your home, pack your items in boxes, and then load everything on a truck. Then they drive it to the new place and unload it all for you. This is EXTREMELY expensive, so it’s just not commonly used.
A new service that has been offered for about 10 years now is gaining popularity with people who need to move across the country. This service drops a small shipping container off at your location. You pack it with all your furniture, boxes, etc. Then, the company comes and picks up the container and ships it to wherever you need it to go. Then they drop it off at the new place, and you unload it yourself.
Some people use a type of service that picks up their boxes and furniture and drops it off at the new place, but the customers do all the packing themselves. This sort of service is also popular for long distance moves, but there have been some scams recently, so people have become a bit wary of using these companies.
Most people use rental services. There are several across the US, but by far the most common is Uhaul. We can select from several different size trucks (or trailers), depending on how much stuff we have to move. Then we go to the rental office, pick up the truck, drive it home, fill it with our stuff, and drive to the new place. If your new place is in another city, it’s no problem – you just return the truck to the rental office in that city. This is the most common way to move, and has been used for many, many years. The biggest drawback with this service is that it can be extremely difficult to drive the really big trucks. When I moved to Seattle I drove the 26 foot long style, and found that it did not fit well at all on Seattle’s old, narrow streets. It was very nerve racking!
The luckiest people of all are those who have pickup trucks, or friends with pickup trucks. They can move completely on their own, without renting a truck at all. If you own a truck, you can count on the fact that someone will ask you to help them move. This is actually a joke in the US – as soon as someone buys a truck, their friends will start saying “SO, when are you helping me move?” just because it’s such a common favor to ask!