Moving yourself seems like a great idea, but, let's face it, sometimes you just don't have the time, willpower, or VO2 max to move a couch up five flights of stairs. If you do, our hats are off to you. We're impressed. For everyone else, keep reading.
One great thing about moving in New York is that you have a range of options. There are full-scale companies and smaller scale, local moving businesses. And, then, there's everything else, ranging from random people you find on Craigslist to the two guys with a van that you found through Yelp reviews. As you'd imagine, the more "corporate" the moving company, the more expensive.
For most people, the decision to hire a mover comes down to price. Here are the key factors that will determine just how expensive your move will be:
- Amount of furniture / belongings: the more you have, the more you'll pay.
- Elevator vs. Walk-up: narrow New York City staircases can be the difference between an easy move and a five-hour nightmare.
- Time of move: Later in the day can sometimes be cheaper and "off-periods" e.g., further from the 1st and 15th can also make for better deals.
- Insurance: will protect against damage to your possessions and damage to the building.
In addition to each of these factors, you will have to decide whether you want to pay a flat-rate or by the hour. When you pay with a flat rate, you know exactly what you are signing up for, but these tend to be more expensive. The "by the hour" rate can be a much cheaper alternative, but you are also leaving yourself open to paying for some bad luck (can't find a parking space) or slow movers.
Before moving to your new apartment, you'll need to do some work upfront with the management company and super. Many buildings have specific guidelines for when you can move-in so that you don't disturb the other residents. Additionally, many luxury buildings require your movers to have insurance and may also require you to leave a "move-in" deposit to guard against small scale damage to the building. The last thing you want is to start your tenancy with a landlord that dislikes you, so make sure to check-in with them well before moving.
With all of these options, our chief recommendation would be to do what you are most comfortable with. There is no right or wrong answer. In many cases, the premium you are paying from one mover to another is for peace of mind.