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AMSA Scott Michael on Dangers of Moving Yourself

Listen to the rest of the interview for tips on avoiding peak moving season, estimating costs, and making sure your children and pets have a smooth transition.

AMSA CEO, Scott Michael, our industry’s leader and champion, recently hosted a nationwide radio interview on the realities of do-it-yourself moving.

Maybe we can chalk it up to the DIY craze (or the rising cost of moving!), but many movers these days are opting to pack, load, and drive rental trucks to their new home themselves. In an interview with the program “Doing What Works,” Michael says that only 800,000 out of 3 million movers use professional movers annually. While he acknowledges the appeal of moving yourself, he warns against the headaches and financial risk of not hiring a mover:

  • Injuries from heavy lifting. Many people sustain back injuries from improperly lifting. Michael suggests packing smaller boxes, especially for heavy items like books.  

  • Tricky driving situations. Chances are that you haven’t driven a storage van before… and you may find yourself fumbling with a GPS and fast-approaching a low-hanging bridge (it happens more frequently than you’d think).

  • Damaged items. Packing is an art, especially when it comes to fragile items! While boxes may arrive in one piece at your new home, the items in them are often broken or unusable. Oftentimes, moving companies won’t take liability for poorly packaged items that are damaged during a move.

Considering these risks, it turns out that skipping professional packers and movers may result in more financial loss than money saved, Michael says. So, what should you look for during your move estimates? According to Michael, non-negotiables include a physical office address, a confirmed license number, and thorough insurance options. He ultimately warns against defaulting to the cheapest option – you’ll want a company who will handle your items with integrity and care, which sometimes means paying a bit more to make sure everything arrives safely. 

But, easier said than done, right? Your interactions with moving companies are pretty brief before deciding on one, and doing a background check can be more than daunting. Well, that’s where the ProMover badge comes in handy! 2,800 of AMSA’s 4,000 interstate moving companies are certified ProMovers, which means they meet set national industry standards for ethical, high quality service. All ProMovers undergo an annual review to ensure they deserve this stamp of recognition. Find your local reputable Promovers at

Diane Um
Diane Um

I’m a former member of the business team at Updater, where my responsibilities included marketing and events. I recently made the move to New York from Los Angeles, and have happily traded year-round sunshine for beautiful skylines, amazing public transit, and the halal stand on 53rd and 6th. One thing I'll never give up? My lifetime commitment to Team In-N-Out.

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