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One of the biggest hurdles to get over when relocating is packing and moving all of your personal items. This includes everything from your toothbrush to your dresser, and can oftentimes be a insurmountable burden. In such cases, many often look to hire a local or regional moving company. These companies are often hard to audit beforehand, but following a few guidelines can help you succeed where others might fail. Below, you’ll find some of the best moving tips as described by Moving.com—who know a thing or two on the subject!

 

1. Moving inventory

A reputable moving company will take inventory of all your belongings and determine the bulk and weight of your move. The estimator should be thorough and check all of your storage places such as cupboards, drawers, garages and bookcases. A large component of the mover’s price is based on the weight of your stuff and the space your goods take up in the truck. Be sure you understand this estimate and that it is as accurate as possible.

2. Get a thorough walk-through

An estimator who performs a quick walk-through without noting what you plan to move is going to be off the mark. A good estimator will ask questions about what you plan to take from your current house to your next home. So, be sure you are prepared to tell the estimator which items you don’t want on the truck—the items you plan to give away, donate to a charity, sell in a yard sale, or leave behind for the new owners.

3. Don’t pay a large deposit

Reputable movers won’t demand cash or a large deposit before moving. You should only pay upon delivery. If you pay in advance, you have no control over when you will see your belongings again. When you do pay, use a credit card to help protect you from possible fraudulent activity.

4. Avoid moving companies with a name switch

Some companies avoid being assessed by the Better Business Bureau by doing business under a variety of names. Be sure the company has a local address and information about licensing and insurance. Their employees should answer the phone with the full name of the business.

Find out if there are any other names the company “does business as,” as well as their state and federal license numbers. Search online to see if there are complaints about the company. To find out more about the company’s history, call the consumer complaints hotline at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 888-368-7238.

5. Get references on movers

If your friends and family don’t have recommendations, get a list of reliable movers from associations such as the American Moving and Storage Association and state associations of movers.

Ask any mover you speak with for references. Tell them you want a list of three customers from your area who have moved in the past three months. Call those customers and ask direct questions about their experiences.

6. Avoid packing costs

If you pack your belongings yourself, the mover generally isn’t responsible for damage to them. However, if you have your mover do the packing, you may pay inflated prices for boxes and packing materials, not to mention time and labor. If you decide to have the movers pack, ask about the packers’ experience. Most packers are  careful, but you want to avoid the chance of getting someone who tosses whatever they can into a box and then seals it up with little regard for breakage.

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