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When you’re getting ready to move, chances are you have a full to-do list. Though it’s tempting to hire the first mover who answers your call, this is a decision you shouldn’t make lightly. After all, you’re trusting people to handle your clothing, furnishings, appliances, and the other important items you’ve amassed over the years. Doing careful research before selecting a mover is well-worth your time and effort. The following are tips for hiring a mover.

Get Recommendations

Check with friends or family to see if they can offer a recommendation. After you’ve compiled a short list, screen the candidates by visiting the Better Business Bureau or the American Moving and Storage Association. Make sure your moving company has the license and insurance it needs to move you legally. If you have any concerns, call the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Violation and Consumer Complaints hotline at 888-368-7238 to inquire about complaints against your moving company. Take a look at online reviews as well.

Review Your Estimates

Rather than ask a mover to ballpark the cost over the phone, have a representative from each company you’re considering come to your home to take a look at the entire inventory of items. Be sure to get at least three to four estimates so you have an idea of the price range. Bids that are too high or too low should raise a red flag. Once you’ve collected quotes in writing, review and compare them so you can make an informed decision. Ask about additional fees that may not be mentioned such as fuel surcharges, overtime, or equipment fees that could be added to your final bill. No one wants unpleasant or expensive surprises on moving day.

Get All Agreements In Writing

Be sure to receive a copy of everything you sign. On the day of your move, ask for a written copy of your mover’s inventory list. Ensure that the movers have a way to reach you throughout the day and ask for a contact number so you can get in touch should the need arise.

Ask About Packing Options

If you’re short on time or overwhelmed at the prospect of boxing up all your belongings, look for a moving company that offers crating and packing services.

Take Additional Precautions

With every move, there are certain items such as cash, coins, jewelry, photographs, and important documents that would be devastating to lose. With that in mind, either take them with you or have them shipped separately using a shipping service with tracking numbers and insurance.