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Whether you're getting kicked out of your parents' place, movin' on up to the East Side, or you finally found the home of your dreams, you've got to figure out how to get all your old stuff into your new living space. That's where moving companies come in.
But you can't trust just anyone with your most treasured belongings, so how do you choose the movers? Here are three tips to get you started:
1. Know Before You Go
There's an array of moving companies out there, so narrow down the field by considering your particular needs. For short moves across town you can call up a local crew (if you don't want to rent a truck, call some buddies, and do it yourself). But big, cross-country moves will require a reliable, nation-wide company.
While most moving companies will provide a free written estimate, you'll want to make sure you have a good idea of exactly how much needs to be moved and how far. Since most estimates of moving costs are based on shipment weight and length of travel, knowing this before you call will help you get the best price.
2. Word on the Street
Between Yelp, friends and family, and consumer protection websites and agencies, you should have adequate resources to research particular moving companies. Use them. Having a good idea of a business's reputation -- whether a container company or a full-service operation -- is essential in hiring the right movers.
3. Insurance, Insurance, Insurance
Even if you know exactly what you need and hire the most reputable movers, accidents can happen. That's why they invented insurance, and you can purchase it for your move. While many professional moving companies are required by law to carry their own coverage, you can also purchase your own policy just to be safe.
Oh, and the customary tip for movers is about five percent of the total bill. So if they treated your couch nice, treat your movers nice. If they don't treat your things well, you might want to talk to an experienced real estate attorney.