When you’re getting ready for a big move, you want it to be as low-stress as possible. That is an attainable goal—if you do the necessary research and planning beforehand. There are so many different moving parts and details that go into your adventure to a new home that it can feel overwhelming if you simply dive in headfirst without help or without any prior knowledge of how to enlist ideal professional assistance.

Sure, you might be able to move many of your belongings on your own, but can you do it with ease, without breaking a sweat, without incurring damage to your valued possessions, and all while staying on-track within your timelines? Seeking the help of movers who have done this many times before—and thus, have likely seen it all—will make the process a breeze and save you costs as well as from potential headaches.

Learn the key factors to look for when determining which service to go with if you do decide to go this route rather than going at it alone.

Estimating Your Costs: Get Quotes

This is a big one. There are so many different moving companies out there, how can you know which to choose? You start by going online and searching around. But many of them seem expensive and you want to save as much money during this experience as you can—after all, that’s one of the reasons you’re looking for movers in the first place.

This is where comparisons come in. During your search, keep a spreadsheet (or if you’re more traditional, a standard notepad will do, too) of the top choices you’re looking at, and as you reach out for quotes, jot down any notes that will help you assess the value you’re actually getting with each.

Once you have a handful of estimates, you will continue to narrow things down from there based on some other elements. Keep reading to learn more about these.

Gauging Credibility: Business Ratings & Customer Feedback

In figuring out the credibility of any type of business, a best practice is to read their reviews. This can be done by viewing testimonials from ordinary people or local businesses to see whether there are more positives or more complaints. You, of course, want the number of people raving about the business to outweigh those who seem unhappy.

Any business can have customers that have experienced a few minor snags—especially if they have serviced a lot of different people, odds are, they will not have a perfect score. Just be sure you read why in the story, as you might find that the reason behind each lacking star (if there are any lacking) in a rating isn’t that important to you. Decide what types of faux pas are worth striking a group from your list. If there are only a few very small frustrations but the majority of the reviews are good, the moving company could still be a strong candidate to consider.

You can also take a look at what the Better Business Bureau has to say about the companies you’re looking into. Sites like these will further help verify the information you need to know about these businesses. Additionally, ensure you’re finding out whether the companies in question have the proper certifications so you know you will be getting a trusted, quality service.

The Nitty Gritty: Don’t Forget about the Fine Print

One common worry when it comes to people researching moving companies is that they sometimes are asked to do things like put down a hefty deposit—before they can really gather what the service is like. While there isn’t necessarily anything too worrisome about putting down a gentle deposit, as these companies need to confirm people will be ready for them on the dates discussed and don’t want to end up on the losing side of any deal, either (they’re people too, remember—but shouldn’t be solely money-hungry), it should never be anything too extreme. If you are not comfortable with them, don’t hire them.

For instance, if the movers are requiring over 20% of the estimated cost in advance, it could be a red flag. Also, look for nuances and things you can’t evaluate merely from a piece of paper or website marketing copy. When you’re on the phone with representatives, think about whether you like their attitude and professionalism. Are they pleasant? Helpful? Resourceful? Do they sound confident in their abilities? Do they seem to prioritize timeliness and respect their customers?

Plus, you’ll want to ask whether they own their own equipment. This might seem minor but companies skew toward more legitimate when they’re not showing up in rented vans—besides, at that point, you could have rented your own! If you question the cost of the move you can always use a moving cost calculator to pinpoint the ballpark of the move.

Now That You Have a Sense of What to Look for, It’s Time to Book Your Move

If you’ve weeded out all but one company by this point, congratulations—you’re just about ready for the big move. Now you just need to pack everything into boxes so that the professionals can get to work when the day comes. The right moving team will make your life easier and know how to organize and secure items so things stay on-track and nothing gets damaged.

Ultimately, hiring an expert moving company can, once again, save time, funds, and unwarranted stress in what should be an exciting time—not a nerve-wracking feat to manage.

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