It’s time to move. You’ve found your new place, you’ve started to emotionally prepare for saying goodbye to your old one, and you’re already shopping for the perfect dining set for your new balcony. Everything is falling into place. There’s just one thing:

The movers.

Ready to hire some help for the job, but not sure where to begin? It can be really overwhelming trying to find the right mover. Depending on where you live, chances are you have plenty of options to choose from when you begin your search. Too many options, in fact. How do you make sure to hire the right moving company for you? We have some tips to help you sort through the options.

Ask Around

The best place to start is with word of mouth. After all, you can most often trust the experience of those you know. When you’re looking for the best local or long-distance mover near you, ask your friends, family, or colleagues if they had a positive experience with a specific company.

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Real estate agents are also a great resource for advice on movers so if you’re using an agent to buy or sell check in with them for a recommendation.

Compare Options

It may be tempting to take the first quote you get and go with it, avoiding the hassle of searching around. After all, hiring a mover can be a daunting task and one you just want to cross off the list and move to the more fun stuff. We don’t blame you but do yourself a favor and compare a couple of quotes. That way, you can ensure you are paying market rates and getting the best deal.

Pick Up on Red Flags

When you begin discussing your move with a professional moving company, keep an eye out for a few red flags. Catching these warning signs early will ensure you have a smooth move without any surprises along the way.

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To start, a reputable mover won’t ask for money upfront. If your moving company is eager to receive a deposit or payment in advance, it may not be a reputable company. Pay attention to their responsiveness as well. If they can’t answer your questions or leave you chasing them for communication, move on to the next.

If the mover shows up in a rented van, don’t trust them with your items. Remember that your moving company will load their vehicle and drive off with your belongings – you want to be sure to hire someone legitimate. A professional company will have its own moving trucks.

Check License and Insurance Details

Ask your moving company for proof of their business license and insurance details. When it comes to interstate movers, the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issues an official DOT license number for interstate moving companies. If you’re moving locally, you can confirm these details with your local consumer affairs agency.

Research Their Credentials

There are a number of ways to check a moving company’s credentials. Even if you’ve got a personal recommendation it still pays to do a little research before signing on the dotted line.

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The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has a free online tool where you can look up your prospective moving company. Check to be sure your mover is accredited with the BBB and you’ll have a bit of peace of mind. You can also check their track record on sites like Yelp and Google Maps to see what others’ experience has been.

There are a few red flags to check for at this stage, too. Look for trends in feedback. If many people share similar experiences, particularly about hidden fees or issues that were challenging to resolve after the fact, beware.

Trust Your Instincts

After you’ve ticked all the above boxes, here’s a simple but crucial one to keep in mind: trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right chances are, it may not be. If your mover is hard to communicate with, moves around your questions without answering directly, or doesn’t ask you thorough enough questions to ensure they understand your move, they may not be the one for you.