New York City is known for its abundance of, well, everything. Restaurants, arts, entertainment, shops, people, events… There’s just so much to choose from.

While it’s nice to have options, it can be overwhelming when it’s time to make a decision. There are certain times when it’s okay to wing it. Tried – and hated – that new restaurant down the block? Bummer, but not the end of the world. There are other times when taking a chance can be a bit riskier.

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Hiring a moving company to help get you to your new home isn’t a good coin toss decision. After all, these are the people you’ll trust to handle and move all of your most precious belongings. You want to be sure you hire someone credible, experienced, and trustworthy.

So if it’s time to move within, to, or out of NYC, where do you find the right mover for you? We’ve put together 7 great tips to help you find a moving company.

1. Get a Head Start

Our most frequently-given piece of advice no matter the context: is to start early.

Of course, not everyone has the luxury of pre-planning their move, and we understand that. Hopefully, you’re able to plan and spend some stress-free time getting all of the people and details together. The best way to have a smooth move is to have everything in order ahead of time.

Starting early means you’ll have some time to search for your mover without stress. You won’t find yourself rushing to book a company, or signing paperwork at the last minute. More than that, you’ll be able to tend to all of the other details without anxiety. You’ll also be able to stay within budget – another plus.

Local movers charge by the number of people they’ll need and the number of hours the move will take. Starting early means you can be discerning about what you pack, and do a bit of downsizing ahead of time. By getting rid of all of your extra stuff you’ll save yourself the time and energy spent packing, and future you will be happy they’re not unpacking useless stuff on the other side.

2. Ask Around

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The best place to start when you’re looking for a mover is by asking for personal recommendations. People you know will rarely lead you astray, and their experience will tell you a lot more about a mover than their website will.

Check with friends, family, and coworkers to see who they have used for their last move. Ask about their experience and whether they would hire the mover again. Similarly, you can learn who to avoid by getting feedback from people you know.

3. Verify Credibility

Once you have a shortlist of moving companies it pays to spend some time verifying their credibility. This is particularly true if you’ve found the movers online rather than through personal recommendations.

Check the movers for their online presence. A professional moving company will have a website and clear contact details. Call the mover on their listed number and listen: do they answer the phone with the name of the company? If not, move on to the next.

You can easily check for a business’ records with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Businesses with formal and serious complaints should be avoided… for obvious reasons.

4. Check References

While you’re checking formal places for credibility, you can also check for personal references. That doesn’t mean simply reading testimonials on the company’s website, of course. Check places like Yelp and Google Maps and read through some reviews. Keep an eye out for trends in the review write-ups. If you see common complaints such as poor communication or surprise fees, consider them red flags.

5. Decide About Services

Sure, you know that movers can arrive at your home, pick up your boxes and furniture, and shuffle them off to your new home. But did you know they can do a whole lot more than that?

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Full-service moving companies can take a long list of details off your hands. That includes bringing the necessary materials and packing all of your things for you. They’ll disassemble your furniture, too, before taking care of the truck loading, driving, and unloading. At your new home, they’ll handle all of the reassembly and unpacking. They’ll even save you tripping over empty boxes by taking all of the “stuff” away with them when they’re finished!

6. Ask About Insurance and Inclusions

When you’re settling the details of your move, make sure your mover isn’t the only one asking questions. Of course, the moving company should ask important questions about the parking at both your old and new homes, and entry details including tight doorways or flights of stairs. These elements may mean additional costs for your move and a professional mover will ensure they’re included from the beginning.

You should also ask some questions to your mover. Ensure you understand your quote and what’s included in the price you’ve been given. Check about insurance coverage, as well. No matter how careful your mover may be, things happen from time to time. Ensure you’re fully covered and that you understand the process should you need to file a claim.

7. Sign a Guaranteed Quote

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A professional mover will never ask you to make any payment upfront. That includes deposits or any portion of the moving cost. Once you’ve found the right moving company, make sure your quote is guaranteed. Never sign a quote that leaves space for surprise fees or hidden costs.

There are small exceptions, of course. You should always do your due diligence to understand quotes and pricing laid out by your mover to ensure there are no surprises or debates at the end of the day. In the case of small moves, agreeing to an hourly rate is a good approach with a trustworthy mover.