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Moving day can be a stressful, time-consuming and exhausting experience. That’s why many people choose to employ a moving company to do the heavy lifting (literally) for them. However, you want to avoid hiring a mediocre moving team that might damage your delicate items or break irreplaceable heirlooms.

Before choosing a moving company, make sure to ask any candidates these five important questions:

Do you have any references?
No matter what job you’re hiring a company for, references are a large part of what secures your trust and comfort in its ability to perform the task effectively. When looking for movers, ask a company to provide multiple references or a link to reviews to ensure it’s a legit business.

What specific services do you offer?
Moving companies vary in terms of what they’re willing to do for you. Some might refuse to move large items, such as grand pianos, and only handle smaller items. Before you call a moving company, know exactly what items you’ll need to have moved. Also, you might only want a company to do one or two things for you, such as load up a truck you’ve rented yourself. Some companies don’t come out to your house for less than an entire moving job, so be specific when it comes to what you’re looking for.

Do you offer in-home estimates?
Knowing what needs to be moved is one thing, but understanding the cost of labor to get the job done is another. Finding a company that’ll come out to your place and give you an estimate is a great way to compare different companies in your area, as well as provide a safeguard against possible price-gouging. Make sure to get everything in writing.

Will you draw up an inventory of my items?
Apart from the cost of the actual move, this is perhaps the most important question to ask. Moving is not only expensive; it’s also the surest way to lose something you can’t replace. The countless stories of a child’s lost teddy bear or a favorite lamp go on and on. Finding a moving company that’ll create a detailed and organized list of your stuff will help ensure it all arrives safely and securely.

What happens if something is damaged?
Be sure to ask what the company’s policy is on this subject. Most offer optional coverage packages to repair or replace items that are damaged or broken. Unfortunately, the more complete the coverage, the more expensive it’ll be, but in the long run, the smart move is to get the best coverage you can for the items you’re moving–and feel the relaxation that comes with not worrying about your stuff.

Nowadays, it’s hard to go wrong with a moving company if you simply put in the time to do research and ask questions. Your new home and new life await, so get your things there in the safest and most effective way possible.

Source: Haley Kieser/RISMedia’s Housecall