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Moving tips: Picking a moving company

It's important to pick the right moving company for your moving needs.

It's important to pick the right moving company for your moving needs.

Moving is an involved process. There are a number of businesses and agencies you'll need to work with when selling your current home, picking out a new one and finding an appropriate mortgage. You'll also have to find the right moving company to help you transport all your belongings. But how do you know if you've picked the right one?

The first thing you'll need to consider is your moving budget. What can you afford? Movers charge different rates depending on the amount of stuff you need to transport and the distance you'll be moving. The average American moves about 11 times in his or her life, according to U.S. Census estimates, so odds are you know people who have hired a moving company. Ask them about their moves and find out their opinion on the service they received. This can help you get a better sense of what to expect from the movers you hire, and might give you some ideas about what companies to hire or to avoid.

Take some time to think about what you will need from a moving company. Do you have many possessions that will necessitate a large truck, or are you upgrading from a tiny apartment and don't need all that much room? Will you be moving on your own, or do you want to hire people to move boxes and furniture for you? If you're considering a DIY move, you might want to investigate companies that offer portable moving containers. Some companies will drop off a container at your home, where you can load it with boxes and furniture at your leisure, then the company will transport it to the new location. Many movers find this option reduces some of the stress associated with time constraints on moving day.

Plan ahead to make sure your desired moving company will be available to help you with your move. Summer is often a very busy time for moving companies. Many families choose this time to relocate so as not to disrupt a child's school year. Toward the end of summer, college students are getting ready to head back to school, and many of them hire moving companies to help. If it's practical, consider moving in the winter. If a summer move is the best option for you, though, do your best to pick a moving company well in advance.