Moving doesn't have to be a dreaded chore. In fact, with the right choice of movers, moving can be an enjoyable experience. Much of your moving experience depends on the quality and reliability of the moving company you choose as there are many moving companies out there. Whether you are moving across town, or across country, you will want to be sure things go as smoothly as possible. That is where hiring a professional moving company can prove both useful and efficient. As with any other important decision, you will want to weigh the pros and cons of each possible choice. We've compiled a few pointers to make your moving experience go as smoothly as possible and to help you select the right movers, if needed.

The first decision to make in moving is whether to do it yourself or to hire professional movers. Much of this decision depends on how much you have to move and how many people you have available to help. If you have many large heavy items, do you have people able to move such items? Also an appropriate vehicle such as a moving truck or trailer must be obtained, again, dependent on how much you are moving. In many cases hiring professional movers will save you time and in some cases money over renting a truck, hiring people to help load, etc. Professional movers use their own vehicles and in most cases can move you much more quickly than if you would do it yourself. Professional long distance moving companies also have the experience to move your valuables correctly and without damage. Leaving the moving to movers will generally make your move more enjoyable and certainly less stressful even if it's a local move with local moving companies. It should also be noted that for individuals with limited physical abilities full service moving companies may be necessary and not a choice.

That said, you must select movers. A word of caution here: be picky and do compare movers as this can make or break your move. Be certain to select a reputable, bonded and insured mover. Believe it or not but many cheap moving companies are not. Check out moving truck companies with the Better Business Bureau to find out if they are members of a storage association. Many cross country moving companies may be a member of several BBBs. This membership can be of advantage to you should any disputes concerning damage or delivery issues that may arise with the movers. Larger, reputable movers are generally recommended over "one man and a truck" type movers; remember the "cheap movers" deal may end up cost you more in the long run if they damage your items, can't complete the move when promised, etc.

Obtain at least four moving estimates. At right is a short form which will get you up to 12 moving company quotes from reputable movers in your area free of charge and with no obligation. They will each reply via email so you can compare quotes. Go over details such as the amount of belongings you have and whether you want the company to pack your items or if you wish to do it yourself. You will save some money if you pack your belongings yourself but this can be very time consuming. Be sure to mention any large or unusual items needing special treatment from your movers. Lastly, always ask for verifiable references. Each moving company should have a list of satisfied customers you can contact as references. If any questions come up before the move, be sure to give the movers a call. It is better to get issues resolved with your moving company before the actual move than during it.

Next, after going through your quotes and picking a moving company you should prepare for your move. If you are packing your items yourself be sure to do so properly as the boxes will need to withstand reasonable handling during the move. Sturdy boxes should be packed so the contents do not shift during the move. Boxes should be taped securely and marked according to the contents to direct the movers which room in the new house or apartment they are to be placed. Pack breakables with extra care and mark accordingly so your movers (or anyone else handling them for that matter) know to handle these items carefully. For fragile items, cushion and line the box with crushed newspaper and wrap individual items with newspaper. For big or bulky items that can't go into boxes, wrap them in with protective wrap to be moved individually. If you need to dismantle furniture or the like, keep all the screws and necessary parts in an envelope and tape this onto its owner for easy re-assembly. Remember to leave personal items which will be needed during the move (clothing, toiletries, etc.) unpacked as you will not be able to access your boxes during much of the move. Moving to Minneapolis in the winter? You might need a coat. Moving to LA? You may want to keep shorts unpacked. A good moving company Los Angeles will also advise you of these things but it's good to remember in case they don't. Think about what items you will need to access during the move and pack them separately in a suitcase or similar bag which may be accessed during the move. If you have the movers pack for you, be sure to advise them of any special handling needs such as items which are previously damaged, items which do not disassemble easily, etc. Many moving and storage companies also offer storage space, if needed.

Prepare before your movers arrive at the starting point of your move. Prepare a location for them to back their truck up as close to the house as possible. You may wish to cover the traffic areas of your carpet to protect them during the loading process. Also prepare the destination location in the same way. Make sure the movers have access to both locations during the time they are scheduled to be there.

When your movers arrive at the destination and unload your items you want to immediately do a thorough inspection to note any damage which may have occurred during the move. Unpack any damaged boxes to note any damage to the contents. Remove any protective covers and visually inspect all furniture. Also double check any fragile items. Report any such damage immediately to the movers who will give you the appropriate paperwork for a claim. The movers will then reimburse you for any verifiable damage which occurred. The vast majority of moves go without incident but the inspection upon unloading of your items is crucial to note damage which occurred during the move and assure there is not a dispute as to when it occurred.

Throughout the process, make sure the movers have a number where they can reach you. Keep in mind that schedules do change and some delays are beyond the control of the moving companies. By following the above simple guidelines you are well on your way to having a positive moving experience. You can then sit back enjoy the ride and leave the moving to the movers moving companies!

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