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Craigslist Movers or Opt for a Licensed Moving Company?

Craigslist or Bust: Should You Hire Movers From Craigslist or Opt for a Licensed Moving Company?

Here's a rundown of factors to consider when contracting local movers and what you should do to ensure you get reputable ones from Craigslist and beyond.

Figure out the purpose of your move. What is the purpose of your hiring movers? Are you relocating to a different state, moving across town, or simply switching offices? As you answer this question, you'll also know the distance covered by the move, as well as the amount of equipment and furniture that need to be transported.

If you're not too fussy about moving or if your move is a low-key, no-frills one, then hiring someone from Craigslist might work. Think of it as getting someone to do the dirty work that you can do yourself but just don't want to be bothered to do so. However, if your move involves sensitive items such as expensive office equipment like computers and LCD projectors, it is more advisable to hire the services of a licensed company, as they usually offer liability insurance in case of accidents (i.e. delays and breakage). What's more, these companies accept checks and credit cards as payment methods on top of cash, so you're at least assured of security with your money.

Get references. Has a certain ad caught your eye? Do your research and ask around for opinions and feedback from others who have done business with the said movers. It's not really advisable to get first-timers unless you know someone who personally knows and recommends them. In this day and age as just about anyone can fake it on the net, you can never be too cautious.

When considering listed/licensed companies, do some background snooping to ensure that the companies are indeed legit. Pay an unannounced visit to their office to check their stomping grounds. Do their vehicles bear the company logo? How do their employees look? It should give you a good idea how the company operates.

Get up close and personal. Movers who prefer to do business over the phone or those who refuse to meet with you should already send out warning signs that they may be iffy. It's best to have them come over, or, if you're not comfortable having them over, you can arrange to meet with them someplace where you can go over quotes, estimates, etc.

Put everything on paper. Before you agree to anything, have your potential movers present you their estimates on paper - not email, but honest-to-goodness printed documents. Shop around for estimates and get at least three quotes from different companies. Those who are willing to put everything on paper should put your mind at ease. They have nothing to hide, so they're not afraid of paper trails.

Be thorough. Go through the estimates, contracts, and every detail with a fine-toothed comb. If you don't want to be surprised by hidden charges and you want to avoid the headache of dealing with so-called unexpected fees come moving day, it's best to have all expenses paid in one go.

It pays to be nitpicky by covering all details such as the distance covered by the move, the time spent transporting your stuff, and if you need additional help with disassembling and reassembling. Lay down all your expectations and be very clear with what you want before you sign the contract. Do not sign anything until you are completely sure that you have discussed everything with the movers.

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