Get Estimates Before Hiring Movers

To cut down on moving costs, get estimates from at least three different moving companies before taking the plunge.

If you're hiring a professional mover to do the heavy lifting and packing, prices can vary widely between companies. To make sure you're getting the best deal possible, get at least three estimates.

Be wary of companies that will give you estimates over the phone or Internet. To truly assess your stuff, a mover will need to come to your home. Show them everything that will be moved -- even items in the basement, attic, garage and other storage areas.

Make sure you know exactly what the estimates include. Local movers typically charge by the hour, while long-distance moves charge by weight. When you've had all three estimates, compare their prices. Usually two of the estimates will be very close together in price, and one will be very high or very low. You should select one of the median estimates. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. That company may tack on unexpected charges on moving day or even hold your stuff hostage till you pay a hefty fee.

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