updated 5/18/2005 7:34:54 AM ET 2005-05-18T11:34:54

Here are some tips from the American Moving and Storage Association and Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association on how to find a reputable mover:

  • Ask relatives, friends and neighbors for recommendations. Sometimes real estate agents will have lists of moving companies; regional and national movers' associations also will provide referrals.
  • Call more than one company and ask for detailed bids in writing. Fixed-price or "not to exceed" price bids are best.
  • Insist that they send a professional to your apartment or home to value the shipment, rather than asking you to estimate the weight of your goods over the phone or via the Internet.
  • Check out the mover. If you're moving in-state, check the local Better Business Bureau and state consumer protection office to make sure there are no unresolved complaints. If the move is interstate, check the FMCSA site at www.fmcsa.dot.gov or call the agency at 888-368-7238 to determine if the mover is registered.
  • Don't necessarily go for the lowest bid. It could be a low-ball estimate.
  • Buy adequate insurance coverage.
  • Keep all of your paperwork, including the moving contract and bill of lading.

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