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Find a reputable mover, using these tips

May is National Moving Month and the start of one of the busiest times to make a move. Your Better Business Bureau says this is when many unlicensed or dishonest moving companies come calling. Your BBB can help you avoid them and select a trustworthy mover.

Two years ago, 35.1 million people moved in the U.S., a record low according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2012, there was a slight increase to 36.5 million people changing residences. In 2012, your BBB recorded 5,339 inquiries about local moving companies, up almost 20 percent from 2011 with 4,301.

As the school year comes to an end, many families plan to move to new homes. Typically, the best time to move is from spring to fall. If you can, try to move midweek because most people wait until the weekend. Most moving companies have low reservations during the week, so they can offer lower rates to entice you to do so. Likewise, avoid moving at the beginning or end of the month because they are also prime moving times.

Your BBB offers these moving tips:

• Ask for recommendations from friends and family.

• Get at least three estimates. They may be binding or nonbinding estimates. A binding estimate is the guaranteed total cost to move. A nonbinding estimate is an approximate cost which may change depending on the actual move.

• Consider reputation, years of service and services provided.

• Select a moving company at least six weeks in advance of your move.

• Find out if the moving company is a member of an association like American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) or Association of Movers, Inc.

• Remember moving companies are required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to give you a copy of Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move.

• Make sure the mover is licensed, bonded and insured.

• Get a written contract detailing cost, move date, inventory of items to be moved, etc. Read it carefully. Don’t sign it if there are blank lines or items you don’t understand.

• Find out the mover’s loss or damage policy and ask if you can increase protection coverage.

• Keep valuables, medicine and important documents with you.

• Be sure you’re present when movers pack, pickup and deliver your items.

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