5 Tips for Preparing for Professional Movers

Movers will transport your belongings for you, but there's still a lot to do before they arrive. See more real estate pictures.
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Moving into a new home can be an exciting life change, but it comes with its own set of stresses. Whether it's cross-country or cross-town, a move requires a lot of work to pack up your belongings, transport them and lug them into your new place. Professional movers can be a big help because they do all of the heavy lifting for you. You can even pay them extra to pack and unpack your stuff!

However, preparation is the key to making sure your move won't take longer than it needs to and be even more stressful or expensive (most of these guys are paid by the hour, after all). Here are a few tips to get the best out of your experience with the pros.

Know What Can and Cannot Be Moved
For obvious reasons, most moving companies won't move cash and other valuables for you.
For obvious reasons, most moving companies won't move cash and other valuables for you.

Professional movers won't just move anything. Many moving companies have lists of items they will not transport for safety reasons, such as household chemicals, paints and liquids. They may also have a list of things they won't move for liability reasons, like cash, important papers, photographs, pets, food and medicine. If you plan on bringing these items with you, you'll have to pack them up and transport them yourself.

Have a Packing Plan

Before your moving day, determine whether you or the movers will be responsible for packing and unpacking your belongings. If you're doing the packing, make sure you use plenty of newspaper, bubble wrap or blankets for padding. This is important becasue if what you pack breaks during transport, the movers may not be held liable for it. Be sure to have enough boxes on hand and label them with your name, room destination and contents so it's easier to keep track of where it all needs to go in your new space.

Once everything's packed, try to sort the boxes by weight to make loading easier for the movers. Keep piles of boxes away from the doorways so everyone can easily walk around. Avoid piling stuff on heavy furniture that will get loaded into the van first.

Have Insurance

Regardless whether or not you choose to use the moving company's insurance services, make sure your belongings are financially protected. Accidents can and do happen, so it's best to have a security blanket in case something breaks or gets lost along the way.

Moving companies offer different types of insurance coverage. Two popular options are by the pound and comprehensive. Insurance by the pound is cheaper, but it doesn't cover much. For example, if your antique dining table gets scratched during the move and needs to be repaired, this type of coverage will only pay a certain amount depending on how much the table weighs. It may not cover all -- or even most of -- the repair bill. Comprehensive coverage is more expensive, but it will cover all damages and losses.

Have Drinks and Snacks
A few bottles of water can really help movers on a hot day.
A few bottles of water can really help movers on a hot day.

Professional movers often have packed schedules. This is especially true during the summer months, when more people tend to switch residences. Movers often don't have much time to take a lunch break or make a quick trip to a convenience store to grab a drink, so be sure to have refreshments on hand. Go with portable food options like energy bars, and have a variety of beverages to offer thirsty workers. If the weather's hot, make sure you give a few bottles of water or sports drinks to each worker because they'll definitely need the extra hydration.

Have Cash for Tips

The movers have been schlepping your stuff all day, and if you have a long-distance move, the process is just beginning. They may have a long drive ahead of them to your new house, or they might need to pack several households' belongings into a large semi trailer and make several stops on a cross-country trip. Any way you pack it, moving's a tough job, so have some cash on hand to show that you appreciate their hard work, especially if they do a quick, thorough job of taking care of your belongings.


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  • Bekins. "Packing Materials Guide." 2011. (Jan. 27, 2012) http://www.bekins.com/moving/packing-materials-guide
  • Johnson, Stacy. "7 Tips to Save at least $1,000 on Your Next Move." Money Talks News. June 9, 2010. (Jan. 27, 2012) http://www.moneytalksnews.com/2010/06/09/7-tips-to-save-at-least-1000-on-your-next-move/
  • Levesque, Sidney. "Tips for a successful move: Cheaper isn't always better" Jan. 3, 2012. (Jan. 27, 2012) http://www.reporternews.com/news/2012/jan/03/tips-for-a-succsessful-move-cheaper-isnt-always/
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