As a highly competitive industry, moving companies do whatever it takes to secure customers — even if that means cutting corners or taking advantage of unsuspecting clients. When it comes to choosing a reputable moving company, you need to be an informed consumer who compares quotes and chooses wisely.

Choosing a moving company can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. A little bit of homework and the right mindset can help you save thousands of dollars on your upcoming move.

Before choosing a moving company, look for online reviews and customer feedback. If possible, get multiple quotes and compare them side-by-side. A professional sales agent will walk you through the quoting process and provide you with a guaranteed price based on your unique move.

The cost of a move depends on the volume and weight of items being shipped, as well as the distance of the move. Typically, longer moves are more expensive because the company must pay for the driver’s and loaders’ time, vehicle fuel and maintenance, and other expenses. Moreover, the cost of moving can increase if your items are particularly large or heavy, such as solid oak tables or a grand piano.

If you’re planning a long-distance move, make sure your chosen mover is licensed to perform interstate moves. This is a requirement of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Additionally, long-distance movers must have their own storage facilities and be insured to protect against damages during the transportation process.

One of the most important factors when comparing moving companies is their reputation for providing accurate price quotes. The best way to ensure that you receive the most accurate quote is to do a walk-through of your home with your prospective movers. It’s also helpful to bring along an inventory list of items being moved, which will assist your movers in providing the most accurate quote.

You can also ask your movers about additional charges that may be incurred during your move, such as parking permits or elevator access fees. These extra charges should be outlined in your contract so that there are no surprises on the day of your move.

Some movers offer a variety of protection options for your belongings, including valuation coverage and full replacement value. However, some companies have been accused of using third-party contractors to move your belongings and don’t properly vet these individuals or are ultimately responsible for damage. Fortunately, companies like PODS and iCanvas have addressed these concerns by offering City Service, which allows you to use their services on New York streets without a permit and protects you from ticketing or theft while your possessions are being loaded.

Some specialty items, such as heirlooms and antiques, require special attention and expertise. If you’re moving these items, let your potential movers know so they can recommend or refer you to a partner that can handle their unique needs. Additionally, you can reduce the amount of items your movers have to move by decluttering and selling or donating items that don’t fit in your new space.