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1. If more than three rooms must be moved, ask for a representative from the moving company to come to your home, apartment or office. To provide an accurate estimate, the mover must see your possessions and the layout of the location. This will give them insight as to the type of personnel and equipment that will ensure a smooth and successful move.

2. Book a move weeks in advance. This lead time will give the mover the opportunity to schedule the proper equipment and labor to ensure a successful move.

3. Use the free services of the CMSA to find legal movers in your area. The association includes an online profile and directory of nearly 400 movers throughout California.

4. Take the time to read and understand the documentation. For local moves (up to 100 miles), the hourly wages begin when the moving van arrives at origin and concludes when the services have been completed at destination. The drive time between origin and destination is doubled to compensate for the time to deliver the equipment and labor to origin, and from the moving destination back to the terminal. Distance moves (more than 100 miles) are billed by weight (per 100 lbs.) and mileage.

5. Buy professional packing supplies from the mover or another supplier. Your possessions can be damaged in transit if they are stored in inappropriate boxes and carriers.

6. Use Styrofoam packing chips, bubble wrap and unprinted paper to protect breakables.

7. When doing your own packing, help your mover to be successful by packing heavy items, such as books, in smaller boxes. Light items should be packed in larger boxes. Visit your mover to see specific-use boxes for items such as books, dishes, lamps, etc.

8. Be courteous and professional to the crew. They are moving your possessions. While it is not necessary to offer them water or sodas during the move, these acts of kindness are important for establishing a positive relationship with your moving team.

9. Keep a copy of all your documentation in the event it is necessary to file a damage claim.



1. Don’t confront the driver about the bill. Get your questions answered in advance with a customer service representative or a manager of the moving company. If you start the move with an adversarial tone, no one will have a good day!

2. Don’t micromanage the move. It’s a good idea to stay nearby and to monitor what is going on. However, professional movers know what they are doing. They are specially trained to handle your personal goods with care and speed.

3. Don’t ship perishables (anything requiring refrigeration) or hazardous materials (propane, gasoline, aerosol cans, etc.) on any kind of move.

4. Don’t expect movers to rearrange furniture on local moves without an additional cost. Remember that you are being charged by the hour for movers to rearrange your furniture as well as to move your goods.

5. Don’t forget to tell the mover about all the possessions they will move. Remember to specify the conditions at destination (i.e. elevators, stairs, delivery conditions for van placement), which could result in extra charges.

6. Don’t expect the mover to perform plumbing or handyman services. You are responsible for unhooking your household appliances, including icemakers. Television sets can actually sustain internal damage if they are unplugged fewer than 24 hours before a move.


More tips and advice can be found at Happy Moving Day!

The California Moving & Storage Association is a nonprofit trade association representing more than 385 licensed and insured movers operating in California. The CMSA also includes more than 185 associate member companies. Established in 1916, the CMSA is comprised of 12 chapters strategically located throughout California.

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