If you’re searching for a moving company to make your next move a worry-free experience, it’s important to do some research before you sign a contract. The right local moving experts will take good care of you and your belongings from the moment you first call them right until your final box is unloaded.

Here are 10 important tips to use when searching for a professional mover:

1. Ask Friends and Family For Referrals

When it comes to finding the right mover, start by asking people you trust for recommendations. Your Realtor, co-workers and friends might be able to suggest a local moving company to use, and they may also have ideas about moving companies you should avoid!

2. Get In-Person, Written Estimates

Having an in-person written estimate ensures that the quote you receive from each moving company is as accurate as possible, while giving you a chance to learn more about the services offered by the mover.

3. Be Up-Front With Your Estimator

Be sure to show your estimator all the boxes, furniture, clothes and belongings you’d like the moving company to transport for you. While a professional mover can’t force you to pay more on your moving day to move items that were excluded from your estimate, the movers can refuse to actually move anything you didn’t disclose as part of your written quote.

4. Inquire About Added Fees

Nobody likes surprises on their moving day, so be sure to ask about any extra fees, such as fuel surcharges, extra stops charges and equipment fees that could be added to your final bill.

5. Consider Using Packing Services

If you’re like most people, you dread the thoughts of packing up all your belongings. Look for a local moving company that offers crating and packing services—this option can really take the stress out of your next move.

6. Discuss Insurance Coverage

Ask about insurance protection for your belongings, and be sure to get details about coverage in writing. You should also check to see if your homeowners’ insurance policy applies while items are in transit to your new home.

7. Check References

A professional mover will be proud of their reputation, and they’ll be happy to provide you with references from past clients. Be sure to take the time to check these references, because reputation, not just price, should be a factor in your final decision.

8. Experience Counts

While it can be tempting to hire a local moving company that offers rock-bottom prices, it’s important to know that the moving industry is filled with unlicensed movers who have no experience. Look for a professional mover who has the experience it takes to do the job right.

9. Do Your Research

Ask what names the moving company operates under, then check those names through an online search and by contacting your local Better Business Bureau.

10. Ask About Service Awards

Ask if the moving company has earned any awards or credentials from their local small business association, trade group, or other industry organization.

Remember, hiring the right moving company can make the transition to your new home a simple, stress free experience, so be sure to take the time to do your research and choose a professional mover you can count on.