1: 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.
2: Have Drinks and Snacks
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.
3: 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.
4: 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 because 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.
5: Know What Can and Cannot Be Moved
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.