There was a time when offering up a cookout and cocktails was enough to get a crowd of friends and neighbors to help you schlep all your furniture and boxes to your new house. But for most of us, those days are gone!  So what to do when it's time to move?

It's essential to find a company that's reliable and legit if you want your stuff to arrive as you sent it and on time! Before you sign a contract, ask around...friends and family may have some suggestions from their recent experiences. If that doesn't work, make your list of questions for potential hires. Here are some ideas to get you started:

1- Does the company carry insurance and what are their limits?

2- Does that company have an operating license and where are they allowed to go?  If you have doubts, confirm with your local state authority or Department of Transportation, depending on whether it's an in-state or interstate move.

3- Call your Better Business Bureau and ask if the company has had complaints.

4- Get estimates and compare rates. Be sure you're comparing "apples to apples" in what you're getting...are they including packing materials like boxes and tape? If it sounds too good to be true, you'll probably end up paying more in the long run after the move. Remember that some companies don't itemize what others do in their estimates.

The better prepared you are, the less stressful the move will be. Happy trails!