Moving is no easy task; most of us avoid it like the plague. But when we have to do it, a little extra help can make all the difference. If you do your homework before you hire movers, it can make your load a whole lot lighter.

Collette Camberlango-Manning is a single parent who moved to San Diego from Arizona just a few months ago, "I was pretty much moving all on my own with the boys."

Doing the move without some professional assistance seemed nearly impossible. She'd moved once before without hiring movers, "It's the reason I chose movers [this time] because it was so hard. [Last time] I just left it all there and started over."

Her experience moving this time around was much easier. She hired a moving company to help. "They came, they wrapped up everything, they put it all together, they stored it for me because I actually needed to come out and look, and then when I found some place they were ready to take it out of storage and bring it. They were great," says Camerlango-Manning.

Hiring movers for your next relocation might be a good option but be sure to do your homework first to avoid disaster.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) regulates movers of household goods who operate within our state. The CPUC recommends that people only hire movers licensed by the commission.

A call to CPUC at 1-800-877-8867 can determine if the company is, in fact, licensed.

It's also very prudent to contact at least a few companies. Camberlango-Manning says she got several quotes before she selected a moving company. The CPUC says that all estimates from licensed movers must be in writing and given only after a visual inspection of the goods.

Licensed movers are also required to give you a "Not to Exceed" price. It's the highest price that you would be charged subject to "Change Orders for Service".

Shirley Allen owns Blue Girl Moving and Storage company. "It's also important to know that [companies] are insured," she says. Allen has owned her company in Oceanside since 1978. She says prices can vary depending on what types of things are being moved and whether the residents pack their own goods.

The CPUC says a booklet called, "Important Information For Persons Moving Household Goods" must be given on the first in-person meeting; failing to provide the booklet can result in a $100 fee payable to the consumer. The booklet provides moving tips and details consumer protections.

As for lost or damaged goods, protection is 60 cents per pound, per article. However, more protection may be purchased, but it's a good idea to first check your insurance policies to see what might already be covered.

To file a complaint or receive more information, call the CPUC at 1-800-366-4782.

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