I love the billboards on the side of the highway that read, “Hey! Are you moving? Call us!”, and then the wonderfully warm and fuzzy names that come along with these priceless advertisements: My Sons Movers, My Four Sons and Mom, and a personal favorite, Hunky College Guys Movers.

I don’t need to feel warm and fuzzy about the name of the moving company I choose to go with. I want to be reassured that I will have a delightful moving experience and all of my items will be handled with care. Guess what? These homey names aren’t exactly indicative of a great moving experience to all age groups.

I represent a large portion of our population, seniors. Despite popular belief, we do move! Whether it be to warmer climates, or to be closer to family.

The moving industry is, unfortunately, another “perp” trap to ensnare my clients into fraud. Money paid upfront, extra money suddenly needed because there seem to be extra boxes conveniently “unaccounted for”.

Or how about this rip off: The movers show up with a small truck, and then say you will need a larger truck for the load. Meanwhile, your stuff is on the street. “Don’t worry!” They say, “We’ll get a bigger truck,” but it will cost more.

The key is what you do upfront, and here are my suggestions. First, forget the billboard showing a lovable logo or a wholesome family ready to move you. Start by getting recommendations from a lot of people. Also, try asking around your place of worship.

Once you get a few recommendations, vet them and check with the Better Business Bureau. Ask for copies of their insurance and pay a visit to their local office. Does it look like “rent-an-office” scattered with paper? Do you see employees working there? Is the office located in a place where you feel safe, or where you feel the need to be armed before you visit? Keep these things in mind.

Secondly, with regards to all that paperwork they want you to sign, don’t sign just yet! Have someone with business sense – and good eyesight – review it all first before you commit to anything. The print is generally so small, that a magnifying glass should be mandatory to bring along.

Finally, have them give you a quote upfront based on them going to your place and seeing your stuff. This is the number you are going to pay, and if they insist on half upfront, only use a credit card so that if there is a dispute, you can stop payment.

Using a moving company can be tricky! So, don’t get carried away by the slogan or the name. Because the only thing that will be moving is your hard-earned cash.

Take my advice for what it is… It’s just AS I SEE IT.