NOVATO — When planning for a relocation, the biggest mistake people make is waiting until the last minute to contact a moving company. Movers’ schedules fill up quickly, especially during the peak season, which runs from April through September. If you don’t plan ahead, you could wind up with limited options. To avoid this, be sure to contact a mover at least two to three months before your moving date.

When you call a moving company, the first thing they’ll have you do is schedule an onsite inspection appointment. During this appointment, the relocation consultant will perform a walkthrough and “needs analysis” of your residence. This will help the company get an idea of what the job will require and create an accurate cost estimate.

Ideally, you should get estimates from three different moving companies—this will give you the chance to compare prices and assess value. Once you decide on a mover, get that moving date booked as soon as possible. Remember that the further in advance you plan, the more options you’ll have for choosing a mover.