Remember how long it took to find a good hair stylist in your last town? And what about that crazy dog sitter who painted your pooch’s nails purple while you were on vacation? When you relocate to a new home, you’ve got to start all over again, hunting down dependable, no-drama people for services. You also have to find reliable contractors to come and make improvements to your new house.
Finding all of the services you need in a new neighborhood can be full of trials and tribulations as you try to find just the right match. It can be even harder if you move to a new city or new state.
Don’t despair, though. We’ve got you covered with 10 surefire tips to find the best service providers your local area has to offer. But first things first. Before you are start getting referrals, here is a quick to-do list of the most important tasks you need to do right after you move first:
- After the movers leave, check your inventory list to make sure all of your belongings made it to your new place.
- If you haven’t already, file a change of address with the post office.
- Give your credit card issuers, banks, and other accounts your new address.
- Update your driver’s license and voter registration online or at the local DMV.
- Change your auto insurance policy to reflect your new residence. Shop around for new insurance companies in your area.
- Set up new accounts with local utility companies.
- Install a home security system for extra protection.
- Consider changing your cell phone number if you have moved to a new area code.
Now that you’ve got all of that out of the way, it is time to settle in and find service professionals in your local area. Here are 10 tips to help you find the best people after you move:
1. Look Out For Fresh Cuts.
Karen Dimmick of Sarasota, FL, who’s relocated four times, watches for an enviable hairdo.
“I find people whose haircut I like and ask them where they got it cut,” she says. “Then I go try that hairdresser.”
Plus it is a good way to strike up a conversation and maybe make new friends in a new place.
2. Know Somebody Who Knows Somebody.
Tap the networks of “key people” who know everybody, says Sara Tapscott of Kansas City, who’s relocated multiple times.
“Find a good hairdresser, and they can refer you to a good doctor, handyman or just about anyone else. Then those people can refer you to others. It’s like dominos,” Tapscott says.
3. Mention Manicured Lawns.
Chat up neighbors about who’s mowing their lawn. Ask which lawn people they recommend and, equally important, which ones to avoid. Stroll over and ask for an estimate the next time you see a sweaty lawn crew trimming a hedge.
4. Diagnose the Healthcare Community.
Finding new health care providers in your local area is perhaps one of the hardest things to do, but if you are hours away from your old place you have no choice. Ask your office mates and local Facebook friends for doctor, dentist and hospital recommendations. Make sure the new doctor you choose is covered in your health insurance network, and ask that physician for referrals to other healthcare providers. Coworkers can also give you the lowdown on massage therapists, fitness centers or yoga studios.
5. Crank Up The Search for an Auto Mechanic.
Your neighbors can guide you on this one too. They’ll tell you the local rip-off places to avoid and all about the mechanic they’ve used for decades. Even with that neighborly referral, it’s a good idea to also check reviews on Yelp and the repair shop’s Better Business Bureau rating.
6. Seek Childcare Guidance From Fellow Parents.
Chat up your barista, hairdresser, neighbors, coworkers and fellow moms or dad at the park playground. They can also help point you in the direction of good schools, after school programs, and so on. Also, employ social media resources such as Nextdoor to get the scoop on good child care and services.
7. Sniff Out a Neighborhood Pet Sitter.
Strike up conversations with fellow dog walkers to find a reliable pet sitter. My neighbor and I exchanged dog sitting services on a regular basis, allowing our dogs to stay at home while we each traveled. Other places to dig up referrals: Dog parks, veterinarians and pet supply stores. You can also connect with pet sitters in your area via Rover.com. As always, you will want to double-check additional references for added peace of mind.
8. Nail Down a Handy Man.
Ask neighbors who they hire to clean gutters, repair the fence, install tile and hook up new lighting. You can also get free quotes and reviews from reputable electricians, contractors and other handy types using Thumbtack.com.
9. Locate Like-Minded Friends.
Kerri Fivecoat-Campbell of Mountain Home, AR, had trouble meeting other political progressives in her small town while working on her book Living Large in Our Tiny House.
“Social activities were all centered around church,” says Fivecoat-Campbell.
So, she went on Facebook to search for locals with progressive views and sent friend requests. Now she socializes locally with like-minded friends who’ve referred her to doctors, dentists and a massage therapist.
10. Happen Upon Your Next Favorite Hangout.
As the new kid in town, you’ll need a place where everybody knows your name. In addition to walking and driving around your new city, ask everyone you meet about their favorite coffee shops, bars, parks, walking and jogging trails. Familiar places and faces will help you get grounded and feel more secure in your new surroundings.