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CityMove lets movers fight for your business

Making a move? CityMove lets you put it online like an auction for movers to bid on. As the person moving you get to choose the company and the price.

Like death and taxes, another one of life's inevitabilities is moving. Unless you're a wealthy agoraphobic, chances are you've either done a move all by yourself, or hired outside help. The process for the latter can be expensive, which is where CityMove comes in. The free service lets you post a job for movers who can then offer you a bid, allowing you to choose the best deal if there are multiple offers.

It's the same idea that was popularized with bank loans by LendingTree in the 1990s, although in this case you're the one doling out the cash. You can select to pay your movers on a flat rate for the whole move, or by the hour. Either way, everything short of the transaction is managed on the site using a simple, but detailed wizard.

As the person who's moving, there are a few prerequisites. For one, you have to estimate how many people you'll need to help you out, as well as what kind of transportation they should bring. You can also leave it up to the movers. In either case, you're required to provide a detailed of estimate on how much stuff you have, right down to how many boxes are being moved, what size they are, and how much they weigh. This can be difficult if you haven't started packing yet.

Just one part of the lengthy moving preparation involves guesstimating how much space you need, and how many people you need to help you move it. CNET

This level of detail can be helpful though. It shows you what you have to do to get ready for the move, such as breaking down a dresser, or ordering supplies to package delicate items like glass or artwork. For first-time movers this can be a good gut check, although having to go through these motions on every item you own is a big pain if you've got a lot of stuff.

Once you choose the company you want to hire, and finish the move, the site lets you review those movers for future customers. These are called "verified" reviews, and can only be done if the move is organized through CityMove's system. However, if you've used one of the movers previously, you can also review them--it just isn't weighted as heavily. CityMove also lets the movers respond to bad reviews, which can give you the heads up on whether that particular company is paying attention to feedback.

CityMove is currently available only in the U.S. and Canada. See also our two guides that help you use various Web services to do a move: Your online guide to moving, and Moving 2.0: More than 30 services to help you relocate.