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, you’ve got to start all over again, hunting down dependable, no-drama people for services.
Don’t despair, though. Here are 10 tips to help you locate the people you’ll need 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.”
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
Ask your office mates and local Facebook friends for doctor, dentist and hospital recommendations. Make sure the 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. 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
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.