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You're Moving to Houston: How to Choose a Moving Company for Your Move

By Relocation.com Staff

Congratulations on your move to the Houston area! Texas is one of the hottest areas to move (which we recently doscovered from our June 2010 consumer survey results).

This article will help you sort through the details of choosing a moving company, whether you're making a short move across town or within the state of Texas, or a long-distance move to the Houston area from another state.

You're Moving to Houston From Another State

If you're moving to Texas from another state, the move is subject to rules and regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Transportation. Make sure the mover you select has been assigned a USDOT number, is registered with FMCSA to transport household goods between states, and has enough insurance.

You can do that by visiting www.protectyourmove.gov, or calling FMCSA at (202) 366-9805 for licensing and (202) 385-2423 for insurance.

It's very important that you only work with licensed moving companies, and that your moving company have adequate insurance. If they don't, you could be subject to any claims if there are any problems when you move.

Also check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure the company doesn't have a long history of unresolved complaints. It's not unusual for moving companies to have a handful of complaints -- it's just a fact of doing business -- but if they have a number of them and they're not resolved, then steer clear.

You're Moving to Houston From Another City in Texas

If you're moving within Texas, your move falls under the jurisdiction of the state. Moving companies doing business in Texas must register with the Texas Department of Transportation. To see if your company is registered, contact the DOT by calling 800-299-1700 or visiting its website.

Whether you're hiring a mover for an in-state move, or a move to Texas from another state, follow these general tips for choosing a moving company.

  • Contact several movers in your hometown and have them come to your home to do an in-home assessment of the goods you need moved – this is the ONLY way for you to get a truly accurate quote for your move. If they don't see the stuff to be moved firsthand, how will they be able to give you a moving quote?

  • Once you get a moving quote, beware any movers who give you a quote far below the others; this is often a scam from moving companies to get your business, and then throw on a bunch of additional charges later once they have your goods.

  • Get a written moving quote (either binding or "not-to-exceed") with the maximum amount you will have to pay. A binding proposal states the exact price of the move and a not-to-exceed proposal states the maximum price of the move, but allows the mover to charge less than the maximum.

  • This written estimate should include all the decisions you have made regarding what you want moved, the size of the vehicle to be used, required staffing and the mover's liability for loss or damage. Have your mover sign your copy of the estimate.

  • To help prospective movers give you an accurate proposal, identify all the items you need to have moved. Also note any additional services that may be required at your destination, such as stair carries, long carries or elevator use.

  • You will get a moving services contract in the form of a "bill of lading," work ticket or other receipt. This will list important information about your move, including your name and the name of the mover; address and phone number; the types of services; when, how and what they will charge for the move; and the mover's limitation of liability for loss or damage to your goods.

  • Get everything in writing; don't rely on verbal approvals.

  • If you must make a claim, file a written claim with your mover within 90 days your shipment's delivery.

  • Describe what kind of resolution you're looking for, and if there's physical damage, give a detailed account.

  • If you are not satisfied with your settlement for an intrastate move, contact TxDOT for mediation, or you can go to court.

  • If you wish to file for mediation through TxDOT, submit your request within 30 days after you get your denial from the moving company. If your mover has not paid or denied your claim or made a firm settlement offer within 90 days of getting the claim, you have 30 days to ask for mediation.

  • Before moving goods between states, movers must give you information regarding their dispute settlement program. Movers must offer a neutral dispute settlement program as a means of settling disputes that may arise for loss or damage of your household goods.

  • For an interstate move, FMCSA has no authority to resolve claims, but complaints can spark a federal enforcement investigation against the moving company. You can file a complaint against the moving company by calling FMCSA's 24-hour toll-free hotline at (888) 368-7238, or go to FMCSA's website.


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In the Press

A Moving Company's Moving Story
June, 2012

Relocation.com's survey was recently featured on the front page of USA Today. The headline entitled "Moving in Hard Times" highlighted our results that moving and relocating behaviors were only moderately influenced by the economy.


Our lifestyle survey found that Americans are seeking smaller homes and a suburban lifestyle. These riveting results were recently featured on USAToday.com in an article entitled "American dream shrinks as smaller homes gain favor."

"This user-friendly site includes a blog and a subscription-only newsletter, too"

The Washington Post

"Relocation.com provides you with all the tools you need to get quotes quickly from movers in your area."


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