How to Choose the Best Moving Company

How to Choose the Best Moving Company in Houston

When getting ready to move, one of the first things on your to-do list can be to find a mover and reserve a moving date, which makes knowing how to choose the best moving company a necessity. Because there can be a sense of urgency to secure the date needed, it can be tempting to skip the due diligence that should be exercised when looking for a moving company. The result can be having a less than respectable fly-by-night moving company in charge of all your personal possessions, a situation no one wants to find themselves in.

Protect yourself and your belongings by enlisting the help of an industry-respected Houston moving company that has a proven record of serving customers well in years past and that operates with that same standard of excellence still today.

How to Choose the Best Moving Company

The question then becomes how to navigate the literally hundreds of listings for moving companies to find one that is reputable, professional, and trustworthy. Some tips on how to choose the best moving company can be to find a provider that is:

  • Industry-respected. If a moving company is rated well by professional organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau, and has received achievement awards, it speaks to the level of respect they have earned within the industry among their peers and previous clients.
  • Family owned. Family owned and operated moving companies tend to take great pride in their work because everything they do reflects on the family’s name and reputation. These companies are usually willing to go the extra mile to do their jobs with integrity and excellence that both their employer and customer can be proud of.
  • Local. Going with a local moving company ensures that they have an intimate understanding of the area. This can be particularly helpful in large cities in which navigating a complex web of interstates and highways may be required. Local employees and drivers should have a better understanding of what roadways to avoid at peak rush hour and alternative routes for construction detours.

While this is a great starting place, it is recommended to verify that the companies making the cut on your list also hire hand-picked employees rather than contract movers. Hiring on employees typically means that the company does thorough background checks and drug screenings. Those companies who hire contract workers may not require these individuals to submit to these processes, which means they may not know everything they need to before sending the worker into your home.

Once you have narrowed the list down to companies that exemplify these traits, the next step is to look for what services they provide.

What Services to Look for in the Best Moving Company

Not all moving companies offer the same scope of services, so while it may sound obvious to verify the services an entity provides, it is highly encouraged. If you are wondering how to choose the best moving company, the top 6 considerations include:

  1. Versatility. The more types of moves a company has successfully completed, the more prepared they generally are for future moving jobs. Make sure a company has the capacity to do both residential moves and commercial moves that are in-state, across state lines, and even internationally.
  2. Excellent customer service. When it comes to how to find the best moving company, one of the top considerations should be the quality of customer service they provide. This can range from the number of services they offer, to the types and frequency of communication they employ, to the occurrence of updates a customer receives during the move itself.
  3. In-person quotes. While it may seem like a time saver to get a moving quote online or over the phone, both require an accurate estimate of the number of boxes and pieces of furniture to be moved from the customer. If the customer is not packed yet, it can be easy to underestimate the number of boxes that will need to be moved. This means the quote could go up on moving day, and there could potentially be issues with having the right size moving van. To avoid this type of situation, look for a company that will send an employee to the home or business to provide an accurate in-person quote after surveying the rooms and spaces that need to be moved.
  4. Packing and Unpacking Services. Packing services can be particularly attractive for those who are aging, those who require an expedited move, or even those moving overseas. Choose a mover who, if needed, will be willing to show up at your location with packing supplies in hand and that will expertly pack up the necessary items. Unpacking services are frequently used when there is a need to settle into the new destination quickly and avoid living among boxes for weeks at a time. Selecting a mover that offers this service as well may help people acclimate to their new surroundings faster.
  5. Low damage rate. The goal is to have boxed and wrapped items moved to their destination without a change in their condition, such as a break, crack, or other type of damage. However, this may happen from time to time due to a number of reasons, ranging from a box that is not packed with proper balance to many other situations. Still, the damage rate number should be low, so look for one of close to one percent.
  6. Truck maintenance. When moving, the focus tends to be on the items being moved but the success of the endeavor depends in large part on the condition of the moving trucks. A vehicle that is not regularly maintained and does not abide by DOT standards could be at risk of breaking down, which would cause a move to be unnecessarily delayed. Find a professional company that regularly performs maintenance to their vehicles.

Now that you know how to choose the best moving company, make that knowledge work for you by doing some homework before signing on the dotted line. This process can provide confidence and peace of mind that is practically priceless.

Why an In-person Moving Quote Is Vital

Why an In-person Moving Quote Is Vital













Not understanding why an in-person moving quote is vital to a successful move is one of the leading reasons that people have bad moving experiences. Once a move is definite, the tendency is to jump in with both feet and start knocking things off of the to do list as quickly as possible. The problem with this strategy is that fast does not always equal accurate.

While a home or business owner may think it will take less time to get a moving quote over the phone or online, it does not account for the margin of error that can occur. Unfortunately, these methods often lead to inaccurate estimates in terms of how many boxes or pieces of furniture will need to be packed and transported, and that can lead to some very unexpected sticker shock when it comes time to pay the bill.

Why an In-person Moving Quote Is Vital

The reason why an in-person moving quote is vital is because it better protects the customer in a number of ways, including:

  1. Increased accuracy. Part of the reason it can be so difficult to get an accurate moving quote over the phone or online is because the company representative on the other end cannot physically see the space being packed up to know if the box and furniture estimate seems on point. Many companies simply rely on the customer telling them how many boxes they think they will have for moving day. The problem is that any boxes or items outside of that quote will be in addition to the original quote and could possibly be calculated at a much higher price.
  2. Decreased chances of being scammed. At first glance it can be hard to tell the difference between a fly by night operation and an established, professional moving company. Although it is not a guarantee, the odds may lean slightly in favor of the customer if the company has to come out in person and do some actual legwork before they ever get paid.
  3. Better feel for the space. Some moving companies may add on charges if they will be moving items up and down staircases or through tight spaces and around sharp corners. When the representative is in-person at the home, they can evaluate if there will be any price add-ons for environmental challenges such as stairs or parking.
  4. Higher degree of confidence in a company’s capability. When a company representative arrives at your home or business to give an in-person quote, it allows you to see how prepared they are and the expertise with which they move from room to room making calculations. A reputable company will likely send someone out with forms and inventory sheets to put together a more accurate quote. Note the way the person treats the home. Are they careful not to bring in any dirt or debris from outside when entering the home? Are they professional and respectful at all times? These are important considerations.
  5. Insider packing tips. Movers know moving and everything that goes into it. As they go room by room of your home or business to estimate the number of boxes potentially needed, they may offer some helpful tips. For example, if you have a case full of collectible figurines, they might warn you to wrap them well in bubble wrap and not to overload the box. If you have a one-of-a-kind painting that is precious, they may offer you suggestions on customized crating options to ensure its protection and safety during the move.

What Can Happen If You Don’t Get an In-Person Moving Quote

Moving quote horror stories for those given online or over the phone are a dime a dozen. A quick Google search might surprise you with how many horror stories are out there. It is simply not worth it to get a moving quote any other way than in-person.

Consider the following scenario. Derek chats online with a moving company that has a great website and looks reputable. To determine a moving quote for him, they ask him how many square feet his house is, how many rooms it has, and if it is more than one story. From there they may ask him how many pieces of furniture and how many boxes he estimates he will have to move. Then the company emails him a contract to sign and return that should specify the numbers he gave them.

Fast forward to moving day. The movers arrive at Derek’s house. Now that Derek is done packing, he realizes that he underestimated the number of boxes he would have by at least twenty-five. But, at the price the moving company already offered per box, he knows it will still be affordable.

When the movers start loading up the moving truck and do inventory, they make a note that there are twenty-five extra boxes and several extra pieces of furniture that were not included in the original quote. They then calculate a different moving day price for the extra items and add it to the bill.

Unfortunately, because of the extra items that were not accounted for in the original quote, Derek’s belongings do not all fit in the moving truck and will require an extra vehicle for transport – if they can find one that is available.

At this point, Derek is now going to have to pay for an additional moving vehicle because of the original inaccurate estimate and will also have to pay a different and more exorbitant price for the additional boxes he had not planned on having.

All the savings Derek thought he would be getting with his coupon and online quote are completely gone and then some after adding in the more costly moving day prices and the cost of another moving truck. Even worse, if another moving truck is not available, the move may have to be postponed.

Perhaps the most disheartening thing about this situation is that these miscalculations could have been avoided by enlisting the help of a reputable moving company that provided moving quotes in person. This illustration is a perfect example of why an in-person moving quote is vital.

What Should Be Included In your In-person Moving Quote

When you do get an in-person moving quote, look for some of the following line items to be included:

  • Estimated number of boxes to be loaded on the moving truck. While the number the professional estimates may not be exact, it should be more accurate than an over the phone or online quote.
  • Estimated number of unboxed furniture items to be loaded on the truck. An expert will check some of the larger items to see if they break down for moving purposes or if they will require the same area they currently occupy.
  • Combined estimated weight of the boxes and furniture being loaded. This is done as interstate moves may require a moving van to abide by certain guidelines for truck weight.
  • The distance (mileage) for the move including the original and destination address and the preferred route. Knowing how many miles the route is expected to be will factor in to estimating the number of stops needed to refuel.
  • Flight charges. This term refers to stairs and/or elevators. If a mover has to go up one or more flights of stairs, they may add this charge to your bill. The term may appear on your bill even if you have no stairs, and in this case, just make sure the amount listed next to it is zero.
  • Additional services. If you opt to have the company provide services such as packing, unpacking, storage, or customized crates, they should be detailed and listed clearly on the quote.
  • Coverage. Most companies provide a small amount of insurance coverage. While it is better than nothing even for a company that has a low damage rate percentage, most people choose to supplement this coverage.

The golden rule of moving quotes is to ensure that everything that has been promised verbally actually appears on the quote itself. Without this, the company cannot be held accountable for not keeping a promise that they never made on paper to begin with.

Understand why an in-person moving quote is vital before you start searching for estimates. Taking the time to do the groundwork for an in depth and accurate quote can save you from headaches and substantial unexpected expenses in the long run. Make the most of your next move by getting an in-person moving quote for a reputable Houston moving company.

Why Your Moving Team Should Not Include Friends and Family

Why your moving team should not include friends and family

Although it can be tempting if you think it could save you money, there are plenty of reasons why your moving team should not include friends and family. One reason that might top the list is that usually your friends and family do not really want to help you move. They might agree to do it out of a feeling of obligation, but most would likely rather celebrate you with a home warming party than spend a day moving dozens of heavy boxes and furniture for you.

In reality, you probably do not really want them moving you either. Yes, it would keep you from having to pay a moving company, but there are still other costs to consider. What will happen if a friend drops your box of priceless baseball cards and they land scattered all over the street on a rainy day? What will you do if a person injures themselves and then has to miss a week or more of work to recover? What will you lose if a confrontation over moving ends up costing you a relationship?

These are important considerations to keep in mind as to why your moving team should not include friends and family, especially when a professional moving company is trained, experienced, and efficient. Let the movers take care of moving you and let your friends and family help you celebrate in your new home afterwards.

Reasons Why Your Moving Team Should Not Include Friends and Family

Inviting over some buddies and co-workers to help you move and then paying them in pizza and sodas may initially sound like a great idea, but there are reasons why your moving team should not include friends and family…or pizza and drinks for that matter, unless it is after the moving is done. Pizza can be greasy, which makes hands slippery, and drinks can spill, which makes the floor slippery. Neither is a good combination with moving.

Here is a list of additional issues that can be avoided by using a professional team instead:

  • Scheduling. You have had your move on the calendar for weeks with friends and family, but on moving day it is still possible for scheduling problems to occur. If you have a friend who came down with something or someone in the family who cannot make it due to an emergency, you will be out some members of your moving crew with no backup replacements. When working with a moving company, they should have enough personnel to shift around so that if one or more crew members is sick, replacements can still be provided so your move takes place on time.
  • Weather. No one knows for sure what the weather will be like on moving day until moving day arrives. The problem is that amateur movers are generally not as prepared to battle the elements all day for a friend. However, professional moving companies endure crazy weather all year long and are generally better equipped to move a person’s belongings, rain or shine.
  • Hidden Costs. Even if you think you are saving by letting people you know move you, there may be more hidden costs than you think. For example, if all of your items cannot fit in your car, you may need to rent a truck or a dolly to transport all your belongings. And do not forget the price of extra fuel that may be needed for the truck. It is also customary to provide a meal for those moving you if they are there during mealtime. These costs can quickly add up and will require more coordination than if you simply outsourced the job to a moving company.
  • Equipment. Professional moving companies have access to dollies, moving straps, rope, bungee cords, and furniture sliders to name just a few. The problem is that friends and family generally do not have these items readily available for use. Such items are recommended for moves to limit the possibility of damage, but it will be an extra expense if you have to search them out yourself.
  • Experience. Professional movers are trained to know how to tape up boxes, how to pack balanced boxes, how to stack boxes in a moving van, and even how to lift with their knees instead of their back. They also know how to get furniture down a stairwell or how to rotate pieces of furniture to get them out the front door without causing damage. These are not things that the average friend or family member is familiar with, and this can open the door to moving day catastrophes that you simply do not have time for. Rely on the experience of the professionals for more peace of mind about the moving process from start to finish.
  • Large Items. Particularly large items such as big appliances, desks, cabinets, and even pianos can be hard to move for even experienced movers who have all the standard and specialized equipment. With this being the case, do you really want your friends or family moving and possibly damaging these items?
  • Injury. Moving involves lots of bending, stretching, and heavy lifting. Each of these moves can be particularly taxing for unusually large items or boxes that are not packed in a balanced manner. Even for the fittest of friends and family, many are not used to these types of repetitive movements in the way that professional movers are. This means that they could be more susceptible to injury. Not only will injury to an amateur volunteer mover potentially delay your timeline for moving, but it could also severely impact that friend or family member’s daily activities for the near future if they tear a ligament or break a bone.
  • Damaged Items. With any move, there is at least some risk of damage occurring. This may happen due to unbalanced boxes, improperly stacked boxes, or plain old accidents. Professional movers are trained to pack boxes in a way that evenly distributes the weight load, making the box’s placement sturdier, even when stacked. Most friends and family lack this knowledge and it might put your items at an increased risk of being damaged during the move.
  • Damaged Home. Most people are surprised at the number of items in their home that do not slide seamlessly through the doorways on their way to the moving truck. This can range from pieces of furniture to large boxes. Sometimes turning boxes at a certain angle or forcing them through can yield success, but much of the time it results in damaged items and damage to the home. The last thing you want to have to deal with as you are moving out is a giant gash in the entryway drywall or a broken pane of glass in the front door. Professional movers are trained to package and protect belongings, and have the skill needed to avoid damage.
  • Responsibility. When working with an insured moving company, your items should be covered to at least some extent for damage that occurs. And most reputable moving companies offer additional insurance that can be purchased, adding valuable peace of mind. In other words, if the movers break a tv during the course of a move, you should be reimbursed to some degree for that loss. This does not necessarily hold true for a friend that drops a tv. They are not insured, so all you may get is a, “Gee, I’m really sorry,” and you could still be out a tv with no reimbursement.
  • Friendships. At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself if a friend who helped you move would still be a friend if they dropped your box of glass figurines or put a hole in the front hall of the home you are moving out of. It could happen, and it might cost you a friend. It is better to preserve friendships and relationships with family members by delegating the work of moving to a professional moving company.
  • Favors. If you drafted a friend or person in your family to help you move for free and they sacrifice a day or two of their time to help you lift heavy boxes and load up the car, the odds are that they will need to call in that same favor from you at some point. If for some reason you cannot make that reciprocal favor happen, it could potentially lead to frustration and arguments that can put a serious strain on that relationship. If you spend the money you would have spent for food for your volunteer movers on professional movers instead, it can be well worth the investment.

Ways Friends and Family Can Help

If you have a few friends who still claim they really do want to help with the move, think about giving them an alternate job that will make a move go smoother.

For example, if you have young children or pets in the home at the time of the move, ask a friend to babysit for the day. This helps ensure that the kids and/or pets are out of harm’s way, and it also keeps the movers safe from tripping over them. Having a friend provide this service on moving day is invaluable.

Another job for friends and family could be providing you with take out the week of the move as you are packing up all your cookware and appliances, or maybe even bringing lunch by for the moving crew on the day of. While this is a simple task, it would be greatly appreciated.

Although there are plenty of reasons why your moving team should not include friends and family, it does not mean there is nothing for them to do. Having people help with the little things can be a really big advantage when it comes to moving.

Now that you know why your moving team should not include friends and family, take that information to heart. No friendship or relationship with a family member is worth sacrificing to save a few dollars on a move. Reach out to a local and professional moving company today and set a date for your new adventure!

14 Tips for Making Moving Day Smooth

14 Tips for Making Moving Day Smooth

Moving can feel overwhelming for many people, but by planning ahead with these 14 tips for making moving day smooth, the experience can be a positive one. Moving can require a leap of faith to leave what you know and move to something new, but almost everything that follows should be a matter of planning. Knowing what to do and when to do it can help take the pressure off and provide for a better move in Houston.

Making Moving Day Smooth One Task at a Time

Getting ready for a move begins the day you decide to do it, and the journey doesn’t end until you have arrived at your new destination and have completed unpacking. To help you better navigate each step of the way, we have put together a list of 14 tips for making moving day smooth, including:

1. Make a to do list. There are many things to consider for making moving day smooth, from selecting the movers to buying the packing supplies to doing the actual packing. The list of to-dos can be far too long to simply store it in your head. Put a pen to paper and get a list going to help you identify necessary action items and make a plan for checking them off as you go.

2. Declutter your home. Whether you spent only a few months or as long as decades in your home, the accumulation of more belongings over time is inevitable. However, not all of these belongings will be things you want to take with you to your new home. Even though it will require some time, declutter each room of your home before packing begins and donate the items that can be repurposed and throw away those that are beyond saving.

3. Choose a Houston moving company. When it comes to tips for making moving day smooth, this one is very important. The choice you make could dictate how the remainder of the move goes, so take your time to do the research. It is essential to select a moving company that is insured, for their protection and yours. Be sure to confirm the movers have the right licensing and perform routine maintenance on their vehicles as well. This ensures there are no hiccups on the big day.

4. Get an in-home quote. An in-home quote is often recommended over one that is given online or over the phone. When going room by room of a home or business, it allows a moving company to more accurately estimate the number of boxes and pieces of furniture that will need to be moved. Relying on the company’s expertise for these estimates can eliminate a last-minute panic on moving day of having extra boxes to load on the truck. An in-home moving quote also enables the movers to view the space in person and note if they will need a special parking pass, permit, or specialized equipment to navigate stairs or tight spaces.

5. Take pictures of breakables. A reputable moving company should have a low damage rate of around one percent, but there will be times where an item could get broken during the moving process. For this reason, it can be helpful to take pictures of important breakables before they are packed and moved. Keep this documentation after the move is complete as it could be helpful in the recovery stages of a natural disaster.

6. Take pictures of complex electronic setups. Most homeowners can attest to having a tangle of cords behind the entertainment center or computer. Unless you have IT experience and can remember what plug goes where, take a picture of the current setup to help assist with putting everything back into place at the new home.

7. Pack items up correctly. While packing up items should take place long before the actual moving day, the effects of it will be felt most prominently on that day. The primary issues for items that are not packed correctly are improperly assembled or sealed boxes and unbalanced boxes. A box that is not assembled and sealed efficiently may result in its collapse when a mover tries to pick up the box and load it onto the moving van. This causes a delay in moving as well as the potential for items in the box to be damaged if they fall out. Unbalanced boxes can increase the odds of a box collapsing because the weight of the items is not distributed evenly. To avoid these common mistakes, some individuals choose to have the moving company pack up their belongings to make moving day smooth.

8. Label boxes clearly. It can be helpful to load the moving van room by room, but well labeled boxes are still essential. As you pack up boxes, take the time to label each box clearly with a thick black marker that designates what room the box belongs in, as well as the key items that are packed up inside. This helps movers know which room it belongs in when they arrive at the destination, and it helps the individual quickly locate certain items they might be looking for. If there is a box that contains objects that are sharp or delicate, it is best to label the box as “Fragile” in large print.

9. Be strategic with utilities. While your inclination may be to turn off the utilities on moving day, this is a bad idea. Movers will still need light to help them see and water will still be needed for bathroom breaks and cleaning. Plan to turn off the utilities to your old home the day after the movers are done. Turn on the utilities in the new home the day before you and the movers are expected to arrive. Do not forget to put arranging utilities on your to do list, which should include water, electricity, gas, trash service and internet.

10. Get to packing. Nothing adds to the chaos of moving day like trying to pack up the boxes you were too tired to tend to the night before. Not only does it extend the to do list for an already long day, but it also increases the chances of forgetting to pack an item or not safeguarding it properly. Ideally, it is best to be entirely packed the night before moving day, with the exception of items like toiletries and medications that will need to be packed the morning of.

11. Isolate items you will be taking with you. The goal is to pack up everything you can in boxes for the moving company to load and transport, however, there are some items that you may need to keep with you. Pets, plants, and hazardous materials are not typically handled by movers. As such, arrange to move these items yourself. Keep important documents such as insurance, passports, and utility information with you during the move for easy access.

12. Give the movers room to do their job. Most established, professional moving companies have performed hundreds or more moves and know what they are doing and the best way to do it. Aside from offering to answer questions, it can be best to stay out of the way so that the movers can get their job done quickly. If you have children or pets, consider how to keep them out of the way of the movers to prevent accidents and delays.

13. Ensure the movers have your personal contact information. Take the time to verify that the movers have your phone number before the moving truck leaves your home. This allows them to let you know if they get lost, have a problem that requires roadside assistance, or if there is another type of delay so you can plan accordingly.

14. Do a walk through. After the contents of the house have been loaded into the moving truck, take the time to do a thorough walk through. This helps ensure no boxes were missed, the lights have been turned off, and you have taken all your personal belongings with you. Do not forget to check places that may be out of sight and out of mind like the attic, basement, or a shed.

Arriving at Your Destination

So much can go into the 14 tips for making moving day smooth, that remembering what to do upon arriving at your destination can be overlooked.

One of the first things you may want to do is find your bedding, which should be fairly easy if the boxes were labeled correctly. After a long day or more of moving, you will be ready to sleep in your own bed, and getting the bed set up early will allow you to fall right into it. Locating certain bathroom and toiletry items upon arrival should also be a priority so that you are able to take a shower before going to bed later that night.

If you arranged for the utilities to be turned on prior to your arrival, that should already be in place and be one less thing for you to worry about. This allows you to focus your energy on unpacking. Although it may be tempting to put off unpacking until tomorrow, the sooner you unpack the sooner your new surroundings will start to feel like home. It is best not to put it off for too long.

You may also want to change the home’s locks. While ideally, everyone who had a key should have turned it in before they moved out, it doesn’t hurt to be thorough and change the locks anyway for an added layer of protection.

With these 14 tips for making moving day smooth, you can breathe deep and have more confidence in the process from start to finish, and that is hard to put a price on.

Law Changes to the Moving Industry are Designed to Stop Rogue Movers

Law Changes to the Moving Industry are Designed to Stop Rogue Movers

For decades, regulators have worked to stay ahead of rogue movers, and another wave of regulatory language is designed to pressure fraudulent moving companies further.

The new changes, proposed by a working group of industry experts and approved by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), will make fraud more difficult for rogue movers to pull off. The new changes will streamline paperwork for moving professionals and provide customers with wider protections.

How Big is the Rogue Mover Problem?

Rogue movers have been an issue for the industry for decades. Posing as a legitimate moving company, rogue movers typically provide over-the-phone or e-mail estimates, promise low fees, pack the customer’s belongings on a moving truck and then demand a larger payment than what was initially agreed on. In effect, rogue movers hold their customers’ belongings “hostage” until the customer pays up. In many cases, the belongings are never returned, which means a rogue mover can steal everything a family owns without being heard from again.

This problem has grown in prevalence over the years. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), customers filed 4,274 complaints against moving companies in 2019. More than half of these complaints regarded overcharging – a standard rogue mover maneuver. The BBB believes that only 10 percent of moving fraud victims report their experiences to the BBB, which suggests the problem is far larger.

What are the FMCSA’s Law Changes and How Will They Help Solve the Rogue Mover Problem?

Several new regulations and recommendations are being discussed and will likely go into effect soon. Among the new regulations are:

  • New bill of lading procedures – The bill of lading is the most important piece of documentation associated with a move. It provides a detailed account of what’s being moved, where those items are being moved, and any other conditions relevant to the job.
    Traditionally, the bill of lading is signed by the mover and the client after everything is loaded. However, this puts consumers in a difficult position if they do not agree with what’s described on the bill of lading. Once everything is loaded, the consumer loses their leverage.
    In response to this, the FMCSA is revising bill of lading procedures. Now, the mover must provide the bill of lading no later than three days prior to the move. The mover and client must both sign the document at this time. Once signed, the client has three days to decide whether they want to go forward with the move. If they wish, they may rescind (cancel) the move without any penalty.
    With these new bill of lading procedures in place, consumers can back out of a move if they do not approve of what’s on the paperwork.
  • No order of service required – The order for service has long been a supporting piece of documentation, containing the estimated cost of the move, the move’s schedule, and any additional services that have been requested with moving services.
    With the new changes, everything that was once included on the order of service is now required on the bill of lading. This is one less piece of paperwork for professionals and consumers to keep track of.
  • Surveys required with every move – Rogue movers operate by providing false estimates to their clients. They do this by skipping the survey process and providing a quote over the phone or through e-mail.
    The FMCSA now requires professional movers to perform a site survey before providing an estimate. This is the case regardless of how far away the job is from the professional mover. The only exception to this is if the customer opts out of an estimate through written confirmation.
    With required site surveys, consumers know that they are getting a properly developed estimate and not a quote designed for bait-and-switch purposes.
  • Virtual surveys instead of physical ones – The proposed changes will allow moving professionals to provide a virtual survey instead of a physical survey. The customer decides which they prefer, and if a virtual survey is the choice, the moving company must perform the survey on live video, with both the customer and moving company representative available. Any survey without a video component will be insufficient for surveying purposes.
  • Movers are required to provide information on customer rights – With every customer, the mover must provide a paper copy of (or a web link to) required consumer-related documentation. This includes Ready to Move? and Your Rights and Responsibility When You Move, both of which detail the customer’s protections during the moving process.
    To confirm that the customer has received this documentation, the customer must sign a receipt prior to the move.
  • No more estimate revisions – Under the FMCSA’s new guidance, moving professionals are not allowed to make revisions to existing moving estimates. Instead, a new binding or nonbinding estimate will be required when the client provides additional goods for moving. While a new estimate means a new bill of lading, this does not restart the three-day clock associated with bill of lading approval.

The Proposed Law Changes Will Make Moving Safer for Everyone

The new laws and regulations will give consumers more protection during the moving process, even allowing them to back out of a transaction that appears fraudulent. This is good for consumers and for reputable moving professionals, who also benefit from reduced paperwork and better practices that boost the industry as a whole.

15 Tips for a Stress-Free Move

15 Tips for a Stress-Free Move

Moving is a huge undertaking, but with 15 tips for a stress-free move it does not have to be overwhelming. The exciting part of moving to a new block, city, or state can be searching for the perfect new home. With that mission accomplished, it can make all the work that has to happen for you to move into that new home a little less attractive. The best way to combat the procrastination that sometimes ensues is to jump all in by setting up a game plan designed to help the transition be as smooth and stress-free as possible.

15 Tips for a Stress-Free Move

Do not let the process of moving feel too daunting. Keep moving day manageable by following these key tips for a stress-free move:

Make a general plan but be flexible

Moving is not just about packing up things in the home. It is also about finding a reputable Houston moving company, arranging utilities, packing, unpacking, and more. With so many different areas that need to be addressed, it is strongly recommended to make a general plan and timeline for all things moving related. By making the first item on the to-do list staying flexible, a stress-free move can be well within reach.

Declutter the home

One of the biggest mistakes people make before moving is not taking the time to declutter first. To avoid moving boxes of items that will likely eventually be trashed upon arrival at the destination, save money by decluttering before the move. Go through each room one at a time identifying which things you no longer need or want that might be best donated or even trashed if they are beyond repair.

Take pictures of each room

Particularly for those rooms in which the setup will remain close to the same in the new home, taking pictures of each room can take the guesswork out of item placement and provide a guide map of sorts for unpacking and putting everything back where it goes.

Make an inventory checklist

While pictures of each room can help with cataloging inventory that is to be moved, it will not uncover what is in hidden spaces such as underneath the bed or in cabinets or closets. By making a list of home inventory it helps keep track of the items being moved. This can be valuable in the event that a box goes missing.

Do research on a professional moving company

Unless you are wanting to move yourself, which is seldom a stress-free experience, it is key to find an experienced and reputable professional moving company to entrust your move with. Be sure to confirm proper licensing, insurance, hiring processes for employees, and vehicle maintenance.

Hire a moving company that can move custom or specialty items

Not all items will fit neatly in a standard packing box. Larger pieces such as expensive paintings, grandfather clocks, pianos, and sculptures will require more special care when moving. Verify that the moving company you choose has the capacity to carefully pack these types of pieces and will be able to handle moving them to or from multi-story buildings, up staircases, via elevators, or other unique considerations.

Get an accurate quote

One of the most stressful parts of a move can be finding out on moving day that you have an additional ten to twenty boxes than what you were originally quoted for. This can create havoc on moving day as if there are an excessive number of boxes the mover has not accounted for, it can result in a significant price hike as well as potentially create the need for an additional moving vehicle. Avoid this predicament by having a representative from the moving company provide you with a more accurate in-home quote before packing ever begins.

Have someone pack for you

Of all the different responsibilities moving can include, packing tends to be the most dreaded. It can take days or even weeks to properly pack up a home in its entirety, making it feel like the more you pack, the more there seems to still be done. One way around this is to hire a moving company that offers packing services. Not only will this allow you time to focus on other aspects of moving, but it can also save you from having to locate and buy packing supplies because the company will bring those with them.

Keep important paperwork handy

During the course of the move, it is a good idea to keep important documents such as insurance papers, house information, medical information and passports in a central location for easy access upon arrival to the final destination. Decide ahead of time if putting these documents in a clearly labeled box or keeping it with you personally would be best.

Turn off utilities in the current home and turn on utilities in new home

Packing up your current home may be the main part of moving, but certainly not the only part. Do not forget to schedule the utilities in your current home to be turned off the day after your move. Also arrange to have the utilities for your new home turned on the day before your expected arrival at the new home.

Defrost and clean your refrigerator/freezer before the move

If taking the refrigerator and freezer with you, clean out and defrost the unit several days in advance. It will take time for the ice to melt and the unit to come to room temperature. If the refrigerator and freezer does not reach room temperature before the move, it is possible the unit might grow mold in transit.

Plan ahead if your move includes pets

Whether movers are going from room to room packing up personal belongings or in and out the front door as they load the moving van, it could be dangerous for pets that have free reign of the home. It may be necessary to consider getting a pet sitter to keep the pets and movers safe.

Arrange for someone to clean the home after you vacate it

Once you have vacated the home, it is important to leave it clean for the next resident. It is often a challenge for those that have moved out to locate their cleaning supplies to do so. To make cleaning the home more stress-free, consider enlisting the help of a professional cleaning company to do the final clean.

Know where you want things to go in the new home

To facilitate unpacking, have an idea of where the furniture should be placed when you arrive. Also designate which rooms will be used for what purpose so the moving boxes can be sorted accordingly.

Unpack quickly or have someone unpack for you

Settling into your new surroundings may be delayed if there are dozens of boxes still waiting to be unpacked. Consider allowing the moving company to unpack the boxes for you. This can be critical in helping everyone acclimate to their new surroundings and new life a little faster.

Invest time in following these 15 tips for a stress-free move and make moving day a more pleasant experience from start to finish.

What to Look for In a Professional Mover

What to Look for In a Professional Mover

Moving does not have to be an overwhelming task if you know what to look for in a professional mover. The circumstances for a move may be different such as for a transfer, a fresh new start, or moving closer to loved ones, but the logistics remain much the same. Avoid feeling overcome by the hundreds of tiny details for the moving part of your journey by enlisting the help of seasoned and professional movers. Delegating the details to a responsible party can leave you free to focus on the new adventure ahead.

What to Look for in a Professional Mover

When it comes to what to look for in a professional mover in Houston, there are two main categories that should be considered:

  1. Credibility
  2. Services

It is best to start with looking for a Houston moving company that has excellent credibility. Afterall, the fact that a company offers tons of services will not do much if they are not trustworthy or good at what they do.

The top considerations for choosing a reliable and trustworthy moving company include:

  • Experience. A simple online search will return hundreds of results for moving companies, but just because they have a website does not make them experienced or trustworthy. An experienced team is what to look for in a professional mover. A company with decades of skill in moving people locally, nationally, and even internationally has not only likely completed hundreds of moves, but has done so successfully if they are still in business.
  • Professionalism. While it may be tempting to go with a fly by night company that offers too good to be true prices, resist the urge. Look for a company that shows pride and professionalism in their work from the way their website is set up to how they speak with potential clients over the phone.
  • Client and Industry Reputation. The feedback from previous clients can often be an excellent source of information in discerning a company’s reputation. In addition, it is recommended to check a provider’s Better Business Bureau ratings. Together, these two information sources can provide valuable data on a moving company.
  • Employment Protocol. Restrict your list to moving companies that employ their workers rather than contract out for help. This is critical as employees that are hired are typically subjected to drug screenings and background checks, whereas that same level of scrutiny is not usually applied to contract workers. Going with a professional moving company that employs their workers may give you added peace of mind about the people in your space and facilitating your move.

Once you have narrowed down your list of potential moving companies to those that are experienced, professional, reputable, and employ their workers, the next step is to start comparing the services that they offer.

Take time to verify the following with a professional moving company before signing:

  • Geographic Scope of Services. Confirm that the provider can meet your geographic needs. Smaller moving companies may only offer local services, while larger and more established ones will cater to local, statewide, cross country, and international moves.
  • Types of Moves Offered. While the most frequent type of move is from home to home, offices and corporations can also benefit from these services when moving to a new floor or building. Ensure the specific type of move you need is offered by the company you select.
  • In-Person Quotes. One of the most frequent sources for issues with pricing can come from the way a moving quote is provided. Although quotes given over the phone or online may seem easy, the result is costly if a person does not accurately estimate the number of boxes and pieces of furniture to be transported. The best way to circumvent this issue is to have the moving company send a qualified representative to your home or office to go room by room and give a more accurate estimate.
  • Packing and Unpacking Services. While transporting belongings from point A to point B is an obvious service of moving companies, many also offer assistance with packing and unpacking. Particularly for relocations that require a fast turnaround time, it may be helpful to have the moving company bring the supplies and pack up your belongings. Not only will this save you time and energy, but it can also help ensure that boxes are packed in a more balanced manner to limit the risk of damage. For those individuals wanting to get settled into their new surroundings quickly, unpacking services should also be available.
  • Customized Services. Not every item in a home or office will fit neatly into a cardboard box. Items such as pianos, grandfather clocks, statues, or aquariums can require special customized packaging to reduce the potential for damage during transport. It is also a good idea to confirm the provider has the means to move these items, which may require special machinery for tight spaces, stairwells and elevators, or custom crating for delicate items.
  • Vehicle Maintenance. So much focus can be on an individual’s belongings that are to be moved, that the state of a company’s vehicle fleet can be forgotten. When it comes to what to look for in a professional mover, regular maintenance for their vehicles is key. The best packed boxes will not be able to get to a destination any faster if a vehicle breaks down during transport.
  • Licensing and Insurance. The mover you select should have a Department of Transportation number that can be verified. Additional licensing information may be available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The company should also be insured.
  • Damage Rate. Moving fragile personal belongings over even short distances in a large truck or van may result in damage from time to time, but it should not be the norm. Confirm a moving company’s damage rate and make your goal to find one with a rate as close to one percent as possible.
  • Communication. From the in-person quote to coordinating the packing and finally keeping all parties updated on the transit to the final destination, good communication is essential. Verify how and with what frequency a company communicates with clients during the process for a smoother experience from start to finish.

A little research and homework are your best defenses when it comes to what to look for in a professional mover in Houston. Even though a move may be necessary, it does not mean you should sign up with the first Houston moving company you come across. Put in the work to find a provider that will respect you and your belongings as much as you do.

Why Decluttering Makes Moving Easier

Why Decluttering Makes Moving Easier

Most individuals have clutter they have vowed to sort through at some point or another but knowing why decluttering makes moving easier is a lesson best learned sooner rather than later. If you are getting ready to buy or sell, be proactive and declutter your home in advance of moving. This not only streamlines the process but may also help save some money by eliminating unnecessary boxes. Before getting an in-person quote from a professional moving company, take the time to declutter. Your sanity and wallet will thank you for it.

Why Decluttering Makes Moving Easier

When getting ready to move, the to-do list can get long quickly, which makes simply packing up what you already have into boxes without a thought more than tempting. However, there are several key ways in which decluttering makes moving easier:

  • Less stuff to pack and unpack. When done right, decluttering the home should result in less things to pack and then unpack later. Compare the time it would take to carefully wrap old dishes in bubble wrap and put them into a box for a move versus taking them directly to a charity or thrift store as is.
  • Moving can cost less money with less boxes. By decluttering people can usually eliminate as many as five to ten or more packing boxes of their belongings. Less boxes to move should equal a slightly lower moving estimate, and that can help save money.
  • Faster sale of a home. One of the number one tips realtors give to sellers is to begin by decluttering their home because it can make a space seem bigger than it is and helps the buyer more easily envision their own belongings in that space. In either case, decluttering a home on the market may make it sell faster.

The bottom line is that spending several days or weeks going through a home to declutter is time well spent and often results in putting more money back into your pocket.

Top 8 Tips for Decluttering Before A Move

Decluttering can seem like a massive undertaking, especially for those with larger homes. No matter the size of your home, the good news is that by breaking it down into simpler steps it can help facilitate the process without overwhelming you.

Our top 8 tips for decluttering before a move are:

1. Start now

Resist the urge to procrastinate and focus on other aspects of moving. Start decluttering now so you can take your time and not feel rushed. Decluttering is most successful over a period of days or a week or two. Trying to do it all in one day is enough to make anyone feel stressed out.

2. Set up a system

One of the most tried and true methods recommended for those decluttering is to set up three boxes in each room labeled throw away, donate or sell, and keep. This allows the individual to sort as they go. Putting these items in boxes facilitates easier transport either to the trash, a charity or garage sale, or a moving truck.

3. Consider an item’s practicality

If just the thought of sorting your personal items into three different categories is enough to make you break out in hives, relax, and ask yourself one question: Have I used this item in the last twelve to sixteen months? If yes, keep and eventually pack that item. If not, and the item is in good shape it can likely be donated or sold. If the item is beyond repair, throw it away.

4. Go room by room

Do not make the mistake of going back and forth between rooms during the week as it generally creates more chaos and confusion regarding what has been decluttered and what has not. Simplify the process by going systematically room by room, one at a time. Do not move onto another room until the one you are currently working on has been completed.

5. Get rid of unnecessary duplicates

It is commonplace for some households to accumulate things over time such as multiple sets of sheets for a bed. While two sets of sheets for the same bed might be wise, any more than that can be unnecessary and should likely be donated or sold rather than transported to the next home.

6. Use up existing food and extra grocery items

Even though a well-stocked pantry can be perfect for extra guests that show up unannounced, it is substantially less fun to pack up and move. Rather than pay movers to bring unused food and grocery items to the new destination, consider using those items up beforehand. A box of canned goods can be heavy and must be distributed amongst several boxes so the box does not break. Save yourself time and money by using what you have and restocking again at your new home upon arrival.

7. Do a weekly donate and trash dump

Rather than allow more boxes to stack up in each room that will eventually be donated or thrown away, make an effort to take them to the dumpster or a local charity on a weekly basis. This in and of itself is a method of decluttering and can make going forward with moving less chaotic.

8. Have a garage sale

If there are items that are in good enough condition to have a “second chance,” consider having a garage sale. This not only allows someone else to make use of one of your items that is still in its prime, but it is also a good way to earn a little money that can be used to help pay for the movers or decorate the new home.

Understanding why decluttering makes moving easier is a crucial step toward having a successful experience. Instead of letting your things own you, take control of the situation and decide what should stay and what should go before moving day arrives.

How To Pack Quickly For A Move

How To Pack Quickly For A Move

Moving can be a big undertaking, and when time is not on your side, it is essential to know how to pack quickly for a move. Whether it is down the street, to a different city, or across state lines, the process is much the same in that it requires a detail-oriented approach to facilitate everything on time.

While most people tend to begin by starting inside their home, the most important step is to first reach out to a respected moving company. These professionals can be an invaluable source of information when it comes to what to do and when to do it, and they should be able to offer a few tips such as the below on how to pack quickly for a move.

8 Tips On How to Pack Quickly for A Move

Packing is typically something that takes time to plan and execute, but even when on a tight timetable it is possible to pack quickly for a move. To help simplify the process we have put together a list of eight tips on how to do just that:

1. Call a local moving company.

This step should be done first for a couple of reasons. When time is of the essence, it is critical to get on the company’s calendar for moving day. Once this is set up, a company representative should be willing to visit your home or business to take inventory of your personal belongings and furniture to estimate the number of items that will need to be moved and provide a quote.

2. Make a “to do” list for moving.

With so many details involved, it is important to have a comprehensive list of action items that must be accomplished for the move. This list will likely evolve as you get closer to moving day so be prepared to be flexible in crossing off completed items and adding new ones in.

3. Gather packing supplies.

When the company provides a quote, ask them a good place to start in determining how many boxes you will need as this can give you a good starting point. To carefully pack your belongings, packing paper, bubble wrap, packing tape, and other supplies will be needed. It is better to get the supplies at one place to help save time. In some cases, the moving company may offer a package in which the supplies are included, so ask your movers before buying packing supplies on your own.

4. Establish a system.

Most home and business owners find that packing up room by room is the most efficient and organized way to get everything done. This keeps the focus on one area from start to finish, making the process more methodical.

5. Pack now.

Some individuals can easily get behind on packing because they are waiting for the perfect time to get started. When a move is happening quickly, any time is a good time to pack even if it is just for an hour. Use your time wisely. It is worth mentioning that many moving companies offer packing and unpacking services. This can be particularly helpful when every minute counts.

6. Declutter as you go.

It is a given that we accumulate things over the years spent living or working in the same space, but we do not necessarily need or want to keep each and every item. Some serve a particular function for a season, but then are no longer necessary. To declutter as you quickly pack for a move, set up two additional boxes for each room—one that is marked trash and the other which should be marked donate. This allows you to easily sort between the things you want to keep, trash, or donate when packing.

7. Pack boxes in a balanced manner.

If you are packing up dozens and dozens of books from a built-in desk into a box, it may become too heavy for the box causing it to break, which may in turn damage the books. Take care in packing boxes in a manner that they are not so heavy the box may break (or injuries may occur) under the weight. Also ensure that the boxes are appropriately balanced with the weight as evenly distributed as possible.

8. Label boxes well.

It can be tempting when racing against the clock to throw everything in a box and worry about where it all goes when you reach your destination. However, this can make unpacking a nightmare at a time when you are trying to settle into a new place. Take the time to accurately label all packing boxes for a much smoother transition.

Getting help from friends and family when it is necessary to pack quickly for a move is a hotly debated topic. For many, extra help is whole heartedly welcomed and accepted. Others tend to think extra people helping may only complicate the packing process. If you do decide to enlist the help of others, consider giving them a task that does not require much sorting, such as packing up standard kitchen items rather than a bedroom.

Be Diligent in Selecting the Right Mover for the Job

In larger cities, there can be a hundred or more moving companies, but be aware that not all of them will meet the requirements needed to ensure a successful move. Some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a mover should include:

  • Insurance and licensing. Verify that the company is licensed and insured to perform home and office moves.
  • Experience. Choose a company that has multiple years of experience in moving individuals in residential moves as well as office and commercial moves.
  • Employees versus contractors. A moving company that contracts helpers may not require those individuals to undergo a thorough background check first. A safer bet is to choose a moving company that hires their employees directly and performs background checks.

Now that you know how to pack quickly for a move, what are you waiting for? Call a reputable professional moving company today to get started!

When Should I Move?

If you are moving soon, you are probably checking to see when the best time to move is. There’s actually no bad time to move with a professional moving company, but some times may be better for you than others. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of different moving times for you so you can make the best decision about your upcoming long distance move.

What month is the best time to move?

May thru early September is considered peak moving season–the most popular time for moving. If you’re looking to move at a time that isn’t the most busy for moving companies, consider late September-April. Because that time is not as busy as the peak season, there will be more open availability for moving, and perhaps even a discount for you.

What day of the week is the best time to move?

If your schedule allows, a weekday move might be a smart move for you. There are more openings on the schedule on weekdays because not everyone can move on a work day. There may also be a discount available with your moving company for a weekday move.

Which season is the best time to move?


A summer move is the most popular choice for moving. After all, that’s when the housing market tends to be the hottest, the weather is good and children are between school years. However, a summer move can mean higher moving costs and perhaps some scheduling woes. As long as you can schedule your summer move ASAP and know ahead of time that it’s the busiest season to move, a summer move shouldn’t be a problem for you.


Moving in the fall isn’t as popular as moving in the summer, and because of that, you may have more scheduling flexibility with an autumn move. It may be a more budget-friendly time of year to move, too. In the early fall especially, the weather is still pretty good, which makes for a more relaxing long distance move.


Considered to be off-season, a move in the winter is the most budget friendly time of year to move cross country. Not many people want to chance a winter move, which is why it’s not a popular time of year to pack up and leave. However, winter can be a great time to move because it isn’t very busy for moving companies, which means you are more likely to get the moving dates you want and the more budget-friendly moving prices. Bear in mind though that with winter comes some unpredictability with weather and equipment.


Relocating in the spring is a lot like moving in the fall. Because it’s not as busy, you may have more options for scheduling your move and perhaps even a break on the peak-season price. Spring also can have better weather than winter, which is a definite plus for a long distance move.

What month is the best time to move?

May thru early September is considered peak moving season–the most popular time for moving. If you’re looking to move at a time that isn’t the most busy for moving companies, consider late September-April. Because that time is not as busy as the peak season, there will be more open availability for moving, and perhaps even a discount for you.

What week of the month is best time to move?

The middle of the month may be your best time to move. Many people need the very beginning or the very end of the month (think when leases begin and end), and the weekends closest to those times are the most popular. By choosing to move in the middle of the month, you may have more selection with dates.

What day of the week is the best time to move?

If your schedule allows, a weekday move might be a smart move for you. There are more openings on the schedule on weekdays because not everyone can move on a work day. There may also be a discount available with your moving company for a weekday move.

What time is the best time to move?

Early bird catches the worm–or the moving truck! Moves that start early in the mornings mean that both you and your movers are fresh off a night’s sleep and have the whole day ahead of you! Plus, the temperature rises as the day goes on, and by starting your move first thing in the morning, your professional moving company won’t have to tackle the mid-afternoon heat!

Reputable movers can help you with all aspects of your long distance move, including what timing will be best for you. There are benefits and drawbacks to any moving time; it just depends on what will work for you and your family. Johnnie T. Melia Moving & Storage has been in business for over 50 years, which means we are knowledgeable about the best time to move and ready to help you with any of your moving needs! Contact us for your free moving quote!