Why is it important to locate reputable moving companies?
Reputable moving companies adhere to state and federal motor carrier regulations, so they tend to be better trained and more organized. As professional movers charge by the hour, a reputable Houston moving company will save their client’s time, which in turn saves money.
Knowing how to locate reputable Houston moving companies is an important goal whether moving across town or across the globe.
How To Locate Reputable Houston Moving Companies
Finding a reputable Houston mover is like finding any other local business. If you can get a recommendation from a friend or family member, that’s great. Most people, though, take their search online and look for highly-rated local moving companies. It’s best to start local for the reasons outlined below.
When searching for a mover, the industry’s professional organizations are a good resource, as is the Department of Transportation (DoT). Both can assist with finding a reputable mover.
Why hiring a local Houston moving company makes sense
Whether you’re moving to or from Houston, or moving within Houston, a local moving company based out of the city is your best bet. The American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) also recommends staying local with professional movers, for a couple of reasons, including:
Local movers work on their reputation
Local moving companies attract almost all of their business from their community. If a professional mover has a bad reputation in their community, then they likely won’t last long. For this reason, a local moving service is driven to provide better, more transparent customer service.
Local movers can be checked out
You can learn a lot about a moving company by checking out its physical offices. If there is staff on hand to help out, if the property is in good condition and if there are plenty of apparent resources (branded trucks, storage availability, etc.), then that’s a good sign that the business is reputable. If you choose a moving company that doesn’t have a local presence, you won’t be able to do this easy, but important piece of research.
How useful are online moving company reviews?
Online reviews can help people locate reputable Houston moving companies, and there are some particular things to look for when skimming reviews.
For one, the odd negative review may be a troubling sign, or it may not. Moving is a complicated, stressful process where unexpected things happen. A reputable Houston moving company has a plan in place when those things come up, but even if a problem is solved right away, it could still result in a negative review.
If several reviews comment on a moving company’s lack of punctuality or communication, take those concerns seriously. Both are signs that the moving service may not have the resources they need to handle your move properly. However, it’s important to weigh out the number of positive and negative reviews, and how the company responds.
Where are some other places where consumers can research moving companies?
In addition to online review sites, there are a few places online where consumers can quickly do some research. The most important online stops include:
The Better Business Bureau
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a recognizable name that provides consumer protection across many industries. The BBB does this by keeping track of any complaints lodged against a business, including businesses that operate in the moving industry. Before hiring a reputable Houston mover, look them up on the BBB’s site and verify that they have a good rating with the organization. The BBB also tracks unresolved complaints, and if a moving service isn’t resolving long term complaints with its clients, that’s a problem.
The American Moving and Storage Association
The AMSA is the moving industry’s professional association, so reputable movers strive to remain in good standing with the association. That’s partly because the AMSA maintains a list of vetted, verified movers that consumers can use as a research resource. This list is hundreds of companies long and includes local movers that operate out of Houston. Check with the AMSA first before hiring a Houston moving company. Also, if issues do come up during your move, the AMSA can mediate any complaints between the client and the mover.
The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA)
The FMCSA operates under the Department of Transportation (DoT) and is the federal regulatory agency responsible for the moving industry. The FMCSA keeps track of all registered and licensed motor carriers, including residential movers. Its SaferSys database, accessible through the FMCSA’s website, can be used to research Houston moving companies in depth. If you have the moving service’s DoT license number, you can use it to access the database and review all pertinent information about the business. This includes whether the company is insured, the number of trucks it operates, any recent traffic infractions and what the company is certified to move.
How can a Houston moving company prove they are reputable?
Locating reputable Houston movers is often as simple as asking the right questions. For instance, if you ask these questions before you commit to a move, it will help determine if you’re dealing with a reputable professional:
Are you licensed and insured?
Every reputable moving company will be licensed and insured, as these are critical layers of customer protection. Licensing ensures there is accountability if something goes wrong with the move. Insurance protects clients should damage or an injury occur. If the company has both, it should be able to prove it when asked.
Can you provide an in-home estimate?
The only accurate estimate is an in-home estimate, as there’s no other way for a mover to know what they will be facing on moving day. A phone or online estimate may provide a rough number, but an in-home estimate will provide a comprehensive idea of what truck size, what equipment and what kind of manpower will be needed.
Can I get a copy of your fee schedule or bill of lading?
Reputable Houston movers do everything in an organized fashion, so they make sure all necessary paperwork is completed before the moving contract is executed. The most important pieces of paperwork for the client are the bill of lading and any fee schedule. The fee schedule should have a detailed, itemized list of all charges, so if there is any confusion regarding moving costs, check the fee schedule.
The bill of lading is also extremely important. It serves as the receipt of the client’s goods and verifies that they have been loaded. It also details the contract’s terms, so the bill of lading is a critical document to have for the customer’s protection. A reputable mover will hand over a copy of the bill of lading as part of the moving process.
Do reputable Houston moving companies ask for a deposit up front?
It isn’t common for a reputable moving company to ask for a deposit, though there are some circumstances when a deposit may be requested. For example, if it’s the busiest time of the year for movers (which are the summer months in most parts of the U.S.), a deposit may be required to reserve a spot. A deposit may also be requested if the move includes extremely long distance travel.
In every case, though, it’s recommended that the client ask why the moving company is requesting a deposit. Though moving scams don’t happen often, one of the most common is asking for an unreasonable deposit upfront, and then never showing up.
If a reputable mover is asking for a deposit, a reasonable amount to pay is less than $500. The exact amount will vary depending on the time of the year, the city the movers are based out of and the amount of furniture and items to be moved.
When wondering how to locate reputable Houston moving companies, homeowners have a variety of options. If you do your research online, seek estimates from several movers and ask the important questions, it’s easy to tell the reputable movers apart from the rest.