Four reasons to avoid cheap moving companies in Houston
Professional movers are responsible for all of your family’s belongings, and trusting them to a cheap moving service may cost you more in the long run. According to the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), the typical residential move costs between $2,000 and $4,000, so it’s something to consider carefully. That’s because there are several risks involved with a cheap mover, including:
1. A lack of insurance or license
2. A lack of resources of manpower
3. A lack of experience and professionalism
4. The risk of fraud or theft
Added together, these risks can undermine your move’s timeline and estimate, so here’s a closer look at the four reasons why you should avoid cheap Houston moving companies.
Cheap Houston moving companies may not be properly licensed or insured
To do their job safely and legally, professional movers must be properly licensed and insured. The moving industry is regulated by the Department of Transportation (DoT), under the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). To maintain status as an approved motor carrier, moving companies must keep a valid DoT license on hand.
Insurance is also something that no professional mover can do without. This insurance, in the form of general liability and workers’ compensation, is what protects you in the event that something is damaged or someone is injured. This insurance costs money to maintain, so many cheap moving services will avoid paying for proper insurance.
Licensing and insurance are important layers of protection that homeowners can’t do without because they give consumers an option in case something goes wrong.
How to check if a Houston moving company is insured
It’s simple to determine whether a moving company is properly licensed and insured. Reputable moving services won’t hesitate to provide their DoT license number when asked, and the company may also have their license number displayed on their trucks and documentation. If the DoT number isn’t featured anywhere, this may be a sign that you’re dealing with a cheap, unlicensed moving service.
However, just because a moving company provides a license number doesn’t mean that license is valid. Fortunately, there are two places where consumers can verify their mover’s licensing status.
The American Moving and Storage Association
AMSA is the primary industry organization for U.S. residential movers, and it maintains a list of vetted professionals for consumers to choose from. Known as the ProMovers list, it contains hundreds of professionals that can be hired without reservation.
The Federal Motor Carriers SaferSys website
The FMCSA maintains an online database of all licensed motor carriers, including residential movers. Once you have the moving company’s DoT number, it can be used to access the FMCSA’s SaferSys database for reference. If the license is valid, the database will return information on the specified moving company. This information is vital for research, as it includes the company’s insurance status, the number of trucks they operate, what they are certified to transport, and whether they have received any infractions recently. This can help homeowners develop a better picture of who they are working with.
The Better Business Bureau
The BBB is a good supporting resource, especially to verify a moving company’s customer service track record. The BBB tracks complaints against moving companies, including serious complaints like accusations of fraud. If those complaints have gone unresolved, the BBB makes note of that, too, so homeowners know if the company in question has a poor customer service history.
Cheap Houston moving companies may have limited resources
Residential moving is tough work and requires a lot of manpower and equipment to properly execute. Cheap moving services frequently do not have the resources they need to operate on time and safely, which means your move will take longer and may even result in damage to your belongings.
Cheap moving companies may lack in trucks or manpower and often tend to overcommit their resources, so they may double book a time slot or show up badly underprepared to handle your belongings. The lost time and potential damage may offset any reduced moving fees.
Cheap moving services may not have enough experience, either
Many cheap moving companies are cheap because they don’t have the experience to compete with reputable moving services. Experience, though, is an important factor during the moving process, for several reasons. Some of these reasons include:
Experienced movers have worked in a variety of settings and with a variety of goods, so they know how to navigate quickly through the home without moving recklessly. This will reduce the amount of time it will take to move.
Cheap moving companies may not have trained, full time staff on hand. Instead, they may rely on temporary laborers to represent their business. Moving may seem simple enough, but trained movers know how to operate as a team, reducing the time they take to get into position and move as a unit.
Experienced moving companies have a reputation to protect. Cheap moving services just want to get the job done. In their rush to get everything on the truck and get themselves to the next house, they are more likely to make costly mistakes. These mistakes could lead to damage or even injury. In both cases, it will cost the client.
A cheap moving estimate may not be as cheap as it seems
Sometimes, a cheap estimate is an attempt to deceive, as the mover only advertises that price to lure customers in. They may stick to this estimate right up to the point where they have the client’s belongings on their truck. Once they have possession of your things, though, and there’s no enforceable contract between both parties, there’s nothing stopping a cheap mover from charging you more. There’s also nothing keeping them from holding onto everything indefinitely, and even selling your things if they choose to. In effect, these cheap moving scammers hold their clients’ belongings hostage, and in the vast majority of cases, there’s nothing the victim can do. If the cheap mover is unlicensed, there’s no agency they are accountable to. If the victim can prove their belongings are being held ransom, the police may get involved, but it’s unlikely it will happen quickly, and it’s difficult to track rental trucks. By the time police do take action, the cheap movers may have moved on to another city.
There are four reasons to avoid cheap moving companies in Houston, and there’s likely more. Cheap moving services may seem like an opportunity to save hundreds of dollars, but when you factor in the risks, it could cost you much more than that in the end.