Moving companies in Texas must meet certain criteria in order to do business the legal way, and affordable movers are no exception. No matter the price range in which the company operates, consumers have the right to expect certain qualifications from service providers.
By law, affordable movers — like their higher-priced colleagues — must be licensed with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. Prior to signing a contract, consumers are encouraged to verify the company’s licensing in the state’s Truck Stop database online to avoid rogue movers. The license number should be displayed on the company’s fleet vehicles and website. Company representatives should also be able to provide this number to consumers on demand. An active license means the moving company is current in its registration status. A company’s complaint history can also be accessed through the TxDMV website.
LIABILITY AND INSURANCE
A minimum liability of 60 cents per pound is applicable for all licensed moving companies in Texas, including affordable movers. For example, if a consumer’s 15-pound laptop is damaged during the move, the company’s liability amounts to a maximum of $9. Although some moving companies may agree to a higher liability amount up to Full Value Protection, this decision may come at an additional cost to the consumer and must be documented in writing.
Liability is not the same as insurance. Because the damaged laptop’s value in all likelihood is greater than $9, some consumers may choose to purchase transit insurance, either through the moving company or from an independent agent. Transit insurance is not required by law, but may provide peace of mind to customers who worry about property damage or loss of valuables.
Consumers moving from one state to another can vet a moving company’s credentials and regulatory compliance through the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDoT) Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Federal law requires even affordable movers engaged in transporting household goods across state lines to obtain a USDoT number. In addition, service providers must provide customers with a written estimate, information about the company’s claim and arbitration procedures, a fee schedule (tariff) in writing, and two informational brochures (or corresponding web links) informing consumers of their rights and responsibilities.
As part of the professional estimate by the moving company, customers whose move takes them to a destination outside a 50-mile radius of the company’s place of business must be provided with an in-person survey of the goods to be transported unless the customer signs a waiver that absolves the company from the requirement. Order for Service and Bill of Lading documents, as well as the final freight bill must be provided to the customer in writing.
Generally speaking, moving company employees who drive large trucks must possess a commercial driver’s license. In Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety oversees driver licensing and also issues CDL licenses. Requirements to obtain a CDL in Texas include a written exam and road test, as well as an affidavit of health.
While the above regulations apply to moving companies of any price range, reputable affordable movers often exceed minimum expectations despite their bargain pricing by practicing friendly customer service, delivering value and handling customers’ property with care.