Moving Companies

By carefully selecting a moving company and being an informed consumer, you can save money and avoid potential headaches later.

Here are tips to help you:

  • Get multiple in-person estimates in writing—estimates from at least three companies will allow you to compare and confirm if the estimates are reasonable. Do not get estimates over the phone or Internet as they may be unenforceable and not take into account all moving costs.
  • Be alert for extra fees and charges—moving costs are mainly based on the amount/weight of items you are moving and the distance of your move. There may be additional charges for packaging, storage, unpacking, additional insurance coverage and special issues such as stairs or more expensive or difficult items. Make sure you understand all charges and ask questions.
  • Ask about insurance and protection against loss or damage—there are different levels of protection, from basic 60 cents per pound coverage (the minimum coverage) to full replacement value. Check which coverage applies, if you have the option to purchase additional insurance, and specifically ask about any expensive or treasured items you are moving. You may have the option to set the value of your belongings for an amount that makes you comfortable. You may also want to check with your homeowners or renters policy or consider supplemental moving insurance.
  • Research the company—check if the company is registered with the California Public Utilities Commission (for moves within California) or the U.S. Department of Transportation (for interstate moves); what types of services the company offers; how long the company has been in business; and the company’s reputation for services and handling disputes. Only use licensed moving companies.
  • Don’t pay a large deposit—you should pay upon delivery.

Additional Resources and Complaints:

The Bureau of Household Goods and Services (BHGS) provides useful tips for Hiring a Moving Company.

If you would like to look-up the license for an intrastate moving company, you can use the online search tool available on the California Public Utilities Commission website.

If you would like to file a consumer complaint against an intrastate moving company, you should contact the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also provides helpful information on interstate moves. You can check if a moving company is authorized for interstate moves by checking the USDOT web site. If you have a complaint about a moving company performing an interstate move, and you are not able to resolve the problem directly with the moving company, you can file a complaint with the USDOT Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

You also can file a complaint with our office using our online complaint form.