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Get Quotes from Top Movers in Austin, TX

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Mover in Austin

Over the last decade, more than 171,000 people have moved to Austin, making it one of the fastest-growing cities in the country. However, before you initiate your move to the city or across neighborhoods in Austin, you should find a moving company that will not only save you money and stress but also complete your move without loss of property. When selecting a mover in the city, endeavor to ask the following questions to ensure you are picking the right hand for the job:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Moving Company in Austin?

Moving companies in Austin are licensed at the state level by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV). These businesses are required to obtain a license also known as certificate of motor carrier registration from the TXDMV before they can operate in the city. Hiring a moving company that is not licensed by the TxDMV exposes you to a variety of risks including loss of properties being moved. As such, you should always check the TxDMV's truck stop database to confirm whether the moving company you intend to hire is licensed.

Movers in the city can obtain this license by first creating a user profile on the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Motor Carrier Division's elink portal. However, the elink portal allows only applicants who have previously registered with the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and have obtained an intrastate USDOT number to create this profile.

Applicants who do not have a USDOT should obtain one online using the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's unified registration system before they proceed to creating a profile with the TxDMV.

As soon as a profile is created, the applicant can proceed to applying for a certificate of motor carrier registration on the elink portal. Immediately the application is approved, the applicant will be sent an email with their Unique Identifier Number (UIN), which they are required to send to their insurance company. It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that their insurance company purchases and submit the necessary insurance policies for their certificate.

When the insurance company submits the necessary insurance policies, the applicant will be sent an email instructing them to login to MCCS and pay the appropriate fees for the application. Note that only applicants who have completed the application process and have paid the fees will be issued a TxDMV Certificate number. Queries concerning the process of obtaining a certificate of motor registration can be directed tol TxDMV at (800) 299-1700.

In addition to obtaining a state-issued license, movers in the city are also required to meet certain business requirements in the city. These requirements include mandatory registration of the business which is usually determined by the business structure. For example, moving companies that are sole proprietorships in Austin are required to file paperwork for their Assumed name with the Travis County Clerk's Office, whereas partnerships, limited liability companies, and corporations will register with the Texas Secretary of State. Other business requirements for moving companies include complying with federal, state, and local tax responsibilities, and getting the right insurance policies. Call the city's Economic Development Department at (512) 974-7800 for more information concerning business registration in Austin.

How Much Do You Charge Compared with Other Movers in Austin?

The cost of transporting household items and property to a new residential address in Austin is determined by a number of factors. These factors include the weight and quantity of items to be moved, the distance between the point of take off and the destination, and add-on services such as storage, packing and unpacking, and furniture disassembly or reassembly.

Although moving costs vary based on the aforementioned factors, it is still important to speak to more than one moving company before choosing the best. You can ask each moving company to provide a written estimate for the job and carefully read each estimate. This will help you determine the average market price for the service, while making sure that you do not fall prey to scammers that charge more than is required for a service.

In addition to getting estimates from different moving companies, it is also good to ask the moving company for a copy of their tariff (rates). Tariffs are the maximum rates a moving company can charge for moving your household items.

Movers in Austin calculate their rates using the following methods:

  • Hourly Rates: here, rates are determined by the amount of time required to do the job, including the minimum amount of time it will take to get to the new residential address
  • Weight/Distance rates: rates are determined by the weight of the item to be moved, and the distance the mover will travel to get to the new residential address
  • Written binding Rates: rates include the cost of all the transportation charges and agreed-upon services.

Transportation and material moving workers in Austin earn an average annual wage of $38,580. The list below compares the hourly average wages earned by these workers in the city against those of transportation and material moving workers in other parts of Texas State as well as several other major cities in the country:

City of Austin Movers Hourly Average Wage
$ 18.55
Texas State Movers Hourly Average Wage
Los Angeles Movers Hourly Average Wage
New York City Movers Hourly Average Wage
Chicago Movers Hourly Average Wage
Philadelphia Movers Hourly Average Wage
Houston Movers Hourly Average Wage
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Will You Get a Moving Permit as Required by Austin Regulations?

Before signing any contract with a moving company, always inquire if a permit is required for the type of service you are looking for, and if they will be willing to secure the required permits. In Austin, commercial vehicles may require permits depending on where the customer's residence is located and the time of the day when loading or unloading the vehicle will take place.

For example, if the customer's residence is located in the downtown area project coordination zone, which is subject to limitations on specific streets, commercial vehicles, including household goods motor carriers, are required to get a commercial loading zone permit. Parking without a commercial loading zone permit in any of these areas will result in a fine of $250 to $500 for the offender.

To avoid paying fines, movers are required to apply for a commercial loading zone permit. To get the permit, applicants are required to download and go through the commercial loading zone application packet, and fill out the necessary information concerning the type of commercial loading zone permit they need. Applicants can submit the completed commercial loading zone applications via email.

Upon receiving the application, an email will be sent to the applicant confirming the application and scheduling a meeting for the applicant to pay the appropriate permit fees and pick up the permit. Note that permits will only be issued to individuals that have paid the necessary permit fees. For more information concerning the process and use of commercial loading zone permits, call the Parking Enterprise Division at (512) 974-1563.

In addition to obtaining a commercial loading zone permit, household goods motor carriers are also required to comply with the city's parking regulations. Austin regulates on-street parking to enhance safety and access to available parking spaces for all. Household goods motor carriers are advised to familiarize with Austin Code on Metered and Pay Station Parking, Texas Transportation Code, and the State Capitol Complex Parking Information.

By familiarizing with the aforementioned codes, movers will get the right information about what is allowed and what is not on the city roads and highways. For more information concerning the applicable parking regulations in the city, call the Parking Enterprise Division at (512) 974-1496.

What Kind of Moving Services Do You Offer?

Moving companies in Austin offer different types of moving services to residents who wish to transport properties or household items to their new residential address. These services are generally categorized into five, namely:

  • Local moving
  • Long-distance moving
  • Small moving
  • Interstate moving, and
  • International moving

Local moves involve transporting household goods and property over a distance less than 100 miles, whereas long-distance moves are over 100 miles. Likewise, small moves involve transporting items weighing less than 3,500 pounds usually on a short notice.

Transporting household items and property from Texas to another state in the country is known as an interstate move. Moving internationally, on the other hand, entails carrying personal belongings and property outside of the United States.

In addition to these services, many moving companies in the city offer add-on services to interested customers. These services include packing and unpacking, disassembly and reassembly, storage, debris pickup and cleaning, and handling special items.

Regardless of the type of service you need, It is in your best interests to make sure that the moving company you wish to use specializes in the services you require. Ascertaining that the moving company you wish to use specializes in the service you need protects you from unnecessary mistakes that may lead to loss of items and property damage.

Furthermore, it is also in your best interest to provide the moving company with accurate information about the items you want to move as this will help them submit an accurate estimate for the job.

Listed below are cost estimates for moving services commonly provided by professional moving companies in Austin:

Local/long-distance residential moving
$91 - $160 per hour (includes cost of labor and moving truck)
Piano moving
$256 - $300 (local move; upright piano)
Mobile home moving
$2,195 - $3,000 (for single-wide trailer at a distance of no more than 50 miles)
Moving out of studio apartment
$255 - $450 (includes cost of packing and unpacking items)
Moving out of two-bedroom apartment
$558- $810 (includes cost of packing and unpacking items)
Moving out of an office
$110 - $160 per hour
Moving out of three or four-bedroom apartment
$1,100 - $1,600 (includes cost of packing and unpacking items)

Do You Provide Packing and Storage Services?

Before retaining the services of moving companies in the city, it is always crucial to be certain of the kind of service you need. While every moving company provides transportation, some of them also include packing and unpacking your belongings, as well as storage, in their list of services. As a result, you should always double-check whether the moving company you are considering hiring provides these services.

Listed below are common packing and unpacking services that movers in Austin offer:

  • Full packing services,
  • Partial packing services,
  • Professional box handling and organization, and
  • Used box pick-up services.

Apart from the aforementioned packing and unpacking services, some movers in the city also offer storage for household items and property. Instances where a storage service may be required include, but not limited to:

  • When your new apartment is not ready and you have to move out of your old one
  • When your new apartment has less space to contain the household goods and property being moved

However, before hiring a moving company for storage services, it is always good to ensure that they have the right resources and equipment to safeguard your items. Request a tour of their facilities, and make inquiries about how they will label, pack, and arrange your items. This is very important to ensure that your items are not only safe but easy to identify when it is time to deliver them.

Once you have ascertained that the moving company has the resources and equipment to do the job, you can now sign a moving service contract with them. However, do not hire a moving company unless you are certain that they have the right licenses to operate in the city.

What is an Appropriate Tip for Your Movers in Austin?

A tip is generally a small amount of money given voluntarily as a token of appreciation to a service rendered. Tip is usually given by a customer who is happy with the service they received. In Austin, satisfied customers may decide to tip their movers after they have performed very well. Customers may tip their movers in the city for a variety of reasons including:

  • They show up on time and get the job done
  • They handle your items with care, making sure that none of your belonging was damaged or missing
  • They assist you in moving bulky items from your apartment to the truck without charging for it
  • They offer to provide a helping hand without charging you for it, and they are pleasant to be around

While tipping is not mandatory, movers in the city usually get 15% -20% of the total moving cost as tip from satisfied customers. However, tipping movers based on a percentage of the total cost of the move is not a very great idea because total cost of a move usually includes additional expenses that do not involve actual work. As a result, customers should tip movers in the city based on the actual work they do. Using an hourly average is a smart approach to do this. For movers, a good hourly average tip should be $4 to $5 per person.

However, customers must understand that some moving companies may perform below expectations, and it is their responsibility to notify the moving company if this occurs.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Movers in Austin?

Per state requirements, all licensed movers have a standard liability of sixty cents per pound of cargo, and a mover can not change this basic liability. However, you must understand that this standard liability is not insurance. As such, you should always ensure that the mover you intend to hire has the right insurance coverage in place to protect you and your property. This is particularly necessary because carrying goods from one location to another is filled with risks that could result in property damage and work-related injuries.

While it is impossible to predict whether or not your mover will get injured while transporting your belongings, it is critical to make sure they are covered before they start. Transportation and material moving workers accounted for 20% of all on-the-job injuries requiring time off in the United States in 2018, making them one of the most affected industries by fatal work injuries.

To avoid being held liable for these injuries, you should always request proof of insurance coverage from the moving company and contact the insurance company that issued the document.

Furthermore, moving valuable items comes with a lot of risk, as a result, in addition to making sure that your moving company is insured, you can also obtain additional insurance coverage to protect your items. Some moving companies in the city may offer to sell you transit insurance or you may contact an insurance carrier for additional coverage. Nonetheless, you should carefully read the policies offered to you to understand the coverage and any deductibles before purchasing the insurance.

Can You Provide References or Recommendations in Austin?

One of the first things you should require from a moving company before signing any contract is references or letters of recommendation. Reputable moving companies in Austin will gladly provide references or letters of recommendation from satisfied past clients. Obtaining references and letters of recommendation will aid you in determining whether or not the moving business is a good fit for you. Once you receive any of the aforementioned documents from the moving company, you should contact the people listed on each of these documents to get a first-hand review of the company. Any moving company that refuses to offer references or letters of recommendation from previous jobs should be avoided.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Moving Company in Austin

According to a report published by the United States Census Bureau in 2018, Austin is among the cities with the biggest population growth, with a gain of almost 12,523 people, or 35 per day. As more and more people migrate to the city, the demand for moving companies will continue to rise. Unfortunately, many unscrupulous people are profiting from the need for a moving company.

Scam moves are common across the United State, including Austin and as a result, it is important to evaluate the moving company you intend to hire before signing off any agreement. Unscrupulous individuals often hide their true intentions using a veil of discretion that is difficult to recognize. As a result, residents should always be on the lookout for any inconsistencies when dealing with moving companies. Common red flags you should lookout for when engaging a moving company include:

  • The company fails to provide a valid office address
  • The mover comes with an unmarked rental truck
  • The mover refuses to provide estimates, proposal and written contract for the job
  • The moving company wants to charge for blankets, wraps, and padding

In addition to identifying these red flags, residents must also take the following precautionary steps when hiring a moving company in the city. These steps include:

  • Always ask for referrals and recommendations from family and friends
  • Get and compare estimates from different moving companies. Ensure that each company conducts an inspection of your residence and the household items that need to be moved
  • Call the TXDMV's Enforcement Division at (888) 368-4689 or visit Better Business Bureau to see the moving company's complaint history
  • Always request for the mover's TxDMV number and confirm the information via the TxDMV's truck stop database
  • Check whether the mover is registered with the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration via an online search portal
  • Avoid moving companies that refuse to provide references or letters of recommendation to potential customers. Nevertheless, you should always call the people listed on the references to get a first-hand review of their experiences with the business
  • Insist on a written proposal and a written moving service contract. Read both of these documents carefully before signing
  • Ensure that the moving company is insured
  • Always confirm and record the condition of your items before the move

Note that you have 90 days from the delivery date to file a claim involving dispute over charges or damages to your goods with your mover. You must ensure that sufficient details regarding the incident and the type of compensation you are seeking is included in your claim. The moving company will respond to your claim within 20 days, and if you are not satisfied with their response, you can contact the TxDMV for mediation. You can request mediation by downloading, completing, and sending household good mover mediation requests form to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Enforcement Division at:

4000 Jackson Avenue,
Austin, Texas 78731.

Besides requesting for mediation, you can also contact the TxDMV if you suspect a scam move. You can file a complaint with the TxDMV online, via email, or by calling (888) 368-4689. Note that phone lines are available from 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM Monday through Friday. However, if you are not satisfied with the resolution of the TxDMV, you can consider bringing a lawsuit against the moving company in a court. Lawsuits for the recovery of money damages, civil penalties, or personal property involving a total amount of $20,000 or less can be filed as small claims. You can file this lawsuit at Travis County Justice Courts. Note that it is important to consult with an attorney before deciding on the type of matter you want to file.