HOUSTON - A move to a new home can go from exciting to alarming. Just ask Dana Gonzalez.
"It's just been very frustrating, very stressful, too. I feel like we're going through hoops just to figure out how to get our stuff back," said Gonzalez.
She says it was six weeks of waiting and not being able to reach her mover before her furniture was finally delivered.
To help ensure a smooth move, experts say get bids from a few movers and make sure they're registered with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles, or for interstate moves, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
"You can find out whether the business is a moving broker, or you can find out if they are a household goods mover," said Erin Dufner with the Better Business Bureau.
"Looking for that BBB accredited business who's been checked out, whose licensing has been verified," said Dufner.
Some sites, such as Move.com, Unpakt.com, and HireAHelper.com let you compare different movers' prices. HireAHelper vets licensed, smaller moving companies, which may offer lower prices than national companies.
"We have partners in all fifty states and it's mostly 'Mom and Pop' moving companies, which is really cool. So even though you're going on a national website, you're giving money back to your local economy," explained Jackie Lambert, spokesperson for HireAHelper.
Lambert says some people save thousands of dollars by hiring one local moving company to load, and another to unload at the destination, but rent and drive a truck, such as a UHaul or Penske, themselves.
"What a lot of people do to save money with movers is renting their own truck or their own pod shipping container. Then you can actually just book by the hour, and that saves you a ton of money," she said.
Be sure to get estimates, invoices, and inventories in writing, and never pay more than a 20% deposit.