Get Quotes from Top Movers in San Jose, CA

Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Mover in San Jose

Whether you are moving into San Jose for its 300 days of sunshine or a new job in Silicon Valley, or changing your neighborhood to save on the high cost of living, it will be wise to leave your moving to a professional mover. This will definitely save you the time and stress of packing, unpacking, and re-arranging your household effects - all for just $23.22 per hour.

To pick the best mover in San Jose for your job, you should ask following questions before signing off on the contract:

Are You Licensed to Practice as a Moving Company in San Jose?

Moving companies in San Jose and within California must obtain a license before providing their services. This license, which is also known as a household movers permit, is issued at the state level by the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services, and moving companies can obtain this license by downloading, filling out, and mailing the necessary application for household movers permit forms to the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services at:

4244 South Market Court
Suite D
Sacramento, CA 95834

Before mailing the application form, applicants must ensure that they meet all the requirements for obtaining a household movers license and have answered each question.

Some of the requirements for obtaining a household movers license in California include:

  • Demonstrating adequate knowledge in transporting household goods and property by passing a written examination of the Maximum Rate Tariff 4 (Max 4). Note that the tariff contains maximum rates that movers must observe, as well as rules and regulations governing intrastate moves
  • Participating in the California Department of Motor Vehicle Employer Pull-Notice System where necessary
  • Providing proof that vehicles will be maintained and operated in safe conditions
  • Participating in fingerprinting for criminal background check
  • Providing proof of financial responsibility
  • Providing evidence of insurance coverage such as public liability and property damage, cargo liability, and workers' compensation

For more information concerning the requirements and procedures for obtaining a license, call the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services at (916) 999-2041.

When considering hiring a moving company in San Jose, it is your responsibility as a customer to ensure that the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services licenses the company. You can confirm whether the moving company has obtained the household movers license by asking for their carrier ID and utilizing the state's transportation carrier lookup tool to verify the information.

However, if you hire a moving company for out-of-state relocation, you should also ask if they are registered with the United States Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). You can verify whether the moving company is registered using the online search portal provided by the FMCSA.

In addition to obtaining a household movers license for intrastate service and FMCSA registration for out-of-state service, moving companies are also required to meet the applicable business regulations in the city. Per city regulations, moving companies operating in San Jose must register for a Business Tax Certificate and pay business tax within the first 15 days of operation. Failure to meet this requirement within the first 15 days of operation attracts a 25% increase in the initial tax value, and failure to pay the tax after one month will result in a further 25% increase in the tax value. For more information concerning other business requirements in San Jose, call (408) 535-7055.

While it is expected that every moving company will meet the applicable business regulations in the city, residents should always double-check to see if the company complied with the business regulations. By requesting their business tax certificate and using the city's business tax lookup tool to verify the business tax certificate, you may establish whether the moving company you intend to use has complied with the necessary business regulations.

Finally, the Bureau of Household Goods and Services also requires moving companies to file quarterly revenue reports with the bureau, pay a $15 fee plus a percentage of their gross operating revenues, and pay the appropriate uniform business license tax. Failure to do so will lead to severe consequences, including being ineligible to renew a household movers license.

How Much Do You Charge Compared with Other Movers in San Jose?


Before hiring a moving company in San Jose, it is crucial to determine the average market price for the exact service you seek. Investigating the average market price for the service you desire in the city ensures you do not pay more than necessary to get the job done.

You can find out the average market price for moving specific household items within or out of the city by getting multiple estimates from different moving companies. Each estimate should be submitted after authorized company agents visually inspect the items you want to move.

Do not accept an estimate for the job except a visual inspection of the items has been completed. This ensures an accurate estimate, as the quantity and size of items being moved determines moving costs in the city. After receiving estimates from various moving companies, the next step is to compare these estimates and find out how each moving company calculated the moving cost. In San Jose, moving costs are calculated using hourly, weight/distance, and written binding rates.

Hourly rates are calculated based on the length of time it takes to accomplish the job, while weight/distance rates are calculated based on the weight of the items being moved and the distance the mover has to cover to get to and from the house. On the other hand, written binding fees cover all transportation and service costs associated with completing the work. Regardless of the rates the moving company is using, it is always their responsibility to explain in detail what it will take to accomplish the job.

As such, do not hesitate to contact the moving company if you do not understand any part of their submitted estimate.

Transportation and material moving workers in San Jose earn an average annual wage of $48,290. 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 California State as well as several other major cities in the country:

San Jose Movers Hourly Average Wage
California 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 San Jose Regulations?

While there are no specific permit requirements for moving services in San Jose, these businesses may need to obtain the right transportation permit before they can transport goods of specific weight and dimensions in the city.

The San Jose Department of Transportation issues these permits, and a copy of this permit shall be carried in each vehicle to which this permit refers and shall be available for inspection by any transport-related officer in the city. This department issues two types of transportation permits to applicants: a single-trip permit or a multiple-trip permit.

A single-trip permit is issued based on the applicant's representation that the load being moved has been reduced to the lightest and smallest dimensions. On the other hand, applicants are required to obtain a multiple-trip permit when a load up to a maximum width of 12' can not be reduced to the legally permissible width.

Applicants can obtain either of these permits by downloading, completing, and submitting a transportation permit application form to the city's Department of Transportation at:

200 East. Santa Clara Street
8th Floor
San Jose, CA 95113

Successful applicants will be awarded a transportation permit after their permit application has been reviewed, allowing them to move things of a particular size, width, and dimension. However, the city has restrictions that govern the usage of transportation permits, and moving companies must follow them. The following are a few of these rules:

  • Prohibition of the use of city streets during the hours of 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM Monday through Friday.
  • The use of bridges or streets that are so narrow that the trailer or load extends beyond the centerline of the roadway is prohibited.
  • Use of residential roadways is prohibited unless absolutely necessary to reach one's end destination.

Queries concerning the requirements and process of obtaining a transportation permit, as well as regulations guiding the use of such permit in San Jose, can be directed to the city's Department of Transportation via this email address.

In addition to obtaining a transportation permit where necessary, movers in San Jose must ensure that they comply with the rules of the road per section 21000-23336 of the California Vehicle Code. Furthermore, movers must also adhere to the parking regulations in San Jose. Some parking regulations in the city include:

  • Prohibition of parking during street cleaning or construction work in streets with a permanent or temporary no-parking sign
  • Where pavement markings delineate parking spaces, vehicles must park within the designated markings
  • Parking on the street for more than 72 hours is prohibited
  • Parking within an intersection is not allowed

Failure to comply with the city's parking regulations may attract fines of up to $410. As such, you should always ensure the moving company you intend to hire is familiar with the city's parking regulations. Email the city's Department of Transportation's Parking Compliance Office for more information concerning San Jose parking regulations.

What Kind of Moving Services Do You Offer?

Before hiring a moving company to transport your belongings to your new apartment, make sure the business offers the type of service you need and that they can do the job effectively. Moving companies in San Jose offers the following services:

  • Local moving,
  • Long-distance moving,
  • Full service moving,
  • Self-service moving,
  • Interstate moving,
  • International moving.

Local and long-distance services involve transporting your items within the city and the state. Transporting your belongings to a destination less than 50 miles away is known as local moving, while trips more than 100 miles away are long-distance moving. Full service involves performing all the necessary tasks involved in loading, unloading, and setting up the items in the new apartment, while self-service is when the moving company only loads the vehicle and drives it to your destination. On the other hand, interstate and international moving refers to moving items from San Jose to another state or from San Jose to outside the United States.

Regardless of the moving company you intend to use, it is important to find out the exact service the company will provide. However, you are responsible for informing the company of the exact type of service you need before finalizing any agreement. Ensuring that you and the moving company agree on the type of service that is involved in the job will not only reduce the likelihood of a disagreement but also ensure that an accurate estimate is made for the job.

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

Local/long-distance residential moving (per hour, cost of moving truck inclusive)
$135 - $210
Piano moving (within San Jose)
$381 - $431
Mobile home moving (for single-wide trailer at a distance of no more than 50 miles)
$3,200 - $4,100
Moving out of studio apartment (item packing and unpacking included)
$400 - $600
Moving out of a two-bedroom apartment (item packing and unpacking included)
$750 - $900
Moving out of a three or four-bedroom apartment (item packing and unpacking included)
$1,240 - $1,935

Do You Provide Packing and Storage Services?

Most moving companies in San Jose offer packing services alongside moving your belongings to their destination. However, it is always important to ask the moving company you intend to hire if they provide such services and how they intend to accomplish the task.

Hiring a moving company that offers packing services not only means getting help with loading and unloading your items, but it also means allowing experts to handle the process, lowering the chances of making a costly error. Common types of packing services that moving companies in San Jose offer include;

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

In addition to the aforementioned packing services, you may also need to store your items at a secondary location before they reach their final destination. Instances where you may require this type of service include:

  • When you intend to move soon and may no longer have access to your current apartment
  • When you are relocating to an apartment with less space to contain the items you are moving

Regardless of why you need packing or storage services, it is always important to find out how these services will be billed from your moving company. This will help you identify the actual cost of these services while ensuring you do not pay more than what is required.

It is also good to find out how the items will be protected during the whole process and if you will be allowed to inspect the storage facility beforehand to ensure that it is safe.

What is an Appropriate Tip for Your Movers in San Jose?

While tipping service providers, including moving services in San Jose, is not mandatory, acknowledging exceptional service is a nice idea. The following are some of the reasons why you may tip movers in San Jose:

  • They arrive at your house on time
  • They carry out the task swiftly and efficiently
  • They ensure that your items are protected and organized
  • They assist you in unloading the items
  • They treat you and your family with respect

It is worth noting that the normal tipping practice for movers in the city is 15% to 20% of the overall moving fee. However, following the standard tipping practice for movers in the city is not a very good idea because the overall cost of your move includes the distance that will be covered and other miscellaneous fees, which may not involve any actual work from the movers.

As a client, tipping your movers for each hour of labor is the only way to ensure that the tip accurately represents the level of service you received and the difficulty of providing the service. You can tip movers in the city $4 - $5 per mover for each hour of work.

Nevertheless, if you are not satisfied with the moving company's services, you should not tip the movers. More so, it would be best if you made the situation known to the moving company.

Do You Carry the Necessary Insurance Policy for Movers in San Jose?

Per state requirements, anyone who wishes to obtain a household movers license in San Jose (or any other location across California) must maintain the following insurance policies:

  • Public liability and property damage insurance
  • Workers compensation insurance
  • Cargo liability insurance

As a city resident, it is always in your best interest to ensure that your moving company carries all the necessary insurance policies. This is especially crucial because moving and managing household items might lead to unforeseen events, resulting in property damage and even work-related injuries. Transportation and material moving workers are estimated to have accounted for 20% of all on-the-job accidents that necessitated time off in the United States in 2018 alone.

As such, any moving company that does not have the necessary insurance coverage will expose you to financial liabilities, including medical bills for injured workers and compensation for property damage. Any moving company you intend to engage should always provide proof of insurance coverage. You should also check with the insurance provider that manages the policy to see if it is still active. Always wait for the insurance company's response before finalizing any agreement with the individual.

Finally, you can also contact the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services at (916) 999-2041 to learn more about insurance requirements for movers in the city.

Can You Provide References or Recommendations in San Jose?

Reputable moving companies in San Jose will not hesitate to provide potential customers with references or letters of recommendation from satisfied past clients. References and letters of recommendation prove that the company in question is capable of providing the service you seek and offering high-quality services that satisfy their clients.

If a moving company refuses to offer references or letters of recommendation, you should not hire them. The company's inability to produce references from satisfied past clients shows it is either incompetent or illegitimate. However, when a moving company gives you a reference or a letter of recommendation, do not hesitate to contact the customer to receive a firsthand review of their experiences.

How to File a Complaint Against a Bad Moving Company in San Jose

In a recent report published by the Better Business Bureau, nine out of the 33 fugitives wanted for moving fraud in the country live in or near San Jose. These individuals and other fraudulent movers target city residents by demanding more cash upfront, taking the loaded, usually unmarked, truck on the road, and then calling the customer to demand further payment for the return of their goods.

As such, when considering hiring a moving company in the city, it is important to follow these precautionary steps to avoid getting scammed. These steps include:

  • Always research your moving company thoroughly. If possible, visit their office to discuss your intention to hire them.
  • Get multiple estimates from different moving companies and ensure each is made after the mover visually inspects your items.
  • Ensure the moving company is authorized to operate in the city by calling the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services at (916) 999-2041 or utilizing the state's transportation carrier lookup tool.
  • Double-check the moving company's complaint history with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Ensure the moving company provides a "Not to Exceed" price for all household moves. This is the maximum amount you can be charged unless you request additional services, and those changes are then detailed in a "Change Order for Moving Services."
  • Insist on a written service agreement.
  • Make sure that the moving company is duly insured.
  • Make a photograph or video of your items and their current condition before they are packed up and moved.
  • Do not sign any document unless you have carefully read through it.
  • Get copies of everything you sign before the move begins.

If you have any complaints involving a moving company in San Jose, report them to the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services. You can report a moving company by filing a complaint with the California Bureau of Household Goods and Services online or by downloading, completing, and submitting a printable complaint form at:

4244 South Market Court
Suite D
Sacramento, CA 95834

Note that loss or damage claims must be filed in writing within nine months after your goods have been delivered. While reporting to the Bureau can help you secure justice from the moving company, there is no guarantee that you will recover all you lost while doing business with the company. As such, if you seek full compensation for what was lost to the company, you can file a lawsuit against the company with the Santa Clara County Superior Court. However, it is always important to consult an attorney before filing lawsuits.