Why does it cost so much to move my household goods to Mexico? Can’t I just get my gardener and his cousin to do it?
I get a big kick out of this question, because it is exactly the same question I asked before I started Best Mexico Movers in 2018. I asked it immediately after getting quotes from the existing movers that I felt were way too expensive and way too confusing.
How hard or expensive could it be? We were in Mexico, for goodness sake!
My first plan was just to have our gardener with his cousin’s truck come into the US, pick up our stuff, and return to Mexico.
Unfortunately, my gardener quickly disabused me of this plan. He had no visa in the US, and especially a US work visa appropriate for moving household goods. He also didn’t have Department of Transportation compliance for his truck to move household goods.
Next, I approached existing businesses, such as furniture stores, a car rental place and even bakeries; anyone with a truck and some people working for them. Could they move my household goods? One was willing to try, but they they also didn’t have any of the very specific requirements for compliance for moving household goods,
which are not trivial. In addition and very importantly, they couldn’t offer me any insurance through a reputable third-party commercial carrier specializing in insurance for moving household goods– only a vague promise that “if anything happens, we’ll take care of it.” That obviously didn’t work. I would have been crazy to agree.
OK; on to Plan C. I’ll just rent a U-Haul, somehow get across the border, and have my gardener and his cousin pick me up in Mexico in their truck and deliver my household goods to my home in Mexico. Viola! Unfortunately, I wasted a good part of six months researching this fantasy and trying to make it work.
The hard part was not me renting and driving a U-Haul in the US and it was not finding someone with a truck in Mexico. The problem was getting over the border legally.
The U-Haul couldn’t cross into Mexico and my gardener’s cousin (or the guy from the furniture or car rental store, for that matter) couldn’t legally drive his truck into the US to pick up household goods.
Believe me, after considering paying what the established movers were asking, I was highly motivated to find an answer, either with my gardener, my friend’s gardener, a furniture store, a car rental place, anyone else’s Mexican friend, a complete stranger, etc. The problem was that, for the volume of household goods we had, it wasn’t possible to do it in any way that was not very risky.
If we had just filled up our van with our household goods, we probably could have just crossed over by ourselves over the non-commercial bridge and kept going. But we had more. Quite a bit more.
And when you have more, you’re in a completely different category. In the US, we couldn’t legally hire anyone to transport our household goods without complying with Department of Transportation and several other agencies’ rules and regulations, having proper insurance, the driver having to be in compliance, etc., etc., etc. We could find someone who would do it illegally, but that didn’t seem smart. (To read a discussion about what it means to “legally” move household goods and why it is important to be legal, read this.) The same is true but slightly different in Mexico. And when you cross a larger amount of household goods, you need to use a different bridge with different rules and different and more stringent customs requirements.
If you hire someone to move your household goods who is not in full compliance with a huge quantity of expensive regulations, it’s sort of like cheating on your taxes– it works great… until it doesn’t. And then what? The fines are huge and you risk having your household goods held for a very long time and even having your residency visa impacted. (You are acting illegally, remember?) It simply wasn’t a risk we were willing to take, especially with our own household goods.
In summary, if your household goods can fit into your van, you can most likely do everything yourself. If you have a good amount more, sorry, a legitimate company that can offer you insurance and that is only in the business of moving household goods across international borders is the only reasonable choice.
That’s why we started Best Mexico Movers. After a year of research and setting things up, utilizing my personal experience of decades of starting companies for myself and as a consultant to others, we figured out how to legally and properly move more than a van full of household goods to Mexico and to put together our network to do it. Our first customer was ourselves. After that, we offered our moving services to others. As of this writing, after moving our first customer in September of 2018, we’ve moved more than 250 families. (And we still have the same gardener.)