Industry Frequently Asked Questions - Household Movers
Q. I want to start a moving business. Do I need a permit from the Bureau?
A. If you will be transporting household goods and personal effects to or from a residence between points in California you will need to obtain a Household Mover permit.
Q. I transport general freight. Do I need a permit from the Bureau?
A. No. Motor carriers of property other than household goods and personal effects must obtain a motor carrier permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For additional information you may contact the DMV at (916) 657-8153 or visit www.dmv.ca.gov.
Q. I will be performing only office moves. Do I need a Household Mover permit from the Bureau?
A. No. You should obtain a motor carrier permit from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). For additional information you may contact the DMV at (916) 657-8153 or visit www.dmv.ca.gov.
Q. I wish to perform both residential moves and office moves. What permit do I need?
A. To move household goods or personal effects to or from a residence you must obtain a Household Mover permit issued by the Bureau. You may elect to perform office moves under either (1) your Household Mover permit or (2) a motor carrier permit issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). To perform office moves under a Bureau permit you will need to complete and file the Notice of Election (Form TL 706-N) (this form is included in the Household Movers Application Packet) with the Division of Household Movers.
Q. Can I obtain a copy of Max 4 in advance of filing my application?
A. The Max 4 and Distance Table 8 are available online at https://www.bhgs.dca.ca.gov/licensee/index.shtml.
Q. How do I obtain a Household Mover permit?
A. You will need to complete an application and mail it to the Division of Household Movers with a filing fee of $500. Please contact the Division Household Movers to obtain the required forms.
Q. Are Household Mover permits transferable?
A. Yes, a permit may be transferred provided it is in good standing. You will need to complete a transfer application and mail it to the Division of Household Movers with a fee of $150. Please contact the Division of Household Movers to obtain the required forms.
Q. What are the requirements for obtaining a Household Mover permit?
A. The primary requirements are:
- Demonstrate knowledge by written examination of the Maximum Rate Tariff 4 (Max 4). The tariff contains maximum rates that movers must observe as well as rules and regulations governing intrastate moves.
- Participate in the DMV Employer Pull-Notice System, if required by DMV
- Provide information to show that vehicles will be maintained and operated in safe condition.
- Undergo fingerprinting for a criminal background check.
- Provide any other information requested to demonstrate that the applicant possesses sufficient knowledge, ability, integrity, and financial resources to perform the service.
- File evidence of insurance coverage such as public liability and property damage, cargo liability and workers' compensation (when applicable) on the prescribed forms.
Q. What are the minimum liability insurance and cargo insurance requirements for household goods carriers?
A. The minimum protection against liability is $250,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person; $500,000 for bodily injury to or death of more than one person; and $100,000 for damage to or destruction of property other than the property being transported; or a combined single limit in the amount of not less than $600,000. For additional information see General Order 100. The minimum cargo insurance coverage is $20,000 per shipment. Information about cargo coverage and rules concerning carrier liability for loss and damage of used household goods can be found in General Order 136. The following forms will be needed:
Household Mover (Liability)
Household Mover (Cargo)
TL 676 Certificate
TL 672 Certificate
The insurance company issuing the policy is responsible for electronically filing the insurance at: https://connect.dca.ca.gov/bhgs/.
Q. What are the requirements for being fingerprinted?
A. The law requires every applicant for a household goods carrier permit to submit fingerprints for each owner, partner, officer and director for the purpose of conducting a criminal history record check. The fingerprints are forwarded to the state Department of Justice and made available to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Applicants have a choice of submitting fingerprints either by LiveScan or fingerprint card. LiveScan is an automated electronic process that generally results in much faster processing. It is performed by selected law enforcement agencies. Fingerprinting by fingerprint card must be accomplished through a law enforcement agency or other agency or person qualified to perform this service. A fee may be charged.
Q. May I conduct operations using owner-operators as independent contractors?
A. You may engage independent contractors (referred to as "subhaulers"), provided that each contractor holds its own Household Mover permit and you file a subhaul-lease bond of not less than $15,000 with the Commission in accordance with General Order 102.
Q. Are there any periodic fees I am required to pay to the Bureau?
A. On a quarterly basis every Household Mover is required to file a report of revenue and pay the following fees (late-filed reports are subject to a 25% penalty):
- A fee based on intrastate gross operating revenue that currently is ½ of 1% of revenue on transportation subject to Max 4 rates and rules and 1/10 of 1% on revenue derived from transportation exempt from Max 4 or the transportation of used office store and institution furniture (i.e. office moves).
- A $15 fee, $5 of which goes to the California Highway Patrol as a safety fee
- A Uniform Business License Tax of 1/10 of 1% of revenue which is imposed in lieu of payment of a city or county excise or license tax on intercity transportation by Household Movers.
Q. How do I arrange to take the Household Mover exam?
A. Every applicant for a household mover permit must pass a written examination on the maximum rates, rules and regulations contained in Maximum Rate Tariff 4 ("Max 4") and the Distance Table 8 (for movers conducting statewide moves). You will need to bring a form of picture identification with you. You may not bring any written materials or a cell phone into the examination room. You will be provided with a link to the Max 4 to use as a reference when taking the exam. Once you have submitted your application you may schedule an appointment to take the exam by contacting the Division of Household Movers at (916) 999-2041.
Q: Do I as the permit applicant have to take the Max 4 exam or can I have one of my employees take it?
A. Under the law, if the applicant is an individual, the individual or a responsible managing employee may take the exam. If the application is filed by a co-partnership, corporation or any other form of business organization, the exam may be taken by a partner, the responsible managing officer or an employee who works for the firm at least 32 hours per week.
Q. If I fail the Max 4 exam may I take it again?
A. You make retake the exam, but by law you will have to wait at least 30 calendar days to do so.