Thursday, June 21, 2012

Comparing moving companies

(Off-topic post for the day, since Google really likes it when I review things.)

I'm beginning the harrowing task of packing up all my worldly belongings to ship them across state lines yet again. Read on for my initial reviews of the moving companies I dealt with.

But first I can't figure out how to use the embed code so just click here for a lovely interactive map of everywhere I've lived.

I've lived a lot of places in 10 years. 
Here's the code. Yep, I've moved a lot.
(Keep reading for moving company reviews)


I wouldn't mind moving so much if I could just blink my eyes and have all my stuff magically appear in my new apartment that I didn't have to search for. But that wasn't the case. I'll be off this weekend to hunt for an apartment, but I knocked out the first big decision of the move this week: Finding a moving company.

National moving companies suck. I can't stand their tactics, they use aggressive sales people and their quotes are full of hidden costs and fees. I had a horrible experience with American Van Lines once. I'm convinced they overcharged me. The movers arrived at 10:30 at night and looked tired and overworked, and didn't seem to be very careful with my stuff. They barely spoke English. Since then I've been very careful.

Unfortunately, though, going with a national mover was the best move in this case. It's cheaper then the local guys, because they combine moves, sharing space on trucks. And it's just little ol' me (and Lizzie, but she doesn't have that much stuff) that's moving, so I wouldn't fill a monster truck in any case.

I filled out a form on Moving.com to get some quotes, and I was not prepared for the onslaught of calls I'd get within the hour! These sales people were aggressive too, bashing their competition and promising to beat any price and blah blah blah. At first I found I was giving people different inventory lists so I wasn't getting an apples-to-apples comparison. So, on the day I made the choice, I sent them all an email with the same inventory list and list of basic questions. The ones that responded (most did) within the workday got my consideration.

I won't know if my tactics are successful until my stuff arrives safely in Rochester, but I like to think that I played it smart this time around. As a girl who's moved around a lot, here are my tips:
1) Get several quotes, but make sure those quotes are all based on the same thing. If you're like me you're probably wavering over whether you want to take the window AC. List all furniture and give a specific number of boxes.
2) Compare the number of pounds they total that as, and consider that factor when you compare quotes. Even with the common inventory list, my junk may weigh anywhere from 2,200 to 3,500 pounds, according to the companies!
3) If possible, go with a company that can give you a binding estimate, one that won't change based on weight or hours worked. But that's rare.
4) If you have to go with a company that bases things on weight, when in doubt, always overestimate! But also ask what happens if you have overestimated, some companies will still charge you for the space they had reserved on the truck for the nonexistent items.
5) Look for a narrow delivery window. One company wanted to take up to three weeks to get my stuff from Newark, OH to Rochester -- a seven hour drive!
6) Check reviews and Better Business Bureau ratings. Almost any moving company will have someone blasting them somewhere, it's just the nature of the beast. Look for specific claims instead of vague ones.

Here are the companies that I considered. I don't know if any of them are good or bad, this was just my impression of them!!

The WINNER: Nationwide Relocation Services - My experience so far with this company has been very positive. They were prompt in answering my calls and responding to my emails. I didn't feel like I was dealing with a pushy sales person. They didn't have the cheapest per-pound rate, but they weren't the most expensive, either. They also offered a reasonable pick up/drop off window. They'll get my stuff on July 10-11, and deliver it by July 13. While there were several complaints about them when I consulted Google, there were also good reviews, and their "A" BBB rating sealed the deal.

THE OTHERS:

Atlas Van Lines: I want to give this company props. They were the only one that actually sent a consultant to my apartment to give me an estimate based on what he saw. The guy showed up on time, answered all of my questions and didn't take long. The weight he ultimately quoted me was similar to what the other companies said, but the price was out of reach -- they wanted $.60 per pound, the rest were around $.45. There probably was a reason for the higher price -- the company had very good reviews.

Best Price Moving and Storage: This company made me most nervous of all the ones I talked to. Perhaps it was their name -- I'm always a little leery of any product that's top selling point is its low price. The other thing that made me nervous: Their quote was about $600 less than any of the others, but the poundage they quoted me was 1,000 less than the others, and they didn't detail the poundage of each item. I had a gut feeling they were low-balling me, and I'd run into a situation where I'd end up owing more in the end. They did not have a rating through the BBB. When I noted this as a reason in my email telling them why I wasn't going with them, the guy responded back trashing the BBB.

American Knights Moving and Storage: These guys didn't seem bad. They had a B- rating through the BBB. The woman I dealt with communicated well and seemed straightforward in answering all my questions. Their delivery window was pretty ridiculous though! They wanted to pick up my stuff a good week before I moved, then they had a 10-day window, so it might have been a long wait until I saw it again. I liked dealing with them because they walked me through a long and exhaustive list of things I might have forgotten, so they were very thorough in their estimate. They were cheaper than Nationwide but only slightly.

Neighbors Moving and Storage: Unfortunately for the salesman I was dealing with, he didn't get my email or call requesting a final quote until the next day, so I ended up not considering them. It was hard to tell what their BBB rating was, they're a broker so they had several sub-companies with ratings ranging from A to D-. Also they never emailed me a quote (granted, I never asked them to, most companies just did it anyway).

So, here's to hoping all my stuff arrives in Rochester in one piece, on time, and not in the middle of the night!

Next step... figure out where I'm living!

7 comments:

  1. You are the first person I have ever met, since my days in Maine, that has lived in Hallowell. Boy, how I miss the liberal cup!!!

    Good luck with your move!

    ReplyDelete
  2. When i was looking for my company i simply found the best moving companies bethlehem pa has to offer!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Quality service and client satisfaction perpetually comes 1st at Skyline Van Lines. the site strive to supply you with excellent service and exceed your expectations. the positioning relocation movers are prepared to answer any question you will have and walk you thru each step of the moving method.
    Skyline Van Lines

    ReplyDelete
  4. Moving has become the essential part of various families and company owners. People relocate simply because they wish to do so or some move with an obligation to move.
    Movers New York

    ReplyDelete
  5. You might additionally desire in order to ask the business themselves for references, and home elevators when their cheapest and also several expensive instances are generally to be able to go.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi there! I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about moving companies in your area. I am glad to stop by your site and know more about moving companies. Keep it up! This is a good read.
    Embedded within the moving industry are the services of truck/trailer/moving equipment rental companies and companies selling moving supplies for people who want to pack and move themselves. Then they use a professional mover to load a moving van, drive it to the new residence and then unload it there. Rental companies usually offer some training information for DIY movers who will be using their rental trucks, trailers or equipment to relocate themselves.
    With over 80 years in the moving industry we offer a variety of services that are designed to make your move easier for you including a full packing service, a free delivery of boxes, an itemized inventory of your furniture and belongings and finally private, secured storage that is available for short or long term storage at reasonable rates. Don’t worry if your new home isn’t ready of if you are experiencing issues with your lease. We can quickly provide you with climate-controlled, sanitized facilities that are centrally located and alarmed for your protection.

    Moving Companies Commack NY

    ReplyDelete
  7. It is an informative share about the moving companies. In case of relocation to a new place, it is very important to hire a capable service provider for handling your valuable belongings. But thanks to you for this useful share which is really helpful.

    ReplyDelete