Apex Moving and Storage (interstate shipments are through Stevens)
Boush Moving and Storage (Atlas)
Continental Van Lines (Allied)
Crown Moving Company (Mayflower)
I read most of the reviews on these companies listed on the site -- does anyone have any recent experiences, especially with interstate moves (even better, to California)?
We've spoken with Apex over the phone extensively and for $300 extra they say they will guarantee the pickup and delivery dates of our choice (with a minimum of three days in transit). Any thoughts about whether this service is worth the cost?
Details of our situation: I am on the faculty at a university in SF and have been working remotely from Seattle. However, my husband has taken a new consulting job and will be traveling extensively, making it impossible for me to take the monthly trips back to SF that I need to keep telecommuting long distance (we have a one-year-old son). He starts on December 4th, and we'd like to be settled by then; as a result, getting a guarantee that our stuff would arrive on December 1st does sound appealing.
(Note: I have registered at "humanbungee" but cannot log in yet.)
I don't know about the guaranteed date, though. I bet one of the pros can answer that.
Were these estimate based on an employee coming to your house to seee everything for themselves?
The big companies with very high quality scores from the van lines like Crown and Continental may be doing a lot of corporate (national account) moves that drive up the scores. The reason that their scores are higher is that the best drivers are assigned to the corporate moves, and therefore those moves tend to be scored higher than moves paid for by private parties. Also, some of those big companies settle claims in-house, which makes their claims ratios (number of claims per X number of moves) look better than claims ratios for the smaller companies. So, for these reasons, I think customers who are paying for their own moves should not be overly swayed by high quality scores.
"humanbungee," regarding the Apex $300 charge, take a look at the last three posts on this thread - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10503
I appreciate all the details I've read from other people's reviews, so here's my summary of the estimates (transportation only).
Boush: Despite our request, they did not provide a GNTE quote. For an estimate of 4900# (our weighed total five months ago), they claimed transportation charges would be $2908. This would be on a truck with two loads that could be unloaded on December 1st (our first choice). We kicked this estimate out immediately because it wasn't comparable with the others. My husband says the estimator (Bob Boush) was a nice guy, however, and as advertised, did everything with paper and pencil; we got a voice mail with the estimate the next day.
Apex: GNTE estimate at 5500# for $2850 transportation. I don't remember the estimator's name but he seemed like a nice guy; he said that if we moved with them, because they are independent, they would dedicate a single truck and driver to the move; loading assistance would be an employee of theirs and the unloading help for the driver would be hired through their Stevens affiliate in the Bay Area. Given that the truck would only carry our load, delivery date would be guaranteed for December 1st.
Continental: GNTE estimate at 6000# for $2985 transportation. Amusingly, the estimator was named John Quincy Adams and he was in fact a relative. They could only provide a delivery window from December 1st-8th -- the date to be confirmed before pickup, but that range was way too wide for our needs.
Crown: GNTE estimate at 6000# for $2705 transportation. This estimator (Leslie) was actually able to explain to us why our pre-move estimates were coming in 1000# higher than our known shipment weight in July even though we hadn't materially changed the inventory -- she said that the program they all use averages all weights for a given piece of furniture; given that all our furniture is small and lightweight, the program was skewing the weight upward. She was personally confident that our weight would actually come in at 5000#, but because we wanted the GNTE quote put it at 6000#. They gave us a delivery window of December 1st-2nd, but said that barring a snowstorm in the Siskiyous that it would arrive on December 1st. We reserved with them this afternoon and got a call before the end of the business day to schedule the packing we'll need (the kitchen and mattresses) and our pickup from our move coordinator. So thus far the communication has been good.
One issue that concerned us for both the Continental and Crown estimates was the possibility that they would have to transfer to a shuttle to get to our new apartment, an extra cost to us of $500-$600. They said that San Francisco has legal restrictions on having large trucks in the city (there are no physical constraints to an 18-wheeler where we are moving), not an issue if we chose the smaller trucks offered by Apex and Boush. We called the city for information and found that this restriction is actually waived for residential moves, and that if we or an agent stopped by the local precinct a week in advance of the move date and paid $117, the police would put out signs that reserved 250' of space in front of our building on the day of the move. This was cheaper than using a shuttle, Apex, or Boush, and also guaranteed that our things would only be moved on and off the truck once, so it seemed like a no-brainer. We called Crown to tell them and they were surprised but pleased (no doubt it will make their estimates more competitive for other people moving to SF). I thought this information might be useful to other people later. The officer who called us back with this information said that we would not need proof of the move: "We assume that if you bother to come in here and pay the fee that you're really moving."
We're hoping for the best and I'll post how things turn out when we've arrived.
Depending on the area (for instance in the western avenues you don't have restrictions), you may be required to get a parking permit. If you know of someone in the city to get the permit for you, it's a lot cheaper than having the mover handle it for you. The police normally charge $75 - $100, but the mover will add their 10 - 15% surcharge, so the rate would be higher.
And Diane is right about the loading into the warehouse, but not direct.
But let me add what might happen in that case, which is not a bad thing.
Crown is an agent for Mayflower, and what the van line will do is in some instances the driver scheduled to haul the shipment is not available on load day, due to either loading or unloading in your city. So the van line contacts the agent as say go pick up this shipment. If the line driver will pick it up the next day, the agent will keep it on the truck, and then the line driver will do a van to van transfer. So while it might not be direct load, it does make your delivery date happen when you want it to.l
By the way, it's a paid site "checkbook.org" which gives the rating of the
local agents representing big companies and exellent article about moving.
Do you have your car to move? If yes, who is your company? I'm looking
borissl wrote:Do you have your car to move? If yes, who is your company? I'm looking for one. Thanks
We're not moving our car; we sold one and are driving the other. We decided we'd need only one car (at most) living in SF proper.
We had Crown come by yesterday to pack up our kitchen and lamps, which they finished in about two hours, and then left us a few extra boxes (at no charge because they had misread the estimate). So far so good. We also got my husband's mom to sign up for the street permit while she was in SF on Wednesday, so the police will set that up on December 1st. Incidentally, despite their earlier claim that they would just take our word for it on the move, the police did want the name and phone number of our moving coordinator. Apparently they will stop by during the day to enforce the parking restriction.
We're scheduled for pickup November 27th first thing in the morning; delivery should be December 1st in early am (barring a snowstorm in the Siskiyous; we're definitely hoping this doesn't happen given that we're driving). I'll try to come back in a week or so to post what happened.
Pickup was on time on November 27th; we found the movers packing up the van (with the exception of the driver) were a little lackadaisical, but they finished by 1:00pm, fortunately, because it started snowing pretty heavily around then. We had agreed on a move-in date of December 1st, with the window extending from Dec 1-Dec 2. We drove down the coast ourselves; we were amused that we actually passed our truck on the way at one point.
Our weigh-in (for a 3-bedroom house moving to a 2-bedroom apartment) was at ~4600# (the GNTE estimate was 6000#), which was nice. However, we almost lost all the money we'd saved when the SF police called our move coordinator to say that they would only be reserving 15' of curb space in our neighborhood, rather than the 250' they had originally claimed. I was pretty upset about this (the cost was another $500) and the driver wasn't thrilled either. We tried multiple times to reach the SFPD officer who'd called our move coordinator but he never returned our calls.
However, when we came into SF on November 30th we decided to drive by to see if we could identify the problem. When we went by the building we saw two signs for the move date stating that no one could park within 100' of the signs (a total of almost 250', as originally claimed). So we called Crown and they agreed to try to deliver with the full-sized truck. Ultimately there was plenty of room and no need for the shuttle, so we have no idea what was going on with that. I blame the SFPD for poor communication here.
The movers unpacking the truck were very efficient, and we have yet to find any damage. In at least one case, however, this was thanks only to what they called "moral luck" in my ethics courses. We had hired Crown to pack our kitchen, including the china. When the boxes were opened we found that instead of individually wrapping the pieces in paper, they had simply taken all of the china already stacked in the canvas protectors and wrapped that in paper. Fortunately nothing was broken. Our kitchen was unpacked by Family Packers, who I mentioned earlier; they were recently featured in a San Francisco Chronicle article, so we were lucky to have booked before it ran -- they said since it came out they've been deluged with business.
Total cost for the move looks as though it will end up being $2500-$2600. We're very happy with Crown (though I would pack my own dishes if I moved with them again) and would recommend them, especially our driver Dave, and the move coordinator, Cimber. The communication was great throughout the process; they called us with regular updates, nailed both the pickup and delivery, and as far as we can tell, there's absolutely no damage. All things considered, it was a pretty easy move.
It's too bad that you didn't take pictures of the fact that you didn't require the 500' that the SFPD alleges you did.
If you can tell me which precinct handled the parking permits, I can call a friend at Chipman in Concord, who sets up all parking permits in SF. She knows all the officers handling at each precinct, and we might be able to get a portion of your money back.
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