International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

A forum for questions and helpful information and advice about international moves and moving companies.
Desmond

International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby Desmond » Mon Jan 22, 2007 4:31 pm

Hi ! I am about to have my goods shipped via Southern Winds International. Their mover came last week to do an in-house estimate of my goods and came up with a figure of 255 cu.ft. As I thought that figure to be way too high (I had done an initial estimate myself) I rechecked all boxes and furniture and placed all remaning misc items into boxes to get as accurate an estimate as possible. The volume I came up with is 185 cuft. That is a difference of 70 cuft. Am just curious if this overestimation is normal and part of just quoting on the safer side to avoid unpleasent surprises to the customer on the day of the move. Any info from anyone who has had an in-house estimate done before will help...thanks !

hardatwork
Posts: 1077
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 5:52 pm
Location: Orange County, California

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby hardatwork » Mon Jan 22, 2007 5:17 pm

There could be many reasons for the over estimation. The easiest thing to do is ask them for a copy of the survey so you can check it against your list of items to be shipped. A good mover will supply the list upon your request and some do it automatically.

The estimator could have marked something as going when it is not going.

Could be a packing issue. You calculate a lamp in one carton and the estimator has one for the base and one for the shade. Stereo equipment packed into several cartons when you might have just measured it inside the stand. Keep in mind the packing agent must pack the shipment so it arrives in good condition and may over estimate the packing.

You calculate a bookcase disassembled and they calculated it assembled.

Could be as you said they over estimated so you end up paying less which is easier then telling you then under estimating and now you owe more.

Could be the terminology as you are noting 185 net cubic feet before they load into a lift van (wooden shipping crate) and they are basing rate on 255 crated/ gross cubic feet. If they plan to ship in lift vans normally this is done at residence in your present, others times it cannot be done for several reasons.

Best to look over you list and their survey and clarify if you are paying on the gross or the net cubic footage of your shipment.

Hope this helps

altima1994

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby altima1994 » Tue Jan 23, 2007 4:33 pm

I'm just curious how much Southern Winds estimated the cost for 255 cft?
I obtained the estimate for 200cft 1200 lbs (1 standard lift van, moving from Michigan to Sydney) for $3045 ($100 more than what Meyers Van Lines gave me). I think this is a good price, especially for door-to-door service, but unfortunately I would be needing a new quote, because the weight of my goods is way over 1200 lbs.
Anyway Michael from Southerwinds Intl seems like a nice person to talk to.

Desmond

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby Desmond » Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:17 pm

Hi Altima,

I decided to cut down my volume to 200 cuft. Southern Winds quoted me around $2680 for 200 cuft from Phoenix to Melbourne (without insurance) . Phoenix is closer to the coast so I think that makes a difference.

Regarding the variance in the volume, the reasons given by hardatwork was very informative. I appreciate him/her taking the time to explain all possible reasons in detail. In my case the guy who took the estimate was just being cautious and overestimated. Also I found out later that my own measurements were slightly skewed so after measuring some of the furniture items again the mover's estimate, aside from 2 items, was pretty close to the actual volume...me bad !!

The one thing I did find a little odd was that some movers including Southern Winds and others initially gave me quotes for 150 cuft as I told them that that amount of volume would do for me for the items I needed to ship. However later on they say that since you don't get regular containers less than 200 cuft they will anyway have to charge me for 200. I wish they would have all told me that 200 was the minimum in the 1st place instead of first quoting me for 150 cuft.

The movers are scheduled to be coming over to pick up my stuff by the end of this week. Will keep this post updated as to the status...

tristan
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:36 pm

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby tristan » Thu Feb 08, 2007 12:33 pm

Desmond,

Please keep this updated..i'm very keen to see how you go. I am going back to Melbourne as well from SD and using SWINTL.

thanks

tristan

Desmond .

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby Desmond . » Mon Feb 12, 2007 3:43 pm

(belated) update....

swintl had their local movers (Beltmann group) come in on 01/26/06 to take my stuff. My wife and I had packed all of the boxes ourselves with the exception of our fragile stuff. We were a little nervous of the day the movers were coming because as it was, we were told that all our stuff might not fit in the 200 cuft container and if the movers had to open and repack the boxes they would definitely use much more boxes cause it takes a lot of time (which the movers probably would not have) to pack as compactly as possible. When the movers did come they actually seemed quite happy that most of the boxes were already packed but did call their boss to confirm that it was ok to leave it that way. Their boss approved so they just packed our fragile stuff, dismantled the little furniture that we were taking and moved all the stuff into the lift van and then sealed it right in front of us. That made us feel pretty good watching them seal the container knowing that none of the stuff could possibly get misplaced till it is reopened at the port in Melbourne.(I'm guessing!)

Overall the movers were just excellent with their job. They were two of them that came over and went on very professionally (along with being friendly at the same time) sealing all the boxes and moving them to the lift van. What impressed me most was their ability to pack it in a way so as to have as less empty space as possible. There was no way I could have imagined packing that crate as well as they did. Overall we were extremely happy with them.

Some pointers for those planning on having their stuff moved: (Note: This list is based solely on my own experience with MY movers though I think most should apply to some extent to all of them) please feel free to add to or discount anything.

a) First when the movers come to do an in-house estimate, ask them to tell you exactly how much stuff will fit in the 200 cuft container. When I first measured all my boxes and furniture the total came to about 170cuft but I was told by the mover that it is about 250cuft. That initially confused me, but later on I realized that he meant to say that there would be about 50 cuft that would just not fit in the container cause of odd shaped sizes. Practically speaking even if you have just boxes totally 200cuft they would all not fit just cause of the nature of the size/shape/dimensions of the boxes. I didn't really 'get' that until move day :-)

b) We packed all the boxes ourselves even though we were told that the movers need to pack them for insurance and post 911 security reasons but left them open. They were sealed by the movers so if they wanted to, they could check the contents of a few of the boxes. Verify that you can do this first with your mover else it will be a waste of time for you.

c) We made a detailed list (right down to the tee) of everything in all our boxes, printed it out and had it ready for the movers. This helped them in their case to not have to repack each box. It also had the added benefit for us to know what was in each box when we landed in Melbourne and also was used for insurance purposes.

d) Ask your mover to get the lift van to your home so the movers can fill it up right there itself else you will not know what items will not fit in the van and will have to decide between paying more, which ends up very expensive, for the extra items or having to go to their local warehouse to take back some stuff. In my mind neither of those are good alternatives and I would end up pretty frustrated.

e) Before the movers come, prioritize certain items that can be left out in order. Our movers kept those items for the last when it came to loading the lift van. Eventually a few of them were left out but we would rather have those out than something else that was essential to take.

f) Re-think any piece of furniture that you are taking. To get the best price-space benefit from the container, the less odd shaped items you have the better. In most cases taking furniture is usually not worth it and you're better off selling them. We put all the remaining furniture on craigslist and sold them off.

g) Finally, having gone through that, if we ever had to move again we would even pack the fragile stuff ourselves. The movers used plain packing paper to wrap up the items and I think we could have as well used our clothes/ towels to do the same. That way we would have reduced the volume of boxes slightly more as the packing paper itself takes up quite a lot of space.

So far all has gone well. I called swintl (as was instructed to do) on the day of the move itself and was given my final price (minus additional destination costs). I could then cut a check and post it to them.

Will give u my next update when I hear that the container has shipped.....

tristan
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:36 pm

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby tristan » Wed Feb 14, 2007 1:05 pm

Thanks for the update Desmond...keep them coming..

Maybe we can go for a beer in Melbourne when all is said and done! and talk about how stressful it is to move ..plus what i am going to miss about the states...... :D

MSA

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby MSA » Wed Feb 14, 2007 5:45 pm

Hi All, I was forwarded this website by a person who was trying to help me with my shipment. Unfortunately, I believe I have been scammed and am now paying an additional $2100 after paying my movers $5000 upfront. The movers came to my home, picked up our belongings that my husband and I packed. We have moved back and forth to and from Australia a few times and this time we figure it is for good. After the movers picked up our belongings, we received a bill for additional packing and a handling fee. They picked up our belongings over 3 weeks ago. And ontop of that we are now being threatened to hold my belongings for an additional charge if I do not pay the monies.
With no help from anyone in regards to helping me resolve this matter, I am now going to have to pay this because we leave in a few weeks and we can not afford the risk of our belonigs staying behind. I plan on making more formal complaints, but unfortunately, I do not plan on doing anything or releasing any names until my belongings are in my possession.
Help me, I'm trapped!

hardatwork
Posts: 1077
Joined: Sat Jun 04, 2005 5:52 pm
Location: Orange County, California

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby hardatwork » Wed Feb 14, 2007 7:25 pm

It would be best to contact the Federal Maritime Commission, the US Federal Agency protecting the rights of the ocean transportation public.

Follow this link for assistance before you pay the extra money:

http://www.fmc.gov/bureaus/secretary/Di ... ffects.asp

Hope things turn out alright for you in the meantime.

MSA

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby MSA » Thu Feb 15, 2007 5:18 pm

unfortunately, I don't have time to do anything. I need to be present at the time of loading the container which is going to have to be next week since we leave the following monday.
I am scared that if I start filing complaints, etc., that this will delay in getting my stuff even longer and incurring more charges because they are threatening me they are going to charge me holding fees on a per day basis. And I can't afford it. I can't afford the charge or loosing all my stuff.
It's very hard, I am uprooting my family to another country and this is really the last thing I want to worry about....I have to do the normal stuff like enrolling my kids in school, getting their medical records copied and sent over, getting a new doctor for them, etc., etc....normal stuff that you do. And now this.....and I will probably never see any of this money again. But I feel trapped and I need my belongings.

tristan
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 17, 2007 4:36 pm

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby tristan » Tue Feb 20, 2007 3:51 pm

MSA,

You poor thing...

my advice to you is to contact one of the reputable movers on this site...(I am using SWINTL!) explain to them your problem and see if they can organise someone from their end to go and pick up all your stuff and take it over from there.

One more thing, try and pay them with a credit card and u can always dispute with them when you are in australia.

Also please post who you used so other people can avoid them like a plauge.

good luck

tristan.

Desmond
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:40 am
Location: Tempe, AZ

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby Desmond » Tue Feb 27, 2007 1:25 pm

Update...Got an email from swintl that my container shipped on 02/13 and the ETA in Melboune is 03/27...pretty good ! Just fyi we will still be in the US in March. So swintl's agent in Melboune will be cleariing the goods and will deliver to the residence
Desmond

Desmond
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:40 am
Location: Tempe, AZ

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby Desmond » Thu Apr 19, 2007 10:59 pm

Update.....My container reached Melbourne port about 3 weeks back (around start of April). Just got cleared from customs about 5 days back. I called the agent in Melbourne to pay the required port fees. Was told that the goods will be delivered to the destination based on availabiity of their trucks....Will let u guys know when that happens...hopefully its any day now
Desmond

Desmond
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 11:40 am
Location: Tempe, AZ

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby Desmond » Wed May 09, 2007 1:07 pm

Update: The goods reached home in Melbourne end of April. All boxes seem to be present and intact. Things have gone pretty well with the move. No suprises of any sort. There was a few weeks delay from the time the goods cleared customs in Melbourne till they were delivered to the house but thats a minor issue. I myself will be heading to Melbourne only later this week so I had factored in ample amount of time for the move. From the day the movers picked up the goods from our Phoenix apartment till they got delivered in Melbourne spanned slightly over 3 months which I think is pretty good.

Now the only thing left is a detailed examination to look for any breakerage however the boxes containing all the fragile items were already checked and all seems good.

So overall I will say SWINTL did an excellent job and I would recommend them to anyone doing an international move. Well done SWINTL !!!
Desmond

MusicMom
Posts: 19323
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: International move from AZ to Melbourne, Australia

Postby MusicMom » Wed May 09, 2007 1:38 pm

Thank you for this final review, and I'm very glad everything went very well for you!

Patience is definitely needed for a international move. Many people don't realize how long it can take, so allowing three months like you did is a good idea, if usually more than needed.


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