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Mini Moves

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Mini Moves

Postby Ellie » Wed Apr 30, 2003 2:37 pm

That's the name of the company I'm trying to research now. I'm a little confused because some guy at some place called Small House Moves prepared a quote and then told me to call them. But I plugged their DOT # into safersys and just got more confused, I guess I'm not really sure what I'm looking for on that website.

I know everyone says not to accept an estimate without an on-site visit, but their computer calculates an average weight for the items you list and then comes out with an estimate. Their estimate was exactly what I thought my move was going to cost, based on comparisons of my friends cross-country moves. They also offer storage in my destination city, which is key for me. If you add or remove items, the price changes based on the estimates of weight for those items.

Here are my questions-

1. For small moves, is it really so bad to accept a price without an on-site visit? Isn't the computer estimating the weight of my posessions similar to a human estimating it? And aren't I better off if the estimate is a good one because then the price is locked in even if it turns out my furniture, dishes, etc. are heavier than the average persons?

2. Is it really, really bad to prepay for your move? The other company (Public Storage) that has been highly recommended to me also does the same- estimate based on how many containers you fill and prepaid move.


I feel so frustrated by this process and want to thank you all again for your help! I will definitely be making a donation.
Ellie
 

Re: Mini Moves

Postby twalker » Wed Apr 30, 2003 3:33 pm

Ellie,

Without a little bit more information about Mini-Moves I'm afraid that I won't be able to be much help in researching them. The DOT number would be a great place to start.

Most moving companies these days use computers to generate your quote... even when they come to your house to do the estimate. When it comes into play is when there is a dispute over what the final bill is. A rogue company would say that you didn't tell them everything over the phone that you were going to move, but if they show up at your home and walk through your house room by room, then they really can't use that excuse (although some may still try).

As far as pre-paying for your move... I would never, ever pre-pay for a move. I would not even put down a deposit! What incentive do they have to deliver your belongings on time, or even at all, if they have already been paid for the services that they are supposed to be providing? I also wouldn't compare a full-service moving company to Public Storage, or ABF U-Pack. The services truly are different.

Tim Walker
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Re: Mini Moves

Postby Ellie » Wed Apr 30, 2003 4:49 pm

Hmmm... well, here is the DOT number I was given: 268180 and on their website, they list their MC# as 268280IL I think.

Do you think my point about the smaller moves makes sense? I can literally sit and inventory my apartment from memory, so I told them what I had (down to the little end table and lamp shades) and how big everything was. I know from moving previously that I way overestimated the number of boxes I'd have, but I wanted to err on the side of inclusiveness. I realized I left out three framed prints, but I can go to the website and add them to my list and the price will be adjusted.

The only reason I would prepay with this company is because I want my stuff in storage, but I would prefer to store it in my destination location. I've been trying to find a reputable company like Public Storage that both moves and stores, and this is the closest I've come. They were extremely helpful and thorough and there was no pressure, which I have not found with the other companies I've tried, but I could just be very naive.

Their website is www.minimoves.com.

Many, many blessings to you for helping me out!
Ellie
 

Re: Mini Moves

Postby twalker » Wed Apr 30, 2003 5:14 pm

Ellie,

MiniMoves Inc., does carry the required licenses and insurance and is a member of the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). Now before AIC get's on my case about saying that ( :wink: ), I do disagree with some of the things that the AMSA does and Joe Harrison is well aware of my opinions. I would still rather hire an AMSA member company than one that is not.

It does look like MiniMoves had some licensing and insurance issues back around 1994, and 1995 but they seem to have gotten over it.

I would call the BBB and ask them (actually, really drill them) about MiniMoves' complaint history, and then ask MiniMoves the same. There are some things that I would be concerned about in their BBB report such as 23 customer service issues, and 4 billing issues.

Keep in mind that the BBB is infamous for giving false-positive reports about companies, especially dues-paying members like MiniMoves. The BBB is a business, not a government agency so they pay their bills with the money they collect from dues paying members, and are less likely to give those companies a bad rating.

Lastly, it really bothers me that they want to be paid in full up front. When I hear that, red flags fly up all over the place. It's not a standard practice in the industry except with the rogue movers, and personally it would make me do a mad dash away from the company.

I've never had anyone complaint to me about this company, so I can't say that they are a rogue but hopefully you're armed with enough information to ask good questions and make a sound decision about whether or not to hire MiniMoves or not.

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Re: Mini Moves

Postby Rebel » Thu May 01, 2003 12:29 am

I couldn't anything else to add to what Tim found except that the CEO, Jack Arslanian, did an interview on Chicago Channel 7 News on 4/14/02 for spring moving tips and how not to get scammed. It appears that he at least voluntarily made himself very visible that way, which could be considered a good thing. Once again, I am not endorsing anyone but simply sharing what I found.
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Re: Mini Moves

Postby Ellie » Thu May 01, 2003 10:18 am

Tim- thank you for your research. I will definitely ask more questions of them. I have been encouraged by their openness and actually found some information on their website that was extremely helpful (in the "Rights and Responsibilities" section). While it would be ideal if there were a company that everyone raved about that moved and stored, I'm trying to keep an open mind. The idea of prepaying is the thing that makes me hesitate, but I was willing to do it with Public Storage, so I might suck it up and keep my fingers crossed.

rebel- that is very interesting- thanks for the info.
Ellie
 

Re: Mini Moves

Postby Michael » Thu May 01, 2003 6:55 pm

Ellie,

Did they actually send you a quote in writing? Did they send you any information about their company and the actual "Rights and Responsibilities" book? Why wouldnt they come out to give you an estimate? And I agree with Tim, unless your paying by Credit Card, I would never recommend you move with someone that wants money up front.

Keep in mind, not only is the moving industry not regulated, to a degree, but neither are yellow pages, and these rogue movers can put anything in the yellow pages and anything on their websites.

Good Luck,
Michael
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Re: Mini Moves

Postby Ellie » Thu May 01, 2003 8:07 pm

I did get an estimate, and it was right where I thought it should be. It hasn't been sent to me yet becuase I told them I wanted to talk to a couple other companies and finalize my inventory list before they sent me the paperwork. (The qoute is on the internet for me to access so that I can remove or add items and see how it affects the price.) I've learned quite a bit about them (as much as anyone else I guess), and the "Rights and Responsibilities" section on their website was very helpful, particularly when I called back to talk about the the full valuation/coverage aspect. I would pay by credit card definitely!

What I like about them was that it's similar to Public Storage-- once you pay, that's it. (The only thing I can be charged at destination is $100 to unload the stuff into storage and then a monthly storage fee and when I have it taken out of storage and re-delivered, I pay $100, which I understand since they're essentially moving my stuff again.) Unless you add or remove items at the last minute, in which case, they credit you or charge you using the same average weight process. I'm pretty comfortable with that, because if I say I'm not taking my bed, for instance, and then change my mind the day they come, I'm charged the same price for taking the bed as I would have been if I included it in the original inventory list, and am not penalized. (But, I included absolutely everything, for my initial quote.) They only have four billing complaints on BBB, three of which are resolved, and one which is listed as the company tried to resolve in good faith, which doesn't mean they aren't sketchy, but the complaint rate doesn't seem very high. I'm going to try to find a couple other companies, but the only two realistic quotes (and remotely positive vibes) I've gotten are from this company and Public Storage.

Do you have any other suggestions for questions I should ask them? Do you think maybe I should ask to visit their storage facility?
Ellie
 


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