Update - NC to Switzerland - Site visit or not? External elevators

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elaines
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:05 am
Location: NC to CH

Update - NC to Switzerland - Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby elaines » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:09 pm

We're moving from North Carolina to Switzerland this summer, approx. 1000 cubic feet.

I've got something like 8 or 10 estimates, and I have some questions/ experiences.

First of all, one agent told me that a site visit was worthless because the agent would spend 10 minutes in the house and I knew my goods better than anyone else (this was Ny International)

Although two other companies suggested a site visit and told me that it would take an hour for the visit. And I'd feel much better about it, because I've got some fragile pieces.

In Europe, it seems to be more common to use an external elevator, and my landlady even suggested it for large pieces. One mover (LTV) mentioned it in the quote. We do have an elevator in our flat, but it's a small one. LTV gave me an estimate for an external elevator at about $500 for 4 hours, but another agent told me that it was "hoisting and it would cost a fortune," and that the elevator would be fine. I didn't think $500 was that much. Makes feel that the second agent wasn't very familiar with this.

In asking about my fragile pieces, another agent told me that things going across the ocean were "better packed" than local moves because everything has to be in there tightly. True? And, this firm did not offer a site visit, but asked me to measure my fragile pieces. But suppose I measure them incorrectly - especially given that one of them is not a rectangular object.

I requested an estimate from Echo Trans World, and it was incredibly low, which truthfully raises a red flag. All the other estimates have been within a few hundred of each other.

We need two estimates, and so right now, I'm looking at Meyers and LTV most favorably, although I will consult some of the other recommended firms here.Both Meyers and LTV have suggested site visits. Any experiences/info would be appreciated.

Thanks
Elaine
Last edited by elaines on Thu May 10, 2007 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby hardatwork » Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:36 pm

First throw out any and all quotes where the mover has not given you an in house estimate. There is never a good reason for the mover NOT to do an in house estimate. An in house estimate allows you to meet the company doing your packing and loading in person so you can ask questions concerning how your goods will be handled. Second the surveyor will also check out your origin residence for access problems like stairs, an elevator, long carries, etc. They will also list the packing materials that will be needed to pack your small items.

In regards the external elevator question. If your landlord thinks you will need it this the best indication that you will need it. They would have seen many moves going in and out of the location and know firsthand what is required. I would insist that any mover giving you a written quotation includes this charge in their quotation for your review. I would not necessarily prepay this amount to the US mover but agree to pay at destination. Once you have chosen the mover I would highly suggest you ask them to contact their agent and ask them to give you a written estimate for the external elevator fee to avoid any misunderstandings later.

One question you must sort out with your US mover is to be sure they have a local agent in Switzerland doing the delivery. Some movers will use an agent from Belgium, Holland, or Germany to pick up the container and deliver it to you in Switzerland. This might cause a problem on day of delivery if they cannot arrange to get the external elevator to your residence. It is much better to ask about this in advance then down the road. Ask the mover for the name and location for their agent in Switzerland.


Personally I think domestic and international are both packed and wrapped the same, only the wrapping materials are different. If you’re moving from NYC to Los Angeles the domestic mover is going to "pack your goods tightly" as well or the items would be damaged.

Let us know if you have any further questions!

intlmover
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 3:45 pm
Location: Chicago

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby intlmover » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:01 pm

Wow $500 for an elevator charge- It should be based on the weight not time and its usually added into the per hundred pound rate to you. The going rate in Chicago is around $2.15/100 cost for the elevator charge. plus the door to door rate.
1000cuft is 6500lbs times 2.15 =139.75
Where in NC are you moving out of.


elaines wrote:We're moving from North Carolina to Switzerland this summer, approx. 1000 cubic feet.

I've got something like 8 or 10 estimates, and I have some questions/ experiences.

First of all, one agent told me that a site visit was worthless because the agent would spend 10 minutes in the house and I knew my goods better than anyone else (this was Ny International)

Although two other companies suggested a site visit and told me that it would take an hour for the visit. And I'd feel much better about it, because I've got some fragile pieces.

In Europe, it seems to be more common to use an external elevator, and my landlady even suggested it for large pieces. One mover (LTV) mentioned it in the quote. We do have an elevator in our flat, but it's a small one. LTV gave me an estimate for an external elevator at about $500 for 4 hours, but another agent told me that it was "hoisting and it would cost a fortune," and that the elevator would be fine. I didn't think $500 was that much. Makes feel that the second agent wasn't very familiar with this.

In asking about my fragile pieces, another agent told me that things going across the ocean were "better packed" than local moves because everything has to be in there tightly. True? And, this firm did not offer a site visit, but asked me to measure my fragile pieces. But suppose I measure them incorrectly - especially given that one of them is not a rectangular object.

I requested an estimate from Echo Trans World, and it was incredibly low, which truthfully raises a red flag. All the other estimates have been within a few hundred of each other.

We need two estimates, and so right now, I'm looking at Meyers and LTV most favorably, although I will consult some of the other recommended firms here.Both Meyers and LTV have suggested site visits. Any experiences/info would be appreciated.

Thanks
Elaine

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

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby MusicMom » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:14 pm

NY International is obvious bunk.

Echo and LTV both have complaints here, so this narrows down your list considerably.

elaines
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:05 am
Location: NC to CH

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby elaines » Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:21 pm

Intlmover - I'm sorry, I must have been unclear. The external elevator is for moving into our flat in switzerland. We are on the top floor of a 4 story building. The building has an elevator, but our landlord suggested that we look into an external elevator - which are more common in Europe, especially with buildings that have narrow staircases, no elevators and etc. We have a huge terrace and large windows that open up, so for about $500 if it will make the job easier, I'm all for it.

Hardatwork - yes, that's great advice - I will check on the agents and so forth in each country. I believe many enter via Rotterdam.

MusicMom - yes, I'm going to look at the LTV complaint and see what I think.

I have to admit that I am suspicious when things are too inexpensive - clearly people are in business to make money, and moving is hard work. By the same token, I have no wish to be gouged. But we're willing to pay for things like extra packing on our delicate items, and for an external elevator if it will make our stuff arrive in better condition.

Thanks...
Elaine

Fred0844

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby Fred0844 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 5:02 pm

These outside elevators and hoisting systems attached to roofs are quite common in Europe. It is a larger version of the type used by roofers to move bundles of shingles to the roof. I am including a link to a European mover with a picture of one. It looks like a pretty good idea for low rise apartments with balcony access.
http://www.trans-move.com/equipment.asp

Maybe this is something our industry should look at.

Diane
Posts: 15824
Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby Diane » Thu Mar 29, 2007 8:23 pm

Interesting, Fred. Thanks for posting the link.

wwrsea
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:31 pm

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby wwrsea » Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:04 am

The advise is to get the 'local' Swiss agent to check the residence for the delivery address. If your new landlady is advising you of this, then take heed of the information. The reason why an outside elevator is used, is because older apartment buildings in many European cities have small staircases and tiny elevators which means large items of furniture cannot taken into the building.

Seafreight for Switzerland will be routed via either Rotterdam or Antwerp and then normally transport by train to Switzerland. As you are likely to have an exclusive use 20 ft container and these cannot be delivered to the narrow streets of Swiss cities, you should also get your packing company to advise of any additional charges for shuttle services if the delivery company cannot get their large delivery vehicle to the front of your apartment building. Also, parking permits might be required and these are likely to be excluded. (again, this is why you should get the delivery company to pre-visit the delivery address!)

Be warned, additional charges in Switzerland are not cheap and normally non-negotiable!! You might want to get it in writing that the house has been pre-inspected for access / delivery issues so that you don't get any nasty shocks.

My advise is to go with a highly reputable company that knows and understands INTERNATIONAL moving because omissions and errors can be very expensive and you will be the one who will pays.

Good luck

elaines
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:05 am
Location: NC to CH

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby elaines » Sat Mar 31, 2007 6:37 am

wwrsea
Thanks very much for your comments! Yes, we will check about access to the building. We're actually in a new area outside the city, and we suspect that access will be somewhat easier, but it's still a concern. Thanks again.

Elaine

quatra
Posts: 18
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 10:40 pm
Location: N. York

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby quatra » Sat Mar 31, 2007 11:33 pm

A physical survey is a defenite "must", specially for an international move where the volume of the shipment is critical. You have 1,000 cft. A 20' container will hold 1,165 max., so in case you have "large" furniture, it won't fit (which you will find out once your furniture is already at the mover's warehouse). Then it's "either...or" which means leaving stuff behind or go for a 40' container.
Where the external elevator is concerned, moving prices in Europe are considerably higher than in the U.S. Also, maybe the elevator has to be brought in from another city.
I suggest you go with one of the large van lines. They will provide you with an "all-in" quote.
Providing your complete address in Switzerland will help so that their agent there can have a look and determine which accessory services have to be performed and whether the container can be driven up to your residence, etc.

elaines
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:05 am
Location: NC to CH

Moving NC to Switzerland. Deposit variation.

Postby elaines » Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:31 pm

In the quotes that I've received, I've had deposit estimates from 50% to 0. Makes a difference when you;re talking about a move that's likely to exceed 10K, even if it's being paid by the employer - very often they don't like to cut two checks, and then there's all the currency exchange.

Is there a standard for the deposit or is it up to the agent trying to "sell" the move? When I asked agents about these deposits, I've heard that they are negotiable. but then why should i have to bicker with them, it's stressful enough to choose someone to pack up my stuff.

Now we're working on the site visits....will make our choice later this month.

Thanks for all the info.

Elaine

farrah7031
Posts: 4619
Joined: Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:08 am
Location: Tallahassee, FL

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby farrah7031 » Fri Apr 06, 2007 1:52 pm

MOST of the reputable companies do not charge a deposit, but we have been informed that some now do. It's up to you, but I would steer toward the no deposit companies. Why pay a deposit if you don't have to?

Are all the quotes similar in price otherwise?

wwrsea
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2007 7:31 pm

Re: Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby wwrsea » Sat Apr 07, 2007 9:03 pm

My suggestion is that you look at the quotes that you have, decide on perhaps 2 or 3 that you feel most comfortable with as your mover. Then go back them each and advise them that you are reviewing your quotes and the only way that you will select a company for final review, is by written confirmation from them that they will require zero deposit. Put the ball back in their court & let them make a commercial decision as too whether they want your business!!

elaines
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:05 am
Location: NC to CH

Re: Update - NC to Switzerland - Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby elaines » Thu May 10, 2007 7:44 pm

I wanted to update everyone. I had 5 site visits and we have to submit two quotes to my husband's employer. The quotes are all pretty much the same - we;re sort of on the cusp between a 20' and 40' container, plus full replacement value on insurance - it's about $13-15K, that's DTD. We have LOTS of books. Maybe 100 1.5 cft cartons. Not a lot of furniture, except for bookcases. To hold the books, of course.


We're in North Carolina - RDU area. This is who I spoke to....

The second name is the local firm.

Meyer's Van Lines/United
Stevens/All American (I think)
Rainier/Johns's Moving
Southern Winds/Beltman (North American Van Lines)


Swiss firms....

Packimpex/another United (I think) (UTS, unigroup)
Kehrli-Oeler/Allied-Security

My impressions....I thought that each of the agents were very helpful, although I have to say that Donovan at Southern Winds gave us the most information, unprompted. For example, I knew the likely path my stuff would travel, he gave us advice on picking a moving date, and mentioned up front that there would not be a deposit. The local office contact, Barbara was efficient and the surveyor, Judy was very professional and suggested that we crate a few fragile items. In the end, the crating won't add much to the cost, either.

Bill from Allied-Security was also very helpful, and gave us some good information about how to arrange the stuff to be packed. The other people who did the surveys knew what they were about and were fine, I think any of them would be suitable.

I know that I'm influenced by customer service - answers to my questions, suggestions about things I might not have considered, etc - all other things being equal, that is.

We'll submit the quotes tomorrow - we are leaning toward Southern Winds. More later....

Elaine

coolgenner
Posts: 155
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:37 am

Re: *Update - NC to Switzerland - Site visit or not? External elevators

Postby coolgenner » Tue May 15, 2007 1:27 pm

Be ready for the move to cost 2.5 times the price to come home.

Switzerland has a ridiculous price associated with moves. I saved a ton of money by mailing my things to myself and just dumping my furniture.

If you do go with a mover,I can recommend HARSCH Transport, they had the lowest price by far.

http://www.harsch.ch/e/

There is one other company that will drop off boxes, allow you pack it all and they come to get it for a 'fair' price. But honestly I found the quote from Harsch to be comparable, and they did most of the packing.

Enjoy Switzerland, you will love it. Oh, and get a car. You need it to get to the far away places and not be tied to the train/bus schedule. Gas, insurance and parking are all high expenses, but worth it.
New Jersey the cess pit of scummy movers!


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