ABF experience thus far

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adamschneider
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Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 1:28 am
Location: Portland, OR
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Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby adamschneider » Sun Jul 04, 2004 1:38 am

I'm glad to see the positive comments about ABF... we're moving from Minneapolis to Portland, OR next week, and we're doing the U-Pack thing. We're terrified about properly packing the trailer.

I'm wondering about the linear feet issue... they said 12 feet would be right for a two-bedroom apartment, but I'm starting to worry that we have way more stuff than most people do in a typical 2BR! (Is it normal for two people to fill TWENTY 50-pound boxes with books?!)

A couple tips about moving supplies. First of all, stretch wrap is God. You wouldn't believe how many things I've used it for. Besides the obvious things like wrapping up CD towers and binding bookcase parts together, I've also discovered that if you wrap it around all your ordinary boxes (sealed with tape), your boxes suddenly have "treads" on the bottom and are much less likely to slide around.

Another tip is to look in the good ol' yellow pages under Moving Supplies and see if there are any places in your area that sell used/overstock boxes. We haven't paid more than $1.50 each for our boxes, and most of them are quite sturdy. We even got some nice small ones for $0.25 each. We were also able to get some used furniture pads (who cares if they're used?!) for less than half the retail price.

Adam

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

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby Diane » Sun Jul 04, 2004 9:40 am

Great packing and loading tips, everyone. I'm going to try to put them all together on some thread or sticky somewhere.

Adam, I had no idea you could get used moving pads--what a great idea. Did you get them at the same place where you got the used moving boxes?

For a 2 BR apartment, 12 feet should be about right. We used 5 feet for a lightly furnished 1 BR with no appliances. Don't worry because if you need a few more feet they will be available. Yours will be the first load on the trailer and ABF can adjust the amount of freight it adds behind it to accommodate whatever space you have taken up. Just a side note: ABF measures to the nearest foot so if your goods and the bulkhead take up 12 feet 5 inches that is still considered 12 feet.

About loading:- if you load tight you should be OK. Just picture the entire trailer jouncing up and down like a car going over a speed bump and pad things accordingly. The entire load will also tend to shift toward the rear of the trailer, i.e. away from the nose, so be careful when you take down the bulkhead that whatever is just behind it doesn't topple over on you. Have at least one other person there with you; otherwise you will feel like the guy with his finger in the dike.

You may/probably will get some minor surface damage but if you pad things liberally and wedge pillows, garbage bags full of bedding, etc. into what they call the "voids" (empty spaces), you should not have major damage. Most people, including me, have had just scratches that they could later fill in with a wax furniture crayon. I did have one shelf start to tear away from the side of a particle board entertainment center because I had loaded our 19-inch TV on the shelf and the TV must have jounced up and down, putting stress on the (cheap) connection between the shelf and the side.

Remember that you can also put nails or eye hooks in the plywood parts of the ABF trailer and attach straps to them to keep stacks of boxes from tipping over. The ABF lady told me that there is usually more plywood on the floor than on the sides of the trailer to allow you to do this. (The Broadway Express trailers have hooks already built into the sides, and she said that some ABF trailers also have a few hooks.) Whatever you add to the ABF trailer like this has to be removed at destination.

Regarding the insurance question raised by Rosiet33, this is one of the disadvantages of going with a freight forwarder. You can get catastrophic coverage against the possibility that the entire trailer will burn up or be stolen, but you can't get any insurance protection against the type of thing that is most likely to happen, i.e. breakage and scrapes and dents. Someone called Baker International insurance and the company said that it wouldn't cover shipments with freight forwarders like ABF and BE. Homeowners' or renters' insurance will cover only catastrophes such as those described above, so people who have that insurance don't need to purchase any additional coverage of that type.

The enhanced coverage for carrier negligence that Rosiet has purchased from ABF covering up to $2/pound will not cover the usual type of damage (breakage, scrapes, and dents) either. It is mainly intended to cover things such as bulkhead failure (the bulkhead collapses and releases your things so they fall all over the van), damage done to your things by commercial freight loaded on the van (let's say a barrel of some kind of fluid gets punctured and soaks your things), and water damage (mainly from a leaky roof).

I feel that at least the first two events are very unlikely to occur. Out of almost 70 reviews of ABF on Epinions, there is one report of a leaky roof. There is also one report from several years ago where a customer claimed that the bulkhead collapsed, but this was never confirmed. (By the way, a rebuttal to that customer's report has just been posted on Ripoff Report by another customer at http://www.badbusinessbureau.com/report ... f37472.htm and it's worth looking at.) People should use their own judgment about purchasing such coverage. I myself decided not to purchase it.

The inadequate insurance coverage with a freight forwarder is just one of those things that I think people have to deal with as well as they can. Some people will be willing to take the risk and others won't. The important thing is that people should go into it with their eyes open.

adamschneider
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 1:28 am
Location: Portland, OR
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Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby adamschneider » Sun Jul 04, 2004 3:39 pm

Diane wrote:Adam, I had no idea you could get used moving pads--what a great idea. Did you get them at the same place where you got the used moving boxes?

Actually, no, but a very similar place. For those in Minneapolis, the used boxes are at Western Container, downtown, and the $9 used pads are at Moving Equipment Sales on 98th in Bloomington.

Here's a question for those who've packed their own stuff: what on EARTH do you do about office and dining room chairs? Should we just put them on the floor of the trailer, and put stuff on and under them, or should we throw them on top? (And what about a chair that swivels and is on wheels??)

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby Diane » Sun Jul 04, 2004 8:12 pm

Chairs, especially the ones with arms, are really difficult. I threw mine (which were old) on top and the legs got scraped up a bit. One moving site that I consulted said to put them upside down on top of a high stack of boxes and put small boxes between their legs and then tie them together so they can't shift. I guess ideally you would put each one individually in a large box obtained from a furniture store, but that's probably just dreaming.

It's very important to have a four-foot or even five-foot ladder available so you can perform all these activities near the roof of the trailer rather than just throwing things haphazardly up there at the end. Also, I strongly suggest buying a dolly to help you or anyone you hire move things up and down the ramp/walkboard and out of/into the residence. People you hire may not bring any equipment of this kind with them.

The one I bought was a collapsible aluminum one made by Safco. It's lightweight despite being very strong and the handle goes up and down so you can lower the handle and store it on its side even on top of a kitchen cabinet, which is what I did. I was amazed at how many boxes my guys were able to stack on it. It's the eighth dolly/hand truck down on this page. It's labeled Model 4061 and costs $63 on this particular site. They sell them at office supply stores like Staples.

adamschneider
Posts: 93
Joined: Sun Jul 04, 2004 1:28 am
Location: Portland, OR
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Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby adamschneider » Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:10 am

Our hand truck cost $20 at Menards. :) One drawback of it so far: the rubber tires stink to high heaven! We can't even keep it in our apartment.


Here's a question I haven't really seen answered: everyone has said that unloading is much quicker than loading... but how long does loading take? We're going to have three or four people loading about 12 linear feet (a well-stocked 2-BR apartment). How much time should we count on?

(I just called ABF to schedule our pickup; they were very friendly. Unfortunately, they could only tell me "somewhere between 3 and 8 PM, but we'll call you when we leave the terminal." The good news is, since they only do evening drop-offs around here, they said they could do it a day early.)

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

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby Diane » Mon Jul 05, 2004 10:21 am

Adam, the person posting here as "23" is our expert on loading and unloading times, and if he doesn't appear soon you can send him a PM about this. (Also ask him how to load chairs.)

I may have paid more than you did, but my dolly is lightweight, it collapses for storage, and its wheels aren't stinky . . . :lol:

Please be SURE to come back and post about your move because we want to start a thread on ABF reports just like the one we have for BE.

IMP
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 4:36 pm

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby IMP » Mon Jul 05, 2004 11:27 am

IF you are going to "throw your chairs on top" - wrap them in movers pads or other cheap blankets first and tape the blanket - not the chair to that it adheres. Actually there are really big rubber bands that we use on trucks - but I couldn't begin to tell you where you could get them, maybe where you got the pads themselves.

Professional movers can move roughly 500# per man per hour - that's loading - slightly more if it's all straight out flat loading, slightly less if there are steps, etc. involved. A "well stocked" 2 BR apartment - well - did you get any estimates from movers as to weight? Ballpark - TOTAL ballpark - 1200 - 1500# per room. As I don't know what other rooms are in your apartment I can't fathom a guess as to total weight. But if you have 4 people who are pretty athletic - I'd say you could probably have it done in 3 hours tops. Just a guess not having seen your apartment, your stuff, or the truck & equipment you'll be using.

Now the wheels of your dolly - try sandpaper - then spray lysol. It will rough up the wheels a little so that they grip better - and the spray will get into the rubber.

Heloise Hint # IMP (idea stolen from 23)

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby Diane » Mon Jul 05, 2004 11:56 am

According to 23's formula of 400 pounds per linear foot, you have 4,800 pounds (let's say 5,000) in your 12 linear feet. So according to IMP's loading formula, that would take 10 man-hours, and since you have three or four "men," that would mean between 2.5 and 3.3 hours to load depending on the number of "men," which fits with what IMP estimated.

Of course, all this is based on ABF's calculation that you have 12 linear feet . . . so it all could be resting on a false assumption like a house of cards.

Rosiet33

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby Rosiet33 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 12:45 pm

Diane et. al. Thanks much on the insuarance answers. Sounds like I should save the $125 and drop it.

Now I'm worried about loading time after reading all the recent posts!

I'm moving from Boston and ABF doesn't drop trailers off in the Boston area - they do a "live park" and the driver stays with the trailer. They give you 1 free hour to load (yes, one hour!) Then they charge you $27 for every 15 minutes you go over. I think we have about 3000 lbs of stuff, and am prepared to go over about an hour, but if it takes us 5 hours, that will really suck.

Has anyone else experienced this "live load" nightmare?
Thanks! And yes, when I finally get to Texas and have a bank account again, I will definitely donate to the site.

Rosie

IMP
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 4:36 pm

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby IMP » Tue Jul 06, 2004 12:57 pm

How many people do you have helping you?

rosiet33

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby rosiet33 » Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:11 pm

Good question - I haven't lined anyone up yet, just my boyfriend and I :cry: , but I could probably get two or three people to help out. How many do you think I need?

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

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby Diane » Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:14 pm

The $27 every 15 minutes is a tariff item and it has just been raised from $25. However, I was told that you can get 1 to 2 hours free on a live load--not 1 hour free. I would talk to the dispatcher at the terminal and ask whether you can "stretch" the time a little. He might agree if he doesn't have a dire need for the driver. You could even go see him in advance and try to charm him.

It's the value of the driver's time and expertise that's the problem here in this busy season. Every extra hour that the driver spends with you is taken away from something else that he could be doing for the ABF terminal--moving trailers around or whatever.

Otherwise you might slip the driver $25 and ask him to fudge the time a little bit. Just a suggestion--I don't know whether it's ethical but I will no doubt hear about it immediately from the people on this message board if it isn't.

IMP
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 4:36 pm

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby IMP » Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:41 pm

If you have an "easy load" situation - meaning easily stackable items, and easy access from where they are to the truck, you're probably looking at between 6-10 "person-hours" depending. If you could get another person or two - even if you have to pay them $8.00/hour that's cheaper than paying the waiting time.

I'd suggest Diane's approach with the terminal first, but if they don't tell you that you for sure have the extra time - I'd try to get help.

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

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby Diane » Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:30 pm

IMP, if she has 3,000 pounds of stuff as she estimates, by your formula of 500 pounds per man-hour that's 6 man-hours, right? No way could it be 10. So it would take 2 people 3 hours. I think she should try to line up at least one extra person to help load and also talk with the terminal--i.e. do both. It's good to have extra people at the curb anyway, watching to make sure none of the stuff "walks off" with passers-by.

Rosiet, it will be important to make a diagram of the 8-foot-wide, 9-foot-high space in advance and decide where you are going to place your major items. Make sure both or all three of you agree so you aren't wasting time arguing with each other while the clock is ticking. Remember that it's best to upend sofas in a rear corner to take advantage of the trailer height, "feet to the wall and back to the load" as 23 said.

IMP
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Joined: Fri Apr 16, 2004 4:36 pm

Re: ABF experience thus far

Postby IMP » Tue Jul 06, 2004 2:33 pm

Di - my guesstimate of 500# was professional movers who know how to carry several boxes at a time, and also who know how to load a truck. I wouldn't necessarily use the same formula for the "lay person". (Liken it to my doing my own taxes taking more time than a CPA.)


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