Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

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chewie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: Evanston, IL

Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby chewie » Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:43 pm

Hi Everyone,

I'll be moving from Evanston, IL to NYC in late June, and I wanted your perspectives on interstate movers that I should be considering.

I checked out the moving company reviews list for Illinois, and as suggested, called Pat McLaughlin of the IMAWA. She was extremely helpful in giving me tips for the move, and recommended the following movers:

- Lake County Movers (Bekin)
- Deerfield Moving & Storage (Atlas)
- Federal/Whalen Moving & Storage (Allied)

She also recommended Independents Five Star and USA, but I think I'll stick with the national movers for now.

Unfortunately, none of these are listed on the reviews list! :( Does anyone have any experience with any of these movers?

Based on the reviews on this site, I am also considering Prager, Armstrong and Planes. Any others?

Thanks!

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

Re: Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby Diane » Mon Apr 16, 2007 3:14 pm

Hi - I know there is a Federal/Whalen company in Milwaukee and I think the one in Chicago is a branch of that. As far as I know, those Whalen companies are reputable. What I DON'T know is whether they are connected with the Whalen (Allied) company in New York. If they are, I think it would be good since you are moving to NYC.

You have two United agents lined up: Armstrong and Planes. I would suggest choosing one and leaving it at that. My recommendation would be Planes.

I think that Five Star and USA would best be used for local or short-distance moves, not a move of this distance.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

chewie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby chewie » Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:05 pm

Thanks for the quick reply, Diane, and the tip. I think I will go with Planes!

Did a little research on the 5 companies - Planes and Prager from reviews here and Deerfield, Federal / Whalen and Lake County from Pat's recommendation. Here's what I found:

1) Planes (United)
- no complaints with Illinois Chamber of Commerce (ICC)
- 4 complaints with BBB. Satisfactory rating, though.

Should I be concerned with the BBB complaints?

2) Prager (NAVL)
- 2 complaints with ICC
- 4 complaints with BBB. Satisfactory rating.

Again, should I be concerned? The BBB complaints are compounded by ICC complaints.

3) Deerfield (Atlas)
- 0 complaints ICC
- 2 complaints BBB. Satisfactory rating.

Doesn't seem like anything concerning. However, they do not have a website. The only place I could find them was through atlas: http://www.atlasworldgroup.com/find-agent/?alpha=D. I could find the Deerfield located in Phoenix, though. This is the only one without their own website - an issue?

4) Federal / Whalen (Allied)
- 1 complaints ICC (the funny thing is that this one complaint seems to span 5 categories. The guy must have been really angry!)
- 1 complaint BBB. Funny thing is that there is no information on what rating was assigned to them on the BBB report.

Doesn't seem like there's a problem here.

5) Lake County (Bekins)
- 0 complaints ICC
- 1 complaint BBB. Unsatisfactory rating since they did not resolve this one issue.

I am inclined to drop this one because of that unsatisfactory rating and since I already have 4 of the major van lines. Thoughts?

Is there anything I am missing? I am planning on calling at least 4 of the above over the next few days to come in for a quote.

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

Re: Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby Diane » Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:15 pm

Hi - I would not be concerned about 4 or so BBB complaints. You have to understand that Planes and Prager are probably doing a lot more moves than Deerfield. That is the weak link in assessing BBB complaints: we don't know the denominator.

As I said previously, Federal/Whalen is probably OK. Personally I would not use a Bekins agent if I could avoid it, even though this particular Bekins agent looks OK.

Thanks for researching all this.

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

Re: *Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby Diane » Tue Apr 17, 2007 12:56 pm

chewie,

In trying to add Pat's recommendations to the Superlist linked to below, I found that I had some questions.

1. Which Five Star was she referring to (location, website, etc.)?

2. It seems odd to me that she would recommend USA for such a long distance move. I wonder whether she may not have known that you were moving to NYC (?). Also, she seems to have focused on companies in Waukegan and Skokie for some reason. You could actually use companies located in other areas in and near Chicago.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

chewie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: *Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby chewie » Tue Apr 17, 2007 2:05 pm

Hi Diane,

Thanks for the thoughts - I did think it weird that she would recommend Five Star and USA as well. I did make it clear I was moving to NYC, and mentioned it several times, so I don't think that was an issue.

With regards to Five Star, the only website I could find: http://www.movers.com/moving_companies/ ... s-info.htm. Looks kind of sketchy :)

She recommended companies based nearby my location - Evanston. She asked for my zip before she made any suggestions, so I assume she entered it into her database and went from there.

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

Re: *Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby Diane » Tue Apr 17, 2007 3:10 pm

Well, although I respect Pat's opinion, I added a note to the Superlist saying that anyone considering using Five Star should do a search on this website first. I seem to recall that people had some questions about the company. Normally any company that has such annoying music and coupons on its website would be suspect.

chewie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: *Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby chewie » Sat May 12, 2007 4:55 pm

Hi,

OK, just an update of our situation. We contacted 4 of the companies listed above - Planes (United), Prager (NAVL), Deerfield (Atlas) and Federal / Whalen (Allied). Of the 4, I was able to successfully make appointments with Planes, Prager and Federal - the person I talked to from Deerfield assured me that a sales rep would call me the next day, which did not happen. Given that I had already made appointments with the 3 other companies, I did not pursue them since 1) it was clear they were not interested in my business, and 2) being so unresponsive up front did not bode well.

The following is my take on the sales process for each of these 3 companies:

1) Planes (United)

- Our sales rep was Scott Johnson, Director of Sales. Given that Scott has appeared in a number of reviews on this site, I wonder if he takes all the sales calls for Planes?
- We were immediately struck by Scott's professionalism and efficiency. He was only about 7 minutes late and apologized profusely. He was very clear in explaining to us all our options. He had all the material he needed to provide to us on hand and organized well. He patiently explained all the items on the estimate, as well as peripheral items such as insurance options, high value inventory declaration, additional services, doing our own packing, etc.
- In keeping with appearing on top of things, he knew off the top of his head the agent that would be taking care of us at the destination (Suddath)
- It was easy to see why he is Director of Sales and in United's "Master Club" (top 7% in sales)
- He was relatively thorough in walking though our apartment, and printed out a list of all the items we would be shipping, and the boxes we would be needing. He told us we could pick up used boxes from Planes, and purchase other packing materials at a nominal fee.
- After our in-house estimate, we touched base with him for further explanations on the additional services list, as well as to determine if a shuttle was needed for our destination. He was always very responsive, returning our calls promptly and explaining things over the phone to us.
- In all, we were very happy with the level of pre-sales service Scott provided to us, and we hope that this level of service will continue throughout the move process



2) Federal / Whalen (Allied)

- We were far less impressed with our Federal sales rep (Rich Folger). While he seemed like a nice guy, he definitely did not seem as efficient or on top of things as Scott did.
- He did not have information on insurance on hand, and he said he would send it to us, but never did
- He did not explain many items in the packet he provided us. He also did not elaborate on the additional services list like Scott did - I did not even realize that the list was in the estimate until I examined the estimate closer, after the fact
- His estimate in terms of weight as well as price was very close to that of Planes. The Planes price was slightly higher, though.
- He had no idea who the destination agent would be, only saying that "my girl takes care of that." He promised to get back to me with that information, but I never heard from him again.
- He did not provide a list of the boxes I would require, nor did he volunteer any information as to how I could obtain boxes or packing materials


3) Prager (NAVL)

- We did not enjoy our experience with the Prager sales rep (Sharone Mitchell)
- First, he rescheduled our appointment with him because he had to "pick his girls up from college"
- On the day of, he was over an hour late. He called several times before to let us know he was running late, but not one apology.
- When he got to our place, no apology again, and he did not even shake my hand - not a good start
- He was the only one of the 3 reps who did not notice that we take off our shoes before entering our living room, and so he strode everywhere in his boots - extremely insensitive
- He started out by complaining about how bad his day had been and how he didn't get much sleep the night before - sorry, not my problem!
- Midway through our conversation, I found out that he actually is not employed by Prager! He is a contractor who does sales for them in the Chicago area. He told me "they do a good job up there at Prager." Sorry, not very convincing. Who do I call if something goes wrong?
- The system he used was extremely archaic. He needed to point this laser at a reference card he was holding to identify the items in the various rooms. Scott from Planes had a Palm OS PDA and Rich from Federal had a tablet PC. Unimpressive.
- He asked me 3 times where I was moving to - twice over the phone, and once in person. He asked for my name again when he was entering it into his system. This is all information he should have had to begin with, but it was obvious that he could not be bothered to remember.
- The clincher was that he estimated 1000 lbs LESS than both of the other guys, and therefore his estimate was $1,500 cheaper! Maybe it was an honest mistake, but I found it very sketchy. His initial quote was "nonbinding," only when I asked him for a "not-to-exceed" quote did he print out one for me.
- He did not print out an additional services list, which I understand from Diane is required by law
- I could not get him out of my apartment fast enough!


If you can't tell from the above, I chose Planes. I felt that they seemed the most competent, and Scott extremely reliable and professional. I will be visiting their facility next week to pick up boxes and tie up some loose ends.

I will update the forum again as the move progresses to let everyone know how things went.

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

Re: *Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby Diane » Sat May 12, 2007 5:52 pm

Thanks for the update - this is very useful and may help others who are moving from Chicago and currently asking for assistance here.

The reviews show that you aren't the first to express dissatisfaction with Prager's estimators. It's too bad because Prager is considered a good company by people in the industry, but they don't seem to be putting enough effort into selling their services to the public. Your estimator's visit sounds like a nightmare.

From following this board over the past four years, I know that sales reps sometimes do things to make their estimates lower than the competition and get the move. Among these tactics are:
1. Purposely estimating the weight low and trying to make the estimate Nonbinding at first.
2. Failing to mention that the customer can purchase enhanced valuation coverage ("insurance") at additional cost.
3. Failing to mention that additional services like shuttles may be needed at additional cost.

It would appear that the Prager rep was at fault here, and to some extent the Allied rep was as well. An honest rep like the one from Planes who estimated the weight accurately and brought up both valuation coverage and additional services would be at a disadvantage because the average customer might have been frightened off.

If a general manager at a moving company was trying to train new sales reps, I think your post would be a good way to show them what things customers notice and like or dislike.

indexer
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue May 08, 2007 2:27 pm

Re: *Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby indexer » Sun May 13, 2007 11:04 am

Thanks for those tips. I spoke to the same Prager rep on the phone, and didn't get such a good feeling from him. He didn't seem too flexible about scheduling an estimate (afternoons only, which is tricky for oiur family because of my work schedule and my preschooler's napping schedule) and I guess he just wasn't as "friendly" as the others. Scott from Planes is coming to us this week, as well as a few others.

yc
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2005 12:10 pm
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: *Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby yc » Sun May 13, 2007 11:37 pm

A friend and I are actually also moving from Evanston to NYC in late June. I am going to explore some of these movers that were mentioned, especially Planes. Thanks chewie for doing so much research and legwork. I will let you know what I decide!

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

Re: *Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby Diane » Mon May 14, 2007 9:37 am

Someone pointed out on another thread that it's hard to find a phone number for Planes Chicago. These are the numbers that I think are correct - 877-278-0714 and 630-851-3700.

chewie
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:20 pm
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: *Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby chewie » Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:20 pm

Hi All,

OK, so following up on my previous review of the sales process of Planes, Federal/Whalen, and Prager, here is my review of the actual move conducted by Planes... 10 months late to be sure, but better late than never! :)

As we expected from the sales process, Scott remained relatively responsive during the run-up to the move, although he passed most coordination to Relocation Coordinator Virginia Deschaine (who retired shortly after my move was effected). She was not as responsive as Scott, but still acceptable. There wasn't much to coordinate, after all - other than dates / times of packing, delivery, etc as well as payment details.

A word of caution - they didn't include any boxes in their quote (since we were self-packing), though they said we were welcome to come to their warehouse and pick up whatever they had available. Their warehouse was 1 1/2 hours away from us, but we took the opportunity to make a site visit, settle payment details, etc. Unless you live close to their warehouse, I would recommend finding other sources of boxes nearby. We were pretty impressed with their warehouse - clean, organized, and the people were friendly.

On the day of the move, the movers were supposed to come at around 9am, I believe. They actually got there at 8:30 - early. In general, I was pretty happy with the move at the source. The team that I got was a little rough around the edges - the actual team leader was on vacation or jury duty or something (I forget). One of the team members was quite inexperienced and young - his summer job. And I was disturbed by the fact that they placed some of my heavy (book) boxes on top of some other, less heavy duty boxes. They assured me that it was OK, but I did see some of the boxes being slightly crushed by the heaviness of the books. In addition, while they were moving, they chatted about other clients, which I found slightly unprofessional. In short, they got everything done quite quickly (finished in mid-afternoon, for a 2BR apartment), so they were relatively efficient, but the crew was slightly unprofessional (though not to the extent that I felt the need to "complain" to Scott or anyone else at Planes / United).

They warehoused my stuff in IL for about a month (we went on vacation :) ), then transported to my new location in Brooklyn, NY.

On the other end, the receiving agent was Suddath. They arrived on time and completed their work extremely quickly (they had another place to pack after ours).

When we unpacked, we found that everything had arrived in good shape - no damage whatsoever (other than a glass that I dropped while unpacking... :? )

As a bonus, we were informed (proactively) that the weight of the shipment had come in below the estimate, and the refund was posted to my credit card within a month of our move.

So, all-in-all, I am pretty happy, though not ecstatic about our experience with Planes. On the other hand, when I hear some of the horror stories from friends who made the same move (Evanston to NYC), I'm very pleased with our decision to go with Planes. I'm just very anal (can't you tell?). I would absolutely recommend Planes again to anyone wanting to make an Interstate move!

ArchieWhite
Posts: 2942
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:38 am

Re: **Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby ArchieWhite » Sat Mar 22, 2008 6:10 pm

It came in under budget, there was no damage, and they were on time.....sounds like the perfect move to me.

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

Re: **Moving from Evanston, IL to New York City

Postby Diane » Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:20 am

chewie,

Thanks for this basically good review of Planes Chicago, which I'll add to the Superlist linked to under my name. Just an update that Scott Johnson, the sales rep you praised above, has left Planes and is working for Blackhawk (United). And the sales rep for Prager that you (and others) had problems with is no longer working for them.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.


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