Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

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JULY
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:25 am

Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby JULY » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:24 am

I contacted moving companies regarding my interstate move from Boston to DC and these were my results:

Gentle Giant (local/independent): I called them at least four times before they returned my call. When they did, the guy talked my ear off for a half hour. He said they would be willing to do an in-home estimate but it would take over a week to have someone come to my apartment. He said that they were expensive for my kind of move, and really sounded like I wouldn't want to go with them. He told me he would give a quote via e-mail if I provided all the info he asked for. He said that a 1-br apartment is usually like 3k lbs so it would be easy to figure out and they wouldn't need to come out. He also said that 3k lbs would be more than $4k. I gave him my e-mail address but he got it wrong and I had to call back and correct my e-mail. I finally got the e-mail and responded with my household items on June 20th (it's now the 24th) and I haven't received a response. I'm thinking they are out of the picture now.

Big Foot Moving (local/independent): Jim Cronin came by and was very professional and nice. He didn't have the R&R booklet, but told me about it. He took notes on his palm and e-mailed me a quote the following day. They were the first company I met with and quoted me at $5,500 with 5,000 lbs (including packing some picture boxes). They said they would probably not be willing to do a not-to-exceed quote since summer is very busy and competitive for them, so the final cost would be calculated by weight alone. They said they would let me know by today if we could potentially be paired with someone else for the trip so we wouldn't have to pay for their return trip to MA. I really liked them but since they are a local company, I'm not sure we could afford them.
EDIT: Jim Cronin e-mailed me this morning and said they did not have anyone else going to VA and said they know they are on the higher side and if we need anything let them know.

Olympia (Wheaton Van Lines): I have heard mainly good things about this company, but they don't have the special thumbs up on this site which I like hehe. It's nice they have a warehouse right outside DC, but that didn't seem to be a big helpful factor in the cost of our move. The rep who showed up for the estimate was Kevin Doherty and he was very professional and nice. He put all the info into his palm and printed out a quote for me right there. Kevin said that we would have the same driver the whole time, which calmed my fears a lot about a van line company. The same driver would load and unload, but would have a different person assisting him each time. He couldn't determine right away if we would need a shuttle because he didn't know if a 25 ft truck or an 18 wheeler would be coming. The shuttle cost would be $613 at either side, and he included one shuttle cost in our quote. He gave me the R&R booklet and other helpful information - a handout on insurance, packing materials, "countdown to a successful move", another booklet about the company and a little box to put it all in. He said that they would be willing to give me a not-to-exceed quote. Kevin estimated us at $3042 / 4473 lbs with $156 to pack up some mirror boxes for us. He said he would give us a 2 day load window (July 2-3), and a 4 day unload window (July 5-9) and said they would call 48 hours before pick-up/delivery to confirm. He also said that Wheaton was the only Van Line company that only hauls household goods. He gave me his business card and the business card of someone who is in the office 9-5 in case I could not reach him. Oh he also mentioned how Olympia had won an award from Wheaton - agent of the year recently.

Humboldt (United Van Lines): Dave MacDonald came by to do the estimate. He was very professional and nice. We went through the apartment with his palm and he took notes. He explained that they would put carpet padding on my wood floors so they would not be damaged in the move, and explained that they would inventory everything carefully before loading it into the truck. He gave me a large folder with the R&R booklet, a "pre-planned moving guide" booklet, a "doing your own packing" booklet, and an explanation of non-allowables sheet, along with a few other things in the folder. Dave also told me if I wanted free used boxes he could provide those to me at no cost. He offered a do-not-exceed quote and he estimated 4367 lbs @ $3017, including one-shuttle truck. He brought a portable printer with him and printed out the estimate right there, which was nice. I asked how they would keep track of my things in the truck and he said they do an inventory, make stickers with unique bar codes, and use our mattress and box spring as a wall separator. They also use blue straps as a separator, and inside the truck is numbered 1-23 and they mark which spots we are occupying in the truck. To unload the truck, he said in DC they would have help. He explained payment at delivery and said they would send a refund check if the move was less weight than the estimate. He gave me a window of July 7th-12th for pick up and delivery, and said he would know more when it got closer. Dave said I would be assigned one of two workers at Humboldt who would be my official move coordinator. I didn't know if my apartment in DC would have 18-wheeler access, and he said I should call them. He said if my building manager still didn't know, he would send a partner agent in DC to drive by and check it out for free. That made me feel a lot better. Dave seemed to offer me the most details about things without me having to ask moreso than any other company. He also mentioned that my building might need a "certificate of insurance" and I need to call and ask or they might not be let in the building. No other company told me about this possibility. He also pointed out that the glass on my TV stand would have to be removed in order for them to properly move it. I said that I would not be taking it apart and asked if they could do it and he put that into the cost - very thorough!

Marathon (Stevens Van Lines): Paul Nelson, the company owner, came by to do the estimate. He was a half an hour late, but called ahead of time to say he was on his way and that his prior appointment had run late. Paul and I walked through the apartment, and he wrote everything down but didn't give me the estimate right away and said he would e-mail it to me today. Paul said he informally estimated us at about 5k lbs. He was very nice, and had a "marathon moving" shirt on, but he wasn't very detailed with the information he gave me. Although he didn't show it, I felt like perhaps he was in a rush (it was about 7pm, so at this point I don't know if I blame him). He said in Arlington there would be help for unloading from "Manasses Transfer" - their partner down there. He said he would give us a do-not-exceed quote. Paul said he didn't know what insurance charges would be without a weight estimate first (I thought this was weird because all 3 other companies said it was based on valuation - 25k or 30k would be like $275-$330). I told him that other companies had given us LB estimates at 4400 and he sounded speculative they were legit and gave me a little speech. I think he was trying to be helpful but I didn't really like how he came off. He also gave me a small speech about making sure all my estimates were at the same weight and insurance, etc so that they would be comparable. It was very confusing and I didn't really follow him, and I didn't think it was necessary because all the companies come to their own determination . I ended up with less notes from his meeting than with the other 3 companies. I'm currently waiting for his estimate via e-mail. He gave me a folder filled with info - including R&R booklet, how to pack, and other handouts.
EDIT: Finally got my quote from Marathon Moving Company at 10pm tonight - formal estimate of $5,146 at 7500 pounds. So bizarre! He suggested , "As I mentioned at the onsite, I believe the estimated weight to be higher than others you have recvd. I would suggest you round the weight to get a true comparison on cost by having all quote the same weight. " But if the other companies (Humboldt and Olympia) are offering NOT-TO-EXCEED after looking at *everything*... then what is the point of that? Also he said, "This is true for insurance as well since insurance costs are also weight based so the only way to compare the cost of insurance is to compare its cost for the same weight." -- Isn't insurance based on the estimated total cost of your belongings and what you insure them for?! Honestly I haven't had a very good experience with Marathon and I haven't been impressed at all...

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I'd like to go with Big Foot, but they seem to know less about interstate moving, and they probably can't offer a do-not-exceed quote. I like the fact our stuff wouldn't need shuttles/transfers, but I guess that comes at a high cost.

So right now I think it's between Humboldt and Olympia. I need to figure out if my apartment building has room for a 18-wheeler or not because if not then I need to add a shuttle to the Humboldt quote (extra $400). I like the fact that Olympia may not even require a shuttle yet, meaning my stuff wouldn't have to be transferred, but they are unsure, so that stinks and it sounds like Humboldt definitely knows what they are doing regarding transfers/shuttles. Humboldt definitely knows I would need at least one shuttle. Humboldt shuttles cost $400 each and Olympia $613.

Still deciding today but I think I will choose Humboldt or Olympia by the end of the day, leaning towards Humboldt but I still like the fact with Olympia we may not need shuttles at all. And Olympia has better dates for what I would like, though Humboldt is doable. *think*

Any thoughts?

EDIT: I just spoke with my apartment building and they said an 18-wheeler can pull up. They also said that I don't need a certificate of service.
Last edited by JULY on Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:14 pm, edited 11 times in total.
Moving from Boston to DC : July 2008

ArchieWhite
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Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby ArchieWhite » Tue Jun 24, 2008 10:35 am

I vote for Humboldt....I know the owner, and they are a long time agent for United, very well respected in the industry, and from reading your post, they've done the best job of sales and service.

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby Diane » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:07 am

I vote for Humboldt as well.

The fact that Olympia has already included the cost of one shuttle in your estimate suggests to me that they are probably planning to pick up your shipment and hold it in their warehouse for re-loading onto another truck (either their own or the van line's), so I don't see much difference between them and Humboldt in that regard.

From what you write, Humboldt and Olympia just seem to be more experienced than the others with interstate moves. Thanks so much for giving all this detail - it will help others in the future.

JULY
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:25 am

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby JULY » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:09 am

I think Olympia is just unsure about whether they will use a bigger truck or a smaller truck, and they were just erring on the side of caution and included one shuttle. I really was very impressed with Olympia but Humboldt had the edge. And also glad the level of detail is helpful to people!
Moving from Boston to DC : July 2008

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

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby ArchieWhite » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:12 am

I just read a bulletin that restricts new bookings from just about everywhere ( including boston) until after July 13, so you might want to get on the books....Even if you are moving after July 13, the fact that they have closed it off up until then means that people who wanted to move before July 13, will have to book afterwards, and it begins to snowball and in the next day or two, they will extend the restriction a few more days, etc etc.

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

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby Diane » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:14 am

I'm glad to hear that you liked the Olympia rep and I'll make a note of that on the Superlist. I think they are probably a good company based on what a Wheaton driver told me years ago. They don't yet have a :thumbsup: simply because they don't have enough reviews here. It takes small companies a longer time to get 5 good reviews just because they are small, whereas a larger van line agent like Humboldt does many more moves.

JULY
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:25 am

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby JULY » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:15 am

ArchieWhite wrote:I just read a bulletin that restricts new bookings from just about everywhere ( including boston) until after July 13, so you might want to get on the books....Even if you are moving after July 13, the fact that they have closed it off up until then means that people who wanted to move before July 13, will have to book afterwards, and it begins to snowball and in the next day or two, they will extend the restriction a few more days, etc etc.


Yeah Humboldt told me to decide at least by Thursday. I think I will call today to confirm. Where did you read this bulletin?
Last edited by JULY on Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
Moving from Boston to DC : July 2008

JULY
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:25 am

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby JULY » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:16 am

Diane wrote:I'm glad to hear that you liked the Olympia rep and I'll make a note of that on the Superlist. I think they are probably a good company based on what a Wheaton driver told me years ago. They don't yet have a :thumbsup: simply because they don't have enough reviews here. It takes small companies a longer time to get 5 good reviews just because they are small, whereas a larger van line agent like Humboldt does many more moves.


A woman at my law firm told me she used Olympia for 2 local moves and 1 interstate move (Boston to DC) and they were great both times. For what it's worth... :)
Moving from Boston to DC : July 2008

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

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby Diane » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:17 am

Hey, it's second-hand, but it's still information from a trusted source (you). I'll add that info to the Superlist as well. :lol:

If anyone knows, I would be interested to know whether it's true that Wheaton is the only van line to haul household goods and only household goods, i.e. no freight.

JULY
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:25 am

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby JULY » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:21 am

Diane wrote: If anyone knows, I would be interested to know whether it's true that Wheaton is the only van line to haul household goods and only household goods, i.e. no freight.


I was also curious about that as well, but I had no reason to doubt the sales rep.
Moving from Boston to DC : July 2008

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

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby Diane » Tue Jun 24, 2008 11:25 am

Sometimes they don't really know. Incorrect info can get handed down from person to person innocently over the years like a Snopes legend. If I have time I'll call Wheaton HQ to ask. I just find it hard to believe because most van lines handle different types of shipments. Not a biggie even if it doesn't turn out to be true. Wheaton is a good van line.

JULY
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:25 am

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby JULY » Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:28 pm

Well let me know what you find out :)
Moving from Boston to DC : July 2008

rydog444
Posts: 1022
Joined: Fri Nov 23, 2007 11:44 pm

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby rydog444 » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:23 pm

All agents of van lines receive the bulletin from headquarters. United and Mayflower agents is who Archie was telling you about.
My job is to give the best domestic and international moving services to my corporate clients by using the best movers in the world, regardless of vanline affiliation.

JULY
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Jun 19, 2008 11:25 am

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby JULY » Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:44 pm

I'm still torn with Olympia and Humboldt.

Olympia could potentially bring a 25 ft truck for the whole move, which would save us $600... and would mean that our stuff would never have to be transferred. hmmm
Moving from Boston to DC : July 2008

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

Re: Quotes from MA to DC - Who to go with?

Postby Diane » Tue Jun 24, 2008 2:03 pm

No doubt about it, that would be the best, IF it happens. That's why I was telling you that I thought Olympia might be able to give you a good price. IF they could move you using their own truck and driver, they would not have to take the shipment to their warehouse to wait for a van line truck, AND their price would be likely to be less than the independent companies like Big Foot and Gentle Giant because they could get a return load from their sister company in VA. I guess it all depends on scheduling, and that's why Olympia doesn't know what will happen.


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