Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

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1qwerty
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:26 pm

Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby 1qwerty » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:36 pm

Hi all,

I am moving from Los Angeles, CA to Santa Fe, NM, and need some help. I have gotten estimates from 5 movers, and my 3 favorite so far are:

Andy's Transfer
Delancey
STS

All three movers that I am considering want to charge close to the same amount (there's a bit of difference but nothing worth getting into). Delancey's price is unknown since they gave me a nonbinding estimate, but they assure me that their estimate will be very close to the final number.

Here are my impressions of each mover:

1. Andy's Transfer sent an estimator named Ralph, who seems extraordinarily professional, experienced, and trustworthy. He estimated 14,098 lbs. and gave me a BNTE. This company seems to really want the business, and for me to be a satisfied customer. The problem with this company is that, like any broker, it can lose control of the move. I am especially worried about unloading. Does anyone have any information about the crews in Santa Fe (i.e. if they have a reputation for being generally good or bad)?

2. Delancey sent two guys named John and Zach, who were personable and seemed to really know what they are doing. They estimated 9,500 lbs., and gave a nonbinding estimate. I want to choose this company because of its good reputation and because the profits go to a good cause, but I am concerned about their weight estimate, since it is significantly lower than the others, and the fact that the price they quoted is non-binding. But more importantly, they give a 30-day window for delivery, which seems unreasonable.

3. STS sent Simon and Joe, who seem to be relatively new to the company. They estimated 10,500 lbs., and would charge a flat fee. I know this mover has gotten rave reviews on this site, but the reviews have been about Don and I don't think anyone has discussed their experience with these other guys (maybe because they are so new). STS seems very busy right now and I am not entirely confident that they want the business, given how long it has taken to get an estimate. Also, they told me that they would have to use 2 trucks to haul my stuff, which makes me a bit nervous since more can go wrong en route, but at the same time it lets them bring their guys so that the unloading will be totally within their control.

The other two movers, whom I am not considering for various reasons, estimated the weight in the 13,000 lb. range.

I would really appreciate thoughts that people may have about which mover I should pick, and especially any information about unloading crews in Santa Fe. Thanks!!!

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

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby ArchieWhite » Fri Jun 27, 2008 5:47 am

I've never heard of sending two people on a sales visit. Was one of them in training? Why would it be a 2 man job?

BillAdams
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Location: Cos Cob, CT / Oxford, CT

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby BillAdams » Fri Jun 27, 2008 6:20 am

Selecting the right mover means more than getting cost estimates, and it seems that you're on the right track.

It doesn't appear that any of these companies gives you 100% confidence. Therefore, I might suggest that you consider meeting with another company or two.

Pick independent self-hauling companies that can offer a shorter delivery window, or agents for well-known national van lines. It should not be difficult for a mover with capacity to make delivery on a load of your size within 9 days of the pickup date.

Look at Diane's superlist for movers in your area.
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=8038
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
-Mark Twain

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby Diane » Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:53 am

1qwerty wrote: STS sent Simon and Joe, who seem to be relatively new to the company.

Just a clarification that Simon (Garcia) and Joe (Kiss) are long-time friends of Don who have worked with him as fellow movers and drivers for years, although not directly as employees of STS.

Personally I think any of the three choices would be fine. Andy's does sometimes use another company (assigned by the van line) to haul the out-of-state shipments it books, but from what I understand, it monitors that kind of situation tightly, and reviews show that customers have been happy overall. With a large shipment like yours, I don't think delay would be a problem either.

The reason that Delancey always gives such long delivery windows for long-distance moves is that "30 days" is the standard estimate that has been prescribed by the people running the Delancey Street Foundation. The foundation has as its main goal rehabilitation of offenders, not moving, and it doesn't do nearly as many long-distance moves as van line agents would (for example). The moving is secondary to other activities like counseling of residents. The people running the foundation don't like for residents to be away from the residence facilities too many days a year, since when they're away they don't get the benefit of the rehab activities. So only a limited number of trucks are sent cross-country every month - hence the long delivery window. In addition, one of the bedrock principles of the foundation is to be truthful - not to promise more than you can perform.

1qwerty
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby 1qwerty » Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:13 pm

Thanks so much for your reply, Diane. You have made me feel much better about this stressful process. I now understand that I don't need to worry about some of the things that had been a concern for me. I also feel fortunate to have found three movers that would all do a good job.

While I appreciate what you are saying about Delancey, they are quite busy right now, and the more I think about it, the extended delivery window does not work for me. I have two young kids, so waiting a few weeks for our stuff to arrive doesn't seem like the greatest idea. Your reminder about their goals motivates me to make a donation to the organization, so at least I will feel good about that when I tell them I am giving the business to someone else.

As for deciding between Andy's and STS, you have made that an even tougher choice. My concern about Andy's stemmed in part from a posting on this site about a move made to Atlanta in which the customer said that Andy's lost control of the move. It sounds like that is pretty unusual for this company, as opposed to something that happens often enough that I should be worried.

Assuming that Andy's and STS are equally good choices, STS seems to have a slight edge in my mind because they would get our stuff delivered the next day and they would be using their guys.

So now I need to look at cost. As I said in the original post, the prices quoted to me are very close (within $200 of each other). I get the feeling that Andy's has some flexibility on price. Also, if I go with Andy's, the final cost may end up being even lower than estimated because the weight may be less than the 14,098 in the estimate. I know I can't count on that, though.

What would you recommend that I do at this point to make my decision? Should I give each company the opportunity to lower their price by sending them each other's estimate? Is there anything else I should be thinking about in making my decision?

And here's the tough question -- knowing what you do about these companies, which would YOU choose and why?

Thanks again!

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby Diane » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:13 pm

Wow, you are putting me on the spot with that one!

I don't know which company's bid is higher, which is fortunate I guess because I can't let that sway me. In answer to your question, I would not try to negotiate the price. I don't think that's your main concern anyway.

Although I personally would be comfortable with either company, I would choose STS because of the certainty that your things will go directly from CA to Santa Fe and will be unloaded by known workers. Using two trucks should not be a problem. Those two guys are Don's friends and I'm pretty sure that they have worked with him already on some of the moves reviewed on the STS review thread.

If you do choose STS I will be sure to add your good remarks about Andy's estimator Ralph to the Superlist.

1qwerty
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby 1qwerty » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:39 pm

You're right that price is not my main concern right now, though any savings I get would go toward a nice tip for the movers and would make me feel like I did something to break the tie that exists in my mind. Sounds like you're saying price negotiation would be unseemly somehow. What about asking for extra services, like additional packing without charge? Is there something else that movers can offer without much cost to them which would benefit me (like free boxes, for example, though I'm not asking for that because I don't have the time to drive over there and get them)?

And, yes, I purposely did not disclose the price or state which was higher so that did not sway you! The difference is small enough that it hardly matters in the long run.

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

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby ArchieWhite » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:44 pm

You could decide it either using the Ben Franklin method, or, flip a coin?

Big Dog
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Location: Colorado Mountains

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby Big Dog » Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:52 pm

Hmmm, let's see, I want extra services (packing) for free!! Go figure. I hope whoever gets this move, stands up for themselves & their pricing. 8)

Rick
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Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 7:59 pm

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby Rick » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:06 pm

Pick the company that will provide the best value! That's something you have to decide based on your own personal situation.

Years ago it was strickly verboten for a carrier to give away material - new or used. The ICC and FMCSA considered it a rebate which violates the tariff filing. Once the industry was deregulated, however, the compliance officers seemed to look the other way each time a consumer's expectations forced carriers to compete with this illegal activity.

1qwerty
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby 1qwerty » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:19 pm

All good points. I will probably end up going with ArchieWhite's coin flip method. Worked well when I chose my husband! :lol:

As for Big Dog's comment about the mover standing up for itself and its pricing... in some industries it's okay to negotiate price, and in some industries it's expected. I don't know what the standard is in the moving industry, so that's why I'm asking before I go offending people. In any case, whichever mover I do choose, I don't think they'll be disappointed with the tip and rave reviews I will give them for a job well done.

Thanks again to all!

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

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby ArchieWhite » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:24 pm

I bet that Big Dog was grinning when he said it...yes, movers negotiate too...the smart ones use it to their advantage, the dumb ones work for me.

You........" Can you improve your price a little?"

Me......" If I improve my price a little, can we book it today?"

My salespeople...." Yes, how much? just let me know how much that other guy is doing, and I'll beat that, and how many free boxes do you want, I think I can get my dispatcher to agree to shave some weight, and I think I can get the driver to get his truck in and no shuttle, and i think I can call the home office and get them to waive their commission"

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

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby Diane » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:29 pm

Well, my sixth sense tells me that STS was $200 higher. Yes, it's OK to try to negotiate. It's just that I personally wouldn't, because I know that STS is already trying to give very good prices and I want them to flourish. However, if that money is going to go toward a generous tip for the people actually doing the moving, you have my blessing to go for it!

1qwerty
Posts: 5
Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 9:26 pm

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby 1qwerty » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:37 pm

That settles it. ArchieWhite, have your salespeople get in touch with me. I think I can work something out with them... :D

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

Re: Please help me choose a mover in LA, going to Santa Fe, NM

Postby rydog444 » Fri Jun 27, 2008 2:39 pm

archie, can you send me an application?
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.


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