*Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

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chitola
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Evanston, IL

*Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby chitola » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:45 pm

I first want to thank everybody for contributing to this amazing forum. I wish I had done my homework and visited this website before I moved out to Evanston last year. I didn't do much research, took the lowest quote from an internet-based company, and was effectively scammed. Unfortunately, too many of us arrive here after it's too late.

It's time for me to move back to LA and so you can bet that I have a better idea of what to do this time around. I hope to give back by contributing my experiences with what I believe are 5 reputable Chicagoland companies. I have in-home estimates scheduled with the following:

Berger Transfer & Storage (Allied) - Encouraged me to get in-home estimates from every company, even if I didn't end up choosing them. I also like that they have a facility in Fullerton, near LA.

Ace Relocation (Atlas) - This one got back to me the quickest, and they have a facility in Long Beach CA.

Graebel American Movers - I already like the sales rep that will be visiting me; she called me back after her scheduler chose a time that didn't work as well for her. Coincidentally, there was a different time that worked better for both of us and we had a good chat.

Armstrong Relocation (United) - While most companies have somebody in the office scheduling visits, my sales rep called me directly to set up an appointment with her and she was very friendly.

Blackhawk Moving & Storage (United) - I wasn't considering Blackhawk until 1) Planes didn't call me back (see below) and 2) I received an e-mail from my father, who said that Blackhawk moved him from Chicago to San Diego two years ago and they were "very good." I think that my father was a corporate move, while I'm COD, but we'll see.


I am disappointed that I will not be receiving estimates from what I originally considered my two best options:

Prager (North American) - When I called the office, the sales rep told me that Evanston (which borders Chicago to the north) was outside of its service territory. The friendly sales rep then referred me to "Chicagoland Movers," which is actually Reebie Storage & Moving Co. (Allied). I guess Reebie's a joint agent for North American (makes sense, same parent company). I'm very disappointed to not be getting a quote from a NAVL agent, since NAVL is so highly rated by J.D. Power & Associates.

Planes Moving and Storage (United) - I'm sure Planes is great, but I requested somebody to call me via the company's website and nobody got back to me (it's been over 48 hours). They would probably be very quick to help me if I called, but I've scratched them since I consider this a service problem right off the bat. I contacted Berger, Ace, Graebel, Armstrong and Blackhawk through their websites, and all got back to me same day, if not same hour.


Last two notes aside, I feel much more confident and comfortable about the process, thanks to the words of wisdom from this website and others. Looking forward to it; will provide updates. If there are any new words of caution on the above agents then please let me know!

UPDATE: Removed Mayflower agent after receiving feedback from others that I had too many estimates set up.
Last edited by chitola on Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby ArchieWhite » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:56 pm

The fact that you learned from your earlier bad experience, and now are working with legit companies shows that there is room for hope....if the scammers only get people once, and people learn from that, maybe someday the scammers pool of customers will dwindle and they will become extinct.

I don't know how long that will take though, it might be a while.

Rick
Posts: 3269
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 7:59 pm

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby Rick » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:10 pm

Removed
Last edited by Rick on Mon Nov 15, 2010 4:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby ArchieWhite » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:17 pm

Actually, every single one of those agents this poster contacted are fine companies, and will do a good, professional job.....but contacting 8, no matter how good they are, is a little bit of overkill. I might narrow it down to 4 max. I wouldn't go to 8 car dealers to shop a car, or ask 8 roofers to quote on a roof job, or 8 dentists to quote on a root canal or 8 proctologists to do whatever it is they do back there......

bigmove
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:56 am
Location: California

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby bigmove » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:55 pm

I would go with 3 in home estimates.

chitola
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby chitola » Thu Sep 04, 2008 1:59 pm

My original plan was to contact 6. I added Blackhawk and Glen Ellyn after Prager and Planes didn't work out.

I know that 4 is somewhat of a magic number, but once bitten...you know. All of these are reputable companies, but this is my first time being exposed to any of the major van lines (all of my previous moves were self-moves, until I was scammed in my first interstate move). I'd like to learn more about the industry now while I have time. This will not be my last interstate move. In fact, I'm likely to have to move again in another two years. Does this industry have a frequent flyer program?

I did apply to 8 universities when I was making that decision way back when. I consider this move to be only a slightly less important decision. :wink: Price is also an issue (it always is), as is time (moving in less than four weeks). But again I will agree, 4 is probably enough. I hope I'm not wasting anybody's time.

I should mention for context that I'm in a 1BR apartment.

JDP did give NAVL some traction, even if I have little background on how the study was conducted, can't see the raw data, and am suspicious of how the results changed so much from 2007 to 2008. But partially because of JDP, I added Graebel and scratched Wheaton and Bekins. I believe that the presence of rankings creates competition among companies to improve customer satisfaction, and clearly that is what this industry needs. However, I would have preferred to see JDP expand its study past the national van lines to call out the many rogue operations. Because, while Bekins appears to be ranked "last," we know that there are "moving companies" out there that are much worse than any Bekins agent.

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

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby rydog444 » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:17 pm

You really don't need that many estimates. It's just a waste of everybody's time and the extra resources of 5 companies that won't get the move. The key thing is, you are considering all legit movers. 3 estimates from legit movers, the prices aren't going to be significantly different
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.

bigmove
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:56 am
Location: California

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby bigmove » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:38 pm

If you do get 6 estimates, I wouldn't recomend choosing the lowest. Out of six COD salesman these days, someone will likely come in very low on a binding estimate, which means somebody is going to get a bad deal. It could be a hard working driver, agent, and it could be you if the inventory doesn't match up.

chitola
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby chitola » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:49 pm

I appreciate everybody's feedback. I just called the Mayflower agent to cancel, and am trying to figure out which of the remaining 5 I will cancel. They're all pretty much equal for me based on what I know of them at this point. Only one I can't really throw out is Blackhawk, since that's a family referral.

bigmove, you can bet that more is going into this decision than price alone - there's a lot of other criteria that don't need to be listed in detail, but I have many questions for each agent. However, since others are really insistent that these are all legit movers, I'm really hoping that nobody offers something that would harm either their company or me.

I'm a fairly small move at ~2500 lb. (I think, based on what I moved here). I imagine that whomever needs to fill up a small amount of space in a truck will be willing to offer me the best deal. But again, more's going into the decision.

Thanks for everybody's continued comments!

bigmove
Posts: 438
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2007 6:56 am
Location: California

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby bigmove » Thu Sep 04, 2008 5:27 pm

Great, I think you are on the right track.

chitola
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 11:54 am
Location: Evanston, IL

Re: Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby chitola » Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:07 am

Wanted to give an update on how my estimates went. It confirms what this website already knew: these all appear to be really good movers, and I would have been comfortable going with any of them.

I ended up going with Ace Relocation (Atlas).

Ace Relocation (Atlas) - This was the first estimate I received, and also the longest in terms of time (well over an hour). The Ace rep went into a lot of detail on everything, from how I should select a mover (most of which I already knew from this site), to all of the awards the company has won, to how each step of the move would go. Surprisingly, although he had a PDA, he did not have a printer with him. I had to wait until the next day for him to e-mail it to me. At first I thought it was too high (compared to others), but as I tried to compare "apples to apples" I came to see it as a greater value. Ace offered me free Full Value Protection with a $0 deductible. I'm sure this results in more satisfied customers, should anything actually go wrong. Ace also had the most flexibility when it came to loading and delivery dates. When the sales rep followed up and asked me what he needed to do to "earn the move," I asked him to find out whether I would need a shuttle at my destination. He called his office in LA and got back to me within the hour, saying that they probably wouldn't need one or could do a long carry. His willingness to "earn the move" certainly sold me.

Armstrong Relocation (United) - If Ace was a little bit longer than I expected, then Armstrong was the most efficient. Upon walking into my home the sales rep immediately walked to my (not so small) LCD TV and asked if I had the box. When I replied in the negative, she strongly suggested that I find one to save myself a lot of money. The estimate would go a lot like that, with her making lots of recommendations on how I could save money. It was a very brief meeting; she actually stood with me at the breakfast bar rather than sitting down and chatting. She left me an estimate without explaining it. I did appreciate what I perceived as efficiency without the guilt trip of a sales pitch. However, I tossed Armstrong out once I relied that this estimate, which was very reasonable, did not include the costs of shuttles, should I have needed one (and I assumed that I would). Blackhawk's estimate would end up about the same (slightly less because of less estimated weight).

Graebel - I loved my sales rep from the beginning. She really seemed to understand my situation, and I felt like she would be my "teammate" throughout the move. More like a program manager rather than salesperson, and unique in that she would actually be my contact throughout the move. Once she gave me what looked like an amazing quote (the lowest transportation costs), I thought I was going to go with Graebel for sure. I ended up not because of two small issues. The first is that the dates with Graebel were a little bit tight, and I didn't want to accept delivery as quickly as they wanted. I could have gotten over that, but I was also shocked by their shuttle costs - the highest I was quoted. I mean, I'll pay for a shuttle, and don't mind if the moving company makes a profit off of it, but this was a bit much. But I would strongly recommend that anybody moving in the Chicago area get a quote from Graebel.

Berger Transfer & Storage (Allied) - Again, great rep. Really professional without coming across like a salesman. We had a good conversation. However, his estimate was higher than the others by over $600, even though he had also estimated the lowest weight of all the agents. Remember I have a small move (~$3000), so that made my decision easy. I will note that he followed up the next day and put in a request to his LA office to see whether I would need a destination shuttle. So he was certainly working hard (I told him to cancel the request so he wouldn't waste his time).

Blackhawk Moving & Storage (United) - Like Armstrong, the sales rep from Blackhawk was really focused on making my move as inexpensive as possible. She advised me on how to pack to keep weight low. Then she said that she would give me mirror boxes and should pack my two wall mirrors myself to save money. I should further save money on the TV by finding a box or wrapping it in sheets and bubble wrap myself - they would do the rest without needing an expensive LCD box. She also kept shuttles out of the estimate, saying that I wouldn't need them (Ace, Graebel and Berger all said I would). So, maybe unsurprisingly, her estimate was the lowest of all, but at least she showed me the price of the shuttles if I did need them (also the lowest quote). She even walked down me to my apartment's management office to ask about whether moving trucks would fit (we got a non-definitive answer). If I was making my decision solely on price then I would have gone with Blackhawk, but I just felt intangibly "better" about Ace and Graebel. I'm also pretty sure I would have messed up packing those mirrors and the TV. Blackhawk was also the least flexible on dates; I would have ended up moving out later than I wanted.


Honestly I'm starting to wonder whether I made the wrong decision to choose Ace over Graebel, just because I feel so positively about Graebel as a company, but there's a good chance I will end up satisfied. Will come back here after Ace loads and unloads.

simpson
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2008 5:04 pm

Re: **Moving Evanston IL to Los Angeles CA

Postby simpson » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:47 am

Double check with your building management, you do not need a shuttle where you currently live. There is a dock that is tractor trailer accessible.


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