Von Paris or Hilldrup from IL to MD??? big weight estimate discrepancy

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hitthewall55
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Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 2:29 pm

Von Paris or Hilldrup from IL to MD??? big weight estimate discrepancy

Postby hitthewall55 » Mon May 04, 2009 2:41 pm

Hello all,

Thanks to everyone on here for their experiences and advice. This has been invaluable for a rather frazzled person trying to plan their first full service move.

My husband's employer (UMD-College Park) is giving us a 5000 dollar moving allowance with the stipulation that we coordinate the move through their relocation officer. They sent 3 surveyors to do in-home estimates for us - Von Paris for Mayflower, Hilldrup for United, and then someone for Graebel who never ended up sending the estimate to the relocation officer. Graebel got tossed as the whole thing seemed very unorganized and unprofessional. I've read the reviews and comments on Von Paris and Hilldrup and it sounds like either would be good, but we're having a hard time deciding based on the estimates.

Hilldrup estimated 9000 lbs and priced the packing for approx. 50 cartons at twice as much as Von Paris. Their estimate came in a shade over the allowance at 5200.

Von Paris estimated 6500 lbs and their packing estimate was also for about 50 cartons but 1/2 the cost of Von Paris. Estimate came in a bit under 3500.

I'm really struggling to understand the 2500 lb difference in the estimates. I find it hard to believe we could have 9000 lbs as we have a very modestly furnished 1000 sq. ft. home. We have a small upright piano that is heavy, but our table and chairs and sofa are extremely lightweight Ikea specials:)

By my calculation, Hilldrup is charging us about 1.02 dollars per pound before discount and Von Paris comes in at 1.08 dollars per pound before discount. So as far as weight goes we are pretty even with both, but I have no idea what to make of the huge weight discrepancy in the estimates. Also, the packing is twice as much for the same amount of things with Hilldrup. This is making me think something is maybe fishy with one of the estimates as that seems like a huge difference. Does anyone have any thoughts on this and what we should be weighing as we consider the estimates? The estimates were outsourced to agencies here in IL -- Hutchcraft came for Von Paris and Planes came for Hilldrup.

By the way major points for customer service to both Amanda Jewell with Von Paris and Lillian Niskala with Hilldrup. They have both been very helpful and speedy in their responses. I felt very comfortable with both surveyors, I am just confused by how they saw the exact same things and came up with such drastically different estimates.

PMueller
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Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:50 am
Location: Florida (Tampa Bay area)

Re: Von Paris or Hilldrup from IL to MD??? big weight estimate discrepancy

Postby PMueller » Mon May 04, 2009 3:12 pm

Have you reviewed the Table of Measurements from each surveyor? Do you have a large amount of books that perhaps one survey did not cube in book cartons but in 1.5 (Small) cartons? Is each representative offering a not to exceed estimate or have they provided a standard non bound estimate?
"Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

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

Re: Von Paris or Hilldrup from IL to MD??? big weight estimate discrepancy

Postby ArchieWhite » Mon May 04, 2009 4:30 pm

Walking thru a home and guessing the weight is like picking the Kentucky Derby winner, mostly luck with some skill involved.

Weight estimating is an inexact science, you never know the exact weight until that truck drives up on the scales. And then, on a windy or snowy/rainy day, the truck could drive around the block, come back to the same scales, and get a weight difference of 100's of lbs.

hitthewall55
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Von Paris or Hilldrup from IL to MD??? big weight estimate discrepancy

Postby hitthewall55 » Mon May 04, 2009 6:18 pm

Thanks for the responses. We have a fair number of books, but they are already packed in book boxes and so they have a set number on those (16). Neither surveyor provided a table of measurements. The estimates give pounds and cubic feet and that's it. The cubic feet measurement is also pretty far apart, 1286 vs. 926.

ArchieWhite, that is a rather terrifying comment. I hadn't really thought about how much weight could be added to a truck due to rain or snow, though it makes perfect sense now that you bring it up.

PMueller- neither is a NTE estimate, both are non-binding. So we're kind of wherever we're at when it gets on the scales I guess. I would much prefer a not to exceed estimate, but we're sort of at the whims of the relocation folks at Maryland and unable to dictate much since they are paying (hopefully) for it all.

In your experience, is it more common for companies to err low or err high with poundage estimates? We really can't pare down any more, we're pretty sparsely furnished as is, but since our hotel costs on the trip out have to come from the same 5000 dollar allowance, having a better sense of whether we'll be over or under would dictate where we stay and also if we do the one extra night on the road as a convenience (we have a 5 year old and a baby) or try to bite the bullet and drive through to save the money. I'm also trying to decide whether we should be extra cautious and assume the high estimate is right and just forget the packing service and do it ourselves so there are no surprises in terms of going over the allowance come moving time. The packing was a luxury I was really really looking forward to (we've done 4 cross country moves ourselves in 8 years) but I'm not really willing to pay out of pocket for it if there is a chance we go over the allowance amount.

weem
Posts: 201
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2004 9:54 pm
Location: norteast, Md

Re: Von Paris or Hilldrup from IL to MD??? big weight estimate discrepancy

Postby weem » Mon May 04, 2009 9:18 pm

Demand a NTE---threaten to each that you will go with the other unless they provide a NTE "not to exceed"---if neither will do this threaten to "open up" your move to other companies.

PMueller
Posts: 860
Joined: Fri Dec 02, 2005 8:50 am
Location: Florida (Tampa Bay area)

Re: Von Paris or Hilldrup from IL to MD??? big weight estimate discrepancy

Postby PMueller » Mon May 04, 2009 10:14 pm

Since your company has requested the estimate of the companies listed, do they have a contract in place with each that they are basing the pricing on? Is the company allowing you to choose whichever company you prefer?

Regardless of whether the company is paying each should provide you with a Table of Measurements or a cube sheet listing the items they viewed with you that will be part of your shipment, typically also listed are the items in the residence that is not going and is indicated as such. I definitely recommend requesting this from each company and reviewing it. This will help identify the difference in cubes which equals the difference in weight. With a 7 lb per cubic ft weight factor (common in the industry) the cubes you provided of 1286 equates to 9002 lbs & 926 equates to 6482 lbs.

I am thinking that each company may have estimated a full pack, those rates are based off the weight of the shipment - which would make the 9000 lb pack cost more than the 6500 lb one, regardless of the number of cartons packed.

If the pricing is not based off a company contract - request a not to exceed type of estimate from each, if they want your business they will provide one. I know both of these agents, they are good and they want your business!

Each estimator has different levels of experience, with viewing items and working with their respective equipment. I know when I first changed to the new electronics, it took me a few times to get my accuracy on target. I don't know their styles so it's difficult to advise whether they go high or low. I tend to estimate a little on the high side for my clients, trying to offer a worse case scenario. However, in today's market and competitiveness in pricing - I'm scaling back to be a little more competitive. A standard rule of thumb - all estimates should be close, within a 10% range of each other. The two you have are not that close to each other. Talk with the relocation coordinator at the company about this and request to see the cube sheet (table of measurement). After reviewing this and in getting a not to exceed estimate you can make a more informed decision on which route to go.
"Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can't get it wrong."

hitthewall55
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Von Paris or Hilldrup from IL to MD??? big weight estimate discrepancy

Postby hitthewall55 » Tue May 05, 2009 9:09 am

PMueller- yes, UMD has a contract in place with each of these companies which is why we don't have a not to exceed. I'd feel much more comfortable with the whole thing if we did. I am thinking Hilldrup was a little overly conservative on the poundage estimate (the move coordinator there said she thought so too) in which case it looks like they end up being about the same if adjusted to go to the same weight. I've felt really comfortable with both, but I think we may end up going with Von Paris just because they used a locally based moving company (Hutchcraft in Champaign) on this end vs. Hilldrup sending someone from Planes in Chicago. I'm not sure that makes any difference in the actual move, but I think I'd like to throw business to the local company if possible.

You guys rock! Thank you so much for all of the advice. I will get those tables from them before making the decision and then I will post about how the move went and whether the estimates were accurate or way off.

hitthewall55
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 2:29 pm

Re: Von Paris or Hilldrup from IL to MD??? big weight estimate discrepancy

Postby hitthewall55 » Tue May 05, 2009 9:14 am

Oh, I should maybe add the following re: the surveyors. The surveyor for Hutchcraft, Tom Walsh, asked what the allowance was for the move and assured me there was no way we'd be over budget given what we have to move. He kind of couched that with a "I shouldn't tell you that right now since Von Paris will be setting the rate, but there is no way this is 5000 worth of belongings." The second surveyor, Art from Planes, played it much much closer to the vest. Both men have been doing this for a long time, which is part of what concerned me when the estimates were so far apart. If I could write off one due to getting a really young or inexperienced surveyor, it would sure be much easier to know which is closer to the real weight.


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