My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

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ab2500
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My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby ab2500 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 3:46 pm

Let me start by apologizing for this very long post. I have gotten myself so confused and can use all the help I can get. I have asked a ton of questions, but whatever you can do to help would be much appreciated.


Formatting Note: The sub-bullets should be indented, but I wasn't able to add any spaces or indents. The sub-bullets are the open circles.


My parents will be moving from Columbia, MD to Sarasota, FL., and I have been tasked with setting up a few in-home estimates. It will be a 2-stage move. The first move will be, maybe ~40%, into storage. Then the final stage will be to get everything else out of the house and storage for the final move to Florida.

I have been researching a lot, maybe too much, and just started calling moving companies. There seem to be either no reviews for the Baltimore area offices or the reviews are very old.

I'm trying to be diligent and when I call and ask a lot of questions so I can narrow down the ones I want estimates from. I’m not doing very well with that, though, I haven’t been able to remove anyone from my list, and I haven’t even called them all yet.


BBB.org
• I realize I should take these ratings with a grain of salt, but.. I don’t often find the local companies on here. Should I be concerned?
• The Maryland branches are not showing up in BBB, but on their websites, they link to a BBB report on another branch (or headquarters). Should this be something to worry about?
o Alexander’s – Only Eagan, MN
o Ace Relocation Systems - ~5 other offices, but not this one
o Moovers – Only PA

Insurance:
If the moving company itself is selling Full Value insurance, is this legit? I do understand the free insurance is only $.60/100lbs (or something like that).

Drivers/Helpers
Some companies employ movers/helpers only as contractors, is this normal? I think it was Advance
Relocation Systems . It seems it would be better to have long-term employees you know you can trust.

Misc.
• With a weight based company, is it generally worth getting a “not to exceed” binding contract? That way there can be no surprises? I understand it may be more expensive.


Moving Companies
These are the ones I’m looking into. Has anyone heard anything fairly recently about these companies?


Atlas Van Lines
Advance Relocation Systems (Atlas Van Lines) Baltimore, MD

• I think they only employ contractors. That doesn't seem like a good thing to me, not sure if they have employed any particular person for a long period of time.

• Insurance is through them, no other insurance brokers/companies – is that real insurance?

• They have a “valuation” option..wasn’t clear on what this was.

• They said they didn’t have to pack the boxes in order to insure…seems contradictory to the others I’ve spoken with

• Storage is charged by how many vaults you use in the warehouse. Vaults are 7x7x10
o This also requires a lot of handling of belongings

• They use local Atlas agent for helpers at the destination

• They will transfer car along with household goods – is there anything wrong with this?


Alexander’s Mobility Services (Atlas Van Lines) Baltimore, MD

• I saw a review, from 2008, that Alexander’s was better than the other 2 Atlas Van Line agents listed above…for whatever that’s worth.

• There is a note on the website that Alexander’s is affiliated with Atlas, but that “Alexander's affiliated companies are not associated with Atlas Van Lines”. Just to be clear, does this mean that some branches of Alexander’s are NOT Atlas? Or just other types of companies?


Ace Relocation Systems (Atlas Van Lines) Upper Marlboro, MD

------
Movers USA, Inc. - Halethorpe, MD

• Very nice and helpful

• Cost is based on volume - I know we're supposed to watch out for these companies, but it actually doesn't seem bad. Supposedly, they estimate the actual size of your belongings to come up with the volume - they don't charge you for extra space taken up in the truck, how many of their warehouse crates you use.. This way, you don’t have any cost surprises when you arrive at the new house.

• They said all the right things, and he had answers for all of my questions. He actually dealt with a lot of my concerns before I even asked anything. – he obviously reads the same websites we do.

• They will also arrange (with another company) to move a car. They say it is fully covered – can I trust this?

• Is this worth anything? It seems to, since they are held to higher standards..
o They are a member of the Maryland Movers Conference The man I spoke with shows up as the Chairmen (Gil Ben Shoushan, Movers USA)

• I’m not thrilled that the there will be so many “moves”. The first stage of the move will require many moves and handling fees, but I’m not sure there’s another way around it. They pick up from the house, transfer belongings to crates at the warehouse, then for final move, transfer belongings from crate to truck..then unload truck at new home.

• They use a separate insurance broker and insurance company (theirs may have been revoked?? I’m not sure I completely understand the FMCSA information.

• They say that insurance companies do not insure Plasma TVs, is this true? I spoke with another company who provides their own insurance, and they didn’t seem to think it was a problem

• They seem to be affiliated with only AMSA and MMTA.


Glamour Movers - Westminster, MD

• Based on weight – not sure if they have a “not to exceed” contract option

• Storage cost is based on what size storage area we use.

• I think they have "full value" insurance, and I think it's just through the moving company, no separate insurance agency

• Told me that their delivery time is approx 2 days (pick up Monday, deliver on Wednesday morning). Since there are so many factors that go into long distance driving, I’m not sure they can “promise” that. The others I spoke with said something like “we have 10 days.”


Moovers
• I know I talked to them, but can’t find my notes. In looking at their site again, I don’t see a Maryland branch… ????


Other ones suggested by a realtor, so I should check into
Mayflower (local offices)
o VIP transport
o Baltimore storage company

North American (local sites taken from northamerican.com)
o Sterling Moving & Storage, Inc. Jessup , MD
o The Moving Connection, Inc. Linthicum, MD


If you made it through all of that, I commend you. Like I said, anything at all would be helpful. Thank you!

Diane
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby Diane » Sat Feb 12, 2011 7:16 pm

Hi - it appears that you may not have consulted the Superlist for well-reviewed moving companies as yet. I suggest that you start by reading this post and the one that precedes and follows: http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 7641#57641

You'll see that several moving companies in your area have :thumbsup: signs in front of their names, indicating that they have several good reviews here and no bad reviews as an origin agent. Just off the top of my head I see Hampden (Mayflower), Hilldrup (United), and Von Paris (United) in that category. You could start by asking Hampden and one of the United agents for an in-house estimate (it's probably overkill to have two sales reps from the same van line come, although you can if you want).

Among Atlas agents, the Superlist indicates that Ace Relo, Advance, and Alexander's are all good, although they don't happen to have enough good reviews for a :thumbsup: as yet. You could choose one of them for your third in-house estimate. Of the three, Alexander's is primarily a corporate mover, i.e. a company that moves people whose moves are being paid for by their employers.

I suggest that you also search here on the names of some of the other companies you mentioned such as "Movers USA" and "Glamour Moving" (you have to put the names in quotation marks) to see what others have said about them.

Regarding some of your other questions:

1. It's actually preferable to purchase valuation coverage from a moving company rather than from a third party except in rare cases where fine art or something like that needs to be covered in an unusual way. People have posted here that companies that ask you to purchase valuation from a third party are unwilling to vouch for their own performance as movers and may be financially unstable.

2. There's nothing wrong with a company using contractors rather than company employees as drivers. Some companies that do that have had the same drivers working for them as contractors for many, many years. It doesn't mean that the contractor is a recent hire or anything. It often has to do with the way the company wants to structure itself for tax and other purposes.

3. It's OK to send a car on the same moving van as the household goods but it's almost always more expensive to do it that way, and you have to be sure that the mover is actually going to send it with the household goods. Especially in the busy season, the mover will often "farm out" the auto move to an outside auto transporter or broker. I strongly suggest that you get a quote on the auto move from one or more of the auto transport companies endorsed by this website.

4. Do not go with any company that quotes by volume.

5. The most important thing about the BBB ratings is the number of complaints. The letter rating is almost meaningless unless it's an A+ (which is good) or C or lower (which is usually bad).

6. Instead of looking at the BBB, search on the mover's name on www.protectyourmove.gov to see how many trucks it has (it should have more than just one or two) and whether it has any hostage load complaints. If it does, you should run the other way in most cases.

7. Moovers will not be listed with the MD BBB because it has locations only in CA and NJ. It will not be able to give you an on-site estimate for the same reason. Although MovingScam endorses Moovers, if you want an on-site estimate you should choose a different company. In addition, Moovers doesn't have a storage facility in the Baltimore area, so if you want storage, you should use a local company.

8. Plasma and other TVs and other types of electronics are usually excluded from valuation coverage because of what is known as "inherent vice." There are components in electronics that can get disturbed during transport just because of being moved, not because of any negligence by the mover, so the mover can't be held liable. The mover also can't know whether the electronics were functioning properly prior to the move. So, I doubt seriously whether the company that told you it would cover malfunction of a plasma TV would really cover it. It might cover damage to the cabinet of the TV if there were scratches and dents and the cabinet had been packaged for moving by the moving company, but not the operation of the TV itself.

9. A Binding Not to Exceed estimate is the best one for a customer to have. With a Nonbinding estimate the customer has no protection from unexpected price increases.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

ab2500
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby ab2500 » Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:10 pm

Diane,

Thank you so much for your responses. I still have some concerns and questions. Please bear with me.

My concern is that the list and company reviews on this site appear to be over 3 years old. A lot can change in that timeframe. Would they still get the :thumbsup: today?

I have looked up many, many companies on BBB, SaferSys and FMCSA, but I don’t completely understand what I’m looking at. For example:
Hilldrup
Broker authority is inactive – is this important?

Insurance Requirements: Bond is required, but no Bond on file..

Active/Pending Insurance: There is a note says that for a company to be in compliance, they need $10,000 for cargo, but this company only has $5,000

It says the Blanket company is American Moving and Storage Association. Do I even need to pay attention to this?

If I’m reading this correctly, in 2005 they had a lot of authorities revoked.

….I may not be able to use Hilldrup anyway, they are pretty far away.


1.Insurance: So, you're saying that it’s not good if the mover gets you insurance through a third party? They would handle everything; I’d still only deal with the mover unless I had a problem, and then I think I would deal with the actual insurance company. That’s not better than dealing with the moving company if you have a claim? I really have no clue.

2-4. Thank you for the information and advice, I will definitely be following it.

5. BBB Complaints: Hilldrup and Hampden have 2 and 4 complaints, respectively. Others I’ve looked up have had 6+. At what point should I be concerned?

6. I have looked up every company I could find on those sites.. Hampden has 11 trucks and Hilldrup has 222. Should I only be concerned if a company shows below 10? (in all the companies I had looked up, the fewest I’ve seen is 10.

7. Moovers is out of the running..

8. TVs/electronics Insurance coverage – Makes perfect sense, thanks

9. Binding Contract: Thank you!!! That’s a big one..

Andrea

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

Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby Diane » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:03 am

ab2500 wrote:My concern is that the list and company reviews on this site appear to be over 3 years old. A lot can change in that timeframe. Would they still get the :thumbsup: today?

Yes. Parts of the Superlist have not been updated simply because the unpaid volunteers don't have time to move every new review to the Superlist. However, we keep mental tabs on new reviews and moving company people in various parts of the country email us to advise us when the Superlist is out of date. I personally am confident that any company with a :thumbsup: rating there still deserves it.

With regard to Hilldrup, if you decide you can use it, let me know and I'll look at its listing on safersys and advise you.

Insurance: So, you're saying that it’s not good if the mover gets you insurance through a third party?
That's what I'm saying.

BBB Complaints: Hilldrup and Hampden have 2 and 4 complaints, respectively. Others I’ve looked up have had 6+. At what point should I be concerned?

You have to compare the number of complaints with the number of trucks, because the number of trucks listed is an indication of how many moves a company does. If Hampden has 4 complaints over three years with 11 trucks that's OK. If Hilldrup has 2 complaints with 222 trucks that's sensational.
I have looked up every company I could find on those sites.. Hampden has 11 trucks and Hilldrup has 222. Should I only be concerned if a company shows below 10? (in all the companies I had looked up, the fewest I’ve seen is 10.

Having only one or two trucks is the thing that's a definite red flag because the company probably won't be able to service interstate moves effectively, and it may in reality be a broker that would farm out your shipment to some other company - you have no idea who.

Here's a thread where someone was considering movers in your area and commented on their sales reps, etc. - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=20107

MusicMom
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby MusicMom » Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:35 am

Hilldrup would be doing the long distance move under United Van Lines' license authority, so their own license does not need to be active.

chptrkrules
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby chptrkrules » Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:51 am

You can trust Perry Moving and Storage, they are family owned and have been independent since leaving our van line a few years ago, and they have a great reputation in Baltimore

Call and speak to Sam Perry, he does most of their estimates and is one of the owners.

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

Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby Diane » Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:46 am

Good suggestion.

brett g
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby brett g » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:10 pm

I wouldnt be surprised if Hilldrup self hauled this, since they are such a big agent. I know we would, we usually haul anything going to Florida, assuming that if it is a small shipment we have something to go along with it. You might want to consider contacting Suddath they are a little bit closer to Columbia than Hilldrup is + the have an agent in Florida. Perry is also a good company. I run into them quite often, and they seem to give really good prices, especially if you are in need of any storage. Good luck!

brett g
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Location: columbia, md

Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby brett g » Mon Feb 14, 2011 2:13 pm

I didnt see that Hampden was being considered. They are also a very good company. I know one of the reps for this company, and he is excellent at what he does. Pending on if he is the one who came out for the estimate or not, he will be sure that you have a smooth move.

ab2500
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby ab2500 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:01 pm

I can't thank you all enough for all of the advice, it has helped me immensely. I made appointments with Hampden, Perry Moving and Storage, and Movers USA. I had planned to call Suddath (and possibly cancel Movers USA), but then my mom told me she freaked out and set up appointments with 3 more places.. So now we have:

Glamour Movers
North American (no idea which agent)
Mayflower (no idea which agent)
Movers USA (by volume/linear)
Hampden (Mayflower and United agent)
Perry Moving and Storage (Sam Perry)

Brett: Who would you recommend at Hampden? Mark is currently scheduled to come out on Thursday. One thing I really liked about Hampden was that they provide supplies at cost.. I'm sure that's a huge help.

No point in calling Suddath now, we already have too many coming in. I'm sure this will confuse them more, but not much I can do at this point.

I'll let you know how it plays out. Wish us luck, I think we're going to need it..

brett g
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Joined: Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:24 pm
Location: columbia, md

Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby brett g » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:46 pm

The person you have coming out, is the one I would recommend. He will take great care of your parents, and provide them with a pleasurable moving experience. Or as pleasurable as a move can be anyway. You may want to cancel the appt that your mother set with Mayflower, Since Hampden is a Mayflower agent. Best of Luck to you and your parents!

ab2500
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby ab2500 » Tue Feb 15, 2011 7:31 pm

Thanks, Brett. I tried to tell her about the duplicate Mayflower agents and that too many quotes would just confuse her, but she wasn't in any mood to hear it. She was too overwhelmed. I'll just try to be there for all of the estimates so I can hopefully help her make a final decision.

Mach10
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby Mach10 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:26 pm

Glamour Movers. Funny stuff right there! Glamour Movers.

ab2500
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby ab2500 » Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:20 pm

Why do you say that about Glamour Movers?

Mach10
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Re: My head is spinning! - Long Distance Move

Postby Mach10 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:33 pm

Because I think that is a funny name for a moving company. Sounds a bit fishy. They may be great. Who knows?
Allied
United
Bekins
Mayflower
Glamour?


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