Question about cubic feet vs. weight

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Erin S.

Question about cubic feet vs. weight

Postby Erin S. » Sat Jun 26, 2004 8:04 pm

Most of the regulars here say it's a bad thing to do a move that's based on cubic feet and not weight. I'm a little confused now, because ABF and BE, for example, charge you by feet, not weight, and many people have had great experiences doing a self move based on cubic feet. Are there only a few exceptions to the weight rule? If other, smaller businesses try to sell you cubic feet, then are you about to be scammed? Is it just a difference between a self move and a full-service move? What if a smaller local company says it can do the same self-service thing as ABF does, can you trust that smaller local company?
Also, if a company like BE has the professional moving trucks and they do a self-move instead of a full-service move, why is it so much cheaper? It seems all that is lacking would be the labor to load and unload the truck, but even to hire help, the self move option is cheaper by half...it seems like it shouldn't be.
Sorry if this question has been answered before, if it has I have not been able to find it. Thanks.

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

Re: Question about cubic feet vs. weight

Postby Diane » Sat Jun 26, 2004 9:05 pm

Erin, these are good questions. The question about cubic feet has been raised before and I addressed it in #7 on my FAQ sheet - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1771 - but I'll expand on it a little.

ABF and BE are freight forwarders, not moving companies--although BE is also a moving company, and when it functions as a moving company, it charges by the pound just like the major van lines.

In their role as freight forwarders, both ABF and BE do “charge by cubic feet" in the sense that you are reserving a certain space in the trailer. If you reserve 10 linear feet, that is 720 cubic feet because the trailer is 8 feet wide and 9 feet high (10 feet x 8 feet x 9 feet). Freight forwarders like ABF and BE charge in this way and there's nothing shady about it. But it's more accurate to say that they charge by "linear" rather than "cubic" feet . . . i.e. the amount of floor space the goods will occupy measuring back from the nose of the trailer.

It has nothing to do with the difference between large and small companies, because ABF is much larger than BE and both charge by the linear foot. It has to do with the difference between a freight forwarder and a regular full-service moving company. Remember that rental vans, too, charge by the linear foot in the sense that you study your goods and then rent a certain length van that you think will hold them.

The only freight forwarders that I know of that move household goods on their own are ABF and BE. Besides the brokers that link you to freight forwarders (for example Movex and Help-U-Move), these are the only two companies that I know of that legitimately book by feet (linear). If any other company starts talking to you about linear (or cubic) feet, run away.

You asked whether a smaller company might tell you it is just like ABF or BE and it can quote by linear feet, and then it would proceed to scam you. That hasn't happened so far, but it could happen. That's why it's important to deal only with known, reliable companies like ABF and BE. If a broker like Movex can place you with a good company like BE or Landstar, then it, too, can legitimately quote by linear feet.

As for why a move with ABF (or with BE in its self-move or freight forwarder role) is so much cheaper than a move with a full-service mover, after you go through your move with BE you'll understand this better. Not only are you contributing your own labor, but you're entering a macho, no-frills environment. These companies have gotten the moving business down to the basics. Also, and this is just my opinion, they are run more efficiently and have less overhead than some major van lines.

Hope this helps. I like to get questions like this because I can add them to my FAQ sheet, so keep them coming!

Erin S.

Re: Question about cubic feet vs. weight

Postby Erin S. » Sat Jun 26, 2004 10:12 pm

That makes some sense. However, I have another question - please indulge me - what then is the real difference between the full service move and the freight hauler move, other than the pamper factor? I got quotes from full service movers: They show up on one of two set dates, they load our stuff (I pack boxes to save money) in with other people's stuff, they drive to our new home dropping other people's stuff off along the way, they unload our stuff. This is basically what a freight hauler will do, except you load and unload; the load/unload part doesn't seem like a big enough deal for the full service mover to charge me more than twice the amount of money. I don't mind doing organizational legwork with a freight hauler, either. Maybe there's something I don't understand about the rules and regulations? I worked as a temp one summer for a major insurance company and was on the phone all the time to major van lines...people were upset about damaged or missing stuff and seeking reimbursement, etc. If these people thought they would not have to worry about anything with a full service move, they were wrong! If it's such a big headache even with full service movers, why are more people not aware of the freight hauler option, which really seems quite competitive?
- These are the kind of questions that run through my head late at night as I'm trying to fall asleep...I cannot WAIT to get this move over with so I can sleep again! Thanks so much to everyone who's posting info and experiences here, it's been very helpful to me so far...I don't think I could get help better than this anywhere else.

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

Re: Question about cubic feet vs. weight

Postby Diane » Sun Jun 27, 2004 1:53 am

Erin,

You have posed a question that is likely to reap some heated replies. Wiith your permission I am going to post it as a separate topic so that the moverguys on this board can see it easily and respond. I will just say that I have been convinced of what you say for a long time, and whenever I was doing a small move, I have put my money where my mouth is by using freight forwarders.

It's the difference between acting as your own general contractor when remodeling a house and hiring a general contractor. Some people enjoy the experience of interacting with all the various subcontractors (dispatchers, drivers, and so on) and some people would prefer to have it all done for them. When I was doing small moves with relatively inexpensive items, I decided I would rather interact with people--you learn more that way anyway--and save 30%-40% or more over the cost of a full service move in the process.

Whenever I was moving a whole houseful of things, however, I have used a full-service mover.

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Question about cubic feet vs. weight

Postby Michael » Sun Jun 27, 2004 5:32 pm

Lets make this point also, 1000 pounds is not 15,000. Doing it yourself with 1000 pounds is a lot easier then doing it yourself when you have 15,000.

Also, you pay for feet, or linear feet, from these frieght forwarders, not cubic feet. Isnt that what you said Diane??
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

Erin S.

Re: Question about cubic feet vs. weight

Postby Erin S. » Sun Jun 27, 2004 6:06 pm

I had a mover come over and look at our stuff, he said we had about 8,000 pounds, maybe a little less (on paper he put 8,700 but he said he always estimates high). That really surprised me. We've moved locally before with UHAUL with no problem, and we still have the same stuff...plus a baby and her gear, which isn't that much more. I think we'll do fine with a self service move. The rep (from Lippincott Van Lines, North Haven, CT) quoted us $5,106 if we pack all the boxes ourselves. I'd be tempted if we had the money, but it's too expensive for us. The rep was great and the other two people I spoke with over the phone were very nice and helpful, and I have not been able to find any dirt on them either.
By the way, for those who are also in CT looking to move, I got a quote from Amodio Van Lines...very unprofessional. The guy didn't want to bother coming to our place to do an in-home estimate, he asked what Lippincott had quoted me. I told him 8,000 pounds even though it was 8,700. His quote for 8,000 pounds was higher than Lippincott's 8,700 pounds. And he talked trash about the president of Lippincott. I was very unimpressed.
And it is linear feet, sorry. Movex said we'd probably need 14 linear feet (we'll probably move with Movex, but I haven't signed a contract yet).
Here's a question about the bill of lading: Movex said we'd get one, but what will be on it...the number of boxes and type of furniture, or just that we filled a space on the truck?

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

Re: Question about cubic feet vs. weight

Postby Diane » Sun Jun 27, 2004 6:57 pm

Erin,

Just going by the book, 8,000 pounds is 1,143 cubic feet because the standard conversion factor in the industry is 7 pounds per cubic foot. Then, if you divide this 1,143 cubic feet by 72 cubic feet per linear foot (the trailer is 8 feet wide and 9 feet high inside) you get 15.9 linear feet. So I think you may actually be around 16 linear feet rather than 12 or 14. You have to go a little high with the linear feet because nobody can fill the space all the way to the roof of the trailer. You probably should reserve at least 14 and then you can use the extra 2 feet if you need them.

I think "23" would probably go even higher and convert your 8,000 pounds to 20 linear feet rather than 16.

Amodio has two very bad reviews on Epinions.

I didn't take the process all the way to the end when I was negotiating with Movex, but my guess is that you may get a service order from the freight forwarder specifying the number of linear feet you have reserved and that will serve as a bill of lading. I doubt very much whether there will be any inventory list of items because the freight company has no idea what you are moving until the moment they show up at your door.


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