Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service movers

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Ronna

Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service movers

Postby Ronna » Mon Oct 11, 2004 10:37 am

Hi! What a great website! Having had negative interstate move experiences in the past, I thought I would begin here this time.

I have a full dining room set - table, 6 chairs, buffet, hutch, and three leaves to move from Chicago (Skokie) to D.C. It's a mid-century modern set belonging to my grandmother. My 89-year-old grandma will be home for the appointments and supervising the move from the Chicago end. Thus, I need it to be really really easy on her. Also, I want to minimize the number of in-house estimates because I will need someone to go be with her - I would not want her to be in the house alone with strangers.

I clearly need a full service mover, and someone who will take care with the valuable set (been in the family for 50 years). It's a pretty small move, though.

To start, I plan on calling:

1) Ship Smart (do they do in-home estimates?)
2) Jackson Moving Services (Allied)
3) Noffs/Atlantic (Atlas)
4) Lake County Movers (Bekins)
5) Navis Small Moves
6) Blackhawk (United)

I'm concerned that most of the companies will have a pricey minimum that I will not meet. Moving myself is not an option, I'm afraid, because of work demands. I used Golan's to move out to D.C. a few years back and it was not a pleasant experience. Very limited damage (I let them pack everything b/c my company was paying for the move) and decent price, but all the logistics were a huge headache.

I know that this website is not set up for recommendations, but if anyone has any input about the above companies or could suggest other places to look, I would appreciate it. I remember an article a few years back in the Washington Post about finding movers for small moves (discussing how computers have made it relatively low cost to move small quantities long distances b/c various shipments can be combined), but cannot locate it at this time.

Thank you in advance for all your wonderful help. I will definitely keep you posted on my progress.

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Diane » Mon Oct 11, 2004 11:54 am

Ronna,

You are in a situation that many people are in--few but treasured items. As a start, these are some things that have been said by moving professionals on this board.

1. Armstrong United is the best United agent in Chicago and one of the best United agents anywhere in the country.

2. Jackson Allied is reputable but not as good a choice as it used to be.

3. Golan's quotes by cubic feet and should not be used for long-distance moves (I guess you found that out, and thanks for confirmation).

I remember that Navis Small Moves was discussed before on this board and people didn't think too much of it (do a search). ShipSmart is one of those companies that just packages your things and sends them by ABF or another freight company. You should do a search on the company name because there have been varied reports--one or two good and one or two bad. You may run into delays with this type of service since they hold the goods at hubs until they have enough to ship.

There is a company called Burrows Moving in Chicago that has a good review here, plus I've read a rave review about it on another website. It is expensive but I think you can trust what they say. I would call them and discuss your situation with them and see whether they can recommend a good company that can help you.

Ronna

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Ronna » Mon Oct 11, 2004 4:36 pm

Thank you so much, Diane. I really appreciate the quick response.

I called United, at your suggestion. My move, alas, is too small for them. They referred me to Betsy's Trans-Pack, who, as far as I can tell, is a broker. The United guy, who emphasized that he has no relationship to Betsy's, said that he had used her twice, with dazzling results. As far as I can tell, she shops around, sees who has trucks headed to D.C., and offers me the various options - including insurance, which she strongly recommends. She will tell me which companies she is shipping with, so I should be able to cross-reference with the "blacklist."

I've heard some negative things about brokers, but have had wonderful luck with them in other contexts - getting a mortgage, for example. So, anyone know anything about Betsy's or have any words of wisdom about brokers?

Once again, many thanks.

23
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Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 2:47 pm

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby 23 » Mon Oct 11, 2004 5:04 pm

Ronna,

I don't think the United guy was saying your load was too small to take, just too small to do an in home estimate for.

If you had called me and asked for an in home estimate with only a dining room set, I wouldn't be doing one either. I would quote you on our 2100# minimum and if it was too expensive, wish you luck.

We recommend in home estimates, but with just a dining room set, I can tell you it doesn't weight more than 1200#! The shuttle possibilities are the only concern, but that could be verified if someone knows the area.

Ronna

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Ronna » Mon Oct 11, 2004 5:20 pm

Thanks, again.

Actually, I asked the United guy how much it would be to move the set from Chicago to D.C. - in other words, how much would it be to move the 2100# minimum. He didn't respond - he just sent me to Betsy's. I got the feeling that he knows that he would be so much more expensive and recommends Betsy's. For all I know, they have a deal where Betsy's refers big jobs to United and vice versa. Who knows? All I know is that I asked about the minimum cost and was quickly referred elsewhere. Not in an off putting way, though. Definitely cannot say anything bad about United from this brief experience.

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

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Diane » Mon Oct 11, 2004 8:43 pm

Interesting . . . I would also call Burrows Moving Company and see what they say. Has "Betsy" given you a ballpark estimate for the move? I'm kind of worried that her options might be rather expensive, but if Armstrong referred you to her I think she is probably OK. You should get references--maybe the people that used her when referred by Armstrong.

Ronna

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Ronna » Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:48 pm

The quotes I'm getting are $1100 and up, depending on the insurance options. Basically, we're looking a big truck that's already heading out east and has a bit of space. One primarily handles antiques, which is attractive to me.

Is that too much money for a full dining room set? It's certainly cheaper than buying a new one! I once shipped a small amount of household items (twin bed, bunches of boxes) from Atlanta to Chicago for only $400, but that was already six years ago.

Thanks again!

Ronna

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Ronna » Tue Oct 12, 2004 1:56 pm

Oh - And I did call Burrows, at your suggestion. I'm too small for them, as well, so they sent me to Mini Moves. According to Burrows, they are not a broker and own their own trucks.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

Nancy
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Location: California

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Nancy » Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:17 pm

Mini Moves has been discussed here a bit, do a search putting their name in quotes "mini moves." Most complaints are delays in delivery, but I'm not really familiar with them other than this website.

I would still pursue a minimum weight shipment with an agent for a van line. Have you tried North American, Allied, Mayflower, Atlas? I am surprised by the feedback from the United agent. If something isn't a rush, I don't see why he wouldn't book the 2100 lbs minimum shipment.

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

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Diane » Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:17 pm

Betsy's Trans-Pack sounds good to me. Please give us its full contact information so we can keep it in mind for other people. I don't think you'll do any better on price. I'm guessing that if you went with a full-service moving company like Armstrong, their minimum would be around $1,800.

Nancy
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Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Nancy » Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:19 pm

On the 400 N Tariff, a 2100 lbs minimum shipment, without valuation, is about $1300 to $1400.

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

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Diane » Tue Oct 12, 2004 2:26 pm

Thanks, Nancy. So Ronna, maybe you should get a quote from Armstrong or an agent of another major after all.

Ronna

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Ronna » Tue Oct 12, 2004 5:28 pm

Here's the update: Mini Moves, with insurance, ended up being more than Betsy's various quotes. Betsy is very engaging and pleasant on the phone and freely discussed the pros and cons of the various offers (who's more on time, dates for pick up and delivery, who carries more liability insurance, what types of loads they usually carry, etc.). She recommended how to protect myself in case of damage - photograph all of the goods.

I'm going to sleep on it, but I am considering going with one of her options, at $1235, including $15,000 of insurance with no deductible. Still a heck of a lot cheaper than a new 9-piece dining room set!

I don't know if she handles moves originating out of Illinois - her strength seems to be her relationship with local companies. In case anyone else would like to speak with her, her phone number is (800) 875-9725. And, I will definitely let you all know what I eventually decide and how things go.

If anyone thinks I'm about to make a mistake, please let me know!

Thanks again.

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

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Diane » Tue Oct 12, 2004 6:14 pm

I don't know . . . $1235 is awfully close to Nancy's figures for using an agent of a major van line.

I guess I would be a little concerned about what companies Betsy uses. Is she able to give you the names of any of them? Are they licensed? I can look up their complaint record in the ILMWA database if you can get their names. Chicago is a hotbed of dubious companies.

The fact that people sound engaging and pleasant doesn't always mean a lot. However, a big point in favor of Betsy in my mind is that the Armstrong sales rep recommended her. I also looked her up on the website of the IL Movers' and Warehousemen's Association and she is prominently listed there, which is good.

Just a side note: I went on the Broadway Express website and their calculator says that they would charge $1276 for this move. You would have to pay the driver a small amount to pad wrap but I have a feeling that you wouldn't have to hire any extra labor because I think they might be able to send a driver who travels with a companion. Just a thought. No insurance is available with them but they have a stellar record of moving high-value items without damage. If you're interested, I suggest that you call and discuss it with them. They might be interested in this move because they will know that there will be leftover space from the 10-foot minimum that they can sell. The advantage of BE is that we know that you wouldn't be scammed and the drivers would probably be really nice with your grandmother and they deliver quickly. However, I don't want to put any pressure on you one way or the other.

Michael
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Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Small Move from Chicago to D.C. - Need full service move

Postby Michael » Tue Oct 12, 2004 9:52 pm

The truth of the matter is your not not 100% sure they will not be scammed with BE. Thats an inaccurate statement in my opinion. We both know they can pull a scam if they wish, but luckily we have seen thus far they havent. It doesnt mean they CANT. They are still bound by the same DOT rules as majors. I feel its like me saying I know my company wont scam you, and I know they wouldnt, but there are those out there that would argue the "you know what facts".

Second, if they are that close to a full service mover why would you chose to move it with a company that doesnt offer valuation, you have to load and wrap it yourself, all be it maybe the driver helps? It goes in a freight trailer. And if I am mistaken please correct me, is not an air ride trailer and you supply your own pads>???? (please let me know if I am wrong, I know little about this DITY stuff and pay even less attention to it., Diane your the expert)

Also, Blackhawk United is a very reputable Agent for United. And I cant argue against Armstrong, a very good agent.

But if it was me, and its not, but based on my experience, if I could get it done just about the same price as a do it yourself, I would go with a reputable major.
Michael
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