Moving from NY to DC

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kate12

Moving from NY to DC

Postby kate12 » Thu Jan 13, 2005 11:00 am

I'm moving from NYC to Washington DC and am looking at several movers (Excel moving from Brooklyn, Flat Rate movers, fixed rate moving). I'm having a hard time interpretting the safersys.org FMCSA insurance information. What I'm confused about is whether I should pay attention to the number of times a mover has CHANGED insurance (i.e. under insurance history where it says when the insurance was cancelled) or if the more important piece of information is whether their insurance has been revoked in the past. Obviously the first thing I look at is if they even HAVE insurance! But beyond that, is it suspicious for a company to have many, many different insurance policies, or is that totally irrelevant?

A second problem is finding a LOCAL mover (which we would prefer) who doesn't have any red flags on their insurance history. It seems like all the local movers we've researched have either a million different insurance policies over the years, or have had bad safety inspections, or something poor on the BBB record. We're really having a tough time finding anyone with a glowing record! Help!

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twalker
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Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby twalker » Thu Jan 13, 2005 11:55 am

Hi kate12,

The number of insurance changes/cancelations is just one of a number of factors to consider and shouldn't really be the deciding factor. While there is no magic number, you should take into account how long a company has had their license and how many times in that span they have changed insurance carriers. If it seems like a very unreasonable number then it might be cause for concern.

Of greater concern would be the number and length of any authority revocations. It always concerns me a great deal when a company has trouble maintaining their authority to perform interstate moves and you have to wonder if they were providing interstate moving services while their authority was revoked.

Where are you looking for moving companies? One resource that may help you would be some of your local real estate agents. NY/DC moves are fairly common so they may have some recommendations for you. Human Resource departments at large companies are also a good place to ask about moving companies since they often set up moves for new hires.

I hope that helps!

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

Diane
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Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby Diane » Thu Jan 13, 2005 1:02 pm

Tim has given you good advice. Some companies with good reviews on this website are All Star in Brooklyn, Flatbush in Brooklyn, Moving Man in Manhattan, and University Van Lines in Rahway, NJ. There are certainly other good companies that just don't happen to have good reviews as yet, but this might give you a few to get quotes from besides the ones you're looking at. Note that Flatbush has an involuntary license revocation, which the company says is a bureaucratic glitch but might bother some people.

I have doubts about Flat Rate. It's said to be connected with Shleppers, which advertises that it can do interstate moves but has no authority to do so. Excel (MC #436266) is listed on safersys.org as having only 1 truck and its driver and vehicle out of service ratings are very high. I would avoid that company, which I have discussed before on this thread - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2351. I don't know anything about Fixed Rate. But if you're drawn to those companies because of wanting to have a fixed quote, discuss your concern with some of the other companies and they might be able to give you one as well.

kate12

Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby kate12 » Thu Jan 13, 2005 8:56 pm

Well, we had three more in house estimates today (Flat rate, Moving man, Big John's), all from NY. I was not impressed at all by Moving Man- they were snippy and seemed annoyed by my every question. I also caught the guy in several half-truths and he added $255 for wardrobe boxes in the quote even though we didn't want them. Anyway, we reallly liked Flat Rate moving. They seemed up front and gave us a fair price. I've checked their BBB and Safersys.org and they seem pretty legit. Am I missing anything here? We're eager to settle on someone. Just thought I would check once more if someone knows anything about them we are overlooking? We want to make sure we are making the right decision!

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Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby Diane » Thu Jan 13, 2005 11:18 pm

There are two reviews of the DC area Flat Rate, which is owned by the brother of the NY one according to one reviewer. The reviewers are "amolecule" and "Carrie." Both were reasonably satisfied but "amolecule" said that she wouldn't use them again - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3102

Please, if you use them, do come back to us to write a review, since we don't have any for the NYC branch. I don't think you can go too far wrong with them since the move is relatively short. They aren't what I would call a scammer.

I suppose the Moving Man estimator could have been irritated that he was up against Flat Rate, if he knew it. Someone else (posting as "vern") said a while back that he was underwhelmed by their estimator. I keep track of these things, so thanks for mentioning it. Here is the other post by "vern" - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2563

kate12

Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby kate12 » Fri Jan 14, 2005 10:44 am

I'm glad you brought the Flat Rate in MD review to my attention because it should definitely be noted that there are MANY companies by the name of Flat Rate. The one I am going with is called Flat Rate Moving Systems of NYC. There are also two Flat Rate Moving and Storage in MD (and others in other states too). So I am guessing that the previous comment from the person moving in MD was from the OTHER Flat rate moving.

Other comments about Moving Man.....although their rate wasn't the highest we received (the highest came from Big Joe's....a whopping $2660 for a 1 bedroom), the agent they sent was irritable about almost every question I asked. I completely off-handedly asked who owned Moving Man Movers and he automatically got really defensive and asked "why do you ask? No one ever asks that question" which I thought was an odd answer to my completely offhand question. I also asked for a binding estimate and he was very hesitant to give me one. He kept saying that we could discuss that later (suspicious). Anyway, I got a very uneasy vibe from Vladimir from Moving Man.

I'll let you know how everything goes with Flat Rate. So far, they seem on the up and up.

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Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby Diane » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:39 am

Kate,

Thanks very much for the additional information. I'm compiling a review of NYC movers so this is helpful. I assume that when you referred to "Big Joe's" you meant "Big John's"--that's the Manhattan company that's supposed to be good but pricey. Also, since your first post someone else posted that Fixed Price Moving (if that's the company you were dealing with) quoted by cubic feet, which is a big no-no and should rule them out - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3255.

I don't understand why Moving Man's estimator Vladimir was so defensive but I can tell you that I've encountered that attitude too, in talking with moving company owners and reps in New York. It is difficult to know which people to trust and even basically good companies sometimes seem to be concealing things. There is only one NYC company to date that I trust absolutely to do the right thing, and that is All Star Moving in Brooklyn. This is only my opinion and it doesn't reflect the official position of this website. There can be glitches with any move, of course.

I've never talked to the owner of Moving Man but I intend to make contact with him soon. As I said, the company has had very good reviews here but I've been told that sometimes changes take place at the top--the new generation takes over and so on. Then things go downhill as the newcomers try to wring maximum dollars out of the company without the service ethic of the founders. Not saying that this has happened at Moving Man, of course--just a general observation.

The owners of NYC moving companies are listed in the NY state corporations database. It is public information. According to that database, the owner of Moving Man is currently Robin J. Stout. My memory may be failing me, but I seem to recall that when I looked the company up a month or so ago, the owner was listed as John Stout. Possibly this is significant (see above) or possibly these are just variants of the same name.

I think there is no doubt that the two Flat Rates are connected--the one you are using with website www.flatrate.com and the one in Maryland that was used by "carrie" and "amolecule." Aside from what was posted on the other threads about the owners being related, this comes up on the www.vanlines.com website if you search Google on the name "Flat Rate Moving Systems" (bold added):

Flat Rate Moving Systems company profile

Address: 14620 Southlawn Lane, Rockville, MD, 20850
Phone Number: 301-279-9279
Fax Number: 301-217-5951
License: USDOT No. 488466

Description: In 1991, FlatRate Moving Systems developed a totally new concept offering customers an all-inclusive, guaranteed, one-price move. Our intention was to eliminate the questionable pricing practices inherent to the moving industry, while at the same time providing quality service at competitive prices. Our commitment to these goals remain steadfast. We perform every relocation service: residential, commercial, long distance, or overseas, providing the finest overall service from initial planning to final follow-up. FlatRate stands committed to integrity and goodwill to customers. Our inventiveness within the moving industry has made FlatRate the mover of choice in today's market.

The Team

FlatRate movers are highly trained in an on going training system. The foremen are required to complete a total of 300 hours of moving experience before they can take charge on a move crew. The movers themselves go through extensive training before getting on the job experience.

Insurance
FlatRate maintains five million dollars worth of General Liability insurance, as well as required Worker's Compensation insurance coverage. Nearly every commercial office building in New York City requires insurance certificates prior to any work performed on the premises. The amount of insurance a company carries is an important factor when choosing a mover; should your current or future building require more than the mover is covered for, the building will not allow them to work in the building. We maintain a substantial amount of insurance for our client's peace of mind.

License
FlatRate moving systems, is licensed by both of the commerce commission and the New York state department of transportation. Interstate commerce commission ICC MC-254356 Department of transportation NYSDOT-T32557

INFORMATION CENTER Located at 100 maiden Lane in the financial district of Manhattan, our information Center-Sales Office is staffed with consultants experienced in all aspects of the moving industry. All kinds of packing materials are displayed and available for your move.

It's simple. FlatRate.

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't use Flat Rate. The objections that "amolecule" had were minor and related mainly to packing issues. I just want to keep the record straight for people who may want to use either the company in NYC or the company in Rockville, MD, in the future. The owner of Flat Rate Movers, Ltd., in NYC, founded in 1991, is listed in the NY corporations database as Sharone Ben-Harosh.

kate12

Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby kate12 » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:02 pm

Oops, yes I meant Big John's not Big Joe's.

One thing that I liked about Flat Rate Moving Systems (NYC) was that they said they 1) have moving employees (i.e. not quick hires off the street) and 2) they fire anyone who gets a complaint lodged against them for soliciting tips. Not that I want anyone fired, but I was glad to hear they were serious with their employees about not being demanding/mean about the tips. Speaking of tips....I was planning on 15-20% of the total to be divided amongst the movers (if they are good, if not, then less). And I was wondering if there was any concensus on when to give the tip (at the end or half and half during the move?).

Thanks for pointing out the connection b/t the NYC and MD Flat Rate companies. Either way, they seem to OPERATE as separate entities (different DOT, different web sites) so I am hoping they perform as different entities. Again, I'll make sure to follow up after the move and will let you know how it goes!

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Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby Diane » Fri Jan 14, 2005 1:16 pm

Previous advice about tips in the NYC area, Kate - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=24111:

Transit wrote:I recently had two estimates on a move done and asked both estimators what their feeling on tip was. They had two different takes:

One said:
"Assuming a job well done, calculate 15% and give it to the foreman to split between the guys." That this was their policy. I don't like this as it removes the tip incentive.

The other said:
"Start the day off with a small tip to each mover (he said $20 each) and tell them that you will tip again based on a job well done at the end of the move."

This is interesting. It lets the movers know you are aware of tipping but also lets them know that you will be controlling the tip for the right reasons
.

I agree with the second guy's advice (that was John at Flatbush). I think 20% is too much--15% is better, but only if the guys do a good job. In the past, people posting here have suggested giving even less than 15%.

Good luck and please do get back to us on your move!

Just curious--did Flat Rate ask for a deposit? Did Moving Man?

kate12

Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby kate12 » Fri Jan 14, 2005 2:28 pm

Of the 5 companies that did an in-home estimate (Big John's, Excel Moving, Flat Rate, Fixed Rate Moving, Moving Man), the only person who asked for a deposit was Fixed Rate Moving. We also noted they didn't have the nicest record. All of the companies said they could make the entire move in one day except for Big John's and Moving Man, which said it would take 2 days because there were rules about working more than 14 hours (we estimate 3 hrs to pack, 8 hrs total travel time, 2 to unpack- who knows though for sure). All companies except Moving Man, were eager to give us a binding estimate. We called Seamens also for an in-home estimate but they said the didn't need to do one since it was based on an hourly rate (thus we didn't pursue them). They also did not return my email when I asked for their DOT number. We received the following quotes for our large 1Bedroom (Big John- $2660, Excel$1800, Flat Rate $1600, Fixed Rate $1450, Moving Man $2200). We liked Excel but were troubled by their BBB status (unsatisfactory by BBB standards). Fixed Rate and Excel offered free boxes with the move, while Flat Rate offered free boxes, but they would deliver them on the day of the move (which isn't something I want to count on so we'll go ahead and use our own boxes).

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Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby MusicMom » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:36 pm

Nobody has yet mentioned to you that there is no Interstate license listed for a Fixed Rate Moving anywhere, let alone in NY. Add to that they ahve the lowest price,a bad record, and other "bad feelings", drop them from consideration.

Along the same lines, if Excel has gotten to an Unsatisfactory BBB rating (even if it is only one out of five complaints not responded to), then they should also be out of the running. That still leaves you three for consideration.

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Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby MusicMom » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:42 pm

Wait, could it be Fixed Price Moving? OF 141 Spencer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11205?

Here's their record. They have one truck and one driver, not good for a long-distance move. They would probably subcontract to another mover (which they can't do without a broker's license), and/or take several weeks to get your load to DC. Oh, that and they had their license revoked from Nov 9, 2004, until just last Wednesday.

Drop them like a hot potato.

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Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby twalker » Fri Jan 14, 2005 11:51 pm

Nice work MusicMom!

Tim

Diane
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Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby Diane » Sat Jan 15, 2005 4:20 am

kate12 wrote:We received the following quotes for our large 1 Bedroom (Big John- $2660, Excel$1800, Flat Rate $1600, Fixed Rate $1450, Moving Man $2200).

I find this large price spread ($1450-$2660) very interesting and wonder what lies behind it. Big John's and Moving Man did say the move would take too many hours to be legally done in one day, so that could account for part of it. Maybe the crews are allowed to work only a certain number of hours a day by law and some of the other companies don't follow the law that closely.

kate12

Re: Moving from NY to DC

Postby kate12 » Sat Feb 19, 2005 1:53 pm

Well, I just wanted to let everyone know how incredibly pleased we were with Flat Rate Movers from NYC. They moved us from NY to DC and it couldn't have been a more seamless move. They showed up on time, worked incredibly hard, and did an incredible job. We highly, highly recommend them. Honestly, it could not have been a better move. We got a fair price, and they delivered everything they promised. not one piece of furniture was broken, all our boxes were handled with care and they are FAST! It was the easiest move I've ever had.


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