SF to Brookline -- Estimate Questions

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SF to Brookline -- Estimate Questions

Postby BearsToBrookline » Wed May 18, 2005 9:09 pm

Hi all,

My fiancee and I are moving to Brookline, MA this August. We've gotten a good headstart (busy summer coming up) and have contacted four companies for in-home estimates. We've decided to follow the advice of this site and stick with the majors and those agents in good standing. We've gotten estimates from Mayflower, United, Allied and Bekins

We have a one bedroom apartment with an office and a good amount of stuff. The four companies came up and gave us "Not-to-exceed" quotes. United, Allied and Bekins estimated the weight of our items to be 4600, 5000 and 5000, respectively. Mayflower estimated a weight of 6800lbs! Looking at inventory lists, Mayflower estimated we needed 45 book cartons. The other companies each estimated 11 book cartons. Additionally, Mayflower said we needed an additional 228 cft of boxes in the 1.5, 3.0, 4.5 and 6.0 sizes. The other companies estimated only 110-120 cft of additional boxes. Everything else on the inventories were equal.

The Mayflower agent I am working with is from VIP Transport. Very nice guy who has a lot of experience and seems very knowledgable. I was particurally impressed by his answer to "why should I choose Mayflower". The Allied agent is from Golden Gate Moving and Storage and the United agent is from Rossiter Relocation Services.

I called my Mayflower agent and asked him why his estimate was nearly 2000lbs higher than the others. He was very surprised and felt the other 3 companies had underestimated my weight. He also felt that for the 350 books that I have, 11 book cartons was just too few. (I am, BTW, considering mailing the books at media rate: this seems like a good way to save money) He also said that the additional boxes were for clothes, sheets, pillows, etc ... (We are planning on packing the maximum we can for the plane flight out)

After discussing this further. He agreed to redo the "Not-To-Exceed" quote for 6000lbs; he was very uncomfortable with doing one for 5000lbs. He said that eventhough these other companies had a "Not-To-Exceed" quote, that if the weight is underestimated we could run into problems are moving day. He mentioned that the driver might refuse to load or that the company could turn around and charge more anyway - blaming me for adding stuff (in reality, we will be getting rid of some stuff before moving). He reiterated the concept of "Not-to-Exceed", stating that if our weight is lower, we pay less.

I told him I understood that he wasn't comfortable with setting the weight at 5000, but asked for him to at least calculate my cost for 5000lbs (noting that I fully understood that this was not a gaurenteed price). Really what I was looking for was the ability to make an apples-to-apples comparison.

Mayflower is currently coming in as the cheapest option. I'm worried about red flags though. Has anyone else had an overestimate experience like this? My concern (rational or not) is that if our weight is WAY under the 6000 that Mayflower will find a way to get the price near that "Not-To-Exceed" quote.

I know this is very pesimistic view, but I am little worried. One thing I didn't mention was that after agreeing to mail the 6000lbs quote and the 5000lb breakdown, he asked if any of the other agents felt I needed a shuttle for my point of origin pickup. Now, he came to the place and saw our wide street. The other agents all mentioned that I wouldn't need a shuttle. They had all checked it out and determined that eventhough I live on a large hill, the trucks could make it. I just found the timeliness of his question troubling. Is this a sign that there are hidden fees to come? I made a point to ask him to explain all the possible fees. He did mention the shuttle, but didn't mention the possibility of labor fees if my new place is more than 4 x 75 ft segments from the truck (I think that's how it works).

Such a hard decision. Any advice would be greatly apreciated. Please tell me I'm just being paranoid :)


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Re: SF to Brookline -- Estimate Questions

Postby Diane » Wed May 18, 2005 9:37 pm

Hi - As far as I know, all of the companies you're dealing with are considered very good.

I guess I am more worried about the possible quality of the Mayflower over-the-road (long distance) driver than I am about the high weight estimate. There was a horrible report about such a driver (and move) posted today on this thread - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4378 In addition, a moving professional has told me privately that it's OK to go with a Mayflower agent for a long-distance move if it hauls the load itself, but risky if the agent registers the load with the national van line. And basically all cross-country loads of whatever van line are hauled by an over-the-road driver.

I believe that the United drivers may have a somewhat better reputation than the Mayflower drivers but am not sure. Also, just to muddy the waters some more, Michael posted that loads booked with Mayflower are sometimes hauled by United drivers. BTW Rossiter is supposed to be good.

I doubt very much that the Mayflower rep would try to make the cost higher in some way. It occurred to me that he might have estimated the weight high in an attempt to entice a better driver to take the load. I think the drivers can pick and choose the loads they want. At least, one Atlas driver posted this recently on Epinions in response to people who had written reviews complaining about Atlas:
The company comes out and gives you an estimate and if they dont have a truck to pick it up then it goes into a database for all Atlas agents to look at and see if they want it.

He also said,
I would recommend that you research and go with the smaller Atlas agencys that offer more personalized service.. Not the big ones that have too much to do.

I believe that all of the companies that you're considering are fairly big so this may not be helpful.

I'm sorry that I can't offer more insight. Hopefully others will come on here to give their opinions about your estimates.


Re: SF to Brookline -- Estimate Questions

Postby Fred0844 » Thu May 19, 2005 4:25 am

First Mayflower and United are the same people, Unigroup. Allied northAmerican and I believe Bekins are the same people. If you go with United or Mayflower, request that the shipment be "Allianced", open for either van line to haul then you have more trucks available. I believe the Mayflower rep is being safe, some shipments are hard to estimate especially when there are books involved. Do not ship too much by other carriers, cartons are needed to tighten up the load. There are good drivers and there are bad drivers and a really good driver can have a really bad day. All fleet drivers of any van line try to do a quality job.


Re: SF to Brookline -- Estimate Questions

Postby Guest » Thu May 19, 2005 5:43 am

Brookline Ma may require a shuttle. Many large over the road trailers cannot get into some of the smaller streets in Brookline. I would have your origin agent contact their destination agent for input on your new address in Brookline. Also, parking permits may be needed as well.

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Re: SF to Brookline -- Estimate Questions

Postby Nancy » Thu May 19, 2005 10:17 am

You need to contact the local police at your destination to get parking permits. We just delivered a customer into Cambridge, MA that we all thought would be a shuttle. She wanted to avoid the cost, so she went to the police department and was able to pay for "no parking" signs for her street. She filed all the paperwork, and posted the signs 48 hours before the long distance truck arrived. She was then able to avoid the shuttle cost. Most cities will only do this for the actual resident moving into their neighborhood, and not for the moving company.

Also, every company you are dealing with is reputable in the industry here in California. I'm a bit concerned on 3 estimates being so close, and one being higher. I sometimes suggest you go with the one in the middle. Otherwise, it is a gut instinct which salesman and agency you like the most.

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