Small move question

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

Re: Small move question

Postby Diane » Tue May 17, 2005 7:32 pm

Media rate and media mail rate are the same. From the website at http://usps.com/customersguide/dmm100.htm -

"Contents are limited to books, film, manuscripts, sound recordings, video tapes, and computer media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes). Sometimes called "Book Rate," Media Mail cannot contain advertising. Media Mail is less expensive than Parcel Post."

You should do a search on "Ship Smart" in quotation marks to see what has been said about them here so you go into it with your eyes open. Some people have had delivery delays, I believe, but that might not matter to you . . . I don't know.

moving soon
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 3:51 pm

Re: Small move question

Postby moving soon » Wed May 18, 2005 2:44 am

have skimmed through various responses on this site for both ship smart and wrigth way - seems that both have mixed reviews (not too surprising) but that both were, in general, tolerable and no one has noted any major life-altering catastrophes using them. i'm requesting a quote and am interested in seeing what they say.

i think the media mail works for those planning on sending only the specified items. they also reserve the right to open all boxes sent via media mail. dont know what they do if they find your reading lamp inside it, but wouldnt want to push the issue...i suspect they do a great/spectacular job with media as they describe it.

also, with regards to the ups/fedex question - a few people i know and just talked to have had bad experiences, and also as you state, be prepared to receive boxes at any time. there's little to no coordination of your items. the bonus, however, is that they generally take less time and that gives them less time to destroy your stuff, i guess, but as anyone with a two year old knows, it jsut doesnt take all that long to do a lot of damage.

i sent out personal emails to a few that have used ship smart from CA to other places and will see what they say. in the meantime, options seem to be dwindling and anyone that has had a small move positive experience, would love to hear who you moved with.

thanks for the help so far and good luck to all you other guys moving. who thought it could this difficult?

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

Re: Small move question

Postby Diane » Wed May 18, 2005 10:16 am

Hi - actually, we have only one thread on Wright Way and all experiences with it were reportedly positive. However, I wasn't aware that you could use it if you're not in San Diego where it is located. Can you?

Please do report back on what your friends say about Ship Smart. It is headquartered in San Francisco, as you may know. We were prepared to like it until its president posted bogus praise of it here, posing as a customer.

Another company you could call is Sterling Van Lines in Los Angeles. It specializes in small shipments going into or out of CA.

moving soon
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 3:51 pm

Re: Small move question

Postby moving soon » Tue May 24, 2005 11:19 am

soo - been a busy fwe days - i see that there hasnt been much posted here, but thats all right, hopefully this message will get out. basically, at the end of all my trials and tribuations. there are two companies that seem euqipped for small moves from teh west to the east. ship smart and sterling. i know that people have used both in the past, to somewhat (minimally) mixed reviews. but i was wondering more about sterling - any REALLY GOOD or REALLY BAD thoughts on these guys? anyone? beuller?

i also looked into wright way - yep, only a small move company, by some accoutns that handles the san diego area. so they're out.

anyhow, thoughts, help, etc gets same in reciporcation.

thanks, take care

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

Re: Small move question

Postby Diane » Tue May 24, 2005 11:59 am

If you could post your quotes it would be good.

My impression is that you may be talking apples and oranges here. Ship Smart is a packaging company, as far as I know, that would strap your goods to pallets and send them to MN via a freight company. Sterling is a full-service mover that would send your goods on a regular moving van--perhaps brokering it out, but nevertheless a moving van. Right? Please tell us more about your quotes.

Guest

Re: Small move question

Postby Guest » Tue May 24, 2005 12:57 pm

basically neither actually will give a fixed quote - my move is around 500 pounds. they estimate to come in around 555 for SS, 670 for sterling.

you're right - SS will re-pack items into a cargo and put it onto a freight truck. sterling is more of a mover. however, both will come into the house and pick stuff up, package as needed (at a cost), etc. so ultimately, if you dont have much in the way of furniture or disassembly

- quotes:
* ship smart will charge directly per weight (after the box they build).
* sterling will pick your items up, will then drive your items to LA, repack it in their warehouse - they then weight and measure the pallet - comparing scale weight to dimension weight and charging the higher price.

those are the options.
thanks for the weigh-ins

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

Re: Small move question

Postby Diane » Tue May 24, 2005 1:04 pm

So, Sterling will also palletize your shipment and send it with a freight company like Roadway? They won't send it on a regular moving van?

If that's true, then I guess I would choose according to the reviews we have on this site. Sterling has more and better reviews than Ship Smart, overall.

moving soon
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 3:51 pm

Re: Small move question

Postby moving soon » Tue May 24, 2005 1:15 pm

no - i think sterling will palletize, but then sends it on its own trucks (they have three cross-country trucks). the person who i spoke to said it was their operation from start to finish. all employees are of sterling. but they palletize small size moves (i dont have much/any furniture) to move it.

any concerns re: cubic size vs. weight based costs. it sounds like potential scammery or thievery given that they could arbitrarily make it up to be whatever size they decide is best?

thanks again diane.

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

Re: Small move question

Postby Diane » Tue May 24, 2005 1:22 pm

I don't think either of those companies would try to scam you. They BETTER not! I think Sterling has gotten a lot of business from MovingScam referrals, so they should be motivated to do right by you. I think Nancy has dealt with them a lot.

moving soon
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 3:51 pm

Re: Small move question

Postby moving soon » Tue May 24, 2005 1:40 pm

nancy? thoughts about this company and your thoughts on ship smart versus?

thanks

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Small move question

Postby Nancy » Tue May 24, 2005 1:44 pm

I am a fan of Sterling because they are located here in Los Angeles and I have met the employees on numerous occassions. They participate in the CMSA, www.thecmsa.org and I refer to them a LOT. I like their industry and community participation because that shows me they are not here to make a quick buck and get out. They are here to build a long standing company that specializes in small moves. I do not have any experience with ShipSmart. So I'm not slamming them at all, I just don't have the knowledge and experience that I do with Sterling.

moving soon
Posts: 24
Joined: Tue May 17, 2005 3:51 pm

Re: Small move question

Postby moving soon » Tue May 24, 2005 1:59 pm

appreciate the input from all. so you guys, as i'm sure you've done for many others, have made my decision for me.

i've also compiled my thoughts, and pathway to sterling which i'll post after they (hopefully) pull off a sterling move for me! if they dont, then you'll also hear back from me. either way, promise. this truly is a painful process, though. i dont know how people go through this in multiplicity (says the guy who's moved 30 or so times, but i always did it myself :)

thanks again!!
will check back in a few months after it's all done and the beer chest is emptied.

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

Re: Small move question

Postby Diane » Wed May 25, 2005 6:34 pm

Re-posting something just posted about USPS media mail by "GoingHome" -

I'd caution you about thinking that shipping via USPS is cheaper; on the surface it is, but our boxes from CA to DC arrived shredded, stuff nearly falling out (our CDs!) --that's a long way to go, I guess.

We also shipped roughly 1100 pounds via UPS, and the quotes I'm getting from the moving companies to take us back home are only slightly more than we paid shipping them out here.

Since we're taking back a couple of pieces of furniture, we're looking at moving companies, rather than UPS (I'll not send my books again media rate USPS).

Thought this might help
. - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4198

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

Re: Small move question

Postby Diane » Sat May 28, 2005 11:30 am

Someone ("cathie") just posted a positive report on a CA to MD move with Sterling Van Lines on this thread (last post) - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=33614 The cost was $2600 and the time to cross the country was apparently about three weeks. The person spoke highly of people there named Doug and Tony.

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

Re: Small move question

Postby Diane » Sun May 11, 2008 5:30 pm

"moving soon" (see two posts above this one) just contacted me by PM to give this update on his 2005 move. He couldn't remember whether he had already posted it or not. Although three years have gone by, there is a lot of information here that might be helpful so I am re-posting his PM below.

------------------------------
moving soon wrote: Small Move Recap

In summary, a few things about my small move from SF, CA to St. Paul, MN (06/05) – I had a small move – some boxes (<15), a full sized bed, and some odds and ends. Weight was definitely under 1000#. I was looking for some way to combine economics with safety and the least hassle possible. I also was really pressed for time, as I was in the midst of one of those life-altering job events and couldn’t really dedicate a whole lot of time to planning my move (yeah, right, I got killed by the amount of time arranging all this took) and nor was I able to get in-house estimates (I was at work from 8a – midnight regularly for five months straight, weekends included). Here’s my story:

a) and b) on this list I contacted after a pretty exhaustive and rigorous search of good reputable companies – using on-line resources such as movingscam.com and the BBB website (www.bbb.com) and the DOT website (www.safersys.org). It thought they had reasonable track records and had been around for the reasonable period of time. So I called these two after axing dozens more on-line guys.

a) NorthStar Moving – I initially liked these guys – yes, did find these guys from an on-line mass estimation site. They sent me an on-line estimate and the works. I called them to try and clarify a few points, and talked a guy named Ted on the phone who seemed pretty genuine and a good guy (even made a personal note to that effect). Ted made a few promises (they wouldn’t charge for any in-house stairs) and I said I wanted a few more days to gather my information and then would call back to set up a date. I called back a few days later and spoke to a woman Miral, who was very nice and very forthcoming about questions that she couldn’t answer – she would put me on hold and then ask someone else. She actually told me that the stairs would be charged, after she consulted with someone else. I was a bit irritated, but I scheduled a date for the pick-up of my stuff anyways, which was set as an afternoon about six weeks away.

However, I had a few more questions as to what exactly the contract would say and wanted to clarify a few points that Miral couldn’t answer during my second conversation. When I called back a few days later, I found out from Miral that my order had been cancelled – by Ted! He was “under the impression” from my follow-up emails (that he didn’t respond to and basically ignored) that I had wanted to cancel my order (one of my questions was whether they would price-match on in-house stairs, which they wanted to charge me for – other companies would do that for free as well as waive their credit card fees, which other companies also stated they would do). I ended up speaking to the operations manager Ram who spoke a good game and made some attempts to obtain my business (I think they must have a book of lines to use on customers) which I accepted at face value. However, he told me that he would only be able to promise me a five day pick-up window!! Literally a few hours after my order had been “mistakenly cancelled” by his agent!?!

This set off warning bells, but I wasn’t in a strong position to continue to hunt for moving companies, so I succumbed to a five-day window. He said he would send me the paperwork (“maybe not today but definitely by tomorrow”) via email and fax with our negotiated items on there (he was going to forego his 3% credit card premium and the cost of the in-house stairs on the delivery). Needless to say, I didn’t receive any paperwork and had to email them back.

I didn’t use these guys – their behaviors and attitudes were pretty self-centered, and Ted seems like a moron – never once in those emails did I indicate that I was interested in canceling my contract. Others on this site have similarly had a difficult time with these guys, although they haven’t been panned as hard as my b) – I’m here to change that. These guys weren’t so hot in their customer service mojo and were tough to deal with. They left a really bad taste in my mouth.

b) Hercules Van Lines – I talked to a guy Brian here. He also seemed like a really good guy (truly) and was courteous on the phone, but I have only seen them get panned on reviews in the BBB and on movingscam.com. Seemed a bit risky, especially after I heard about their lack of communication between the sales guys and their warehouse guys. Plus, in talking to him, it seemed (although he stated otherwise) that some of their guys were ‘day laborers’ – sort of on-call movers that shifted between companies or their warehouse and trucks. Didn’t make a lot of sense to me.

I decided to keep looking for companies, since I wasn’t too thrilled with the reviews of option b) and the behaviors of option a). My job was going to have to wait a little bit (or, as ended up happening, I was just working a few extra hours each day – fun, fun). On the advice of some on movingscam.com, I also looked at just shipping everything via a shipping company.

c) UPS/FedEx/USPS – someone I worked with had used their services (UPS) before and swore he would never use them again. He had set up a corporate account, so they picked up at his house, and then had the items shipped out to his new home. He received goods in boxes that “looked like someone had taken a knife to them”, and many of his items were broken/damaged. He said not one box weathered the move. Additionally, there is no real insurance on sending your goods this way – to get insurance reimbursement from the companies your items need to be shipped “in their original packing” – i.e. you need that box on the 45 inch TV you bought three years ago along with the Styrofoam corners. His wife’s a lawyer and she couldn’t get anywhere with the UPS guys – I wasn’t going to take my chances.

Also, they deliver boxes at random – three one day, six the next, etc. somewhat confusing and cumbersome to have to stick around all the time to get your boxes. Didn’t make a lot of sense if you have more than ten or so.

d) and e) I contacted based on their reviews on movingscam.com, and their apparent ability to handle small moves like mine:

d) Ship Smart (www.shipsmart.com) – Originally obtained an on-line estimate with them. Seems like most people have had a reasonable move with them. Their business model is fairly intriguing to me – and I am somewhat reassured by the fact that all my stuff goes into a reasonably strong-appearing cargo box. They are headquartered just south of Santa Cruz, CA – about 2 hours south of San Francisco proper. Their employees seem to be a group of surfer-types, explaining the pleasant experiences most people here have had with them. Very relaxed group of people.

Your estimate here is individualized, and purely weight-based. The person who I spoke to on the phone (a really mellowed out guy (customer service agent) named Cory – seemed to be a fan of wacky tabaccy) recognized the minimal efforts my move would require on their part and thus dropped my packaging rate and costs. He told me it would take 1-3+w to receive my items in MN. He also, as has been alluded to here, mentioned that they are not a "moving company" - they will pick your stuff up (anywhere in house), pack it into their truck, then repackage items as needed (e.g. furniture) in a warehouse. They can do in-house packing as well, but this gets more pricey. They will help disassemble minor furniture (like a bed frame), the rest you’re on your own. The packing/moving/warehouse part of the job they broker out to a local warehouser/packer in your area. Extra time may be added due to packaging demands or shipping availability; you can pay with credit card without credit card surcharge.

Their insurance scales:
1) assign valuation of your goods
2) pick an insurance rate:
a) $100 deductible, $20/$1000 valuation
b) $250 deductible, $15/$1000 valuation
c) $500 deductible, $10/$1000 valuation
d) $1000 deductible, $6-8/$1000 valuation

They weigh your goods, tell you how much your bill is, and charge your card. They then ship the goods on a freight truck (one of those long-distance shipping companies) – so why not just go through them yourself? Because they charge more and are less flexible when you deal with them directly I found. Don’t know why.

Anyhow, I liked these guys, but so you know, they charge you a $75 fee for cancellation – no matter how early you cancel. I can understand their position, but am not too keen on it. Make sure that you speak to an estimator if you call them personally (they have a number of ‘green’ customer service agents) – the one I spoke to was Libby and she seemed pretty sharp.

Anyhow, ultimately, they were my guys – the cheapest and the friendliest. Especially after my Sterling debacle (keep reading). A great combo if you ask me. A few factoids – they have a 1% damage rate (approximately 4200 shipments per year and they report minor damage on 1% of them) – if you are to make an insurance claim, you need to report any damage to the external appearance of the box at delivery. They will charge for in-house stairs ($50).

e) Sterling Van Lines – these guys have also gotten decent reviews here. I also originally got an on-line quote from them. Somehow, when I tried to call Wright Way (in San Diego) for a quote, they forwarded my message to Sterling (in LA). So, thus, I had an on-line quote and the same guy trying to re-quote my move via the Wright Way referral.

I called these guys regarding a few questions I had – one, they pick up the stuff where ever you are, then take it to LA where they consolidate it (three long-distance trucks) and then, they might or might not repackage the stuff into a bigger box. Your fare is based on weight or cubic space, which they tell you after the stuff has been loaded and repackaged. Nancy (of movingscam.com) has used/worked with these guys before and had nothing but good things to say about them, so I decided to go with them. My point man was Doug Brown, a friendly guy who answered most of my questions to my satisfaction and seemed to know his stuff well. He explained their model of business as well, which I liked.

They sent me up the ‘Order of Move’ or whatever that form is called. Of some interest and annoyance, they asked for my social security number. Not even my mother has that, and I sure wasn’t going to fax it to some moving company. They said it was fine to not include it. As well, I wasn’t too key about leaving my credit card number on their files, and so I also made an arrangement to fax back the form when all was said and done without the credit card number on it. I was appreciative of their willingness to work on those points.

Of note, they will only pre-arrange a 4 day window for pick-up (don’t know if this is just a Bay Area thing or what), but I guess that’s standard fare during the month of June, when I was moving.

I did call them back and ask if they would deliver inside my garage in Minnesota – an issue that I thought was reasonably simple and not much of a hassle. I was told unequivocally no, subsequent to which I was told that perhaps the dispatcher (Tony) would be willing to state otherwise. When I called back and asked for the dispatcher, he told me that 1) in fact, whatever I was told previous was the final word, and 2) that it was not going to be a Sterling Van Lines that actually dropped my stuff off in Minnesota. When I asked for clarification as to who was actually going to do my move, I was transferred back to my sales agent (Doug) who in fact, just said that he was going to cancel my move. Apparently my questions were too much and thus, Doug went ahead and cancelled it a priori. I never did get an answer as to who in fact would be the company doing the moving and the delivery of my items.

I’m not so sure whether most people don’t ask a lot of questions, but I guess Sterling wasn’t as accommodating as they wanted to appear. The fact that I was told a few different things about who was going to be doing the move was something I wanted to clarify, since, in the end, if I was going to having my stuff just shipped through a multiplicity of differing agencies and trucks, then why not go with the cheaper option of Ship Smart? Anyhow, they really left me with sort of a lingering feeling of dealing with scum, yet again. I personally wouldn’t recommend these guys to anyone, mostly because if you ask too many questions, they don’t like it. It seems to me that anyone can be nice for a brief conversation, but to be nice and customer service oriented over a longer period of time, that takes real dedication to your customers and dedication to the principles of customer service.

f) Lastly, a category I am including here just for completeness sake – door-to-door and pod companies – these guys basically drop a box off outside your house and let you pack it (up to five days at each end to pack and unload) – you pay for the size of box that you use. However, I think it was pods.com that asked for almost $4500 – the time of the year and the length of my move predicated that I was only eligible for one of their largest pods, so go into this realizing that they all have nuances. Door-to-door quoted me something like $1500 and the lady on the phone was trying to get same-second sign-up. She was nice but somewhat annoyingly forceful – I imagine these guys are commissioned somehow. Seems like a reasonable option if you’re willing to do the work yourself, however.
Diane
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