I used this excellent web site to plan my move and choose my moving companies. I moved from San Francisco to Omaha in the second week of June. It turned out to be excellent for us, both reliability and cost wise. We are extremely thankful to this service for enlightening us and making us avoid any and all surprises with our move.
We used ABF U-PACK to load our household stuff. Since we lived on top of a hill in San Francisco that had parking constraints, I did a "terminal to door" move. So I hired some local movers in San Francisco to load my stuff from my apartment onto their truck and then unload in into ABF's truck at their dispatch terminal located in San Lorenzo. The existing "sticky" thread on ABF has excellent suggestions on how to pack and how to protect, and I followed them very carefully. The truck we were assigned was clean and didn't have any leaks or dirt (if it does, the ABF folks are quite willing to give you a new one). We loaded our stuff on and installed the bulk-head, which is quite a simple task. In any case, the ABF manager willingly jumped in and secured it for us. The estimate given to me was 5 to 6 business days but the truck reached Omaha, NE in 5 calendar days. I had a drop-off at my door. The driver who came over called me early that morning to sehcdule the drop off and he reconfirmed just before he took off. Unfortunately, the clutch failed on him a few blocks away, and he called for a replacement and so came about an hour late, apologizing for the delay. They also forgot a ramp in the confusion, and he went back and got me a ramp within half an hour. He installed it, undid the bulk-head and refused a tip. The packed stuff hadn't budged a bit. It is a good idea to use large shelves against the bulk head and anchor them to the rope hooks available. It was also reasonably clean and my tarp cover had some fine chalk like powder at places. The manager at loading trusted my estimate of the length, and in fact rounded it down to the nearest integer, which left me pleasantly surprised. Overall ABF comfortably exceeded my expectations in quality and price.
I was referred to this web site by a full service mover: COR-O-VAN in Dublin, CA. They were extremely polite, timely, and professional in providing an estimate. Like reputable movers, they go by weight. So due to a ton of books that we had, their estimate was rather high. If I did own valuable stuff, I would have trusted them to load and transport, but since I didn't have anything that valuable, I decided to load and pack with handyman assistance. The COR-O-VAN agent was very good, patient, honest, easily reachable on cell, and always professional. He told me that their prices would be higher than many fly-by-night agents, but assured me of no price inflation and surprises. He also told me to check out this web-site and then take a decision. Unfortunately for their business, based on the recommendations on the forum and the value of my stuff, it made me decide on ABF. I ended up paying less than 1/3 of what a regular moving company would have charged me! I had about 7000 lbs of stuff for the regular movers; it comfortably fit within 20 linear feet of the ABF truck.
For car transport, I used Dependable Auto Shippers (DAS). They were recommended both by COR-O-VAN and ABF U-PACK. They delivered my car here in 6 calendar days (even though their contract said 20 days) and in as good a shape as when I dropped it off. Their agent here also washed it for me as a courtesy. The only grouse I have about them is that their customer service 800 number tests anyone's patience. I was quoted one price but emailed another and I wanted to resolve it. It turns out that their system that generates email is not totally in sync with the order placement. They assured me that I would be charged the smaller amount . True to their word I was. But to get that assurance I had to make calls and hold for ever. In the end, the price was right, the car reached in perfect shape, so I have no complaints.
Once again, my sincere thanks to this site and the recommendations and postings on the forum. My recommendation: if you are moving out of the San Francisco bay area, use COR-O-VAN if you want to have a single-stop experience. With ABF UPACK you need to employ movers at both ends, plus you would worry about the robustness of the packing you did -- but it would be less than half the cost of a professional moving company. If you have expensive furniture or valuable stuff, or if you are willing to pay for the convenience, it is worth paying the professionals. If you want to do a budget move and have the energy to coordinate loading and unloading, go with ABF U-PACK.
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