A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

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Chuck
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Nov 22, 2003 5:01 am

A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Chuck » Wed Nov 26, 2003 9:08 pm

OK, first off, many thanks to all who have answer my questions over the last week -- Diane, Josh, Michael, Tyrone, and others. This is undoubtedly the best site for information on moving, and I will be making a donation after Thanksgiving. I especially appreciate the dialogue between those who work for the industry and those who are watchdogs.

I posted a few posts last week asking for recommendations on movers going from Oakland, CA to Seattle, WA. The advice seemed to lean toward Alexanders/Atlas and Chipman/United. The rest of this post is what I learned comparing the two with several other "majors" and a one smaller company. I would appreciate any further advice and suggestions on follow up questions.

Despite people's respect for Alexander, they do not seem to appear on the BBB or Safersys.org. Only Atlas is registered there. I sent 2 emails and left 2 phone messages before someone finally called me back to set up a walk-thru estimate. When Dennis Cronin finally showed up, he had nothing but his card. No information packet. Nothing. He was the most casual of all the walkthrus, and told me he would drop the estimate and packet off today -- nothing! Also said that he would be giving me a not-to-exceed estimate, but that any weight over the estimate we would have to pay for.

Chipman/United was the best meeting. Bill LaVigne was very professional and thorough. He had a great presentation with letters of recommendation from SF bigwigs (like Wendy Takuda, and CEO of Kaiser Permanente) and celebs, and others. He had a folder that showed pictures of complete quilting of furniture and doorways/staircase rails, etc. He estimated the total poundage of our 2bdrm apt at about 8500lbs. The total: around $5,500.

California Movers Express, once with Wheaton, but now with Stevens Van Lines, was the second best meeting. It was the only walkthru with a female agent. She had no equipment, and did the whole thing with a pencil and paper (not the standardized cubesheet paper either, but just a blank piece of paper). This concerned me at first, since it seemed a little low-tech, but she paid a lot of attention to details (what would break, what needed special care, etc). Her estimate on the poundage was much higher than Chipman -- near 10,000 lbs -- even though while she was here, her rough estimate was around 7,000 lbs. However, despite the higher weight, her total price was about the same as Chipman's = around $5,600.

Trivalley Bekins was a decent walkthru. However, Bekins is not using the 400N Tariff but something called the 412, a revised version of the 400M. That means that they tack on charges like "long carry" or "stairs." They only estimate on what they see at the origin site, so anything at the destination IS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE DRIVER. That didn't make me feel to comfortable, but as Tyrone has pointed out, this is the situation even with the new tariff. Bekins came in at 8600lbs, with a total price of about $4,800. Why is this lower than the rest? I think partly because "Rod" lowballed the amount of boxes we would need -- he seems to be off by about 15 cartons (yes I realize the boxes have different volumes). What does that mean? It means we will get charged more on packing day when the crew finds that we need more boxes and therefore more packing services/labor.

Cor-O-Van/NorthAmerican sent out Danny Shane, a retired police officer with a tough-looking goatee and shaved head (the rest of the estimators were all drivers previously, and therefore in the industry). He was nice enough and professional, but I think he lowballed the weight significantly -- he has our apt coming in at about 6800 lbs. However, despite the lower weight, he has 20 more cartons than the average estimate! His total cost = $4,900.

My wife and I like Stevens a lot, because Robyn Visser sent us a detailed cover letter with her estimate that detailed all possible charges and contingencies. She also offered free boxes straight off the bat. However, they are a very small company. The BBB shows they have only had 1 complaint in 3 years.

Chipman shows 13 complaints over 3 years, but if you consider the volume of their business, it works out to the almost the same percentage as Stevens.

Both Stevens and Chipman sent an agent out to our new Seattle home to see if the destination would require shuttle service. No one else did this.

Stevens applied a 60% discount to the 400N, while Chipman applied a 62% discount.

So what the heck do I do now? Do I ask for free boxes from United/Chipman? Do I ask for references from customers? Do I haggle on price/discount percentage? How do I choose between Stevens and Chipman? Does the fact that the higher poundage estimate from Stevens mean that we have less of risk of being charged extra for overage in weight?

Also Chipman said that we would pay for overage beyond 10% of the not-to-exceed estimate. Alexander said we would pay for anything over the estimate. Bekins claimed that these were not true not-to-exceed estimates. He claimed we would not pay a penny more than the estimate. Are binding estimates and not-to-exceeds different???

Sorry for the extremely long post, but thanks to all who have helped me.

CHuck
Last edited by Chuck on Thu Dec 11, 2003 12:18 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tyrone
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Tyrone » Thu Nov 27, 2003 2:31 am

If Alexander told you that a binding-not-to-exceed means that you pay more if the weight comes in higher than the estimate, DROP THEM LIKE A HOT ROCK. That is exactly the OPPOSITE of a binding-not-to-exceed.

A true Binding Not-To-Exceed estimate is the best kind (in my opinion). It means that even if your actual weight is a million gajillion pounds more than the estimate, you still pay for only the amount of the estimate. But if your actual weight is LESS than the estimate, then you pay LESS than the amount of the estimate, according to your actual weight times the agreed upon price per pound. So a binding-not-to-exceed estimate can only get lower, not higher. This is most favorable to the consumer.

The next best estimate type is a Binding. If I were to give it a name I would call it a "Fixed Price" agreement. This means that you agree to pay the fixed amount of the binding estimate. The actual weight is irrelevant. This is the most "fair" type of estimate IF IF IF IF IF everyone is honest. The risk to the consumer is that the estimator could highball the estimate to get extra money for pounds that don't exist. The risk to the moving company is that the consumer could sneak in lots of extra items that were not included on the original estimate. The risk to the mover is MUCH less than the risk to the consumer, because the truck driver has the right to "challenge" the binding estimate on loading day, before actually loading, if he thinks that the estimate is way too low.

The last estimate type is a non-binding estimate. You basically agree to pay for the actual weight, based on a set price per pound. The final bill could be higher or lower than the estimate, depending on the actual weight. If the bill is higher than the estimate, the mover can collect up to ten percent extra on top of the amount specified in the non-binding estimate. Then he MUST make full delivery of your goods. You MUST be given at least 30 days to come up with any balance on top of that.

Example:
Nnbinding estimate = $1000
Final Bill =$2000
Amount the mover can collect at delivery = $1100 (the original $1000, plus the allowed 10%)
At which point the mover must deliver. Then you have at least 30 days to pay the balance of $900.

Hope it helps.

Tim: how about an article explaining the various estimate types?

Josh
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Josh » Thu Nov 27, 2003 10:07 am

Chuck,

I think you are in good hands any way you go. I am a little foggy on the different types of estimates you have received though.

This is what you should clarify to each mover you are interested in:

You should get a "Not to Exceed" estimate and make sure the sales rep gives you a copy of his or her inventory. You will need to make sure that all of your items are listed on there. A Not to Exceed estimate states the mover will move only the items listed to go at the quoted rate. If he or she forgot to list your fridge, you will pay more to ship it and it doesn't amtter what type of estimate you have.

You should be able to get free boxes from any mover, you might have to pick them up, but free is free.

One advantage you would have in selecting Chipman is that Michael and I have used them on several occassions, therefore if you were to have a problem, we would get involved and fight for you. The best part is we don't charge you for this and that is a "guaranteed not to exceed"!

Good luck with your move.

Josh

Diane
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Diane » Thu Nov 27, 2003 10:53 am

Tim, I agree with Tyrone. I think it would be good to put an explanation of the various kinds of estimates somewhere on the website where people can be referred to it, so that volunteers don't have to keep on repeating themselves. If examples could be given for each type of estimate--not just the nonbinding one--it would be easier for readers to understand. (I believe that Ty has provided this in the past.)

Chuck, I'm a researcher like you, and I'm just blown away by the careful work that you've done and by your taking the time to post your findings. You've greatly increased our fund of information about the major van lines operating in the Bay area. Please continue to keep us informed about how your move goes. I would be especially interested in what your weight turns out to be in view of how Allied estimated it so high at the beginning. By the way, was that a binding estimate?

Since many, many people come to this site looking for ways to move cross-country, and some of them aren't in a position to use a rental van or ABF, I'm also wondering whether Stevens and Chipman handle such moves or whether they stick to the West Coast. If they do handle cross-country moves, whom do they use as haulers? Can they provide any references from people who have used them to move cross-country? If you could find out something about this, I believe that many people who visit this site would benefit. If you could give contact information for Robyn at Stevens, or at least her full name, that would be good too.

Another thing that interests me is the cover letter that you say Stevens sent you listing possible contingencies (I'm assuming the list includes things like a shuttle) and exactly what they would cost. If you could post that list, or send it to me as an attachment in an email, or even describe it in more detail, it would be good because we might be able to use it as a model of how companies should be informing consumers PRIOR to a move what additional charges might be imposed. Also, I really like the fact that both Stevens and Chipman sent an agent to check out the location where you're moving to in Seattle to see whether a shuttle would be needed. That's the way it should be.

Prior to your post I was unaware of the existence of a company named California Movers Express (Stevens), but I'm now suspicious that California New York Express (website registered to Idan Mor) has tried to capitalize on its good name. We know from a document we found that Mor researched the situation in the Bay area for a while before setting up his company in 1999.

Regarding Alexander's, after I looked into it I came to the conclusion that its glory days may be in the past. Many companies with that name have won Atlas' Milton Hill Quality award, including one in Hayward, CA which may have been the one you contacted. However, as you point out the Internet information on Alexander's is fragmentary and I wonder whether the companies with that name were broken up or have suffered some kind of takeover or reversal. On the avatar-moving.com messageboard, I recall that someone mentioned Alexander's (the one based in Tustin, CA) as a gold standard just the way Michael did, but it appears that that is no longer true. Maybe someone who has more information on this company will share it.

I wouldn't presume to advise you about which company to choose, as it seems as if you have two good choices lined up. Probably others will have some comments. Thanks again, Chuck, for your careful work on this. Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael
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Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Michael » Thu Nov 27, 2003 7:49 pm

Chuck

I am baffled by these not to exceed quotes you received that still were going to charge you for actuals or 110%. Those are not any type of guarantee. The main thing to keep in ming with any guarantee, destination services and third party services are not guaranteed. So with Stevens and Chipman checking destination, is a definite check mark for their side.

The reason you dont find Chipman on the Safer web site, is because United is listed. Non of their agents are listed individually.

Diane, Chipman is capable of doing cross country moves if they have continential fleet drivers. This is a driver licensed to drive over 750-1000 miles one way. So yes, both Alexanders and Chipman have that capability.

Bekins did opt out of the 400 N tariff and do use the 400 M tariff, they call it the 412 like you mentioned. But like you said, that tariff does charge for long carries, flights of stairs and such. And the tariff is about 5-10% cheaper then the cureent 400 N tariff, thus why they are cheaper.

Now to answer your questions. What a great place to be in, you did your homework, you got legit companies to quote you, although their professionalism ranged from one to the next. If your going to haggle, haggle with Stevens to match the 62% discount. I wouldnt haggle for much more. Keep in mind its a service, and the more something is dicounted the lesser the service and quality. Drivers hate high discounts. So I think your getting a fair and honest discount. The higher weight in my opinion is an advantage, cause you can only be charged less if it is less. And if the others are wrong you run the risk of the driver protesting and asking for an addemdum. I dont like the fact, again, Chipman quoted you a not to exceed plus 10%. In essence, you have a 110% not to exceed, which in my mind means they are not to confident in the estimating skills. Now that is something I would haggle over. But they are a good company, and I echo what Josh mentioned too. I personally am not a big fan of Stevens from my dealing with them in Michigan, where they are HQ's, but I believe Josh has mentioned positive things in his dealings with them in the past, or knows someone within.

I really think your not going to get scammed in the true sense of the definition. So go with your gut and who your comfortable with.

Keep us posted and good luck
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

Josh
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Josh » Thu Nov 27, 2003 9:03 pm

I will add a little info about Stevens since I do know a little bit about them. They are their own van line, but are affiliated with Bekins. My father sold for them in Ohio and praised the way they handled driver qualifications and labor. Over the past 25 years my father has worked for United, Mayflower, Stevens and currently Atlas, he has told me the quality of Stevens is close to that of United and Atlas.

Stevens hauls 99% of the orders they book and haul a great deal of Bekins shipments. What this means is when they book it, you probably won't get a Bekins truck hauling it but a Stevens truck.

Again, I think you are fine with Stevens or United so you will just have to go with your impressions and gut feeling.

Good luck and keep us posted on your results.

Josh

BigLeeCalif
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby BigLeeCalif » Fri Nov 28, 2003 12:07 pm

Chuck wrote:OK, first off, many thanks to all who have answer my questions over the last week -- Diane, Josh, Michael, Tyrone, and others. This is undoubtedly the best site for information on moving, and I will be making a donation after Thanksgiving. I especially appreciate the dialogue between those who work for the industry and those who are watchdogs.

I posted a few posts last week asking for recommendations on movers going from Oakland, CA to Seattle, WA. The advice seemed to lean toward Alexanders/Atlas and Chipman/United. The rest of this post is what I learned comparing the two with several other "majors" and a one smaller company. I would appreciate any further advice and suggestions on follow up questions.

Despite people's respect for Alexander, they do not seem to appear on the BBB or Safersys.org. Only Atlas is registered there. I sent 2 emails and left 2 phone messages before someone finally called me back to set up a walk-thru estimate. When Dennis Cronin finally showed up, he had nothing but his card. No information packet. Nothing. He was the most casual of all the walkthrus, and told me he would drop the estimate and packet off today -- nothing! Also said that he would be giving me a not-to-exceed estimate, but that any weight over the estimate we would have to pay for.

Chipman/United was the best meeting. Bill LaVigne was very professional and thorough. He had a great presentation with letters of recommendation from SF bigwigs and celebs and others. He had a folder that showed pictures of complete quilting of furniture and doorways/staircase rails, etc. He estimated the total poundage of our 2bdrm apt at about 8500lbs. The total: around $5,500.

California Movers Express, which was once a Wheaton agent, but is now with Stevens Van Lines, was the second best meeting. It was the only walkthru with a woman agent. She had no equipment, and did the whole thing with a pencil and paper (not the standardized cubesheet paper either, but just a blank piece of paper). This concerned me at first, since it seemed a little lo-tech, but she paid a lot of attention to details (what would break, what needed special care, etc). Her estimate on the poundage was much higher than Chipman -- about 10,000 lbs -- even though while she was here, her rough estimate was around 7,000 lbs. However, despite the higher weight, her total price is about the same as Chipman's = around $5,600.

Trivalley Bekins was a decent walkthru. However, Bekins is not using the 400N Tariff but something called the 412, a revised version of the 400M. That means that they tack on charges like "long carry" or "stairs." They only estimate on what they see at the origin site, so anything at the destination IS AT THE DISCRETION OF THE DRIVER. That didn't make me feel to comfortable, but as Tyrone has pointed out, this is the situation even with the new tariff. Bekins came in at 8600lbs, with a total price of about $4,800. Why is this lower than the rest? I think partly because "Rod" lowballed the amount of boxes we would need -- he seems to be off by about 15 cartons (yes I realize the boxes have different volumes). What does that mean? It means we will get charged more on packing day when the crew finds that we need more boxes and therefore more packing services/labor.

Cor-O-Van/NorthAmerican sent out Danny Shane, a retired police officer who resembles a skinhead with a goatee (the rest of the estimators were all drivers previously, and therefore in the industry). He was nice enough and professional, but I think he lowballed the weight significantly -- he has our apt coming in at about 7000lbs. However, despite the lower weight, he has 20 more cartons than the average estimate! His total cost = $4,900.

My wife and I like Stevens a lot, because Robyn sent us a detailed cover letter with her estimate that detailed all possible charges and contingencies. She also offered free boxes straight off the bat. However, they are a very small company. The BBB shows they have only had 1 complaint in 3 years.

Chipman shows 13 complaints over 3 years, but if you considere the volume of their business, it works out to the almost the same percentage as Stevens.

Both Stevens and Chipman sent an agent out to our new Seattle home to see if the destination would require shuttle service. No one else did this.

Stevens applied a 60% discount to the 400N, while Chipman applied a 62% discount.

So what the heck do I do now? Do I ask for free boxes from United/Chipman? Do I ask for references from customers? Do I haggle on price/discount percentage? How do I choose between Stevens and Chipman? Does the fact that the higher poundage estimate from Stevens mean that we have less of risk of being charged extra for overage in weight?

Also Chipman said that we would pay for overage beyond 10% of the not-to-exceed estimate. Alexander said we would pay for anything over the estimate. Bekins claimed that these were not true not-to-exceed estimates. He claimed we would not pay a penny more than the estimate. Are binding estimates and not-to-exceeds different???

Sorry for the extremely long post, but thanks to all who have helped me.

CHuck


Hi Chuck.. BigLee here.. I actually work for Chipman's Concord office.
Thank you for considering our company for your relocation.

I think when you were posting your comments you might have made a typo, because you say that Also Chipman said that we would pay for overage beyond 10% for anything over the estimate. That is only true if you are given a non binding estimate. On a non binding estimate, at the time of delivery you are only required to pay 110% of the estimate.. Any amount over that is billed to you with a 30 day pay window.

I would recommend that you call Bill LaVigne and have him clarify that, in writing, if necessary.

As far as free boxes, I can't say what his quotation was on that. That is another thing you can request that he clarify.

Another consideration (it appears that you have done your homework well) is not to rely solely on cost, but the services the cost is specifying in writing. Although I am biased towards the company I know best, I would ask that in your final decision to look past the sales pitches and consider what each company is offering, and decide what is not only economically best, but which company can provide you what you want WHEN you want it.

A company that can service your move from start to finish without handing off to another company would be consideration to avoid or reduce the possibility of claims damage. Chipman does offer an extensive hauling fleet, but so may some of the other Van Lines...

Have a great day, and whomever you choose, have a successful relocation... And be sure to let us know how it went.

BigLeeCalif
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby BigLeeCalif » Fri Nov 28, 2003 12:29 pm

Diane wrote:Tim, I agree with Tyrone. I think it would be good to put an explanation of the various kinds of estimates somewhere on the website where people can be referred to it, so that volunteers don't have to keep on repeating themselves. If examples could be given for each type of estimate--not just the nonbinding one--it would be easier for readers to understand. (I believe that Ty has provided this in the past.)

Chuck, I'm a researcher like you, and I'm just blown away by the careful work that you've done and by your taking the time to post your findings. You've greatly increased our fund of information about the major van lines operating in the Bay area. Please continue to keep us informed about how your move goes. I would be especially interested in what your weight turns out to be in view of how Allied estimated it so high at the beginning. By the way, was that a binding estimate?

Since many, many people come to this site looking for ways to move cross-country, and some of them aren't in a position to use a rental van or ABF, I'm also wondering whether Stevens and Chipman handle such moves or whether they stick to the West Coast. If they do handle cross-country moves, whom do they use as haulers? Can they provide any references from people who have used them to move cross-country? If you could find out something about this, I believe that many people who visit this site would benefit. If you could give contact information for Robyn at Stevens, or at least her full name, that would be good too.

Another thing that interests me is the cover letter that you say Stevens sent you listing possible contingencies (I'm assuming the list includes things like a shuttle) and exactly what they would cost. If you could post that list, or send it to me as an attachment in an email, or even describe it in more detail, it would be good because we might be able to use it as a model of how companies should be informing consumers PRIOR to a move what additional charges might be imposed. Also, I really like the fact that both Stevens and Chipman sent an agent to check out the location where you're moving to in Seattle to see whether a shuttle would be needed. That's the way it should be.

Prior to your post I was unaware of the existence of a company named California Movers Express (Stevens), but I'm now suspicious that California New York Express (website registered to Idan Mor) has tried to capitalize on its good name. We know from a document we found that Mor researched the situation in the Bay area for a while before setting up his company in 1999.

Regarding Alexander's, after I looked into it I came to the conclusion that its glory days may be in the past. Many companies with that name have won Atlas' Milton Hill Quality award, including one in Hayward, CA which may have been the one you contacted. However, as you point out the Internet information on Alexander's is fragmentary and I wonder whether the companies with that name were broken up or have suffered some kind of takeover or reversal. On the avatar-moving.com messageboard, I recall that someone mentioned Alexander's (the one based in Tustin, CA) as a gold standard just the way Michael did, but it appears that that is no longer true. Maybe someone who has more information on this company will share it.

I wouldn't presume to advise you about which company to choose, as it seems as if you have two good choices lined up. Probably others will have some comments. Thanks again, Chuck, for your careful work on this. Happy Thanksgiving!


Hi Diane...

Thanks for the heads up.. Actually was unaware the site was back up and running..

In answer to your question, Chipman Relocations (we are United and Mayflower affiliated in the Concord, CA office) does have a hauling fleet.
We offer regional drivers for shipments to Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Washington, and Oregon. Our continental fleet handles orders within the continental U.S. and Canada. Our International division handles overseas shipping.

I think Chuck might have made a typo, because it is illegal to collect any amount over the not-to-exceed amount of any estimate, unless the carrier and the shipper agree to add charges, at which time an addendum to service would be executed. The only time 110% can be collected is on a non binding estimate. The shipper is given 30 days to pay any additional amount, and the carrier is required to deliver the goods on payment of the 110%. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Since our Company is affiliated with Mayflower and United, we extensively use what is called the Alliance program.. That is where the hauling capabilities of the company are greatly enhanced, because regardless of which van line is selected, the customer is given the option of participating in the alliance program if it will mean enhancing pick up and delivery dates. And since our hauling fleet involves having some drivers Mayflower qualified, and some drivers United qualified, we still retain control of approximately 90% of our shipments.

I am not endorsing our company over others, but merely stating the capabilities that exist. Many van lines have similar flexibility..

BigLeeCalif

Diane
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Diane » Fri Nov 28, 2003 12:53 pm

Michael wrote:I personally am not a big fan of Stevens from my dealing with them in Michigan


Could you elaborate on this a little, Michael? If your misgivings about Stevens have to do with a dispute between your company and theirs, I'm not too concerned, but if it involved mistreating a customer, then I AM concerned.

Also, Josh, you said that your father works for Atlas. Could you ask him what is going on with Alexander's--why certain agencies, at least, have apparently deteriorated so much? I've read on other websites that sometimes good agencies are bought by major van lines and then are "sucked dry" by corporate HQ and go downhill fast because they have to give up so much of their profits.

BigLeeCalif
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby BigLeeCalif » Fri Nov 28, 2003 1:08 pm

Diane wrote:
Michael wrote:I personally am not a big fan of Stevens from my dealing with them in Michigan


Could you elaborate on this a little, Michael? If your misgivings about Stevens have to do with a dispute between your company and theirs, I'm not too concerned, but if it involved mistreating a customer, then I AM concerned.

Also, Josh, you said that your father works for Atlas. Could you ask him what is going on with Alexander's--why certain agencies, at least, have apparently deteriorated so much? I've read on other websites that sometimes good agencies are bought by major van lines and then are "sucked dry" by corporate HQ and go downhill fast because they have to give up so much of their profits.


What happens Diane, is not so much Van Lines buying agencies. They want everything to be agent owned.. What happens is a large agency might want to get their foot in a new market, and will go ahead and buy a small agency, or one that has lucrative contracts to relocate employees.

The problem with that is the purchasing agent is usually in another state, and all decision making is done at that level.

A prime example of how that works is that a very successful Mayflower agent in Hayward, CA was purchased by a large agent in Omaha. Well, everything down to dispatching the interstate trucks came from Omaha... And when people are moving it is frustrating to have to wait for decisions from some where else, when time is important.

As a result, instead of an increase in business, the trend reverses, and the efficiency and reputation of that agent deteriorates.

I'm not sure that is what happened with Alexanders, but I know that their presence in the Bay Area is not what it once was. It could have something to do with the proliferation of mom and pop companies that have sprung up everywhere. Apparently most of them are abiding by the rules, because I haven't seen any problems with Northern California movers pop up on the news, or in the moving association newsletters.

Another possibility is that more and more movers are increasing their presence in office moving and special products and tradeshow transportation, and lessening their presence in household moving.

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twalker
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby twalker » Fri Nov 28, 2003 11:40 pm

Tyrone wrote:Tim: how about an article explaining the various estimate types?


Hey Tyrone,

I think you just wrote it! :wink:

It's definitely a good idea, and an important topic. I can't say that I'll have it written overnight, but I'll definitely add it to my to-do list and get something online as soon as I can.

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

Chuck
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Chuck » Sat Nov 29, 2003 2:46 am

Hi folks,

Many thanks for the responses, and I hope you all had a happy thanksgiving.

I understand that if, for instance, I went to Ethan Allens and bought a new livingroom set and tried to get it loaded on the truck, that I would have to pay for the extra poundage, but upon delivery the driver could only ask me for 110%. The rest would be billed to me soon after.

What I'm trying to figure out is -- since I've gotten a low estimate of 6,000lbs and a high one of 11,000 lbs, what happens if the happy middle is a little off? Chipman has estimated me at 8500, but what happens if I actually weigh in at 9500lbs?? 1000 lbs is more than 10% over. Assuming I haven't bought 4 new couches (and I won't), what am I responsible for paying in total? I guess this question is aimed at the United guys on this forum, since they would know best with regard to Chipman.

I guess the different types of estimates are in fact covered in the Rights and Responsibilities booklet, so all you would have to do is translate it into plain English with some good examples that people can understand. Incidentally, the Chipman agent told me -- when I asked him (facetiously) why his packet didn't include my Rights and Responsibilities -- that the booklet was no longer required by law. Later, I read his brochure and his estimate, and both remarked on the requirement of the booklet! Was he just lying to me to get out of a sticky spot that wasn't even really sticky?!!

Diane, the Stevens agent was name Robyn Visser. I'll check and tell you if I'm wrong on her last name.

Chuck
Last edited by Chuck on Thu Dec 11, 2003 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

Diane
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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Diane » Sat Nov 29, 2003 3:58 pm

Chuck wrote:Incidentally, the Chipman agent told me -- when I asked him (facetiously) why his packet didn't include my Rights and Responsibilities -- that the booklet was no longer required by law.


Interesting. Comments, anyone?

Chuck, please don't forget my request (buried above) that you share the Stevens letter listing the possible contingencies--such as a shuttle, I assume--and their cost. It's really important. Did Stevens say that you would have to sign this letter to indicate your awareness of possible additional costs prior to the move?

If you want to send the list to my personal email address as an attachment (I don't think there can be attachments to private messages), my address is diane2134@yahoo.com.

Also, for everyone's information, Michael has explained in a private message that his concerns about Stevens don't really apply to the present situation. And thank you, Lee, for your comments on distant agencies buying up smaller ones. Welcome back to the messageboard.

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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby Guest » Sat Nov 29, 2003 5:11 pm

The booklet is definitely still required by law. The one on the FMCSA website makes it clear that there are no additional services loophole to the 110% rule (100% for binding estimates) and that any charges over that must be billed for payment within 30 days.

Believe it or not, AMSA's official line is that the version it drafted -- the one with the loophole -- should be the one handed out to customers. Maybe the Chipman agent just didn't know which version to hand out, so he told the customer that it's no longer required by law. Many, if not all, of the websites for the majors used to link to the old AMSA-drafted, loophole-ridden booklet back when it was on the FHWA's website. Now that that one has been taken down and replaced with the new, FMCSA-drafted, no-loopholes one, the majors no longer link to it.

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Re: A Detailed Breakdown Comparison -- SF to Seattle Movers

Postby consumer advocate » Sat Nov 29, 2003 5:51 pm

Lie or ignorance; either one reason enough to eliminate Chipman I should think.

Interesting that the majors no longer link to the booklet.


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