Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Our open community forum is for general moving related questions, comments, and useful information about local and interstate moves.
Ultraviolet
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:34 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Ultraviolet » Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:51 pm

Hello good people...
Well, I'm making myself downright ill trying to research all the companies in Charlotte, so I'm coming here for advice!

I'm staying away from the internet searching for companies, as tough as that is for me to do, being a geek and all. :wink:

I'm not obsessed with finding the "cheapest" movers, because fortunately my company has given me a lump-sum relocation to cover it. But I do, naturally, want the most pain-free experience I can get. (And anything I don't spend on the relo, I get to keep, so hurrah for that.)

I plan on packing everything myself because, well, I just don't like strangers going through my stuff! I have a one bedroom/one bath apartment with a 10x10 storage space which could effectively be considered another bedroom. The place I'm starting from is on the 8th floor, but has an elevator. The place I'm going to is a 3rd floor condo with nothing but STAIRS. (See why I want someone to lug it around for me?)

I've done lots of searches here, and I see that MusicMom and Michael are the experts in my area, but most of the "from Charlotte" posts are over a year old. Things change in a year...

I've already started researching a few places:

United Van Lines/Lawrence Transportation Systems
(Hilldrup is also a United agent, but I haven't contacted them yet.)
Allied/Berger
And Two Men and A Truck, which I got on the recommendation of a couple people I know, but when I go to the BBB site, they have, um, quite a record compared to everyone else in the area.

Another friend of mine recommended I NOT use Ark, because he was dissatisfied with how they handled his stuff, and I see someone else on this site said the same. And I saw MusicMom's research on Act of Class Relo, saying that they're not authorized to move interstate.

I guess I'm just starting to get confused. So any help, or experiences, or anything from anyone would be so greatly appreciated. My tentative moving date is Nov 12th. I'd love to have the whole thing done by Thanksgiving!!

Thanks!!

Rick
Posts: 3269
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 7:59 pm

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Rick » Mon Oct 17, 2005 6:26 pm

Ultraviolet,

Security Storage Company http://www.wemove4u.com an Atlas Van Lines agent, also has an office in Charlotte. Michael may be able to help you with a reference who to speak to about an estimate.

Hilldrup and Lawrence, both United Van Lines agents, also have offices in Virginia. Hilldrup's headquarters is in Stafford. Lawrences closest office is in Charlottesville.

Based on your description, you probably have less than 4000 lbs. Each of the van lines that you are considering may require that the booking agent also haul your move because of the relatively short distance. If so, Hilldrup and Lawrence could possibly handle your shipment either as a front haul or a "backhaul" on one of their trucks based in Virginia.

You are smart to stay away from Ark.

Good Luck!

Ultraviolet
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:34 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Ultraviolet » Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:08 am

Thanks Rick!

Based on your description, you probably have less than 4000 lbs. Each of the van lines that you are considering may require that the booking agent also haul your move because of the relatively short distance. If so, Hilldrup and Lawrence could possibly handle your shipment either as a front haul or a "backhaul" on one of their trucks based in Virginia.


What does that mean? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Would I have to specifically ask about that?

btw, your link didn't work, but I'll go look them up.

Thanks again!

23
Posts: 1102
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 2:47 pm

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby 23 » Tue Oct 18, 2005 11:59 am

You don'y have to worry who is hauling your shipment. When it is a close move such as yours, some van lines require their agents to haul it with their own trucks. I think that is a good thing personally.

His link should be: http://www.wemove4u.com

I think Michael is in Raleigh though, not Charlotte but still might be able to help you.

Rick
Posts: 3269
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 7:59 pm

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Rick » Tue Oct 18, 2005 2:13 pm

Ultraviolet, "back haul" means that a truck dispatched from Virginia delivers in North Carolina (or somewhere beyond) and the dispatcher looks for shipments that can be loaded back toward Virginia. It increases the company's capacity to handle your relocation without problems. The salesman in Charlotte probably wouldn't be aware of these opportunities. If they do exist, they are usually communicated through dispatch or operations.

Thanks 23! I should probably learn how to work a computer.

Ultraviolet
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:34 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Ultraviolet » Wed Oct 19, 2005 5:20 pm

Thank you both 23 and Rick for clearing that up!
I'm going to investigate some more now, and see what I get...

If anyone else knows of good movers in Charlotte, I'm still open to suggestion. I still have a few weeks!

Ultraviolet
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:34 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Ultraviolet » Fri Oct 28, 2005 8:47 pm

Here's a little (okay, long) update after a few days of research...

I perused the phone book and started searching around through the BBB and asking opinions of friends and leasing agents.

I put in a request to EasyMovers, and didn't hear back immediately. About a day later I got a call from one of their guys and he left me a rather curt message on my work voice mail. So when I didn't call them right back, they called my work every day this week, listened to my message, and then HUNG UP. (I knew it was them from the caller ID.) No message. It was weird and stalkery. A little too desperate. I decided to move on.

I was visited by Jerry Lawrence from Lawrence Transportation Systems (United.) He was very nice and courteous, and talked a steady stream as we went through my home. He seemed to take careful notes though. He provided me with all the necessary literature, told me all about the company, and assured me that they use all their own people. He said they did over 16,000 moves last year, and had a 95% satisfaction rate. One out of 15 moves filed a claim, and the average claim amount was $250. That sounded like pretty good odds! I had the chance to ask all the questions I needed, and felt really good about the experience when he left. He told me he would be going out of town for a few days, but would be back by Friday, and he would get me my estimate before then. He also told me I could call his coworker if I had any questions before he got back.

So I got the quote in the mail, and was initially let down that he provided me with a non-binding estimate, spelled my name wrong, and got the street number incorrect. Oh well. The estimate was for 6200 lbs. My completely amateur opinion was 5K, so I figured okay. He put in a charge for boxing up my mattress and box spring, because he said it was required. And that's where the "calculations I completely understand" end. ;)
What are orig/dest serv chrgs?
Then there's a fuel surcharge, rate .21, for 367.00 based on the 1747.62 "transportation charges." (Apparently there's a 64% reduction on the packing, transportation charges, and the service charges?)
It says Full Value $35,000 for $358 and "Ins. related" (?) based on the same 1747.62 at a rate of .04, for 69.90.
That subtotal was excluded from discount, for a subtotal of 794.90

That makes my total estimate from United/Lawrence $2729.88 with 110% at $3002.87
Okay, I think I get it now, good enough.

Then today I had a visit from Vicki from Security Storage Company (Atlas.) She was supposed to be here at 10am, and at 9:59 she called me to say she couldn't figure out where to park in my parking deck. I advised her that if there were no open spaces then she might have to park on the street at one of the meters, and I apologized. I told her I would come downstairs to meet her, and that I have bright red hair so I would be hard to miss! I went down there and wandered around for a few minutes looking for her. Vicki came out of the leasing office...in a huff! She said, "Okay, we have 35 minutes! That's all the money I had for the meter." She was dressed not very professionally, but more like she was going out clubbing. I was a little taken aback by both her appearance and her demeanor. I tried to make a little small talk to lighten the mood, but she said, "Nobody likes having to drive in uptown." As we walked back in, I asked if she at least made a note of what time it was, and she grumbled about not needing to get a ticket or towed and that she didn't have any more change. I said that was okay, if it came down to it, I had some change. :roll:

So Vicki came upstairs to my apartment and started to unload her things on my counter. I asked if she didn't want to move to the other side of the counter where there was more room, and she grumbled and picked up the stuff she had taken out and brought it over. She then started flying through reading material and pamphlets, and put back the ones about packing because I said I would be doing the packing myself. She had a small handheld barcode reader and a sheet of bar codes, and while she was readying it, I asked her how many moves they do on average, and she looked at me like I was from Mars. She said, "Wow, I don't know. A LOT. I do about three surveys a day..." and then she started taking inventory.

Vicki didn't really talk to me much while she was walking around except to ask a few questions about what was going or staying. I advised her about a few extra things she wouldn't see, like the rubbermaid totes and the desk that were coming from my fiancee's apartment, and my bicycle. I brought her up to my storage space, and she seemed shocked. My storage space really looks just like a tiny indoor garage. Lots of empty boxes, but I told her they were empty. The rest of the visit was rather unremarkable. I walked her back downstairs, and she said she would get the quote to me today, and (finally) shook my hand and said thank you.

So later this afternoon, I got two emails from Vicki. The first was a copy of my inventory sheet. I skimmed it over, and it seemed like she got everything. Her estimated weight was 7,000 lbs. The second email was addressed to "John" and said "It was nice meeting you yesterday." ???
But my quote was attached to it.

It was much easier to read and understand, and referred to being a binding quote with APP, and an explanation of what that was. She had also told me that if I book with her, and have AAA, FVP would be free. The quote reflected that. The total was $2757.43 (including boxing up the mattress.)

I sent her an email to say she might want to check her records because she had addressed my letter to "John." Around 4:30 I got a phone call from her, and she apologized. She said she was sorry, but she just forgot to change the name on the letter. She seemed like she was in a much better mood, and much nicer about it. She asked if I was going to make a decision this week or the next, and I told her this week. She thanked me and told me to give her a call if I had any more questions...

So the first guy was a lot nicer and reassured me more, but the second price was better, and guaranteed. Sigh.

I'm now waiting on a rep from Sterling Moving and Storage, whom North American referred me to as my "local" rep, but it must be local to my destination. When I search for them here as advised, it shows me about 20 pages of posts, but I can only review the first page. If I try to go to the next page it gives me that weird "No topics or posts met your search criteria." Bizarre. The most I can gather here is that there is confusion over several companies with the same name...

Haven't heard back from Hildrup or Berger yet.

So that's my update for now. I'll keep posting as I find out more, and maybe it will help some other poor soul later!

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

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Diane » Fri Oct 28, 2005 9:10 pm

Hi - I don't know why you're having that problem with the search engine (I couldn't replicate it), but I'll save you the trouble and tell you that we have no reviews of Sterling, although people have spoken highly of it. There is a Sterling Van Lines in CA and another blacklisted one in FL, but not Sterling Moving and Storage.

Since your distance is only 400 miles, I was thinking that you might want to go with an independent company like JK Moving that has good reviews and comments here. They are in Sterling, VA and their website is www.jkmoving.com. I think it would be worth giving them a call.

Don't worry about dissecting the details of the United estimate right now. The rep gave you a 64% discount off the tariff rate, which is pretty good, but you should not accept a Nonbinding estimate. Insist on a Binding or Binding Not to Exceed estimate. If he saw your goods he should be able to convert the Nonbinding estimate to a BNTE. United calls it an Option C quote.

I would tend to rule out Security just on the basis of the behavior of the sales rep.

Guest

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:35 am

Thanks Diane. I agree with you on the evaluation of Security. I will call the United rep today and see if I can get him to give me that "Option C" quote.

And I'll definitely take a look into JK. Even if it's not good for this move, I want to keep movers in mind for my next move that will be more local, when the fiancee and I move from an apt to a house. (ugh, can't even think about that right now!)

I appreciate all the hard research work and advice that everyone here is doing as volunteers!
Although I know that's not why you do it, I'm sure it's all adding up as gold stars in the Big Book somewhere! ;)

Ultraviolet
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:34 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Ultraviolet » Mon Oct 31, 2005 9:39 am

(whoops, that last post was me...) :oops:

Ultraviolet
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:34 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Ultraviolet » Sat Nov 05, 2005 12:11 am

Here's something that's just plain confusing...

I was visited by a representative of Berger (Allied) today. He made a specific point of telling me that they (Allied) now do their move estimates by the amount of space that my belongings will take up in the truck. I said, oh, okay, thinking he was referring to linear feet. I mean, this is a major van line...

So he went through the place and added it all up, and then printed out an estimate for me.

Turns out it was cubic feet. But next to it was also a weight estimate. He said, ignore that weight estimate, this is the cubic footage. Turns out it was right in line with the two other quotes I got anyway... And he said it was a "guaranteed" or binding price.

So what is this guy talking about then? Does Berger/Allied have something in their tariff that says they can estimate by cubic feet, or is he just doing some kind of show, thinking that "most people" are going to go with that kind of estimate? Any ideas?

MusicMom
Posts: 19323
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby MusicMom » Sat Nov 05, 2005 12:14 am

What the hell? The usual way is to do it exactly as he did and find out the CF, then multiply that by 7, giving you the weight. But why would he tell you to ignore the weight that he just figured out? That's backward! Call the office in the morning and ask someone other than your estimator about that.

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

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Diane » Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:25 am

I think the Allied rep could have been de-emphasizing weight because in many cases they use a TPG tariff that is different from the 400N and I understand that they often don't even weigh the trucks.

Also, I want to soften what I said above about the Security rep - it could be that she had some personal issues that day and since her company is good, you might want to give her another chance.

Ultraviolet
Posts: 7
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2005 1:34 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Charlotte, NC to Sterling, VA advice

Postby Ultraviolet » Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:38 am

Some updates...

Yesterday I received a call from Vickie from Security Storage of Charlotte. Apparently she read what I wrote here, and wanted to apologize for the negative impression she gave me. I thanked her and said that was appreciated. We all have bad days, and I understand that. I had not discounted Security Storage completely anyway. She had called me last Friday to ask if I had made a decision yet, and I told her she could follow up with me on Wednesday. I reiterated that yesterday.

I also got a pm from Michael, who you all know works for Security and posts here. Though he works for the Raleigh office and not Charlotte, he wanted to offer his support in answering any questions or concerns I may have. I appreciate that as well.

So in their best interest, I agree it's not totally fair to discredit the use of one company based on one rep's bad day. But hopefully it was a learning experience for all of us, because it certainly was for me.

Lastly, Music Mom, I did call the Berger Transportation 800-number yesterday. I spoke to a woman (with a thick Minnesotan accent!) who agreed that the estimate should be done by weight, unless this particular office was doing something different she wasn't aware of. When I said I was in Charlotte, she knew right away the name of the rep I saw and referred me to the general manager there, James. She connected me with him.

James told me that we were right: the estimate is made by tallying up the goods, determining cubic footage and multiplying by 7 to get an estimated weight. He wasn't sure why his rep might have told me otherwise, as he wasn't there, but he would investigate it. He said he was reasonably concerned if one of his people was giving false information like that, especially one who has been with the company for as many years. (30+) James also offered to answer any further questions or concerns I might have at any time, and sounded genuine when he asked for my business, hoping that I would choose Berger.

So that's that, mostly. I have a couple of other recommendations from friends to check out, and references to call. In the end I will make a big tally sheet of pros and cons, and weigh it all out to make a decision by tonight. I'll let everyone know how it goes!


Return to “Open Community”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: MSN [Bot] and 8 guests