So: I am moving with my wife cross-country, from Boston to the bay area (Menlo Park or thereabouts - don’t have a destination yet, but that will hopefully change next week!), leaving the 1st week of January. After reading recommendations on locally based movers that are agents of the nationals, I have solicited three quotes, with a fourth pending. As background, I’m moving from a 700+sf 1BR, but apparently we’ve collected a LOT of stuff over the years as the three agents were right at 5100# estimates, give or take 100#. (It’s her clothing, I swear… )
So far, I’ve had agents from Paul Taylor (United), Wakefield distribution (Allied) and Humboldt (United - scheduled this one before I read that getting two quotes from agents representing the same nat’l mover is superfluous. But read on…) I have a fourth mover scheduled for Friday, McLaughlin/Mayflower. All bids below are binding, guaranteed not to exceed.
Taylor: $6241 (5200#, 64% discount), including full pack @ $902, origin shuttle $458, valuation $310 (for $30K, zero deductible), and $30 for mattress cartons.
Humboldt: $6032 (5000#, 64% disc), including extensive partial pack @ $762, origin shuttle $441, valuation $261 ($25K, zero ded), $172 to crate a large (3x4’ mirror, ~50#) and glass coffee table top (unframed oval 25”x50”)
Wakefield: $6153 (5500#, 62% disc), including limited partial pack @$233, origin shuttle $500, valuation $306 ($30K, zero ded), $110 to crate mirror only.
Since I don’t know exactly where we’re moving, all three have stated that destination shuttle (or lack thereof) cannot be bound into the quote, but would be the same price as the origin shuttle.
- > United’s quote system has more detail, in that they provide a separate page that lists possible Additional Services that may be incurred (e.g. storage-in-transit costs if I elect to have the movers hold my stuff b/c my destination isn’t ready for move-in.)
> Rate that agent: The Humboldt agent gets top marks for being clear, courteous, and just pleasant to deal with. The Taylor agent comes in a reasonably close second, although he was disorganized on the day of the visit (he forgot his markup sheet, so he had to take notes by hand; but his quote nevertheless came out the same as the others). The Allied guy strikes me as being more stereotypical mover - blunt, a little pushy, selling the “service” aspect hard, claiming that their guys are drug-tested and charged (out of bonus money) for any damages during shipping. While his argument made sense, I had some difficulty imagining that he would be a great customer service interface with the company in the event of misfortune…
> It’s an interesting wrinkle that full-packs are done by weight, while partial-packs are done by box count.
> The Humboldt agent initially gave me an “Option A” quote (non-binding), at the price above. When I asked him to give me a GNTE (Option C) quote, he happily gave me the same quote, just as an option C. ??? He also offered to drop off a package of roughly 30 used boxes, to give us the option to self-pack more and defray the partial pack charge.
> I suppose it's a good thing that I never got exposed to lowballed quotes, but man, $6K is a lot for a "1BR" move! The Humboldt guy even commented on how heavy we spec'd out compared to the usual 1BR. But unfortunately, I believe it - our closets are stuffed floor to ceiling. Now I just have to convince the better half that too many earthly possessions just weigh you down... )
- > Three related questions, regarding destination:
1. How concerned should I be about which local agent will be involved with the move on the destination end? Both United agents have said that I will deal with them exclusively, implying that who the agent/local mover is on the destination end is less important.
2. United agents have assured me that, if their own locally-based long-haulers don’t do the haul, they would farm the job out to another United trucker. Do I need to be choosy about whether or not it is a locally-based trucker or not?
3. Even after explanations as to the unloading process, I’m still confused as to whether or not the driver gets involved. Two scenarios here: either a direct unload from the long-haul truck, or another shuttle. Assuming a direct unload, does the driver recruit a crew from the local agent? I guess I’m a little concerned that, worst case, the driver goes out and hires a bunch of his pirate buddies, and then starts with the monkey business (long carry, over time, different shuttle charges, whatever.) will a United driver do this?
> According to the Taylor agent, he quoted a full-pack because that allowed him to include it in the GNTE; he said something to the effect that partial packs are often “balance billed” if the total box count ends up higher than estimated. (example: agent calculated 5 dishpacks, but packers use 7…do they then turn around and itemize bill for the difference in packing?) Is this right??
> The agents seemed almost cavalier about the GNTE option. It obviously provides peace of mind for me, knowing that there is a ceiling on the price. However, I also feel like, if the movers are honest, they are probably overestimating the GNTE quote to protect themselves, expecting that the actual weight will come in under. So how do I interpret the fact that the Humboldt agent was happy to convert directly to a GNTE without adding some “padding” to the quote?
> If, as I’ve read here, the general gestalt of a company plays a big role in choosing which company to use, then I’m glad I had two different United agents come by, because even though they are supposedly working from the same playbook, the end result was markedly different. Am I overreading the importance of the agent in this process?
> Should I view the weighing? Implicitly, can I trust a “reputable” mover not to add 6 guys to the truck when they weigh? (Particularly if I manage to purge a bunch of stuff we don’t need to haul cross-country - I don’t want to be mentally “anchored” by their original quote)
> When do tariffs change? The 400N is listed as “effective 1/1/05” on the Allied quote (but present-dated on the United quotes). Is there any risk that the tariff will change between now and the 1st week of the new year?
Thanks in advance for any comments, and sorry for the length. I have found that "here's my story" detailed posts have served as better sources of information, so hopefully someone else will feel the same. Happy to answer any questions about my process so far.