Not to Exceed Estimates

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Philly Scott

Not to Exceed Estimates

Postby Philly Scott » Sat Jun 10, 2006 6:56 pm

I'm investigating options on moving from Philly (PA) to Austin (TX) in later July. I've looked into Broadway Express and ABF (your comments are very helpful), and I'm going to get some in home estimates from some majors (recommended from your list) in my area. You can probably tell I've had a previous bad experience, and that I have read your boards a bit. They're better than what's on FOX with American Idol finished.

I wanted to ask for some thoughts on how to approach the in home estimates. I'm going to get an estimate from Bekins (Pottstown) and American Way Moving Systems (Mayflower), and maybe another major. My questions are as follows:

1) Should I expect these folks to give me a "not to exceed" estimate? What terms should I exactly use in asking for this (non-binding NTE estimate, NTE estimate, etc)?

2) Should I mention this as a desire before the in home visit, or is it something that we'll work out then?

3) Should I assume that it's fine to ask for such an estimate when your stuff's not all packed (I'm moving 3 rooms, only one or two pieces of furniture, but lots of books)?

Thank you in advance for your thoughts on this. You can probably tell that one of my mistakes last time was not getting an in home NTE estimate! Thanks,
Scott

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

Re: Not to Exceed Estimates

Postby Diane » Sat Jun 10, 2006 9:11 pm

Philly Scott wrote:I have read your boards a bit. They're better than what's on FOX with American Idol finished.

:lol: You might be interested to know that we've been called the longest-running soap opera on the Internet. A couple of years ago it was even more colorful, with insults being traded right and left, irate scammers trying to post porn and being locked out, and so on. This is tame.
I'm going to get an estimate from Bekins (Pottstown) and American Way Moving Systems (Mayflower), and maybe another major.
Is there some reason you are going to get an estimate from a Bekins agent? Bekins is one of the worst van lines and has a reputation for not paying on claims. Turnover among their drivers is 120% a year. I would suggest getting a quote from an Atlas and a United agent besides the Mayflower one.
1) Should I expect these folks to give me a "not to exceed" estimate? What terms should I exactly use in asking for this ?

It's always best to have an NTE estimate. A Binding Not to Exceed (BNTE) estimate is the same as a GNTE (Guaranteed Not to Exceed) estimate. Sometimes this is shortened and called an NTE estimate. Various van lines use different terms for this. Here is a brief summary that I compiled.
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 1&start=15

Most van lines use the 400N tariff (price list) but Bekins still uses the 400M, which has certain features like charging for stairs and long carries that have been abandoned under the 400N tariff. I am not sure how Bekins gives estimates but my impression is that it usually gives Binding estimates that can't go either up or down, and that it may not even weigh the trucks.
2) Should I mention this as a desire before the in home visit, or is it something that we'll work out then?

Normally you would work it out with the estimator while he/she is in your residence. Some reps will mention it on their own, which is usually a good sign.
3) Should I assume that it's fine to ask for such an estimate when your stuff's not all packed

Yes; actually it's better if your things are NOT packed because then the rep can see what's going to go into the boxes. Books weigh a lot more than lampshades.
You can probably tell that one of my mistakes last time was not getting an in home NTE estimate! Thanks,
Scott

You're welcome. What happened to you last time, if it isn't too painful for you to recall?
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

Philly Scott

Re: Not to Exceed Estimates

Postby Philly Scott » Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:32 pm

Diane,
Thank you so much for the info on the NTE stuff. I thought I got the bekins recommendation from your list, but now that I look at it again, the Pottstown one has "no information" on it (although a NJ Bekins one has good recs). Would you specifically recommend a moving company for a Philly to Austin move? United and Mayflower in this are seem to be the same--American Way Moving Systems in King Of Prussia, but I may be confused about this. I'm going to move at the end of July, so I've got a little time to look around.

As for my past experience, I've posted here and there about it. It was the basic "load'em up and then tell them they have more stuff than they thought" plan. Details are here:
http://www.thesqueakywheel.com/complain ... nt1622.cfm

It was with Discovery Moving and Storage in CA (now named "Movingstar Moving and Storage") (I.C.C. M.C. #344900/CAL T #185795) at that end, with Alpha Moving and Storage handling the Philadelphia end.

Thanks again for everyone's efforts on this website!

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Not to Exceed Estimates

Postby Michael » Sun Jun 11, 2006 5:46 pm

Scott,

I would highly suggest you request upon setting up the estimate/survey that you will want a not to exceed from the companies coming out to see you.

Not all companies offer them in the summertime, nor are they required to give not to exceeds. Each agency has its own internal rules in the summer time.

So it would benefit you not to waste your time by planning ahead. Also, United and Mayflower are owned by the same company and thier discounting is the same. So you probably wont see any savings difference amongst the two. I would suggest picking United for a quote, and looking for another one other then Mayflower.

Best of luck,
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

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

Re: Not to Exceed Estimates

Postby Diane » Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:52 pm

Philly Scott wrote:Would you specifically recommend a moving company for a Philly to Austin move? United and Mayflower in this are seem to be the same--American Way Moving Systems in King Of Prussia, but I may be confused about this. I'm going to move at the end of July, so I've got a little time to look around.!

I have no personal knowledge of any of these companies, but just looking at the list, it seems as if Bayshore (Allied) and the United agent McCollister's might be good choices. "BigLeeCalif" did recommend American Way and he is still posting here. You could sign up for membership and send him a Private Message to ask for more information here

Thanks for the info about your scam experience. It confirms what I thought about Alpha Moving. Did Alpha hold you up for more money before they would deliver? I didn't see it mentioned in the www.thesqueakywheel.com complaint.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

Philly Scott

Re: Not to Exceed Estimates

Postby Philly Scott » Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:30 pm

Thanks Michael and Diane for the help.

Alpha was relatively well-behaved at my end (despite having to scramble once they were here for a third worker to unload). I think that they were informed of my disputes with Discovery (which had been occuring while my stuff was in transit), so they didn't ask for any more money than the Bill of Lading indicated (of course, I had problems with how that was determined, but that's another story). I get the feeling that the MO that some of these companies follow is to get their money and make the complaints (and consumers) go away asap, so perhaps they thought I'd be thrilled with the larger amount Discovery charged and nothing more (and hence I'd disappear)! At any rate, I got my stuff, and now I know what to look for.

I'll try some of the recommended movered the previous posts mention, as well as keep looking into Broadway. Thanks!

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4659
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Not to Exceed Estimates

Postby BigLeeCalif » Mon Jun 12, 2006 3:43 pm

Philly you are right....

United and Mayflower are owned by the same corporation - Unigroup

They are separate companies under the corporate umbrella. The positive is that your hauling capabilities are two companies instead of one.

American Way in King of Prussia has never given cause to negative comments to anyone that moved into my area that had them as their booker or origin agent. (at the time I was in Northern Calif)

However, when you are being serviced you should be asked whether you'd have a problem with a United truck picking up your shipment.

Earlier on when United and Mayflower got married, there were concerns by shippers when a United truck showed up for a Mayflower shipment or vice versa. As the growing pains subsided a more smoother coordination between van lines, agents, and shippers alleviated most of that concern.

Happy moving.

Lee
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

Philly Scott

Re: Not to Exceed Estimates

Postby Philly Scott » Wed Jun 21, 2006 12:28 pm

Hello all,
I've received estimates from 3 majors (recommended here) for my Philly->Austin, TX move. All three estimators seemed nice and trust-worthy. All gave me their equivalent of the "not to exceed" binding qoute (that would go down if the weight was less). The estimates of wieght varied--2 in the 7000lbs range, and 1 at 5500lbs. I've got 2 questions for folks out there:

1) I like the sound of the lower estimate (the one at 5500lbs). I don't know which estimator is right, and I showed them all the same stuff (I'm not hiding a world-class boat anchor collection in storage). I also know that they can dispute the binding agreement if they think you've changed the inventory. My load has mostly boxes, and no major appliances, etc. My question is, if they load up the truck and it's, say, 6500 or 7000, what will happen? I know if it's less, the price comes down, but my experience with the moving industry tells me to worry about the other option more! Thoughts on this would be appreciated.

2) I had a moment of confusion with the Allied guy. He had a calender of dates that were color coded (reflecting busy-ness and cost levels). That's fine. What caused me to think is that he did up NTE estimates for July 21 (cheaper color) and July 25 (more expensive color range), printed these up, signed them and gave them to me. Then he said he'd have to check when I decide to go with them to see if the color has changed. If it changes then the estimate price goes up. This is wierd, as the NTE estimate says good for 60 days. He also kept saying "if you sign today, the rates will be locked in." I'm not signing anything today. I'm not sure if I'm confused, he's confused, we're all confused, or allied is confused in their policies, but this seems to undercut the point of such estimates (NTE ones). I'm fine with the truck availability aspect of dates and moving schedules, but the price going up after you've been given a NTE estimate? Again, thoughts on this would be helpful.

Thanks again for everyone's advice on this board, past and future!

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Not to Exceed Estimates

Postby Michael » Wed Jun 21, 2006 2:51 pm

Scott,

Keep in mind just cause your weight goes down does not mean your cost go down. Read the fine print of what a not to exceed is. Simply stated, it takes the quote given to you vs what your actuals are. The lesser of the two is what you pay.

In your case if its cut and dry, no packing, just weight, then yes if the weight is less your cost should be less.

In regards to Allied. He is correct and not being fishy. Your quote is good for 60 days from day of signature and date, not the day he gave you the quote. So yes, as capacity feels up with van lines, so can a particular van lines pricing guides change.

And in regards to taking the lowest. Generally those of us in the industry recommend you take the highest, ask the other two to quote you based on the highest weight and see where they come in at. 7000 to 5500 is a big difference, thats more then 10%.

And no, a protest cannot be filed after a shipment has been loaded and weighed. A protest must be made by the driver, to the booking agent prior to anything being loaded. And if your doing your own packing, then you better be pretty darn close to the number of boxes packed that the estimator, estimated. Most drivers will panic if you packed 150 and the estimator only estimated 50. To them, more boxes means more weight.

Best of luck,
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget


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