Leaving Philadelphia

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purple888
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 1:17 pm

Leaving Philadelphia

Postby purple888 » Sun May 27, 2007 1:30 pm

Trying to make sense of 4 estimates I recently received for an upcoming move out of Philadelphia (interstate). All four were in-home estimates, took the consultants on the exact same walk-through, but came out with wildly different weights and estimates:

1. Nicky's Moving -- Est weight 6000 lbs. Total cost (full pack+transportation) $3000.

2. Hughes Relocation -- Est weight 9000 lbs. Total cost (full pack+transportation) $4600.

3. Isaac's Relocation -- Est weight 8000 lbs. Total cost (full pack+transportation) $5200.

4. Bohren's (New Jersey) -- Est weight 10800 lbs. Total cost (full pack+transportation) $8400.

Is it typical for estimates to vary this much? And does anyone have any recent feedback on these companies? (Site search revealed some comments from several years ago, but I couldn't find much from last 12-24 months).

Thanks!

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

Re: Leaving Philadelphia

Postby Diane » Sun May 27, 2007 2:09 pm

Estimates can vary that much if one or more companies is trying to lowball you to get the move (and then raise the price) or if a company is giving you a low vs. a high discount for some reason. Maybe we can help you whittle your list down a little.

First of all, please give more identifying information for Nicky's and Hughes - website, phone number, and/or address - so we can research those companies. I believe there is a United agent named Hughes but I don't know whether there is a branch near Philadelphia.

Rule out Isaac's. It is on the "Avoid" list under Philadelphia. See the Superlist linked to below my name.

Bohren's HQd in Burlington is a reputable United agent. See the Superlist linked to below my name under "New Jersey."

Whatever companies are left after the whittling, make sure you have a Guaranteed Not to Exceed/Binding Not to Exceed estimate from each (the terms are synonyms) - not a Nonbinding estimate. With a Nonbinding there is no limit on what you might pay; with a GNTE/BNTE there is an upper limit and you will pay less if the weight is less.

Although we may not have any very recent information on these companies, bad quality almost never changes for the better.
Diane
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purple888
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 1:17 pm

Re: Leaving Philadelphia

Postby purple888 » Sun May 27, 2007 2:53 pm

Thanks Diane!

Here is the contact info for Nicky's and Hughes:

Nicky's Moving and Storage
7660 Queen Street
Wyndmoor, PA 19038
www.nickysmoving.com

Hughes Relocation Services
6120A Easton Road
Pipersville, PA 18947
www.hughesrelo.com

The Isaac's I contacted was indeed the same Isaac's as in Boston. I would prefer to avoid Bohren's if possible, as the guy who came out for the estimate was rude and disrespectful -- if they send someone like that for the estimate, I don't want to think about how the actual movers would be!

Thanks again for the help.

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

Re: Leaving Philadelphia

Postby Diane » Sun May 27, 2007 3:35 pm

Hi again - Nicky's (MC #434771) with legal name Leon McWilliams or Keystone Moving Systems, Inc. has had 12 BBB complaints over the past 36 months. That is rather high for a company that probably doesn't do that many moves.
http://www.dc.bbb.org/report.html?natio ... d=80018377
Since they are also the lowest quote, they could be lowballing you and I would tend to rule them out.

You can also rule out Bohren's since both Bohren's and Hughes are United agents. Bohren's is so high that I wonder whether they didn't want to do the move for some reason. Please give me more details about how their rep acted. Did you think there was some kind of prejudice involved (just curious)? The reason I ask is that someone else posted that one of their reps was a bit snooty.

Hughes is a reputable United agent shown on our Superlist for the Philadelphia area - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 7110#77110
I'll update the Superlist to show that location. So - next question - was its quote a GNTE, which is called an Option C quote in the United system? If so, it looks like your best bet so far. If not, ask the rep for an Option C quote and go from there. Where are you moving to?

purple888
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 1:17 pm

Re: Leaving Philadelphia

Postby purple888 » Sun May 27, 2007 8:47 pm

Thanks again, Diane.

Lee McWilliams was the one who came out and gave me my estimate for Nicky's -- presumably the company president? He was very nice and seemed trustworthy. I just don't understand why his estimate was so low. He told me he could make it a binding offer if the quote was acceptable. With a binding estimate from a smaller company would I still be at risk for a "challenge" from the driver on the day of the move if the weight is much more than on the original estimate?

The guy from Hughes was also very friendly and professional -- the owner's brother, I believe. His was a non-binding quote; I'll call on Tuesday and ask about a not-to-exceed.

As for Bohrens, the guy doing the estimate was rude and condescending from the moment he walked in the door. Strode around the apartment as if he lived here, and at one point remarked that I've managed to "pack a lot of shit in here." At the end took a seat at my dining room table without even asking if he could sit (not a big deal, but everyone else at least had the courtesy to say something like "shall we sit down to go over the paperwork") and banged his portable printer down on a highly scratch-prone table without even bothering to lay the item down gently. His demeanor the entire time was "I don't care about you or your belongings." Of course, this is just one guy, and the rest of the Bohrens operation may be spectacular, but I just don't trust an outfit that would send a guy like this to make a first impression on a potential customer.

By the way, you asked where I'm heading -- my wife and I are relocating to Baltimore, 95 miles away. Thanks again for all the advice!

purple888
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun May 27, 2007 1:17 pm

Re: Leaving Philadelphia

Postby purple888 » Sun May 27, 2007 8:57 pm

Oh, sorry -- didn't answer your question about possible prejudice with the Bohrens guy. None that I can think of -- same gender, same race, etc. Maybe he was just having a bad day. Too bad for him and his company, since I know a lot of young families that will be looking for relocation services over the next 12-18 months, not to mention everyone who will be reading these posts.

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

Re: Leaving Philadelphia

Postby Diane » Mon May 28, 2007 12:02 pm

purple888 wrote:Lee McWilliams was the one who came out and gave me my estimate for Nicky's -- presumably the company president? He was very nice and seemed trustworthy. I just don't understand why his estimate was so low. He told me he could make it a binding offer if the quote was acceptable. With a binding estimate from a smaller company would I still be at risk for a "challenge" from the driver on the day of the move if the weight is much more than on the original estimate?

You're welcome for the advice. The visit by the Bohrens rep sounds like an absolute nightmare!! What could the GM be thinking, to employ a person like that? I hope that management is reading this, because I've been told that the owner of Bohren's is very hands-on and concerned about reputation.

On to Nicky's. I have to tell you that I have serious doubts about that company. The 12 BBB complaints are just too many in my mind, given that half of them were not resolved in a way that was acceptable to the customer (see the report linked to above). You are probably not at risk for the driver challenging a Binding estimate, since the driver will presumably be a company driver and not an independent owner-operator. With a small independent company, a Binding estimate, and such a short distance, they will probably not even weigh the truck. However, other things can happen, and presumably have happened, given the BBB complaints. Especially with a full pack, companies can claim that they used more packing materials than they estimated, etc. etc.

With everything you own on the truck, and at the height of the moving season with no alternative way to move, you are not going to be negotiating from a position of strength if there is a problem. In these situations everything depends on the ethics of the owner, and unfortunately the true ethics aren't always evident at the start. I also unearthed a blog reference from 8/17/04 by "thomast" about Nicky's being a slimy operation - http://www.phillyblog.com/philly/archiv ... -2828.html (By the way, if you Google "Nicky's Moving" complaint you'll see that this thread - yours - comes up highest!)

I would definitely get a Binding or BNTE estimate from Hughes. If it comes in high, you can save a lot of money by doing part of the packing yourself (nonfragile items like books and linens) and asking for an estimate for partial packing.


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