Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

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stromgald30
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:48 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby stromgald30 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:58 am

This site has been very helpful so far, so I've decided to join and contribute some. I moved less than 18 months ago (corporate), and will move again in early September (hopefully September 1st) on a personal move. More than likely, I'll also be moving 1-2 years from now from San Francisco back to Los Angeles (or maybe somewhere else). I'll write a few reviews later, but right now I'd like to outline my worries/concerns about my upcoming move. They might just be paranoia, but hopefully somebody will assuage my fears. I apologize in advance for the lengthy post. I tend to ramble sometimes. :oops:

When I started the hunt for a mover, I though it would be pretty simple, and only got some ball park estimates. My move would be a small to medium move ~2600 lbs. I got several ball-park estimates through online estimates, but decided last weekend (5-6 weeks prior to move date) to finalize the mover and give my apartment their 30 day notice. I contacted Hercules Van Lines (they seemed the most responsive and personal), Sterling Van Lines (seemed to have a fairly large fleet for small moves), and Gentle Giant-Hawthorne (Atlas agent).

Sterling only gave me a quote over the phone and the guy said for a small move, he didn't think an on-site estimate was necessary. His quote was $1246 plus $100 for two dish boxes and packing. It was only a verbal quote. Hercules sent a guy right over during the evening (very accomodating since I usually work until 5) and made an estimate of $1345 + 30 (1 dish box) + 35 (stairs) + 65 (long carry) = $1475. Although it was high, I thought they were a good back-up solution if I didn't get a lower estimate from Gentle Giant, which is coming this Saturday.

Being a little bored at work (I told my boss I was leaving, so my workload has slowly been given to others), I did some more research on the moving companies I had selected. Luckily, I found this site. I had done cursory checks on all three companies before speaking to them, and they were all insured, licensed, and bonded. But, after looking at this site, I realized searching for Hercules on bbbonline.org only brings up the Northern California report, not the Los Angeles report with actual grades. The reports on Hercules in these forums and the questionable integrity of Sterling have scared me off from both companies. That's left me with Gentle Giant-Hawthorne, which looks decent, with less than a week left before I have to tell my apartment of my move out.

Feeling the pressure, I've contacted Suddath Moving, Ace Relocation, Moovers, and Gemini Moving through their online systems/e-mail, and called Delancey Street Foundation. Unfortunately Delancey Street Movers won't be available for an estimate until August 9th! I didn't expect them to be so busy. Gemini Moving e-mailed me a quote of $2080 for a 5000 lbs. move, which I found ridiculous since I asked for 2600 lbs and their online calculator came up with 2695 lbs. I intend to call them back tomorrow about this. I'm also considering calling Andy's Transfer for a quote since they've gotten very good reviews on here.

Hopefully by casting such a wide net, I will be able to get a few good offers to choose between, and all those companies have positive reviews in the Moving Company Reviews sticky thread at the top of this forum.

My most immediate concern is whether I should be worried about being able to book a Saturday, September 1st move only 3 weeks in advance of the move (based on when the Delancey in-home quote would occur). I don't want to pay for my apartment any longer than I have to. If there's nothing to be worried about, I'll just tell my apartment that I'll be out by 9/2, and continue to pursue different quotes for 9/1 at my leisure. Delancey said that an estimate on 8/9 would work fine for a move on 9/1 and the date has yet to be filled. I'm not sure if the other moving companies can cut it that tight and whether I'm painting myself into a corner with just Delancey.

My next concern is whether I'm getting the right companies for such a small move. I only have 2500-2700 lbs, and many of the companies that I got from this site do fairly large moves. Will I pay a penalty for doing a small move with a larger carrier?

And lastly, I'm still trying to work out auto moving. I've gotten estimates in the $485-$525 range and another group of estimates in the $750-850 range for my mid-size SUV. The higher priced ones seem to come from the bigger companies (incl. Golden Key which got high praise in the auto transports review thread). I really need to do more research in the cheaper bunch and see if there's a reputable one among them, or I need to find a new, reputable auto shipper that's in the $500 ball park. I really don't want to pay $750+ for a such a short distance car move.

Thanks for bearing through my long post, and please post any comments or suggestions that come to mind.

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

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby MusicMom » Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:15 am

Just drive the SUV.

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

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby Diane » Fri Jul 27, 2007 8:18 am

Hi - you are doing all the right things. Yes, rule out Hercules.

What you probably ran up against with Gemini is a minimum weight that they will quote on for in-state moves. Andy's Transfer probably also has such a minimum. It's typically around 4000-5000 pounds for van line agents. You don't actually have to be shipping that much weight, but you have to pay for it.

Since you have Delancey as an alternative, I think you should trust that they will indeed be able to move you on September 1st and you should request a ballpark estimate. They may not have such a minimum weight, but you should ask.

There is a small company in Orange County, Schwartz Transportation Services, that you could also call. Here is their listing in the Superlist:

--Schwartz Transportation Services (independent) in Westminster, also dba STS Movers. [Legal name is Donald R. Schwartz.]
This company with MC #527192 has the website www.stsmovers.com and the phone 714-791-5547. It is licensed to do interstate moves. The owner, Don Schwartz, posts on MovingScam as "donatsts" and has made some helpful comments here. He is listed on www.uship.com with the user ID "22mover" and as of 7/07 he had about 20 positive comments there. He also accepts loading and unloading jobs from MovingStaffers (listed on the ABF U-Pack website.)
In 7/07 Carla McKinney moving from Lakewood, CA to Canada had STS load her ABF truck. As it turned out, her moving blankets, bubble wrap, and rope purchased through ABF didn't arrive in time so Don also supplied those (he had picked some supplies up from Pioneer Packing just in case). Carla posted that "he and his colleague are doing a wonderful job; they were prompt and extremely professional packing and movoing my things and they have been very efficient (they have been here less than three ours and will b done inprobably 30 minutes!)":
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=14266 (loading help)

I think that there is a good chance that they could move your car for less than your quote from Golden Key. They could probably also do the entire move. Although we have only one review so far on this website, they have about 20 good reviews on www.uShip.com as the listing says.
Last edited by Diane on Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby Nancy » Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:02 am

You are moving at a very busy time. Labor Day weekend is the last big weekend of the year, and end of August is extremely busy as well.

The large majority of movers will have a 5,000 lb minimum for your move.

From reading your post, I would say Delancey seems like your best bet. I would ask them if you can definitely book the date, pending the in home estimate. Ask them also if they have a minimum.

Just curious, where is the "questionable" reviews on Sterling? I've always thought them to be a reputable company and actually refer small moves (just like yours) to them daily. They always do a great job, because we follow up with our customers to verify the strength of our referrals.

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

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby MusicMom » Fri Jul 27, 2007 9:24 am

I wonder if they came across the other Sterling, from years ago.

stromgald30
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:48 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby stromgald30 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 10:49 am

Wow, lots of quick responses. I'll try to comment on most of them. :)
Diane wrote:What you probably ran up against with Gemini is a minimum weight that they will quote on for in-state moves. Andy's Transfer probably also has such a minimum. It's typically around 4000-5000 pounds for van line agents. You don't actually have to be shipping that much weight, but you have to pay for it.

Ah, that makes sense why Gemini would quote me such a high weight. I should probably check the minimums of the different companies. The larger movers are probably out. I'll be sure to ask about minimums on any replys I get from the e-mails I sent out yesterday.

Nancy wrote:Just curious, where is the "questionable" reviews on Sterling? I've always thought them to be a reputable company and actually refer small moves (just like yours) to them daily. They always do a great job, because we follow up with our customers to verify the strength of our referrals.
Maybe I was too quick to dismiss Sterling, but there were a few reviews that weren't too favorable:
Judging from posts here, Sterling frequently gives over-the-phone quotes based on an item list supplied by the customer or a weight estimate by another moving company. In reviews here, people have spoken favorably of Doug (sales) and Tony (dispatcher) at the company, and of the drivers.
No one else said this, but "kim" posted that Sterling required a 25% nonrefundable deposit to book a date and told her that they charge by "dimensional weight" rather than actual weight (dimensional weight is variously defined but it includes consideration of volume):
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... =1913#1913
Someone posting as "moving soon" remarked that Sterling said they would charge by dimensional weight for his interstate shipment, and he told me later in a Private Message that Sterling eventually dropped him when he started asking them a lot of questions (he went with Ship Smart instead):
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 3295#33295
Someone else ("jen74") posted that Sterling was going to charge her about 40% extra for a definite pickup date on a very small shipment from DE to LA. It seemed as if she was going to go with them (she said they were much more responsive than ShipSmart) but she never came back with a final report:
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3456

I also preferred a binding estimate, which I don't think their over-the-phone estimate counts as. If they're willing to take a weight estimate from another company, that would be great. I think I might give them another call to clarify a few things.

MusicMom wrote:Just drive the SUV.
That certainly was considered. But I have obligations for Labor Day weekend down in Orange county, so I'd have to drive up on the 4th or something. A 6-7 hour drive sounds a little daunting to me, and if I ask a friend to come with me, they'd have to take off work and I'd also pay to fly them back down. With all things considered, it would cost about $300 driving it up. I'd rather pay ~$450 to move it as long as there aren't any hassles/problems, but $750 has me rethinking things.

Delancey looks really good and they did give me a ball park estimate of $1100-1300 for my move, which isn't bad. I just don't like the idea of being stuck with only one choice so late in the game, even with their superb reputation. Gentle Giant in Hawthorne says they make the LA to SF route very frequently, and estimates ~$28/100 lbs. on their website, with the cheaper rates going to the larger moves. Even at $30/100lbs, my move wouldn't cost $900. Add on a little packing, stair, and long haul fees, I doubt it'll exceed $1150, so I'm pretty optimistic about Gentle Giant. Hopefully, their minimum isn't too high. I'll probably be back with an update on Saturday after I get Gentle Giant's estimate.

stromgald30
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:48 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby stromgald30 » Sat Jul 28, 2007 1:43 pm

An update and one additional question.

I just got through with the estimate from Gentle Giant. The estimate came in quite low at 1979 lbs. When I moved in, it was 2460 lbs, and I've added a portable AC (~65 lbs) and refrigerator. I also moved probably 100-150 lbs to my brother's place, but I would guess about 2600 lbs. But, it doesn't matter since Gentle Giant has a 3000 lbs. minimum. The estimate was 900 ($30 per 100 lbs) + 60 (elevator) + 120 (two long carries) + 90 (fuel surcharge) = 1170 (Not to Exceed price).

I've also received an interesting quote from ABC Moving Systems. They e-mailed me a price of $1016 for 2800 lbs (924 +10% fuel surcharge), but they're contracting it out to Blue Chip, which hasn't had the greatest reviews on here despite thier A rating with the LA bbb. I'm not sure what everything in the lengthy e-mail is about, so I'll just quote some interesting points here.
Our California long distance affiliate, Blue Chip Moving, is one of Southern California’s most respected California long distance movers. Similar to ABC Moving, Blue Chip Moving is “A” rated with the Better Business Bureau. Blue Chip Moving is large enough to handle all of your long distance moving needs, yet small enough to provide the highest level of personalized service available.

Quote provided by ABC Moving on behalf of affiliate Blue Chip Moving.
Blue Chip Moving will actually contract the move and do the hauling.

NOTE: NOT TO EXCEED PRICE REQUIREMENT: As required by PUC regulation, your mover must issue to you a “Not To Exceed” price. By default, on non-visual quotes, Blue Chip Moving‘s “Not To Exceed” price is double the amount quoted above, for the items, services, and accesses as listed, while still being subject to a “Change Order For Service”. Your final price could be significantly lower than the “Not To Exceed” price. Final charges are based upon actual weight of goods moved at the rates quoted. Blue Chip Moving will obtain certified scale weights prior to loading and after loading to obtain actual weight of shipment. Your actual line haul rate is $33.00 per 100 pounds.

Despite the AA rating of ABC Moving Systems and A rating of Blue Chip Mayflower with the labbb, I'm not sure if it's such a good idea to use them without an on-site quote. Blue Chip's reviews on here aren't spectacular either.

I also received an e-mail quote from Moovers Inc.
Hi ,

Thanks for your interest in Moovers Inc. We are located in the San
Francisoc, Bay Area so an in home estimate would be impractical. The
rate for a move such as yours is $.45 per lb plus a 10% fuel
surcharge, you are looking at roughly $1,435.50 for this move.
Please give us a call @ (800)248-0251 with any questions you may have.
Thanks,
Jayson Berger
Moovers Inc.

Diane and Nancy, you were right about the 5000 lb minimum. I got a PM from Andy's transfer (I didn't even call them, one of their employees is a member of the forum :) ) and he confirmed the minimum. I also spoke with Gemini and they also confirmed that 5000 lbs is their minimum.

My one question was actually brought up by Luis (the Gentle Giant rep that came for the estimate). He asked whether the destination was accessible by large trucks. I remember seeing a large tractor-trailor moving truck at another house near my destination (a relative's house) despite the hilly roads, but that was several years ago. It was also a pretty scary sight to see such a long, big truck in such tight quarters. According to Luis, a shuttle would add $300 to the cost. Is there any way to check which roads are accessible by large trucks? The planned destination is in the Sunset District of San Francisco if anybody's wondering.

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby Nancy » Sat Jul 28, 2007 2:04 pm

You can call your local police precint in SF for information on shuttles and parking permits.

I don't have the number handy, but I would contact the CMSA www.thecmsa.org for further information on moving TO San Francisco. There are issues with parking permits and shuttles there.

Ummm, I don't see how Blue Chip can just give you a GNTE that is DOUBLE the non visual estimate. That bothers me in all kinds of ways. As a matter of fact, I'd ask the CMSA about that one. I wouldn't go that route if I were you.

I'd rely on those who came to your home for the quotes.

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

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby Diane » Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:39 am

Nancy, can I ask you for some clarification here? The CMSA website says
that for intra-CA moves, consumers must be given a Not-to-Exceed estimate. Then is it OK what Moovers did, quoting a price per pound? Does it matter that they were just giving a ballpark estimate rather than a firm and final estimate? It seems to me that we see a lot of cases reported on for intra-CA moves where the customer does not have a Not-to-Exceed estimate. So I don't know whether the CMSA/PUC is just stating what is desirable or whether it's an actual regulation.

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby Nancy » Sun Jul 29, 2007 11:44 am

You MUST have a GNTE on every move, and it has to be put on the Agreement for Services.

In the case of a phone quote, the GNTE has to be an educated guess by the mover. So in this case, Moovers did a phone survey, ballparks what the extras would be and gives the GNTE.

In our daily business, we do the same with apartment-type moves. We have to come up with SOMETHING to be on the paperwork.

When this regulation began, a mover pre-printed all their agreements with a $10,000 NTE every move. They got in trouble. Yes, it was a high number, but the mover has to give thought to this and come up with an educated guess.

Anytime I hear of a consumer not having a NTE on their paperwork, I encourage them to contact the PUC. Having that in writing, NO NTE can result in a fine to that mover. It's gotta be something on the paperwork every time. We are not allowed to ignore it.
Anything over that NTE requires a Change ORder.

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

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby Diane » Sun Jul 29, 2007 12:57 pm

So when Moovers wrote in an email,
you are looking at roughly $1,435.50 for this move

is that considered enough of an NTE price to satisfy the regulations, even though it's vague?

It seems to me that the NTE requirement would apply more to formal written estimates, not phone or email quotes, right?

That part of the CMSA document (top of p. 6) is actually very confusing because first it says that if you have an estimate, it has to contain an NTE price, and then it says if you don't have an estimate, the most you can be charged is the lesser of the amount of the NTE or the amount figured according to the rates quoted in the agreement. By "agreement" I guess they mean an agreement to provide service. -
http://www.thecmsa.org/html/consumers/c ... 0Goods.pdf

My question about that is, how can you have an NTE amount if you don't have an estimate in the first place?

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby Nancy » Sun Jul 29, 2007 3:38 pm

Diane,

In the case with Moovers, their ballpark is $1431, so they may issue the NTE for about $1800. That would allow for any long carries or last minue packing, etc.

We have to make an educated guess on every single move. Every move has to have an NTE in California. We are not allowed to type "non visual" or "none" on that portion of the paperwork.

FYI, the pages you are referring to are from the PUC booklet that we give to all consumers. If you fail to give that booklet to a consumer, it's a $100 fine.

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

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby Diane » Sun Jul 29, 2007 4:43 pm

Nancy wrote:In the case with Moovers, their ballpark is $1431, so they may issue the NTE for about $1800.

OK, so I guess what you are saying is that their introductory email does not contain a "fixed and final" estimate and it would normally be followed up by something like an Estimated Cost of Services form that would have the (probably somewhat higher) NTE estimate listed on it. Is that right?

Do CA movers use an Estimated Cost of Services form for intra moves?

Nancy
Posts: 2255
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2004 7:24 pm
Location: California

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby Nancy » Sun Jul 29, 2007 4:48 pm

Here's the link to our required forms:

http://www.thecmsa.org/html/consumers/movingforms.htm

The PUC does have an Estimate Form, but you only have to issue the NTE when you give the customer the Agreement for Moving Services. It's usually done the day of the move, before any services begin.

stromgald30
Posts: 8
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 11:48 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Move from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Postby stromgald30 » Thu Aug 09, 2007 3:21 pm

Ok, I've finally gotten a quote from Delancey Street Movers, so I'm now deciding between them and Gentle Giant (Atlas Agent out of Hawthorne, CA). I'll probably be making a decision tonight and giving one of them a call back tomorrow. Any advice or comments are welcome.

Delancey Street Movers
Est. weight of 2387 lbs. (2000 lbs minimum) Cost: $1310.69
They had some trouble finding my apartment (it's gated and not visible from the street), and the two estimators didn't have a cell phone to call me or their office. I came out front to look for them after they were overdue by 10 mintues, but they somehow sneaked in and left a card at my door. We must've just missed each other. Luckily, I caught them as they were leaving and had the estimate done, albeit 15 minutes late. Very professional and straightforward. No fancy barcode scanner or compact printers like the Gentle Giant person, they just did tallies on a sheet of paper. They said that since they were busy doing estimates all day, I'd get my estimate tomorrow. I mentioned that I needed it soon, and they promised to do it the first thing tomorrow . . . and I got a call at lunch today with the estimate :D .

Gentle Giant
Est. Weight 1979 lbs. (3000 lbs minimum) GNTE: $1170 (incl. 2 long carries and elevator charge)
Very professional, had a nice printer and barcode scanner for a fast estimate and gave me an estimate on the spot. The problem is that if they can't get their tractor trailor in the destination neighborhood due to the hills, I'll get an additional $300 charge for a shuttle.


Both of these estimates seem low since Hercules gave an estimate of 2700 lbs, and I would've guessed approximately 2500-2700 lbs since I moved in with 2460 lbs, added a fridge, small AC, and cleaned out about 100-150lbs. Could my move in weight been inflated (it was a corporate move)? Even with a GNTE estimate, don't I have to pay more if the actual weight is significantly higher than their estimate?


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