*Expensive stuff but on a budget

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oceanseas
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:32 am
Location: St. Charles, IL

*Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby oceanseas » Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:46 am

I'll be moving from St. Charles, IL (close to Chicago) to San Diego very soon. It seems from what I can read that I should get binding quotes from:

1. Planes
2. Prager
3. Glen Ellyn Storage Corp
4. Plycon
5. Armstrong

I have a 4-bedroom house with fairly large furniture and pricey, wierd large pieces...some hardy (bronze statues/heavy) and some very fragile (wood & very heavy inlaid sandstone table and base). No appliances, lots of patio furniture and 500 pounds of rocks!

Any recommendations? I don't have an endless budget, so maybe I can pack most of the stuff except the wierd things?

Thanks!

oceanseas
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:32 am
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: Lots of stuff to move from Chicago to San Diego

Postby oceanseas » Tue Jul 31, 2007 12:30 am

I've gotten estimates from Planes, Glen Ellyn, and Prager. Plycon came out, took pictures and then never got back to me. I have about 20,000 pounds of stuff and the quotes ranged from $17,000 to $20,000, which includes crating and packing. Evidently, I'll fill an entire trailer.

All three companies that gave estimates were very professional, courteous, and used a straight forward approach. I really liked Liz Bower from Glen Ellyn and Scott Johnson from Planes...very personable.

So now it's decision time....

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

Re: Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby Diane » Tue Jul 31, 2007 9:40 am

You need to be very careful because packing quality will be all-important. What was your impression of Prager? You left them out. I've been underwhelmed by the reports on Plycon so I don't think you lost much by not getting a quote from them.

As between Glen Ellyn and Planes, Planes has very good reviews here, and someone just sent me a PM asking where she could post another good review of a long-distance move with them. We know less about Glen Ellyn's performance. From my limited knowledge of the situation, I would favor Planes because of the reviews and because it has several locations - though not in CA - and would be likely to self-haul. I don't know about Glen Ellyn but my feeling is that they might register it with the van line and then you would get a UniGroup driver. Although the likelihood is that you would get a good driver with your large load, you never know. I would choose Planes because the shipment would remain under Planes' control until it reaches you in CA. Whichever company you choose, you need to have assurance that your shipment will be hauled by the company that books it.

You didn't mention having a GNTE (Option C) quote from Planes and Glen Ellyn. If you don't already have one, ask for one.

palmelb
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2007 8:49 am
Location: Chapel Hill, NC
Contact:

Re: Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby palmelb » Tue Jul 31, 2007 10:33 am

Hello and Good Morning!

I moved from Chicago, IL (lakeview area, one block from Lake Michigan) to Chapel Hill, NC in late June (25-July 1st). I am a resident (now fellow) physician, so I'm REALLY on a budget. I had a one bedroom condo, but I have a HUGE amount of stuff and heavy, old furniture. Lots of books, knick-knacks, etc. I started researching moving companies in April prior to my late June move. Luckily, I found this website, and it was truly a lifesaver in wading through the muck of inter-state moving.

I had only saved about $3000, at the most $3500 for my move (and we don't get any moving allowances except what I'll get on my taxes). I initially looked at the recommended UPack companies (AFB, Broadway), but in the end decided that I didn't have the time or resources to load the van myself. I decided to go with semi full service movers (semi in that I packed all my stuff, but they loaded, drove, and unloaded). I had wanted to use Moovers, INC, but as they are a smaller company and based in California, I waited too long to make a reservation. They were booked by the time I was ready to set a final move date. I went back to the list, and decided to take a chance--I only contacted Planes based on the reviews I had read here. I was less enthused about Prager (also based on the reviews here).

I had an in-home estimate similar to yours, and it went smoothly and professionally. I showed him all my stuff, including my in-building storage unit, and with the insurance level I purchased (25,000 I think; will have to get the details later as they are stored in my home), my entire GNTE estimate (including a shuttle for my condo building, common in Chicago) was approximately $3100. It fit my budget, so I contracted with them that day. I was also a little worried as my move date was the busiest moving weekend of the year.

Soon thereafter Heidi, my contact, called to give me details as we got closer to the move day. My loading day was set for a Monday, but my delivery date was up in the air considering the busy time of year and the July 4th holiday. I had expected that, so I arranged to have my things packed before I actually intended to leave Chicago.

Packing my stuff took FOREVER as I did it by myself, but I had saved all my boxes, including my 6 wardrobe boxes, from a prior move so I saved a considerable amount of money. It wasn't easy, though, and with my more fragile pieces I was worried it might have been better to have them professionally packed. My only prior moving experience was via UHaul, and that only went well because my father is a super duper Eagle Scout when it comes to packing and tying things down. I am not so gifted. I packed very, very cautiously using a lot of padding and heavily taped strong cardboard boxes.

Loading day went pretty much as planned-there are many extra inconveniences of a city move, including reserving the elevator, dealing with traffic (the team arrived within a reasonable amount of time based on what Heidi had told me, and I expected them to be later due to the fact they are based outside of Chicago and traffic is a killer.) There were several people on the team--at least three or four men that I can remember, including my driver Scott who was AWESOME. I was lucky in that the driver who hauled my stuff to NC was a local Planes driver. Everyone at Planes was incredibly personable, friendly, outgoing and helpful.

They loaded within a very reasonable amount of time and were cautious with my items. All of my furniture are family pieces with a lot of sentimental value to me; several of them hand-made.

Later that evening, I was going to work (had to work overnight on call) and realized I had COMPLETELY forgotten about my storage unit. I panicked, not knowing how I was going to transport my stuff, and I called their emergency overnight line.

My only complaint with Planes was that the dispatcher I contacted that night did not return my call. I would have appreciated a call that night to at least calm my fears a little and to tell me who would address my call and when. Heidi, my contact, did call me first thing the next morning.

Everything worked out fine in the end because my driver, Scott, agreed to come back into the city from the 'burbs on his DAY OFF to pick up my forgotten stuff. I was very grateful for the extra effort they put into making my move successful. They were incredibly nice about it, and didn't seem annoyed (said it had happened before).

By that time, they were able to give me a much better estimate of my drop-off date, which was earlier than I had expected (this was a good thing; you don't realize how hard it is to live out of a suitcase with no furniture until you have to do it.)

I would recommended getting your credit card pre-approved to charge the move. I forgot about this and had to do money orders and ATM withdrawals; a little difficult when one is traveling through states where one's bank doesn't exist (i.e. Citibank).

Scott kept in touch with me throughout his move, and arrived later on the drop off day than either he or I wanted, but at least he had warned me about it. He was making a drop off for United in another city that is close to me.

The move team at my new place were great-three people including the driver. I had an incredibly tight space in which to maneuver, but somehow Scott managed to get the van in there. Since I had used boxes from a previous move, we found that some boxes were double-labled with old tags. that caused a slight problem with the inventory, and I didn't keep precise track of all boxes coming in, so I was 4 numbers off at the end. Scott was VERY vigilant about trying to find the other boxes; he said that the drivers were individually responsible for lost items, so he wasn't leaving till we found them. In the end, we found four unlabled boxes that I assumed were the ones missing. It would have been better to have one person as the designated inventory person so that he or she wouldn't get distracted with questions while all the boxes were coming in. The only items damaged were some glasses I had not packed well enough.

In the end, I got very lucky with my GNTE estimate. They had really underestimated the amount of stuff I had (and I didn't even take a bed or sofa!). My move should probably have cost closer to 4500-5000 dollars.

They called after the move to check up on me, and sent two satisfaction surveys-one from Planes and one from United.

I would definitely recommend them again to other movers, based on my experience. You must weigh that with one other negative review that I found (one I found double posted here and on mythreecents.com). I also know that the extra drop-off Scott made the day of my drop-off was for some extra items that the owner had been waiting about three weeks to get. What I don't know if that owner, like me, had neglected to have those few items loaded on his or her move day. I wouldn't base my opinion of their company on those reviews alone, and I chose this company based on the many positive reviews of their company.

Planes is aware of their reputation on this site, and they try very hard to do a good job to keep their reputation favorable. They certainly went out of their way for me, and I appreciated it very much.

Good luck, I'm glad I'm not in your shoes anymore, and I hope this helps.

oceanseas
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:32 am
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby oceanseas » Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:37 am

Thanks for the detailed account Palmelb. I've called Plane's to finalize things, since I was able to secure a place in San Diego today. That was an ordeal...I spent 3 days driving all over San Diego (every place is only 20 miles from the other, but the areas vary greatly!). I drove by 45 places, looked at 5 and only one or two stood out as acceptable. I even went as far as Descando, which is about 35 miles East on the I-8...nice areas and big house, but too much of a commute. Most places have houses 5 feet on either side and then 10 feet from the back of your house (looking right back at you). But one was perfect with 2600 square feet, a canyon and lake view, private yard, pool, etc. I had to really compete to get it...although it costs as much to rent it as my home mortgage in Illinois costs. If anyone wants advice of where to avoid, I can tell you! Scripps areas, Rancho Penasquitos, Rancho Bernardo and parts of Point Loma were the best, I thought. Although parts of Point Loma can stay under cloud cover, I'm told. But I get off topic here....

Diane, Prager was ultra business like and professional. They came in at the high end...$3000 more than Planes and Glen Ellyn. Other than that, they would be in the running.

It's good to know that you would swing towards Planes...because that's what I "felt" like doing. Scott gave me ideas on how to reduce costs by packing myself...they offer used, but good boxes, if available, he said. I do hope boxes are available because if I have to buy all the ones I need, it will be close to $1000.

On this next round of talks with Scott, I will ask for the type of estimate that you mention. I left him a message and an email earlier today, so I hope he calls me back in the morning because I need to move pretty quickly.

Now I've just got to decide whether to pack 85% of my stuff myself and save $3000, but be crazed for a week, or to let them do it all. People have told me that packing this much stuff is exceptionally daunting.

I love the fact that they take American Express...hotel points for me!

Fred0844

Re: Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby Fred0844 » Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:01 am

Now I've just got to decide whether to pack 85% of my stuff myself and save $3000, but be crazed for a week,


With as much as you indicate, you should be packing now.
Remember the more you move the more it costs.

If you have ever watched "Clean Sweep" on TV, take the same approach.
Very quickly pack it pile....maybe pile........... or get rid of it pile. Do one area at a time.

Create a schedule and stick to it. Too many times we hear a shipper " I don't have much to pack ....it won't take long....I can do it the day before moving". A professional packing crew will pack approximately 4 to 5 cartons per hour per person. Judging by the posts you will have approximately 100 to 160 cartons, that is 25 to 40 man hours.

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

Re: Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby Diane » Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:24 pm

oceanseas wrote:Most places have houses 5 feet on either side and then 10 feet from the back of your house (looking right back at you).

It's funny to read this first impression of CA tract houses by someone moving from IL. That's exactly what I thought when I moved here many years ago. It is surprising how close together some are . . . the land is so expensive, that's why they do it.

Palmelb, thanks for your great review of Planes Chicago and I'll add it to the Superlist linked to below my name.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

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

Re: **Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby MusicMom » Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:29 pm

Don't even get me started on Northern VA new developments. Same housing distances as you describe (actually, I think the fire codes recently forced a change to minimum of 10 feet between houses, up from 6), but the houses are 6,000 square feet with 2 feet of lawn. Such a waste.

oceanseas
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:32 am
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: *Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby oceanseas » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:52 pm

I went by Planes to pick up free boxes, and they had a good supply. They were located only 17 miles away in Aurora. The boxes were in good shape. I'll have to scratch out the old ID markings, but you can't complain with free! I'm sure I'll have to go again. Bought some newsprint there, too.

When I was at their warehouse, at least 6 workers came up to me to ask if I needed help. Service is alive at Planes!

They gave me a quick move date...next week. That was very good. Heidi Zavala, the moving coordinator who takes over after Scott, was very helpful.

Fred, your message came through loud and clear. I start packing tomorrow in the cool of the morning! But I'm not going to stress about it...what I don't finish, they will do on their two packing/crating days. I'm trying apply what I've been reading in Anthony DeMello's books...some of the best books on living life I've ever read!

Fred0844

Re: *Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby Fred0844 » Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:43 am

Moving is a great time to "SORT OUT YOUR LIFE".

I believe that, while doing a physical purge of the non essentials (old clothes, books, tableware that doesn't match), it is also a time to get rid of the trivial mental non essentials.

When labelling your cartons, contents, where the carton is going in your new home, your name, order number (you can get that from your co-ordinator, and destination city.

oceanseas
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:32 am
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: *Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby oceanseas » Fri Aug 03, 2007 11:50 pm

Moving is great for thinking about ENDING your life, too! I've got gashes, bruises and blood everywhere. Admittedly, half of these are self-inflicted in some type of unconscious avoidance strategy. And how is that my shirt sleeves, shorts and shoes want to wreak irritating mischief by catching on anything and everything that they never used to catch on? Can clothes be possessed by evil packing demons? Why does the packing tape keep sealing firmly back to the roll and then twirl in my hands smugly and confident at my feeble attempts to find the tape end? Why on earth did I think I could pack all this myself? Why, why, why...I want to know! Enough why's and whining...for now.

Paid the piper at Planes today. They want your credit card 3 days before the move happens. Heidi Zavala is a jewel. Got more boxes...beat out some poor guy who really wanted them. Ah the dog-eat-dog world of snatching free boxes....

I will say that Craigslist.com is great place to get rid of free and other stuff. But there are sure a lot of people who flake out at the last minute after you've told everyone else that the deal's been done. Live and learn.

Maybe it's time to open a bottle of stiff spirits.

Fred0844

Re: *Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby Fred0844 » Sat Aug 04, 2007 1:14 am

Maybe it's time to open a bottle of stiff spirits.


The good news is that alcohol does not transport well in a moving van and could be illegal to ship across state lines without a permit. I always suggest that peole find some means of disposal.

moveman
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2004 8:44 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: *Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby moveman » Tue Aug 14, 2007 10:14 pm

Alcohol is fine, no regulations on this. Only overseas. A good stiff drink may be in order during a stressful time in life. :D
Moveman
an honest mover

oceanseas
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2007 12:32 am
Location: St. Charles, IL

Re: *Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby oceanseas » Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:29 am

Well, the move happened. There's good news, bad news, and disappointment about the moving company...Planes. The packers were a nightmare for me. More on that later after I've finished unpacking. So far, with only 15% of my stuff unpacked, I have a brace broken on my cast aluminum patio table and two signed, spiral champagne flutes were broken at the stems.

The truck driver was super great, though.

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

Re: *Expensive stuff but on a budget

Postby MusicMom » Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:22 am

OK, please give us a detailed account when you get a chance.


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