Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

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bluewyvern
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Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:15 pm

Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby bluewyvern » Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:46 pm

First, thank you all for this great resource. The help I've gotten so far from the site has been invaluable.

I'm hiring a moving company for the first time for a local move within Brooklyn on Sept. 1st. This is probably a very bad and busy time to be moving, and on such short notice (apartment-hunting was another nightmare), but I don't have much choice, unfortunately.

I have very little stuff -- hardly any furniture, just lots of books and housewares, enough for a largish studio or small one-bedroom. This is the kind of move I would ordinarily do with a couple burly friends and a Budget truck, but I happen to be minus the burly friends so I'll be doing this all on my own, which is why I'll need the hired help. I'm doing all my own packing.

Much of this site seems to deal with large and/or interstate moves, but I'm not quite sure what to expect with a small local move like this one. It seems that with interstate moves you have to wait days (?) for your stuff? But if it's local they just drive across town as soon as the truck's loaded, right? (Is there any chance they'll take me along, too?)

Also, how much can I expect to pay for probably two guys for a few hours loading, driving, and unloading? I have very little sense of what this kind of service costs, but I doubt that the average $1000-$1200 moves I've been seeing are the same kind of thing. Is $500 a reasonable amount for a studio-apartment-sized move? Less?

A little more trivial, but -- what are the "wardrobe boxes" I've been hearing about? Are they just large cardboard boxes, or do they have a rack for hangers or something? (My packing materials consist at this point of liquor store boxes, trash bags, and Duane Reade shopping bags, so if they have a good way to transport my clothes -- I was planning on folding them all and stacking them in trash bags -- I'm game.)

Do I have to let them pack my computers, electronics, and flat-screen tv if I want them insured at the full rate? Will everything else be insured at the low per-poundage rate, or not at all?

Will they dis- and re-assemble my bedframe?

Finally, here are the places I'm planning on calling tomorrow based on the information I've been able to glean here and a few other places (in general order of preferability at this point):

All Star Moving and Storage
Big Apple Moving and Storage
Big John's Moving, Inc.
Redline Moving and Storage
A&A Alliance Moving (Two Guys and a Truck)
MoveMaster
FlatRate Movers

Anything to help me rank/distinguish/eliminate would be appreciated.

If I've understood correctly, I call, invite several over and ask for a binding or not-to-exceed estimate, pay only by weight and not cubic footage, and make sure they will not subcontract the job...anything else?

Thanks in advance for any comments or suggestions.

farrah7031
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Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby farrah7031 » Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:05 pm

I'd go with All Star, Shea or Delancey Street if they're available. You can see their information in the Superlist of Movers under NYC.

farrah7031
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Location: Tallahassee, FL

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby farrah7031 » Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:06 pm

Oh, and local moves are priced by the number of men per hour, not by weight.

bluewyvern
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:15 pm

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby bluewyvern » Tue Aug 28, 2007 10:38 pm

Good to know. Thank you!

Just helping
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Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2005 1:36 pm
Location: NYC

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby Just helping » Wed Aug 29, 2007 8:26 am

It is very hard date to get last minute movers for...

The wardrobe box is a box that acts like a small closet (2 feet wide by about 4 feet tall) you can hang the clothes on the bar and also have some space on the bottom for pillows or shoes...

DON'T pack things into plastic bags!!! the movers will hate it and it will slow them down, instead of stacking boxes on a dolly and rolling them out they will need to hand carry all of the bags, don't forget it may rip and it will be very hard for them to load the truck... it will slow the move and at the end cost you a lot of money since you will pay by the hour...

bluewyvern
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:15 pm

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby bluewyvern » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:41 am

It is late to be calling -- most have told me they have nothing. There were a couple of places with crews available, but they either said they didn't have anyone to send for an estimate, or that the spot would be gone by the time someone came. One basically laughed at me when I asked, saying no one would do a visual estimate for a move as small as mine. This annoyed me, but since their quote was way better than any of the others, I have a feeling I'll be using them.

The results:

All Star: I think the rate was something like $135/hr for 3 men, for an estimated total somewhere in the $500 range. I didn't write it down because I was still trying for visual estimates at that point. Courteous rep, though.

Redline: only have a 4-man crew available, $150/hr with a minimum of 4 hrs, plus they would charge me an extra hour's travel time from and back to their hq in Manhattan. Total estimate of $750.

A&A Alliance: 3 men at $86/hr with a min of 3 hrs, $43 per half-hour after that, plus a fee of $40 for stairs. He gave me an estimate of $250, but that's really just the minimum, not even counting the stair fee -- actual minimum would be $298. $384 for 4 hours, $470 for 5. How fast are these guys? I was planning on only needing 2 men, so I guess it will be pretty fast. This was also the guy who laughed at me.

FlatRate: they said that because of the date of the move there would be a minimum charge of $1300. Eee.

I think I'm going to call A&A back and book. I don't have a lot of options, so I don't see what else I should do at this point...

MusicMom
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Location: DC Metro

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby MusicMom » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:46 am

Um, compare A&A's price to the others. Does the fact that they charge half of the others for the same service wave any red flags?

The only way a company can consistently do that is if they are cutting corners somewhere (like insurance, licenses, vehicle upkeep, etc) or if they end up charging you more later.

Plus, he laughed at you. That's poor service.

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby Diane » Wed Aug 29, 2007 9:54 am

I agree with MusicMom. I don't like the extra "tacked on" stair fee with A&A, either. I've never heard of that company, and I think they will try to tack on other fees at the end for packing and such. If All Star can move you, I advise you to go with them. You could also call Shea Moving in Queens and Delancey Street in Brewster, NY (contact info on the Superlist linked to below my name) to ask about availability.

Here (from the Superlist) are two other small companies you might call, but I caution that I know nothing about them other than what people posted here:
--Darling Movers (independent) in Brooklyn.
The owner came on here in 9/06 and 2/07 to tell a little about his company, which can be hired through www.eMove.com and also directly. He was honest enough to admit that (like most eMove companies) they have no liability insurance or worker's comp:
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtop ... 9960#69960
That thread includes a positive comment by someone who used them for a local move. Also, "allen074" gave them a rave review for an inexpensive move from Queens to Manhattan in 5/07:
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=13574 (local)

--Gar-Hing Trading, Inc. (independent) in Brooklyn.
This company with DOT #898838 has some good comments. See this thread for a summary:
http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5853
As far as I know, in 8/06 it was not licensed to move people interstate.


Most if not all movers will not come to your apartment to give you a visual estimate for such a small move, especially considering that it's so late for such a busy weekend. You're going to be lucky to find anybody at all to move you.

The usual cost for 2 workers and a truck in NYC two years ago was $90/hour, for 3 workers $120/hour, but prices could have gone up somewhat since then.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

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

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby MusicMom » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:08 am

A&A Alliance Moving (DOT#967970) also does business under the name Two Guys and a Truck (and that really is the extent of their business).

Jim
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Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:42 pm
Location: Sunny Southern California

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby Jim » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:39 am

My opinion - I would dump A&A. The rate being offered is way too low for professional movers in NY - the employees for A&A doing the move will end up pocketing about $12/hour doing your move, or less, plus any tip you provide based on the rate indicated. In NYC - you will not be getting a professional mover at that rate. By comparison, All-Star employees would likely make about $21/hour (or a little less), plus tips doing your move, and Redline guys about $20/hour (or a little less) plus tips. It's more reasonable to assume you're getting better quality people using either of the other 2 companies.

I think either All-Star or Redline could do the job - you only need a 3 man crew (IMHO) to do the job, and I'd sort of lean toward All-Star based on reputation. Neither crew would likely take you along (insurance reasons), but with 3 guys doing the job, it should take no time at all. I don't know how far the new place is from the old; I would only be concerned with the traffic because your paying for the time it takes to travel between old and new.....
It's Sunny Somewhere In The World

Diane
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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby Diane » Wed Aug 29, 2007 11:06 am

bluewyvern,

Jim brings up an important point - the lower-paid workers could hondle you for tips. Any worker would probably look at you wistfully for a tip, but those guys could SERIOUSLY hondle you.

bluewyvern
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 8:15 pm

Re: Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby bluewyvern » Thu Sep 06, 2007 3:50 pm

Just an update, in case you were wondering how it went with A&A Alliance Moving (Two Guys and a Truck):

They were late. I thought my appointment was for 11, and when I called at 11:30 I was curtly informed that it was from 11 to 12, and they would be there within the hour. At about 12:40 I was again curtly informed that they would be there "soon". (I was getting worried because the landlord had someone else moving in the same day and was nervously pressuring me to get out as fast as possible.) They finally arrived at 2:30, which I suppose is practically early by moving company standards.

Upon arriving and seeing my stuff, the workers seemed upset and immediately started waving at the stuff and arguing in Russian. I asked if there was a problem, and they testily replied that there certainly was -- apparently it was more stuff than they had anticipated, they didn't like the small boxes, and they were shocked and outraged to learn that I was moving to a fourth floor walkup (they said they only knew that I was moving *from* one). When I pointed out that I had told *all* this to the dispatcher, that I had a 1-bedroom of little furniture and mostly boxes of books, moving from a fourth floor to a fourth floor and that he had already named a fee of $40 for stairs (and told me scornfully how my move was way too small to do a visual estimate on -- the movers didn't seem to think it was so small), they laughed, and said, "40 dollars!" and "He doesn't tell us anything." They were acting like it was an insurmountable task, like two guys asked to move a mansion full of marble statues with a pickup truck in two hours. The leader declared that it would cost me a $600 flat fee for the job, and didn't answer how he had the authority to determine this -- "$600 or nothing."

Since, as you all pointed out, the quoted rate seemed fairly low and $600 seemed about the average amount elsewhere, just a little more than I had been hoping to pay, I felt only a little less furious about being put in this position. I had no other options anyway, so I agreed. I at least liked the sound of the "flat" part (and true enough, no other hidden fees or charges surfaced -- it took exactly 30 $20 bills to release my possessions from where they were held hostage on the truck. I forgot to mention -- this at least they told me upfront when I booked -- cash only).

Once I conceded to their demands and signed their papers, they got to work with this purportedly Herculean task, carrying it out on the whole quickly, efficiently, carefully, and professionally. They produced plenty of large wardrobe boxes to consolidate the smaller boxes without much apparent trouble -- I wonder if they would have charged me a fortune for them if not for the flat rate. One place told me $20/box, but I hope that was to purchase, not to use. (What do I need with six wardrobe boxes when I'm done moving?) They didn't seem to be able to read much English so weren't able to tell the destination of the boxes or what was fragile, but I didn't really care about the destinations and nothing was broken, and they did verify with me every time they were handling a computer or parts. The only mishap was when one of them picked up a storage ottoman upside-down and dropped all the contents on the sidewalk, a bunch of game console controllers and accessories, but remarkably nothing seemed damaged at all, except the door of the ottoman which was starting to come loose anyway. Oh, but the leader did sit down and sweat profusely in my fabric office chair midway through the move, which I thought was very not cool.

The move took about four or four and a half hours all in all. At the end, the leader tried to give me some bull about "see how long it took? It would have cost you $600 anyway," and I didn't even try to argue with him or challenge his insane math (the rate I was quoted, remember, was $86/hour). I was just glad that it was done at a reasonable if not great price and that nothing, other than the terrible treatment I suffered, went wrong.

Thanks again for all your advice -- I only wish I had had the luxury of more time to be able to follow it! I'm so relieved it's over.

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

Re: **Small, local Brooklyn move -- advice appreciated!

Postby Diane » Sat Sep 08, 2007 11:02 am

Thanks so much for this review. I added the company to both the Brooklyn and Manhattan sections of the Superlist (since it has phone numbers in both boroughs) with a caution symbol in front of its name. Sorry that they hassled you but you actually got off pretty easily with only about a 50% increase in your anticipated cost. I hope that people reading this will note that if any company quotes $86/hour for three workers and a truck in NYC, that is lowball and extra charges are going to be tacked on somehow.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.


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