San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin

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kbw
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Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:15 pm

San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin

Postby kbw » Sat Jan 13, 2007 7:14 pm

This is a fabulous website, wealth of information and invaluable advice / guidance -- thank you everyone.

How much of it is "gut-instinct" when selecting a mover?

We are relocating from the San Francisco Bay Area (CA) to Boulder, CO in February. Based on word-of-mouth of similar-positioned people we've spoken with two local agents of Arpin (www.arpin.com DOT 049922: Cunningham Moving & Storage 415-822-4000 and Silicon Valley Storage & Moving www.siliconvalleymoving.com 408-941-0600), and based on what I've read on this website and its boards, Moovers, Inc. (925-288-0630 www.mooversinc.com DOT 1176313).

We've done our due diligence checking them all out (inc. checking their references) and all smell like roses, so to speak. We have two small children (one a newborn, the other a toddler) and pets and I'm in a full-leg cast which won't be removed until after the move (of course) -- my long-winded way of saying I'm looking for as EASY and STRESS-FREE and FAST a move as possible (although who isn't?).

All three came in at pretty similar weights (12,320lbs - 13,535lbs) and their prices are also close (and great -- definitely less than we'd expected). I will say here that all three noted we also have a storage unit (10' x 20' x 5') which will require a second stop and extra equipment. (Cunningham & Silicon Valley Moving accounted for a shuttle truck while Moovers, Inc. said they'd just use pallets and manpower. Only Cunningham actually visited the storage site: the others relied on size / contents my husband told them [and he was quoting Mr. Cunningham].)

Mr. Cunningham (of Cunningham Moving & Storage) left us with the best overall impression (been in the business at their current location 37+ years -- he's a charming man and had so many incredibly helpful tips about how to pack -- stuff that isn't intuitive! -- he also had lots of informative [and useful] printed info, inc. checklists which he gave us), plus they'd devote a full truck to us, also moving (inside the truck) our two cars (at an additional $1500 total -- $700 for our roadster and $800 our minivan). Both moving our cars and not making us wait on either end for another move to "fill-up" the truck are v. appealing to us. Because of that and also all the great tips (you can tell he's been doing this a long time) and confidence Mr. Cunningham inspired in us is why they are our number one choice. We also have felt incredibly well taken care of, almost cosseted, by both Mr. Cunningham and Kathleen, his coordinator. (Kathleen was head of relocation for Chevron Oil for twenty-five years -- her experience and knowledge show and her manner and voice are warm and comforting.) (Cunningham gave a binding quote of 12,320lbs plus the two cars for $8,656.11.)

(SIDE NOTE: I contacted Golden Key, as found on Moving Scam, but learnt they are unwilling to transport to the Denver - Boulder area -- Misty told me they only like to move from one coast to the other. She was nice about it, so I pressed her, suggesting that not everyone who is moving cars is moving from one coast to the other. She said that was true, but they'd only take a car if they could find another car at the drop-off to fill-up the missing space. She recommended Accelerated Logistics Auto Transport [www.autotrans1.com 720-200-3100 DOT 873632] but cautioned she did not know their drivers. Accelerated is based in Denver and I spoke with Brandon at length. For uncovered transport, he quoted me $650 per car BUT, requiring a four-day window in which to pick-up the cars and then a seven+ day window in which to deliver them. Evidently this is par for the course but it'll make it hard for me to coordinate a car and carseats' rental both in CA and CO.)

Moovers, Inc. (Jayson) said they could only take the roadster (for $750) and even still, we'd only fill half a truck. Therefore after packing our goods they'd have a seven-day window to finish filling the truck before leaving. That's not so appealing .... (I'm having nightmares of an extended stay in a hotel room with two little children and pets.) (During my first call I spoke with Robert who was so friendly, so generous in his offers of help and availability to answer questions -- seemed like a super man. My husband alone met with Jayson so I didn't get an impression, but my husband thought he seemed on his game.) (Moovers Inc., quoted 13,250lbs plus the roadster for $7,385.04 -- binding not to exceed.)

Cheri of Silicon Valley said she doubted our possessions would fill a truck, although they had the highest weight estimate (13,535lbs). She said if we were to have her ship both cars then we would fill a truck, but then her price was the highest ($9,177.09) and we just didn't have the same good feeling from her and her staff that we did from both Cunningham Moving and Moovers, Inc. (Nothing untoward, but Silicon Valley's office staff didn't seem as professional / eager to be of service, and they took much longer to return calls [two days as opposed to the others who returned calls the same day].)

We figured that Cunningham will end up being only $470 more than Moovers (based on backing out the minivan from Cunningham's estimate), and it may end up being an even smaller discrepancy because of car / carseat rental in CO as well as the potential for more nights in a hotel in CO.

So, this is what we've been going through, but I guess I just wanted validation that after doing all our research (and everything checks out okay) it's fine to trust our gut.

Advice? Ideas?

Needless to say, we'll definitely follow-up after the move and let the community know how it went!

Thank you,
Brooke

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

Re: *San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby Diane » Sun Jan 14, 2007 2:10 pm

Hi - thanks so much for this wealth of information, including the information about Accelerated Logistics in Denver for auto transport. I looked it up on safersys.org and it seems as if it transports the cars--it is not just a broker. I note, also, Misty's caution that Golden Key doesn't know the drivers.

Regarding Cunningham, I just wondered whether they are going to use their own truck for this shipment or whether it will go on a truck from Arpin Van Lines. The reason is, if they are going to use their own truck, your shipment wouldn't fit on a 24-foot straight truck if you have two cars. Do they have tractor-trailers? I was unable to find Cunningham listed on safersys.org so I don't know how many trucks and drivers they have.

In the past, industry people have cautioned against using Arpin for very long-distance moves because of their being a small van line and a possible wait for the long-haul driver to pick up the stuff, but if Cunningham is going to use its own truck, this would not be a concern. How long did they say it would take for your shipment to arrive in CO?

Cunningham has only 3 complaints with the BBB over the past 36 months, which is pretty good. They are a member of the CMSA. And it certainly sounds as if Charles Cunningham knows his stuff. I think it would be very convenient to have your cars shipped in the same van with your household goods, and I agree that they seem like the best choice as long as they themselves are going to move the shipment, not a van line driver.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

Guest

Re: *San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby Guest » Tue Jan 16, 2007 12:35 am

Thanks for your reply, Diane, and sorry I didn't address these in my initial post.

It'll be a 70ft Arpin / Cunningham truck with a Cunningham driver. This appealed to us because of a) having a "guaranteed" pick-up date (no need to wait for another agent's truck to show up) and b) the driver being someone well known to and trusted by the agent (Cunningham) we're using. We also like that the driver we see at our CA house will be the same driver we see at our CO house.

We were told the move would take four days (barring any unforeseen weather events): Day One, pick-up from our house and storage space; Day Two in transit; Day Three in transit, and Day Four arrive in CO. We thought that seemed pretty great!

I'll definitely post back after our move so the board can reflect our (hopefully positive) experience.

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

Re: *San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby Diane » Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:24 pm

Sounds good to me!

Escaping From CA
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Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 9:22 pm
Location: S.F. Bay Area

Re: *San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby Escaping From CA » Fri May 04, 2007 4:01 pm

How did your move go? I'm curious because I just booked with Cheri from Silicon Valley Movers, only because they were the cheapest. I'm a little uneasy, though, basically because of the same stuff you mentioned - gut feeling, length of time for return calls, etc.

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

Re: *San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby Diane » Fri May 04, 2007 4:16 pm

There is a bad review of Silicon Valley on Citysearch, saying that its owners were rude and condescending during a local move - http://siliconvalley.citysearch.com/pro ... orage.html

It has 6 BBB complaints over the past 36 months, but more worrisome, it advertises on Craigslist. To me it has all the hallmarks of a cut-rate mover and I predict even more problems on an interstate move. You get what you pay for.

kbw
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Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:15 pm

Re: *San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby kbw » Fri May 04, 2007 4:53 pm

I feel bad for this delinquent response but we (still) have some unresolved issues from our late-February move, and I wanted to wait until everything was settled before committing it here to this forum. (I'll just add on when it does get resolved.)

The move out of our CA house was ... well, moving's hard. But we were bowled over by Cunningham's workers: eight men arrived, quiet, polite and super-hardworking. They were fastidious and did a beautiful job packing up our sundry possessions as well as everything else. Really impressed.

However, it turns out the weight of our shipment was vastly underestimated (closer to 20,000+), and it took a long, and I mean a really long time to pack up the truck. At 6pm it started to sprinkle and they weren't done, so we were told they were going to drive the truck up to their warehouse in San Francisco as well as drive my minivan (NOT in the truck, even though my husband had to drive his roadster onto the moving truck himself for "liability reasons") up there to finish packing in a dry, lit space.

Honestly, I was exhausted and I had two small children who were at their wit's end, too. But I was also uncomfortable with this because I was told / had read that one should watch all of their possessions being loaded onto the truck. By the moving truck being packed in a remote location without me I couldn't possibly do it. I also thought it odd that it was somehow okay for them to drive my minivan on the highway and into the truck at their warehouse, but not on the street on which we lived. I had to let it go because I had to focus on my children, so off they went. (The movers arrived on Wednesday.)

Two days later (Friday) when we arrived in Colorado we called Arpin to remind them of our cell phone numbers, as well as give them the number for our hotel. We were told (and by the way, this was late Friday afternoon): "Oh, I'm so glad you called! The truck just left our warehouse this afternoon, so it won't get there until Monday at the earliest."

To this day, months later, my husband and I are still dumbfounded why no one called us Thursday to say "for whatever reason, we are taking an inordinate amount of time to pack up this truck so we won't be able to meet Saturday AS WE HAD REPEATEDLY PROMISED YOU." (clearly the capitals are mine)

Anyway, I almost blew a gasket I was so apoplectic: we only had hotel reservations through Saturday (morning) and the rental car (and rented carseats) through Sunday. To their considerable credit, Cunningham did offer to remunerate us for the extra lodging and car costs. (still haven't received it so we'll see!)

And the truck did arrive exactly as promised 8am Monday morning. BUT, and this is a huge, important but, the movers from the local (CO) Arpin didn't arrive until after 10am, and only two of them arrived when I believe four had been requested (for an 8am arrival). We all (my family and the driver) sat around for over two hours waiting, and waiting, and waiting.

The boys who came were nice and certainly worked quickly, but it was just a shambles. By the time they were done it was dark and not a single bed was assembled. They wouldn't move the furniture as I'd requested (most of the furniture was in the right room, but not placed as I'd like or even in any way which made sense). Boxes were in totally wrong rooms: boxes marked "KITCHEN" were in the master bedroom; boxes marked "BOYS' BATH" in the basement, and on and on. I was really pissed, not to put too fine a point on it.

As I wrote earlier, we moved with two small children and me in a full leg cast, so to have to, in the dark, assemble the beds was a real pain. To have to schlep box after box up and down three flights of stairs was, for me, a freaking nightmare. I have horrible feelings about CO Arpin because of all this.

Needless to say we called Cunningham and they deducted some cost ($300) to apologize for the beds not being assembled, but still. I would rather have had movers come back out and correct everything, I really would have. I still haven't finished organizing because physically I just cannot. (still in cast)

The movers took off with our hand truck and furniture dolley, even though both were marked with "HOMEOWNERS'"; they've since been located but they're also still in San Francisco, so we had to go out and purchase new ones. Also an important (to me for sentimental reasons) rug is still in San Francisco, so I don’t know if it never made it on the truck in the first place or if it just never made it off the truck (went back to CA still onboard).

I understand Cunningham is waiting until they have a shipment coming to CO to deliver our pieces to us, but it's been well over two months now ... and we’re ready.

At the end of the day I believe our move was probably much better than average: the only things damaged (besides my psyche) were packed by my mother (laugh if you will -- my husband and I do!), and honestly, the Cunningham men who came to pack up our house in CA were just amazing. I would absolutely use them for a local move and wish I'd used them to pack up our whole house (no offense to my mother). I also wish CO Arpin was half as attentive as the Cunningham movers were – what a dream that would have been!

I know I'm a v. picky, methodical person. Some may call me hypersensitive and anal, but since I like myself I think of myself as being organized, efficient and careful. For some the above wouldn't have phased them, but it did me.

Now, about Cheri at Silicon Valley Moving: after I posted the above I called her to let her know I wouldn't be using them and she was v. interested in knowing why. She really did seem to want to know what they could do to improve their customer relations. I did also tell her the price, and she offered to back out some things but at that point, we knew we wanted to work with Cunningham. I do want to say that she really tried to get our business and she was v. conscientious about it, but for us it wasn't enough. We went on our gut; I can’t say it worked out for the best but it’s (mostly) done and we survived!

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

Re: *San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby Diane » Fri May 04, 2007 6:46 pm

Thanks, kbw - I added your review to the Superlist. Whatever the glitches, you paid a very low price for moving 20,000 pounds that distance. I wonder how an apparently experienced estimator (Mr. C) could have been so far off on the weight. Maybe the vehicles weighed more than expected (?).
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

kbw
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:15 pm

Re: San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby kbw » Fri May 04, 2007 9:09 pm

No, it wasn't the cars (according to Cunningham): it was our storage unit. It wasn't possible to enter it so at the estimate Mr. Cunningham was only able to view it from the opening (he did have the dimensions of it, though), but I guess there was just (much) more stuff than originally met the eye. ??? It was never explained to me and in truth, I never really asked because at that point I just didn't care. I do know our move was a money loser for Cunningham and I do feel bad about that because we liked Mr. Cunningham and Kathleen so much.

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

Re: San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby Diane » Fri May 04, 2007 10:00 pm

Never mind - I will make sure that he and Kathleen get good remarks in the Superlist. The shortcomings, such as they were, were all associated with the van line, not with his company.

kbw
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:15 pm

Re: San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby kbw » Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:38 pm

Looking back on it, even with the few missing things I still think we got very lucky with Cunningham. They did a beautiful job packing up a few things (all of which were undamaged -- the things my mother packed were crushed!). Even though I was really ticked about their delay (which really was inexcusable) and the missing items (which were later UPSed to us), I realize we were lucky. So many people have horror stories and ours was so minuscule, comparatively speaking.

If someone in the San Francisco Bay Area were to ask me for a referral, I would definitely list them (including the part about the delay, of course). And I do wish we'd used them for our local move back in 2006 (from Woodside to San Carlos): I think it would have been a much, much better move with them (than with the other company we used).

Anyway, I just wanted to follow up.

jdkchem
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:25 pm

Re: **San Francisco to Boulder, CO, using Arpin / Moovers

Postby jdkchem » Sun Dec 16, 2007 5:41 pm

Interesting, I used to work in moving and storage about fifteen years ago and my parents were at one time agents for Arpin. I found your moving adventure rather humorous. Your actual weight was nearly double and your ticked that there was a delay loading the truck? You've never loaded a moving van. If you had you would not have been surprised. The comments about an agent having their own drivers are pointless. If you go to an agent for United Van Lines you are going to get a United Van Lines driver, period. And, the agents are pretty familiar with the different drivers.


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