Philadelphia to Atlanta: Got the quotes, now need seasoned advice!

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CaneGrrl
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:13 pm

Philadelphia to Atlanta: Got the quotes, now need seasoned advice!

Postby CaneGrrl » Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:29 pm

*This is an amazingly long post, but I figured the more information, the better!*

After I found this website and it scared the bejesus out of me, I have read nearly everything in existence on these message boards regarding movers local to Philly/NJ/Delaware and now I need some help with "the next step." I have indeed read Diane's master list of movers as well as read all the available reviews regaring the companies I've listed below.

General notes: I am moving a very large one bedroom (aprox. 1,000 sq. ft.) and I do indeed have a TON of stuff (probably more along the lines of what you might find in a two person household), but no overly heavy furniture. All rates include partial packing of fragile items only, full valuation coverage, and a shuttle at origin. Many of these companies are based out of NJ or DE, which is actually closer to Philadelphia than the alternate offices in the suburban areas of Pennsylvania. Also, I did contact Moovers, but their delivery dates are currently unknown and too sporadic to make me comfortable with some of the time constraints I have. I'm obviously not a regular route of theirs yet.

8) For ego stroking purposes: know that every single one of these companies either directed me TO movingscam.com directly or asked if i had visited it. One even showed me printouts from the message board that praised his company (and him directly, of course) :D

On to the nitty-gritty (in the order they appeared at my front door):

1) ATLAS / Local Company: Shannon Transport (Hainesport, NJ)
Weight Estimate: 4,279
NON-BINDING :evil: ESTIMATE: $2,995.78
Notes: First off, they don't do GTNE estimates. I'm inclined to toss this company off my list because of that, but I wanted to post it just for the weight comparison. Their estimate states that I would be required to pay a maximum of 110% of the quoted estimate, with the balance due later if the weight estimate is off (I assume this is standard for a non-binding estimate??). The estimator really didn't spend very long at my apartment, which made me uncomfortable and he didn't open up many of my cupboards, etc.

2) ALLIED / Local Company: Bayshore Transportation (Newark, DE)
Weight Estimate: 3,828
GTNE: $3,169.89
Notes: I know there have been some rave reviews about this company, and I really enjoyed this home visit. He was there for about an hour and I do feel he was thorough and upfront. They will give me a pickup date range of two days (as opposed to nailing down one particular day) which is unfortunate for me as I'm trying to move in the middle of law school finals (!) but that isn't a deal breaker. Also, he indicated this would more than likely be a self-haul (90% sure)

3) MAYFLOWER / Local Company: Sinclair Moving & Storage (West Berling, NJ)
Weight Estimate: 4,000 (he did tell me he rounded up slightly from the number he came up with; i am fine with that as i think it protects me in the long run)
GTNE: $2832
Notes: this particular estimator (Doug Papp) has been mentioned more than once in a positive light on this board. I was really impressed with this guy and he was also thorough. This company will give me a locked-in pickup date and will self-haul. Unfortunately, they didn't provide me of a per-room weight estimate breakdown (which would have been helpful as you'll see below).

4) UNITED / Local Company: McCollister's Transportation (Burlington, NJ)
Weight Estimate: 5,182 (BINGO! obviously, this is where my questions start coming. . .)
NON-BINDING ESTIMATE: :evil: $3,2xx.xx (i left the paperwork at home. . .can't remember the rest of the numbers)
Notes: This company will self-haul and they DO have an office of their own (McCollister's I mean, not general Mayflower) in Atlanta. They will also guarantee pickup on a particular day, but their delivery estimate is 3-13 days (!) longer than anyone else. The estimator assured me that was extremely long for Atlanta and i should surely receive my shipment within a weeks time, but I am slightly nervous about a promise like that. I've mentioned that the other two estimators were thorough in my opinion (except the first one). This guy was RIDICULOUSLY thorough. He opened every cabined I have, etc. etc. They will not, however, do a GTNE despite other posts on here that seem to say they have done so in the past. Also, the same 110% possible requirement upon delivery also applied here as it did on the Shannon paperwork.

Here start my questions! Obviously, I need some help deciding which company to go with. I have an appointment with the local North American Agent (Morgan Moving & Storage) for later this week but I'm not sure it' worth it to get yet another estimate. I was all ready to drop McCollister's off my list becuase of the lack of GTNE. BUT (major, major BUT) I have a feeling that their estimate is more accurate weight-wise than the others. I have an inordinate amount of pots. pans, and various heavy kitchen appliances and in looking at the details from the various companies, that's where a lot of the difference lies (McCollister's put my kitchen at 400lbs more than any of the other companies) and there's a 100-250lb difference in each other other major rooms to account for the more than 1,000lb difference.

Truth be told, I would bet that my weight is probably closer to 4,500 lbs. I have no intentions of adding any furniture (in fact, I plan on selling some of it, ncluding some heavy pieces). As I mentioned, I was ready to toss out McCollister's because of the non-binding estimate, but they came in comporable in price with a MUCH heavier weight. I am completely unsure what to do with their estimate in relation to the other two (I'm not really considering Shannon Transport, unless someone gives me a good reason why I should. . .I just don't like the vibe i got plus its non-binding). I really need some advice from the experts here :)

My other related concern is if I choose Bayshore or Sinclair, and it turns out they were under on the weight. I understand its a GTNE, but what happens if the number of cartons I pack and load turn out to be more than he number of cartons they included in their estimate? I'm concerned that they're going to claim I added stuff and that the original invoice is no longer valid. I may be paranoid, but I didn't go to law school for nothin' :wink:

I haven't yet contacted any of these companies since they were at my home; I'm waiting for responces from you all to decide my next move. I'm tempted to ask Bayshore & Sinclair to come back out and re-estimate and be honest and tell them that someone else came up with a *much* higher estimate.

*help* *help* *help* My brain has reached maximum capacity and I now turn it over to you all. Please let me know what more information you need.

Millions and millions of thanks in advance. . .I would deposit piles of baked goods on your doorsteps if I knew where you all lived.

jennifer

ArchieWhite
Posts: 2942
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:38 am

Re: Philadelphia to Atlanta: Got the quotes, now need seasoned advice!

Postby ArchieWhite » Mon Mar 19, 2007 12:43 pm

Jennifer, I'm in Atlanta, so when you finish moving, I'll accept your offer to bake me some cookies....Just kidding.

First, estimating the weight of a move, is an inexact science, every home is different, every piece of furniture is different. It used to be called an estimate, meaning....professional opinion. Now that we are allowed to make it a firm price, the word 'estimate' should have disappeared.

I'm a competitor of McCollisters, but they are a good company, in fact the largest agent of the largest van line. They could not have gotten that far if they were not good. I didn't say perfect, just good.

Phila to Atla is a pretty common lane, trucks are constantly on the way from 'up North' to Florida, and can easily stop in Atlanta. I doubt that 3-13 days will be required, my experience is probably 3-8, just to give you a slightly more realistic window.

I don't know why they don't give firm prices, most movers do, but maybe they have been burned before. If you have 4,000 to 5,000 in a 1 bed room apt, it must be pretty packed, so they may be a little on the careful side of the 'estimate' (theres that word again, ugh)

My advice is, pick the company you feel most comfortable with, as after all, they are going to be driving away with everything you own.

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

Re: Philadelphia to Atlanta: Got the quotes, now need seasoned advice!

Postby Diane » Mon Mar 19, 2007 1:01 pm

jennifer,

My advice is to pick one of these two that gave you a GNTE. Allied calls it a TPG quote with GRR, which means a Total Price Guarantee quote with Guaranteed Rate Reduction if your weight comes in less than the estimate, which is unlikely in your case but nice to have. Mayflower/United companies call it an Option C quote. Make sure that your estimates have the above verbiage somewhere on them.
2) ALLIED / Local Company: Bayshore Transportation (Newark, DE)
Weight Estimate: 3,828
GTNE: $3,169.89
Notes: I know there have been some rave reviews about this company, and I really enjoyed this home visit. He was there for about an hour and I do feel he was thorough and upfront. They will give me a pickup date range of two days (as opposed to nailing down one particular day) which is unfortunate for me as I'm trying to move in the middle of law school finals (!) but that isn't a deal breaker. Also, he indicated this would more than likely be a self-haul (90% sure)

3) MAYFLOWER / Local Company: Sinclair Moving & Storage (West Berling, NJ)
Weight Estimate: 4,000 (he did tell me he rounded up slightly from the number he came up with; i am fine with that as i think it protects me in the long run)
GTNE: $2832
Notes: this particular estimator (Doug Papp) has been mentioned more than once in a positive light on this board. I was really impressed with this guy and he was also thorough. This company will give me a locked-in pickup date and will self-haul. Unfortunately, they didn't provide me of a per-room weight estimate breakdown (which would have been helpful as you'll see below).

It's true that technically a driver can successfully protest an estimate and the customer will have to pay more if the weight turns out to be more than 110% of the estimated weight. However, in almost four years of following this messageboard, I have never once seen this happen. In a couple of cases the driver grumbled a bit, but he loaded the shipment anyway. There are many reasons that he is likely to load, mainly that he is already on the scene with helpers being paid by the hour and it would be a big mess to drive away. Since you estimate that your weight is actually around 4500 pounds and Sinclair (for example) estimated 4000, I really don't think you have anything to worry about.

I guess if I were you I would go with Sinclair. Probably they are looking to fill a truck going south and that accounts for the low price. Although they don't have a branch in Atlanta, there are many Mayflower/United agents in Atlanta who could help them out with unloading labor, including Archie's company.

ArchieWhite
Posts: 2942
Joined: Thu Mar 25, 2004 11:38 am

Re: Philadelphia to Atlanta: Got the quotes, now need seasoned advice!

Postby ArchieWhite » Mon Mar 19, 2007 1:11 pm

If the driver protests a GNTE, there is no extra charge to the actual customer, it's handled internally, the booking agent gives some of his revenue to the successfully protesting drivers agency, who is sposed to pass it on to the driver. If the shipper was expected to pay more, it wouldn't be much of a GNTE, it would have to be renamed, GNTEM... Guaranteed not to exceed, maybe.

Mccollisters is also a Mayflower agent in Atlanta. And to make it even more curious, if the shipment is 'booked' by any mayflower agent, then any other mayflower agent's truck might be assigned the shipment, including Mccollisters. So Mccollister could lose the move to Sinclair, and then have their truck assigned to it after all. Stranger things have happened, Not everybody 'self hauls' all 100% of their tonnage. Maybe in the slow season, but starting around May 15, all bets are off.

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4658
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Philadelphia to Atlanta: Got the quotes, now need seasoned advice!

Postby BigLeeCalif » Tue Mar 20, 2007 2:47 pm

Cancel the May 15 on those bets Archie.. We've been losing 20% of our self hauls since before the start of the year. The reasoning was "too many empties on the West Coast".
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

Auri
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Feb 15, 2007 12:08 pm
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: Philadelphia to Atlanta: Got the quotes, now need seasoned advice!

Postby Auri » Tue Mar 20, 2007 3:55 pm

Same reason why my company pretty much stopped doing west coast moves and give a lesser discount to west coast movers. Too little business out there and coming back.
Industry Professional in Chicago

CaneGrrl
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Mar 12, 2007 6:13 pm

Re: Philadelphia to Atlanta: Got the quotes, now need seasoned advice!

Postby CaneGrrl » Fri May 04, 2007 6:48 pm

Just wanted to post an update. I did in the end pick Sinclair and they just delivered everything today to Georgia, all safe and sound and slightly under budget. The best thing I can say is that there were no surprises: everything went the way it was supposed to, all my questions were answered, and they delivered right in the middle of the delivery window, which was fine with me.

To follow up on the weight issue: the total was 3700 (originally a 4000lb estimate) BUT I sold off 8 pieces of furniture that were originally included in the estimate. I can only guess, but had those been included I'm pretty sure the actual weight would have been closer to 4500, give or take a few, so the truth apparently was somewhere in the middle.


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