NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

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Smushy
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Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:52 pm

NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Smushy » Thu Jul 26, 2007 2:27 pm

Hi Everyone,

This site has really been an invaluable resource in planning my upcoming move. The state-by-state Superlist, in particular, is really great.

I was hoping to get some evaluations and/or opinions on a recent estimate that I received from University Van Lines (Atlas agent) in Rahway, NJ.

I have a fairly small load (an alcove studio apartment in Manhattan) and will be moving to Houston, TX at the end of August.

Scott from University Van Lines came to my apartment on Monday morning to do an at-home estimate. He was very punctual and professional. (He even stopped at the front desk of my building before he came up and inquired about any moving rules the building had and what they would need in the way of insurance certificates, etc.) Before looking at any of my stuff, we sat down and he gave me all the booklets and explained the whole process to me very throroughly. As he did the estimate, he went to great lengths to explain everything step-by-step and write every down very neatly. He was very chatty and gave me almost too much step-by-step information. Even though I have done an interstate move before, I didn't mind all the explanation and information, as I would rather hear everything upfront. In short, although it was very obviously that he is a very good salesman, I still felt that he was upfront and honest.

The quote he gave me was an Atlas Assured Price Protection, which is my understanding is the same as a Guaranteed Not to Exceed (please correct me if I am wrong). He said that his estimate was going to be a bit high, but since it was a APP would likely be cheaper. He estimated my weight at 2400 lbs. and gave me a price of $2947. The price included full insurance and full packing and was a 63% discount (it also included the necessary shuttle in NYC).

Does anyone know approximately what discount the companies have been giving lately? (I was wondering if I should contact him and see if he can do any better with the discount).

So far, I really liked the way he did business and even though I know this won't be my cheapest quote, I really liked that it was APP and that the price would be the worst case scenario. I also liked the fact that University only had a 1000 lbs. minimum, while the other companies I contacted all had minimums of btwn 2100-2400 lbs. (University's ceiling seems to be around the minimum I would pay with other companies anyway).

The last time I did an interstate move, we used WOW and while we had no major problems, we were only able to get a non-binding quote (the price ended up a few hundred more than originally quoted) and they arrived over a week past our delivery window and there was poor communication with them during the delay. Also, our stuff arrived on a Mayflower truck even though we were never told anything other than it would a United van. I have been holding off on contacting WOW b/c of the past problems, weight minimums, and non-binding estimates.

I had an in-home estimate with V. Santini and was rather turned off. The guy who came was nice enough, but after doing a walk-through of all my stuff, he gave me the booklets asked me if I had any questions (I asked a few) and then said he would email me the price, the next day. Well, two days have gone by and still no email. Needless to say, b/c of this unprofessional behavior, I have crossed off my list. (the only thing I liked about V. Santini was that they could pack and move me the same day and University wasn't 100% sure that they could do it in the same day).

I also called Moving Man and he wasn't as flexible with dates as the other companies (the other ones all Aug. 29th-31st still available) and I was really put off by their manner on the phone. He was very slick, not concrete about their services, prices, dates, etc. and even gave me an over the phone estimate based on their minimum (which I think was around 2100 lbs). I had heard that phone estimates are not legal (is that true?).

Anyway, I am sorry to be so longwinded with this email, but I wanted to provide some feedback on several in-home estimate experiences, as well as seeking some information/opinions about the University estimate that I am leaning towards.

Thanks in advance for all your help. :D

An

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

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Diane » Thu Jul 26, 2007 3:55 pm

Thanks for the very detailed post. Yes, Atlas' APP quote is the same as a GNTE.

Who were the reps for V. Santini and Moving Man?

The issue I have with University Van Lines is only that they will register your move with the van line. They won't haul it themselves. The same is true of all the other companies you name, with the possible exception of WOW. During the summer there can be delivery delays because there aren't enough van line drivers to move all the shipments that are booked. Although it's not certain that this would happen to your particular shipment, it could happen, especially since your shipment is small.

If timely delivery is very important to you, I would call Moovers, Inc. and Delancey Street-NY to see whether they have availability when you want to move. They are independent companies and the truck and driver that pick up your things would be the truck and driver that deliver them. Both companies have dozens of rave reviews here.

Alternatively, you could hire a small company like Shea Moving at www.sheamoving.com or All Star Moving in Brooklyn to pick up your things and load an ABF ReloCube at the terminal in Brooklyn. Transport would be fast and the total cost would probably be less than using a van line agent.

I think that University's price is OK. They always estimate high, as you say. I don't think you'll be able to negotiate a higher discount.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

Smushy
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Smushy » Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:18 pm

Thanks for the reply Diane.

I did contact Moovers already and unfortunately did not have any availabilty anywhere around my moving dates.

I realize that my shipment is small and there will probably be delays--especially since the summer is such a busy time. I am not overly concerned with time b/c part of my stuff is already in my new location. This was sort of a two-stage move and what I am moving now is actually additional stuff. Since I won't be stranded without my necessities, I am more concerned with a safe and reputable move (and one that is as economical as reasonably possible). The time from that University quoted me as 3-21 days. While such a large time frame isn't great and of course I hope the delivery date is 21 days, I can live with it. Even though the delivery could be a while, I did like that Scott said Atlas had a GPS-like system where I would be able to track my stuff as it travels from NYC to TX. I can live with waiting a week or two for my stuff, but would like to at least be able to keep track of it and know exactly where it is. Has anyone used this Atlas tracking system? Does it work well?

My estimator from Moving Man was Cal. From V. Santini it was Al Cooper.

Also, last time we used WOW, they did not haul themselves and most of the inconviences we had with them were likely due more to the national van line (United/Mayflower).

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

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Diane » Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:26 pm

I don't know about the Atlas tracking system, but you could send a PM to "Michael" to ask since he used to work for them. I'm glad that you liked Scott. I've met Cal and I know what you mean. Some companies will quote over the phone if it's a very small move like yours, although technically they are supposed to come to your apartment. Maybe he was just giving you a ballpark. Anyway, Wheaton wouldn't be as good as Atlas for such a long-distance move, because it's a smaller van line.

I still think it would be worth calling Delancey because they just might have a truck going that way. They have a location near Santa Fe and they frequently go NYC - NC - NM - CA. Reviews and contact info - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2377

Can you tell me a little more about your past move with WOW - when it was and where you were moving from and to?

Smushy
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Smushy » Thu Jul 26, 2007 4:51 pm

Thanks for such a quick reply, Diane.

I will PM Michael, as you suggested, and ask him about the Atlas tracking system.

I would contact Delancy, but the problem is that I am going to be going away for a few weeks and wanted to get my move totally set up before I leave. Unfortunately, at this point, I am not sure I will be able to start contacting Delancy. I had been hoping to use Moovers based on all the reviews on this sight and was sorry that they didn't have any shipments around my time frame.

I am glad that you told me about Wheaton being a smaller line and not as good for distances as Atlas--I didn't realize that. Are Atlas and United the largest?

My past move with WOW was a little over two years ago and it was from New York to Austin, TX. I forget the name of our estimator, a man in his mid 40's, (I heard that he no longer works for the company), but he was a very nice guy and we found him to be honest and easy to deal with. Unfortunately, we recently threw out the paper work related to that move, so I can't remember the exact weight or price of the estimate or what the exact discount was. I do remember that he gave us a slightly better discount if we moved our move out a couple of days (a little later in the month of August). We packed ourselves for the move. (it was our first move so we over-packed and over wrapped everything b/c we were so afraid of breakage). The day of our move, WOW showed up within 30 minutes of when they were supposed to. (Being from NJ, I believe they hit a lot of traffic and had a little difficultly finding the quickest route into Manhattan). There was a crew of about 5 guys who all did a fine and quick job loading up the truck. I believe either we called or the driver called us the following day to tell us the weight of the truck. I think it took a while for the United to come pick up our shipment in NJ. Once it was on the United truck, we had a little trouble getting WOW to give us updates on when we would get our stuff. The woman who was in charge of such issues was a little difficult to reach at times and I think she had some trouble sometimes getting in touch with our driver. In the end, our stuff showed up about a week after our delivery window and it was on a Mayflower truck. We didn't mind that it was Mayflower rather than United, but were just a little surprised and confused. Everything arrived safely and apart from the slight delay and communication difficulties, we were overall pleased with WOW. Unfortunately, I no longer have the estimates or the exact numbers, but do remember that the final total was a very fair price.

My impression so far is just that University seems more orgainized than WOW was.

Smushy
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Smushy » Thu Jul 26, 2007 5:52 pm

I also forgot to mention that I contact Dahill about my move. When I called as soon as he heard I had an alcove studio apartment, he transferred me to their "small moves division" and that guy told me that an alcove studio would not qualifiy for the national van line at all and that neither Dahill or Mayflower would be handling my move. Instead, Dahill would contract with another company (presumably a smaller, independent one) who would pack and move me. He took my email address and said he was emailing me an inventory form to fill out and then he would send me back a quote. His email never arrived and I didn't bother calling him back about the missing email because I didn't like the sound of some other random company being totally responsible for my stuff.

I am not sure why, but it seems like I am striking out with companies not emailing me the promised forms. V. Santini still hasn't emailed me my estimate. :(

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

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Diane » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:13 pm

That "small moves division" referred to by Dahill may be what Mayflower calls the Carevan program. If it is, a company - not sure who - would pick up your items, crate them in a wooden crate called a liftvan, and ship them by common carrier (freight truck). It probably would have ended up being cheaper than University Van Lines. Possibly you could contact them again to see where the email is. "BigLeeCalif" (works for a Mayflower agent) told me that they package the goods so well that there is hardly ever any damage even though they go on a freight truck.

Anyway, don't worry about V. Santini because they are an Atlas agent like University so their quote would have been very close to University's and you would have all the same issues.

United (and I believe Mayflower) have the biggest market share of all the van lines with regard to household goods and then Atlas, Allied, and North American are in the second tier - not sure what the exact order is.

It's sounding to me like you want to go with University. As long as you won't need your things immediately, this sounds like a good plan to me.

Thanks for the additional details about WOW.

Smushy
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Smushy » Thu Jul 26, 2007 6:26 pm

Diane,

Yes, I think you are right about that carevan/small moves division because now that you mention it, I remember Dahill telling me somethng about wooden crates and freight. I think that as soon as I heard something about putting my stuff in wooden crates, I tuned out the rest of what he said b/c the idea of crating all my stuff sounded scary.

I think I do want to go with University and guess I am just looking some people who have more knowledge and experience than I do to reassure me that I am making a fairly good decision. As I said, Scott was good at his job and I just want to make sure that other people have had good experiences with University. They seem very organized, professional and reachable should there be a problem and I just want to make sure that these appearances aren't deceiving.

I was a little surprised about V. Santini because I saw positive reviews here. I guess the estimator is just a little disorganized or something. I was only curious to see their estimate because as another Atlas agent, I wanted to compare it to University's and the discount they used. I am sure it would have been really similar. However, V. Santini had a 2100 lb minimum and was to give a non-binding estimate.

You are very welcome for the info about WOW. I apologize for not remembering more of the details. Any issues we had with them were fairly minor and seem like they were more related to United than WOW itself. At the time, we didn't really know anything about delay claims or anything and were just happy to get our stuff safely that we didn't complain to WOW about the delay.

Fred0844

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Fred0844 » Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:14 am

the idea of crating all my stuff sounded scary


The industry term for these crates is "LiftVan". and they have been used for years for overseas shipping. They are required especially on small international moves where there is a trucking issue over and above the overseas shipping. The shipent is wrapped in protective material and sealed in a large wooden box. Now the various warehouses and transportation providers are only handling one crate as opposed to many smaller items. Less chance for loss or damage. Also since there are more freight trucks
the goods can arrive at destination in a more timely fashion.

Smushy
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Smushy » Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:18 pm

I just wanted to update with some more info about my estimates.

After 3 days of waiting, I finally got my estimate from V. Santini (also an Altas agent). Their estimate was for 2100 lbs, which is their minimum, for a total of $2975. It seems that their total was a lot more for less weight. My University APP was $2947 for 2400 lbs. with a 1000 lb. minimum. Both companies gave the Altas discount of 63%.

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

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Diane » Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:25 pm

When people hear "wooden crates" I think they picture splinters and rough wood causing damage to furniture, etc. Probably some good marketing is needed to inform people how well the items are wrapped and otherwise protected inside the liftvan.

Smushy
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: NYC to Houston, TX--University Van Lines

Postby Smushy » Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:27 pm

I agree Diane. Until Fred explained it, I certainly had a different image in my mind.


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