My Moving Experience

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tdangelo
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 3:16 pm

My Moving Experience

Postby tdangelo » Mon Aug 27, 2007 4:32 pm

Greeting Fellow Movers:

The following is a recap of my recent moving experiences that I hope you may benefit from. My move starts in the Dallas, Texas area and ends in the Seattle, WA area. It initially included my wife and two large dogs but got larger as time went on. There were both good and bad parts of the move that I want to share with you so that you can learn from my experiences, sometimes referred to as “lessons learned”. This is a long one so sit back and relax.

I am a planner and like to have everything in order, especially costs. I started my planning process 4 months before the move and packing 3 months in advance. The Movingscam.com site was quite helpful in providing information about moving, what to do, what not to do, and suggestions who to work with. Since I was paying for the move myself, I was a bit cost conscious and looked for ways to save money but still be protected from scammers.

My first choice (Plan A) was to have someone move me using a full-service company so I checked a few out. Prices varied from $10,000 - $14,000. For that price I could have left everything and bought all new stuff so I decided to take the route of packing myself and hire someone to move me (Plan B). I looked online and found some decent prices but was then introduced to MovingScam.com to find out that many of these companies were on the blacklist. The one I started working with was MoveX. The rep was very nice and friendly but when I changed the contract it was sent back to me without my changes. They assured me they would honor my changes but I told them I wanted them documented. After doing this a couple of times I told them that my attorney suggested that I not work with someone who would not take my changes in writing.

Being skeptical of these types of companies I went to Plan C which was renting a truck and moving myself. I used several of the online inventory estimating programs to calculate the linear feet needed for a truck. Beware: ALL of the estimating sheets that I used under estimated my inventory by about 50% even after I compensated for larger boxes and items that I may have overlooked. At the time I did my last estimate, I had a complete inventory of my house.

I set up one room in the house as a staging area for the boxes. Several boxes were purchased and some I got from a couple friends who had just moved gave me all of their boxes. I also bought bubble wrap and good wrapping paper to make sure nothing broke. By packing the items myself, it gave me the opportunity to really think about whether or not I need to keep things that I had not used in several years. I had to get away from the mind set of “I will need that someday”.

The Process: Being a process kind of guy, I took a series of different color coded labels (stickers) and assigned a room to each color. A label was then placed on each box to indicate where the box would go in our new house. If there was no label then the box stayed in the garage. For the fragile boxes I also put on large bright red labels.

After checking out the ratings for the major moving trucks (Penske, Budget, & U-Haul), I went with Penske. First I went online and got some cost estimates and then went to a local Penske site to check out their trucks and see if I could get a better deal. In comparing the trucks, Penske was by far the newest and cleanest. According to information gathered, they have the best maintenance record as well. The onsite rep was friendly and also worked with me on a price. They also recommended that I continue to check online since the prices often get adjusted for the time of the year. This paid off and reduced the price again. The rep I worked with was Chris who was an excellent customer support person. You will see why later.

The plan was to drive the SUV with the dogs and ship one car. I called several places and got a range of prices. Some were pretty low which may have been ok but based on information from this website I wanted to make sure the car arrived safely and when I expected it. The company I worked with was AFT Logistics. After contacting several transport companies and getting a wide range of quotes, AFT was willing to work with me on price and transport times. The primary contact person (Faye) is the owner and absolutely great to work with. Some moving forums suggest that brokers not be used but I would not hesitate to use AFT Logistics again. Andrew, the dispatch person kept me informed of where the car was. The guys who picked up my Lexus were professional and thorough. They contacted me the day before delivery and about an hour before they dropped the car off at my house. The overall timeframe from pickup to delivery was 8 days which was noted up front. I am big on knowing what to expect and when. AFT came through for me. (Contact info: 1-877-238-3390 www.aftlogistics.com

My next task was to set up a team to help me load the truck in TX and another to unload the truck in WA. The company I initially contacted to load the truck did not show up because they said I did not send in a deposit. The person I was working with left the company so I had no one to confirm my position. This could have been an error on my part but at this point it didn’t matter. I needed someone to load the truck so I called All My Sons Moving & Storage (www.allmysons.com 800-722-5775). My rep was Whitney who was a very pleasant young lady. She informed me of a 3-hour minimum that I agreed to. What I wasn’t told was that the first half hour and the last half hour were for a trip charge. Since I agreed to a 3-man team at $119/hour, my trip charge was $119. When I called to express my concern and dissatisfaction, I was told that I could talk to the supervisor (Amanda). However, Amanda would not take my calls or ever respond to my voice mails. Needless to say, I would not recommend nor use All My Sons again.

The 3 guys who showed up were experienced and did the best they could to help me out. As we were about halfway done loading the truck, one of the guys indicated that he did not think the truck would be big enough. I told him that I used several online inventory programs and they all told me that I would not need more than 22 feet. He said ok and we continued to load. As the truck was 75% full, the same guy assured me that I had more stuff than a 26’ truck would hold. So much for online inventory programs! I immediately called Chris at Penske and told him I needed a second 26’ truck. Now Chris could have said sure, I have one but it will cost you double. But instead, he charged me the same price as the first one and said he would have it ready in 30 minutes. If anyone from Penske management is reading this then I would recommend that Chris be rewarded for his outstanding customer support.

The next day we finished packing the truck and to my amazement we filled that one up too. It was a good thing we sold and gave away several large items or we would have needed a third truck.

So who drove the trucks? I flew my niece and her boyfriend down from Seattle and then hired a couple of guys to drive the second Penske truck. Our first day (Friday) we drove just past Albuquerque, NM with no problems. The second day to Twin Falls, ID with no problems until we couldn’t find a place to stay. We searched for about two hours until we gave up and slept at a Flying-J truck stop. Evidently, twin Falls is a popular place in the summer. Go figure! The third day was to go directly to Seattle. The good news is that there were no mechanical problems with any of the vehicles. Penske trucks came though for us. I still have not received my credit card bill for the gas but I’m sure that will be an eye opener.

On Monday my Seattle team showed up as planned to unload. I used Abracadabra Movers who I would also recommend. The rep I worked with over the phone was Pierre and he was professional and easy to work with. And, there was only a $30 trip charge – not $119!!! Contact info: 877-513-0452 www.info@abracadabra.net. They arrived on time, introduced themselves, took care of the paperwork, and were ready to take care of business. My kind of guys. Before the boxes were unloaded in our new house, we placed a color coded label on each door so that the unloaders knew where each box went. Another unloading technique we used was to stage the boxes inside the house. We had 5 guys unloading: 2 brought in the boxes, 1 staged them by putting the different labeled boxes together so that the other 2 guys could take them to the respective room. This saved a lot of time going up and down the stairs.

If I had to move again, I would consider using the containers (ie: PODS). It seemed a bit pricey at first but after needing a second truck and then having to hire someone to drive it along with the additional expenses, I would have been better off with the containers. Hopefully I won’t be in this position for quite awhile.

If I can help anyone with any specifics, please let me know.

Regards,
Tony

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

Re: My Moving Experience

Postby Diane » Mon Aug 27, 2007 7:44 pm

Thanks so much, Tony. I'll add a link to your review on the rental truck thread under Penske and I've already re-posted your good experience with the auto broker on the auto transporters thread. I'm curious about whether you got a quote from Broadway Express because (according to their website calculator) they would have charged $5458 for a whole 53-foot trailer and you wouldn't have had to hire drivers or pay for gas. Also, you could have put your car on the same trailer with your household goods, I think. I'll add Abracadabra to the Superlist.
Diane
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

tdangelo
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat May 05, 2007 3:16 pm

Re: My Moving Experience

Postby tdangelo » Tue Aug 28, 2007 3:50 pm

Diane,

I did check out Broadway Express. For 22 linear feet it would have cost $3659. Based oin what I know now, it would have been a viable option.

Tony


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