Reasonable quotes and suggestions for LA -> NYC move

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Joined: Sun May 11, 2003 8:20 am
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Reasonable quotes and suggestions for LA -> NYC move

Postby johnlai » Sun May 11, 2003 9:41 am

My wife and I are moving from West LA (10034) to NYC (10021) at the end of May and have become increasingly alarmed at the scandalous behavior of movers mentioned on this great website. We've read almost all of the posts, including the very helpful one about what characteristics to look for in a mover.

Recently, we invited 4 movers to bid on our move. We have a 2 bedroom apt. and have packed most everything ourselves. The only unpacked items are furniture and larger sundry items (e.g. mountain bikes, shelves, tv).

The first, an agent for Allied Van Lines, was Beverly Hills Transfer & Storage. The estimator was nice and knowledgeable, but the estimate ended up being $3000 more than the others (over $7,000) and he calculated everything by hand.

The next company was an agent for Mayflower Transit, named Blue Chip Moving & Storage, Inc. out of 1629 Cosmo Street, Hollywood, CA 90028. They have another office in Hawthorne, CA. They gave us both a binding agreement for $3795.79 for 3,899lbs of goods, and a binding-not-to-exceed of $4,159.29 for 4,278 lbs. These prices reflect a 65% discount. He did not give us a non-binding agreement. However, his inventory sheet was slightly different from what we counted (after-the-fact), and he even counted a few things we told him we were not going to bring. Additionally, we packed a few more boxes and will ship some ourselves (books, mostly).

The third company was also an agent, this time for Atlas Van Lines (on the estimator's card, it reads "Atlas Interstate Agent" which I assume is the same company as what is stated on the folder he left for us). The company's name is Gentle Giant Moving Company, Inc. located at 13020 Yukon Ave, Hawthorne, CA 90250. As I recall, the estimator stated that the company has been in business for over 12 years and has been an agent for Atlas for 6 years. Their estimate--he only gave us a non-binding one--was $4,376.58 for 4,250 lbs. He said not to rely on binding and binding-not-to-exceed estimates since the load will inevitably change between the estimation date and the final day of shipment. Also, he mentioned that all estimates are just that, estimates, so they cannot be fully relied upon. He included a 64% discount.

I should mention that all three of the above estimators included shuttle costs in LA and NYC since both locations required it.

The last estimator was an agent from Moises named NorthStar Moving Corp. Let's just say I wasn't impressed by the 2 years of experience the estimator had. In fact, this estimator couldn't tell me if a shuttle would be required in NYC and was going to charge extra for the stairs (the other three said there would be no stairs or long-haul extras) since we are moving from a three floor walk-up here in LA to a 4-story walkup in NYC. And, of course, he "eye-balled" the number of boxes and didn't actually count them which was disconcerting. Needless to say, his "binding" estimate low-balled the others with $3,400 (However, I'm sure that Moise's wouldn't think twice about tacking on another $2,000 for "incidental" fees). Since they're on MovingScam's Black List, I'm not even going to consider them.

We checked the and did not find any complaints for the two agents from Mayflower and Atlas. However, we have not checked the other resources yet to see if they are insured, can legally move interstate, and have any complaints filed with the federal organizations. Apart from doing that, what else should we be doing? We might go to Gentle Giant to ostensibly pick up some free, used wardrobe boxes but covertly check to see if the business is legitimate. We're also going to try to find out who the agent on the NYC side is going to be and check them out (as much as we can).

Also, should we go with binding, binding-not-to-exceed, or non-binding? We're going to demand that we see the weight before and after the load and retain copies of those. However, we were told not to sign addendums on the day of the load or on the day of the unload.

Finally, we're going to ask the movers to come out and update their estimates since we'll have a change in the number of boxes we are planning to move.

If you can think of anything else or know about either the Atlas Van Lines or Mayflower agents, I would appreciate feedback. Also, if you know of better/more reliable/more honest movers out there that can move us from CA -> NYC for about $4k, please let us know.

Thanks and keep up the great work, guys!

John Lai
(f) 253-663-3367


Re: Reasonable quotes and suggestions for LA -> NYC move

Postby Guest » Sun May 11, 2003 11:40 am

I'll bet anything that you won't get any answers, but it's just an idea and it can't hurt to try.

Call the main offices of the van lines and ask about the complaint rate of each of the respective agents.

You will probably get no information whatsoever. But maybe at the very least you will get an idea of how the main office runs things. Let us know what you get.

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Re: Reasonable quotes and suggestions for LA -> NYC move

Postby Josh » Sun May 11, 2003 3:40 pm


I tried calling your number but it sounded like a fax machine. Here are my suggestions:

1. I would try to get a guaranteed not to exceed estimate. This way if they try to get more money, at least you will have to sign an addendum. With a non-binding estimate, the company will put the extras on the paperwork you sign and they really don't have to tell you it will cost more until delivery.

2. You are doing your homework, keep it up! I would bet that if you told the company you wanted to use that you needed a 66% discount, you would get it. I think your zip in CA is 90034 right?

3. If United Van Lines moved you and your shipment weighed 4000# with a shuttle at origin and a metro shuttle at destination with $.60/lb valuation and not including any packing, the price would be around $3733.00 (this is with a 66% discount) which shouldn't be hard to get approved from headquarters.

With you already knowing about the shuttles, I do not foresee any other charges you would be required to pay. It sounds like all the weights came in pretty close which is a good sign!

You should try to finalize something this week if you want to move at the end of this month.

Let me know if you have any questions!

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Re: Reasonable quotes and suggestions for LA -> NYC move

Postby Michael » Mon May 12, 2003 2:50 pm


My only thing I would suggest is you go with what ever the discounts are that each agent is suggesting. For example, United establishes discount levels for May through September based on weight and distance. Therefore in your case, going from LA to NY your max discount level is 65%.

Just make sure your gettting the agents highest available discount. I would advise/discourage you from asking for more, for the simple reason, the driver. Drivers hate the high discounts. Keep in mind this is a service, not a tv on sale, or some other product. You get what you pay for, so stick with the max discounts. You dont want a p-o'd driver cause the discount on your move is so high.

So ask for the highest discount they can give, yes, but dont go over board asking for something that may bring horrible service.

Good luck,

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

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Joined: Tue May 06, 2003 6:23 pm
Location: USA

Re: Reasonable quotes and suggestions for LA -> NYC move

Postby Josh » Tue May 13, 2003 8:35 am

Michael is somewhat right, but when United has over 75 drivers sitting in CA waiting for a return load, most drivers wouldn't complain about getting a shipment with a 66% discount.

But even a 65% discount is a very good price! Good luck with your move to NY!

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