Chicago to Portland move booked by Prager

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aclight
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:58 pm

Chicago to Portland move booked by Prager

Postby aclight » Thu May 21, 2009 5:13 pm

Hi

I had three in-home estimates today for a full service (including packing) move from Chicago to Portland, OR in mid-July. We currently live in a 3BR apartment on the 3rd floor, with no elevator. All of the estimators were on time (or early, which was fine with me), very professional, and friendly. All three told me that the transit time would be 5-6 days plus up to a 1 week window, but that I would have the actual delivery date by or shortly before the shipment is picked up. The estimates are not too different, and other than price I don't feel that there is much to differentiate them.

Prager (NAVL), Steve B.
    * GNTE total: $5126 ($3918 transportation for 5500 pounds)
    * Price includes the agent obtaining a permit for street parking
    * Includes full valuation coverage with no deductible
    * If a destination shuttle is needed there is no additional fee

Graebel (Graebel), Heidrun B.
    * GNTE total: $5493 ($4080 transportation for 6058 pounds)
    * Price does not include the parking permit. I have to do that myself.
    * Includes full valuation coverage with no deductible
    * If a destination shuttle is needed there is an additional fee ($576)

Corrigan (United), Rob S.
    * GNTE total: $5916 ($4833 transportation for 6669 pounds)
    * Price includes the agent obtaining a permit for street parking
    * Includes full valuation coverage with $250 deductible. Having no deductible would add $146 to the cost.
    * If a destination shuttle is needed there is no additional fee


From what I can tell the quote from Prager and Corrigan are almost identical, except of course for the cost and number of pounds. But otherwise the services seem to be the same. Graebel makes me deal with getting the parking permits, and if I need a shuttle at the destination they are the most expensive. I don't know exactly where I am moving yet (and won't for a while) so I can't just have them investigate whether or not it is needed.

Prager and Corrigan both told me that they will most likely do the entire move and haul themselves. Graebel says they do everything themselves (as they aren't franchised). All three did all the things that are expected (eg. gave me the handboook as required by federal law, did not seem sleazy to me, and were very up front and straightforward).

I'm a little hesitant to go with the lowest bid since the weight estimate is more than 1000 pounds lower than the highest, and I wouldn't want problems with the driver refusing the shipment based on an inaccurate estimate. Given that they all came the same day, there were no items added or lost between estimates that might have explained things. I went through the cube sheets that each company gave me and tried to compare them to see where the difference in weight comes from, but that's not so easy, because each estimator broke each room up a little different. But for the most part the estimates with larger weight estimates were that way for all rooms, not just one or two.

According to the superlist these are all good carriers/agents, and I suspect that I would be fine with any of them. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks

Rick
Posts: 3269
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 7:59 pm

Re: *Chicago to Portland move

Postby Rick » Fri May 22, 2009 6:02 am

Removed
Last edited by Rick on Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

aclight
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:58 pm

Re: *Chicago to Portland move

Postby aclight » Fri May 22, 2009 6:35 am

Hm...that's a good question. This is my first interstate move, and first time to hire someone to do the move, so I don't yet have any bad or good experiences to base this on. I would say that because the price range of the quotes isn't that large, price is not a strong primary factor in my decision. I guess on-time pickup and delivery performance and general responsiveness with regards to customer service would be the two most important things. If there is any damage then the claim settlement process would also be important. The problem is that I don't see how I can really evaluate any of these things, other than by looking at the scattered reviews from previous customers.

Based on the need to get parking permits, all three seemed very confident that they would be able to load the goods on the scheduled date, and all were confident that they would know the delivery date by load time as well. But I don't know of a way to actually verify either of these claims.

Rick
Posts: 3269
Joined: Thu Aug 04, 2005 7:59 pm

Re: *Chicago to Portland move

Postby Rick » Fri May 22, 2009 7:28 am

Removed
Last edited by Rick on Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

aclight
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:58 pm

Re: *Chicago to Portland move

Postby aclight » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:35 am

For anyone who cares, I thought I'd provide an update on things.

As Rick suggested, I contacted two of the companies I got quotes from and asked for internal performance numbers regarding timeliness of pickup and delivery dates. Both of them said that, at least in my case, my pickup date is pretty much set in stone, since a parking permit from the city needs to be obtained for them to load into the truck. Basically, short of crazy weather or equipment failure the load date would be set. As for delivery date, neither of the companies gave me firm numbers, but I think both said they were better than all of their competitors.

I was leaning towards Prager to do the move since they were a little cheaper and would provide destination shuttles for no additional cost if necessary, but I first asked Steve B. if it would be possible to arrange for a delivery date that was *at least* 6 days from the load date, so that we would have time to make the drive at a reasonable pace and stop in Yellowstone National Park along the way. He spoke with his dispatcher and was able to arrange that, so we choose Prager. Our load date is July 15 and the delivery window is July 22 through July 31. This is a larger delivery window than Prager typically gives, but Steve told me that since they were guaranteeing me 6 days of transit instead of their usual 4-5, they had to add that time to the window. I'm not overjoyed by that, but I'm hopeful they will deliver earlier in the window than later.

The moving coordinator Holly contacted me shortly after I chose Prager, and confirmed the dates and went over the process with me on the phone. As it turns out, our new place is on top of a steep hill with rather limited access for large vehicles, so I suspect a shuttle will be required, so it's nice to know that I won't be charged extra for that.

I'll post here again once the move is complete. Thanks again for everyone's help so far.

aclight
Posts: 10
Joined: Sat Apr 25, 2009 7:58 pm

Re: *Chicago to Portland move

Postby aclight » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:13 am

Now that our move has been completed, I wanted to update this thread to reflect on what happened during the move and my final impressions. It's a bit long but I tried to be thorough.

Packing:
On July 13, Prager called to say that the packers would arrive on the 14th between 8 and 9 am. Lisa, Bob, and Jimmy, all Prager employees, arrived right on time (about 8:15) and had finished packing by about 11:45. They were very friendly and worked hard and did a great job. We had a few large pictures and a 32" LCD TV (which was specifically listed on the cube sheet) but the packers didn't have any large mirror cartons with them in their truck, so for these large things they had to make their own boxes out of what they had available. The packing they did of the TV was especially strange, but everything made it to our new place in good condition, so even though they were a bit improvised they did the job. The one minor problem was that, while bringing up the empty boxes, one of the packers broke a light bulb in the stairwell of the apartment building. This wasn't a big deal, and as I'll mention later they weren't the only ones that had problems with light bulbs in the stairwell.

Loading:
On the evening of July 14, Prager called to let me know that our driver, Jared, would be arriving on the 15th to load between 8 and 9 am. On the 15th Jared and his crew arrived at about 9:30. He said he was late because the route Prager had given them ended up being partially under construction, and since he was driving the semi truck and not a shuttle it was pretty difficult for them to maneuver through the detour streets and under the many viaducts and elevated train lines in my neighborhood. This explanation seems perfectly reasonable and it wasn't a problem for us that they were a little late. Once they arrived, they ran into another problem. The street we live on has metered parking, and though Prager had requested a parking permit from the city (which the driver had), the city had not come out and placed "No Parking" signs on the meters, so there were cars parked along the street in front of our apartment. The truck had to double park while the driver communicated with Prager about what to do. After about an hour of calls, etc. I guess the people that were parked where the semi wanted to park came to their cars and moved them so they weren't in the way, so by about 10:30 the semi was finally parked along the curb and they could start loading. As far as I can tell the city really dropped the ball on this one, and I'm not sure there was much else that could have been done, but thankfully the cars parked in the way weren't there for too long.

The driver Jared and his brother Kyle (one of the loaders) were both from University Moving and Storage (an NAVL agent) based in Indianapolis, IN. We had been told that Prager would be doing the move, and so was surprised to learn that they were not (more about this later). Another loader, JP, was from Prager. It took until about 2:30 for them to load the truck. It was clear to me that JP really knew what he was doing, and he was also a very hard worker. He was big and very strong and could load an unbelievable amount of weight on his back and carry it down 3 flights of stairs on his own. I believe he was the one that did pretty much all of the wrapping of our furniture, and he used many layers of plastic wrap so that it didn't get damaged and stayed clean. He was also a really nice guy and a pleasure to talk to. Jared and Kyle also were hard workers and did a good job, but since they were both pretty young I don't think either of them had a lot of experience in the moving industry. The loading went pretty smoothly after they got the issues with the parking worked out. While carrying one of my couches downstairs, they broke a glass cover to a different light bulb in the stairwell. These lights are placed on the wall right at the corners, and the stairwell is quite steep, so I'm not really surprised that both the packers and loaders took these lights out. Given the fact that most of the lights don't have covers on them any more, I don't think this is the first time that this has happened. In any case it wasn't a problem and light bulbs are easy to replace. Also, I was a little surprised that, even though my apartment had hardwood floors throughout, they didn't use any kind of floor or wall protection. But as far as I can tell there wasn't any damage to the floors or walls so I guess it didn't matter.

Our load was the last load to go on the truck, and as it turns out the truck was almost completely full after our stuff had been loaded. The day before the movers came, but after the estimators had come, we decided to donate 2 large desks, 2 dining room tables with 4 chairs each, a wooden rolling kitchen cart, a wooden chair, a glass patio table, and a few other smaller pieces. Our final weight ended up being about 550 pounds lower than estimated, but I'm pretty sure that there is no way that all of these pieces of furniture would have fit on the truck if we hadn't donated them, so I guess it's good that we did. The estimate from NAVL was as much as 1100 pounds lighter than other estimates we got, and given the amount of additional stuff we threw out and donated after the estimator came, I suspect it was low. But ultimately it didn't really matter since all the stuff we had did fit and since we came in under the estimated weight we will be getting a partial refund.

Transit:
My wife and I drove our car from Chicago to Portland, and when we booked the move our delivery date window was given as July 22 to July 31. On the day of the load the driver told us to expect delivery on July 22, which was the date they actually delivered the goods. The day after loading I called Prager and asked to get the final weight of the shipment. The coordinator called me back and said that someone else would call me to give me the weight. That never happened, and I still don't know what the official weight or final cost is, even though our stuff was delivered almost a week ago. I also tried tracking the shipment on the NAVL web site in the middle of the transit time. The web site itself gave no useful information. It suggested I call NAVL and I left a message asking for tracking information. A NAVL representative called me back and gave me a scare by saying that delivery would be July 21 (the day before it was scheduled). When I told her that I wouldn't be able to make it to Portland by then since that was a day before we were told to suspect delivery, she called Prager and/or the driver and later called me back to confirm that delivery would be July 22, as expected.

Delivery:
The day before delivery Jared called me and said he would probably arrive between 9 and 10am, but because he had to rent a U-Haul truck to use as the shuttle it might be a little later. He called around 9:45 and said he was leaving the local agent, and he got here at about 10:30. The two people who were supposed to assist him with unloading didn't show up for work that day, but thankfully another employee of the local agent (Jason) was able to assist him. So it was just the two of them unloading down 3 flights of stairs and along a somewhat long path to our condo, but it still only took about 4 hours. This time Jared had floor runners to put on the hardwood floors and carpet to protect everything, and as far as I can tell they didn't damage anything while unloading. They were very happy to take certain things downstairs to the rooms down there and did a good job of not stacking heavy boxes on top of another when unloading so that we could more easily see what was in the boxes and get to them to unpack stuff.

Summary:
Ultimately, I think the move was very successful. I'm disappointed that Prager didn't do the move themselves, since the sales person told me that they would. But I do see that University Moving and Storage gets pretty good reviews here, so at least they chose a good company. I'm also disappointed with the customer service I've gotten since the move started. The moving coordinator at Prager usually calls me back the same day, but it took over 2 weeks from the load date and several calls for me to get the final weight and cost. On the other hand all of the other Prager employees (packers, the one loader from Prager, and the salesman) were all very friendly and seemed very knowledgeable and did a great job.

Knowing what I know now I'm not sure if I would choose Prager again for the simple reason that they told me they would be doing the move themselves and ultimately did not. Both of the other companies I got quotes from (Corrigan and Graebel), which were admittedly more expensive, also stated that they would do the move themselves. On the other hand the move turned out well in the end and the price was reasonable, so that's a strong reason to go with them again.

One last thing: when they packers left, they left all the paperwork for the driver the next day. One of the pieces of paper was a print out of information regarding the move. In the special info section was this note: "This customer is posting a report to Movingscam.com of his move process. Please be aware that this website is used by many people in Chicagoland to choose a mover@!". After I had started this thread, the Prager salesperson mentioned that he had seen this posting, so I knew already that Prager knew I was posting on this site. The fact that they note this in their internal records suggests that this site is having some effect on moving companies, which I think is great. The downside is that even with this knowledge the customer service lacked in a few key places, though again the move went quite well.

MusicMom
Posts: 19323
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 11:51 am
Location: DC Metro

Re: *Chicago to Portland move

Postby MusicMom » Wed Aug 05, 2009 9:37 am

Thank you for coming back to review! (I see that Prager and Corrigan told you that they would "most likely" haul the shipment themselves . . . they didn't actually promise they would.)

(I love the personal comment on your paperwork)


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