Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

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Jonesey
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 1:01 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Jonesey » Mon Sep 13, 2004 9:33 am

I received estimates for my DC-SF move from local agents of North American, Stevens, United and Atlas. I have narrowed my choice to United (Hilldrup Moving and Storage) and Atlas (Ace Relocation). I would appreciate anyone's input on these specific movers if you've had experience with them, and on their estimates to aid in my decision-making process.

The estimates are for a 1-bedroom apartment and a pickup from our mini storage. They will need a shuttle at origin but not at the destination. We are having them do a full pack as we will not have time to pack, and prefer for all the liability to be the mover's.

ESTIMATE 1:
Hilldrup Moving and Storage (Stafford, VA)
Local Agent for United Van Lines
http://www.hilldrup.com
DOT: #077949
MC: #67234
Estimated lbs: 5,500
Cost for full pack: $961.69
Total estimate: $6,316.41 (binding not to exceed)
Valuation: $30,000

Estimate 2:
Ace Relocation (Jessup, MD
Local Agent for Atlas Van Lines
http://www.acerelocation.com
DOT: #125550
Estimated lbs: 4,900
Cost for full pack: $402.00
Total estimate: $4761.27, binding not to exceed estimate is $5237.40
Valuation: $25,000

There is quite a difference in price. My preferred mover is United, as their in-home estimator seemed the most professional, but I don't know if that's a compelling reason to choose them and pay over a thousand dollars more.

Again, I appreciate any input and insight the community can provide. Thanks!

weem

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby weem » Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:47 pm

Looks to me like your'e being low-balled by Atlas---If United gave you a not to exceed and if you final weight approach the Atlas estimated numbers your final cost would be about 1k less. Look out if there is more than a 10% variance in estimated weight! And MORE THAN DOUBLE packing---WOW!

Guest

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Guest » Mon Sep 13, 2004 1:52 pm

Weem,

Thanks for your reply. However, I guess I'm not clear what you're recommending here. I can't be low-balled by Atlas if I have a not to exceed from them, right?

Thanks.

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Michael » Mon Sep 13, 2004 2:12 pm

Guest,

First off no matter what the weight, both companies charge based on the exact same tariff.

My recommendation would be to ask Ace to quote you for 5500 pounds. And see what they come up with.

From there you want to see what type of discount your getting from both companies. I would venture to guess somewhere in the 60-65% range.

Weems suggestion of you being lowballed are a little strong. The two quotes are within 11% of one another. Yet Atlas is the lower of the two weight wise. Did you not get a copy of your inventories from either mover? If you did, where is the weight difference? The first place to check is in boxes, how many did each estimate to pack and types. Then I would look to the furniture count.

What I dont understand is why you got a cost then a not to exceed from ACE? Did they give you a guarantee not to exceed 110%?? It looks like they did. So my first question to them would be why? Does the sales person not have enough faith in his surveying abilities, that he/she has to up it 110%??

I would tell them to give you a guaranteed price (Assured Price Protection) at the 4900 pounds if they wont do that, then ask why. But let me tell you, if they were both apple to apple weight wise, a full pack would be a wash, valuation would be a wash, the only difference then comes to discount.

Best of luck,

By the way, we will not tell you who to use, but will try to help you make a better educational decision.
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

23
Posts: 1102
Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 2:47 pm

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby 23 » Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:13 pm

The reason for the difference in packing looks to be that one is charging by weight and one is charging per container.

A full pack doesn't have to be charged by weight, but I feel is the safer way to go!

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Michael » Mon Sep 13, 2004 3:20 pm

I agree with 23 in regards to the packing, except that in some cases with small shipments, there isnt alot to pack, thus a full pack based on weight can be more costly then itemizing your pack.

I would definitely want to see what each estimated the back counts to be, types of boxes, etc.

Best of luck,
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

weem

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby weem » Mon Sep 13, 2004 9:24 pm

"GUARANTEED NOT TO EXCEED"----wow how can the consumer lose out? The majority of drivers are paid a percentage of the moving bill and, out of the drivers share he pays all the fuel, toll and labor to load and unload--therefore the more weight he carries, the higher profit he has for that trip. Meanwhile the salesperson is usually on commission as well, but no sale===no commission.
On moving day, when the driver arrives he scopes the move before loading and if the survey list is fairly close he accepts the shipment and loads it...The customer finally has a valid not to exceed contract at the point that the driver agrees to load . From that point on the customer will not pay more but could pay less if the weight and/or packing is under.
The trick that estimators usually use is to really list the major furniture to be moved but underestimate the size and number of boxes (average box weight is about 35 pounds ). IF YOU CHECK BOTH YOUR "CUBE SHEETS" I am fairly confident that your Atlas estimate shows about 15 to 20 lesscartons-the driver won 't usually move these extra boxes for free. To do so would limit more payable weight that he could load in that space.

Michael
Posts: 3255
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2003 7:55 pm
Location: Charlotte, NC

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Michael » Tue Sep 14, 2004 10:29 am

Weem and Guest,

Weem is 100% right on how the driver works his walk through and whether or not he accepts your shipment as is or not. And dont let some salesman tell you their drivers never protest, HOGWASHHHHHHHHH. But if he does accept your shipment, you still can be charged more for services unforseen (shuttle, storage @ destination) or requested by you, the shipper.

A destination price list should be filled out at time of survey or prior to load to make you aware of these services and cost.

Best of luck,
Michael
************************************

Forget yourself for others and the others will never forget

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

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Diane » Tue Sep 14, 2004 11:42 am

Jonesy,

I recall that Hilldrup has at least one very good report on this website and I believe that it has an excellent reputation in the industry. Ace has been discussed in favorable terms as well (that particular Ace, at least; the one in Huntington Beach, CA, had bad comments).

You might want to consider another aspect of the situation: service. Atlas is smaller than United and will have fewer trucks rolling that could swing in and get your shipment. For a relatively small shipment like yours in the busy season, you might be looking at storage in transit and delays. Storage always raises the possibility of damage--we had a recent example in the case of "PacerFan577" who used an Atlas agent on the East Coast.

It seems to me that since you have a GNTE from both companies, you could go with either and be fairly safe financially (only that you would pay much more for the full pack with Hilldrup--I'm not sure, from this discussion, if the packing cost would go down if your weight is less than the estimate), so in my mind it boils down to service issues.

Jonesey
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 1:01 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Jonesey » Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:07 pm

Yikes! I only got one notification for responses to my postings so never knew there was more than one!

I ended up choosing Ace because their packing price was lower, and figured since their guaranteed not to exceed was lower, we'd be better off. Now I'm worried though, because I didn't get answers to the questions you posed here. I liked United best in the estimate process, but couldn't come up with a valid reason to pay over $1000 more for them.

Help! Did I make the wrong decision? Should I go back to United?

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

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Diane » Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:17 pm

Others will probably jump in here, but I think you are OK. It turns out that I overstated the size difference--Atlas is actually right up there with United in terms of number of agents (thanks, Michael!). Also, we're now past the REALLY busy season so storage in transit is much less likely.

Would the Ace sales rep be willing to be present on loading day to resolve any possible protest by the driver (which I think is fairly unlikely anyway)? Some reps from other van lines have done that. You might ask.

Jonesey
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 1:01 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Jonesey » Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:24 pm

Hi Diane,

Thanks for the reassurance--I feel better. :) I don't think the agent could be there, as she's based in California and we're in DC. She is the agent for all of my husband's company's moves. We're not getting the corporate rate (turns out the regular rate was a lower discount!) but she's still handling our move. I feel better knowing that she probably wouldn't want anything to happen to tarnish the relationship with my husband's large company.

Is there anything else I should ask or look out for at this point??? I'm trying to determine if we should purchase the full value protection--and how much to state our value at. On the estimate it was $25,000 value for $243. Any advice?

Everyone on these boards is so helpful--thank you!

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

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Diane » Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:35 pm

Oh, good, in the situation you describe I think you are very safe!

Regarding the valuation protection, 23 has posted that if you have AAA you can get it free with Atlas.

Jonesey
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 1:01 pm
Location: Washington, DC

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Jonesey » Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:38 pm

Thanks, Diane. That's very reassuring!

We do have AAA so I will definitely look into that coverage! Thanks!

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

Re: Please help me choose between 2 movers for my DC-SF move

Postby Diane » Mon Sep 27, 2004 1:55 pm

Good . . . and don't get scared by what was just posted by rajeev. Your agent is your agent and I think it will go well.


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