Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

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Robert
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:50 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Robert » Wed Jun 04, 2003 6:28 pm

Hi,

I plan to move from San Francisco to Orlando, Florida at the end of June. A couple facts that make my story unique:

1) I have just one bedroom full of stuff to move - I share an apartment.

2) I won't arrive in Florida until about 1.5 months after I leave San Francisco.

I don't think I have enough stuff to make a big moving company worthwhile.

My local Bekins agent (Tri-Valley Bekins, seemed nice enough, http://www.trivalleybekins.com) referred me to a company called ShipSmart.

www.shipsmart.com

It seems they specialize in smaller moves and specialty items (they would take good care of my stereo and computer). They are insured and seem to have a minimal number of BBB complaints (link provided on their main page).

BUT, they are a "packing and shipping" company, not a moving company - they take your stuff, wrap it on a commercial shipping pallette, and send it with other commercial shipments.

It's hard for me to evaluate ShipSmart using the movingscam.com guidlines because they are not a moving company per se (e.g. no DOT or MC license#, no FMCSA feedback).

My estimate is as follows:

-200 lbs (5 small boxes) books
-250 lbs clothes (2 wardrobe boxes and 5 medium boxes)
-90 lbs miscellaneous (kitchen, desk)
-small stereo (they pack and insure)
-computer (they pack and insure)
-monitor (they pack and insure)
-queen-size mattress and box spring

ShipSmart will e-mail me an estimate and contract. They charge based on what your shipping pallette(s) actually weigh once bundled in their warehouse. Shipping rates go DOWN with more weight, so I don't think I'll get cheated with high rates for underestimating my goods (seems like a common moving complaint).

Their phone rep estimated $1125. I probably have less stuff so it may drop to about $900-1000.

SO - THE BIG QUESTIONS - Is this a good deal? What should I look for when I read through the contract - any pontential tricks, scams, etc. anyone can think of? Any other suggestions for my moving situation?

I'm basically just looking for feedback. I would appreciate any advice.

Thanks for this great website! I will donate once my move has been successfully completed. :wink:

Thanks!
-Robert

Nancy

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Nancy » Wed Jun 04, 2003 6:42 pm

Robert, I work at a North American Van Lines agent. The Bekins people were right in referring you to a company that specializes in small shipments. We do the same thing here, and I have heard good things about ShipSmart. It isn't the policy of this site to recommend specific companies, so I won't name names. However, you should know that there are several companies who offer this same service with their same method. You might as well shop around and get some competitive pricing.

Is ShipSmart storing for free for 1.5 months?

Also, since they are not a "moving" company, do they offer any valuation coverage on the goods?

Robert
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:50 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Robert » Thu Jun 05, 2003 1:09 pm

Ship Smart offers 3rd party insurance with each item assigned a value and insurance provided for loss or damage, at $20/$1000 value of goods with a $100 deductible (so it would cost me about $20 to insure everything).

Does this seem like a good deal? (I think it does.) And they included 6 weeks storage in their SF warehouse in the estimate (I think they are doing this for free, not sure, it's not called out as a line item, but there is a sentence on the estimate that says it's included).

Their website stresses quality packaging and customer service (as opposed to cheap prices - so I don't think they're out to scam). I think they are still my #1 choice. Should I trust them? I think so.

Nancy, can you e-mail me some of those other companies' names so I might request estimates from them?? :D

Thanks for the advice,
Robert

Nancy

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Nancy » Thu Jun 05, 2003 3:03 pm

Here are two to try:
Sterling Van Lines: www.sterlingvanlines.com
*They are located in Bell, CA. Not the same as the company in Florida who are on the blacklist.
Box Brothers: www.boxbros.com
Mini Moves: www.minimoves.com

Unfortunately it is tough to screen these companies, so definitely check them out. It does sound like an unbelievably good deal. That isn't always the best way to go though!

Guest

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Guest » Thu Jul 31, 2003 1:16 pm

I wonder if there is any updated information on Ship Smart from anyone out there. My story is similar to Robert's - I have a small move and was referred by a larger company. They do not send out estimators (usually a red flag, I know), but do give written estimates based on weight after you give them an inventory over the phone, and the final price is determined by an actually weighing. For my stuff (bed, armoir, coffee table, cd rack, and miscellaneous items) this seems entirely reasonable.

I was given an estimate of $1786.00 for 1678 lbs. This includes picking the stuff up, packing and "palletizing" it, shipping it to the destination, and dropping off the pallet. It does not include insurance costs (third party) or moving the items inside my destination apartment (which would cost extra).

Since they have no DOT & MC numbers, is there any way to check them out other than the BBB and website?

Josh
Posts: 903
Joined: Tue May 06, 2003 6:23 pm
Location: USA

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Josh » Thu Jul 31, 2003 4:36 pm

Guest,

Where are you moving to and from? I will run a quote based on a "major" pricing schedule. Your shipment might be cheaper to run with a "major" since you have almost our minimum anyway.

The thing is, if shipsmart quotes you on 1678#, but you have 1800#, how much more will it cost you?

Again, I do not want your business, but will spend the time helping you that most sales people don't with small shipments.

I have booked much smaller moves than yours, so it is worth investigating on your part.

Guest

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Guest » Tue Aug 05, 2003 4:22 pm

Hi Josh,

I am moving from San Francisco to Ann Arbor, MI.

Ship Smart bases their prices on weight, so the price for a bit more weight will be incrementally higher.

I was referred to them by a major company that said I likely did not meet their minimum.

Many thanks!

Josh
Posts: 903
Joined: Tue May 06, 2003 6:23 pm
Location: USA

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Josh » Tue Aug 05, 2003 7:14 pm

Guest,

You don't have to meet our minimum, you are just charged for that weight even if your shipment is less than that.

I handle a lot of 2100# minimums and it is the same price if the customer has 500# or 2100#, this way you don't have the extra charges if the weight is off by 100 or 200 lbs when you are quoted 1500#.

The price of a major for this weight will probably cost you around $1600 to ship 2100#. But if there is a shuttle at origin, it will add a couple hundred.

I wouldn't stop looking for a reputable copmany, just keep following Tim's advice and treat your move like any other move.

Hope this helps!

Josh

Guest

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Guest » Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:10 am

Hi, I am Robert who started this thread one year ago. I am moving again, and so this website and my previous experience came to mind.

I just wanted to say...ShipSmart turned out to be totally reliable, professional, and they did everything they said they would.

Since they contract with local packing and shipping companies, I can't speak for consistency from city to city. In the Bay Area (where I believe they're based) they were great. The people on the phone were professional and competent. We put together a detailed and mostly accurate estimate over the phone. The team who came to my apartment did a great job packing and moving my belongings to their truck, where they said they would be taken to the warehouse for proper packing.

Although they advertise themselves as expert packers...I was slightly underimpressed by their methods. My computer and monitor were simply wrapped in layers and layers of bubble wrap, not as elegant as the crates and boxes pictured on their website, but it seemed to do the trick...and nothing came damaged...so really there's no problem there.

I called ShipSmart from the road (I took a two week vacation to drive across the country to Florida) and we coordinated a drop-off date. Our planning worked out and my goods arrived a couple days after I did.

On the Orlando end, I think it was an ABF mover who delivered my belongings, all on a palette, for me to offload. The driver was friendly and made an effort to drop the palette close to the elevator. He even helped me get my bed upstairs, which I don't think he was supposed to do. Nice guy and I gave him a tip.

I will say that ShipSmart is somewhat expensive, but their estimate was accurate and fair, and their policy for adjusting for actual weight is transparent and brought no big surprises. I believe you are paying for their professionalism and that shined through at every step in the process.

I hope that helps someone plan their move, especially from the Bay Area, where I think ShipSmart has very reliable quality control because they're headquartered there. Of course, this was one year ago, my memories are all warm and fuzzy now...and this is obviously no guarantee about how they will perform today for you. Just wanted to share my experience.

-Robert

Robert
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2003 5:50 pm
Location: Los Angeles, CA

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Robert » Tue Jun 29, 2004 10:17 am

I reactivated my old account. Just wanted to validate the response posted above by "Guest", who was really me, just not logged in properly. Feel free to contact me through the site and it should forward to my e-mail account.

-Robert

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

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Diane » Tue Jun 29, 2004 3:13 pm

Robert, thank you so much for coming back to tell us what happened. This puts my mind much more at ease about ShipSmart. I don't think that Box Brothers has had a review nearly as good as yours, so it sounds like SS is a company for people to consider if they have a small amount of stuff.

User avatar
twalker
Site Admin
Posts: 3493
Joined: Mon Jan 06, 2003 11:46 am

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby twalker » Tue Jun 29, 2004 6:37 pm

Thanks for coming back and sharing your story Robert. I have to say that you're only the second "repeat mover" that I'm aware of that has come back here. It's actually a little weird... I never thought I'd need to be running this site for very long. :wink:

You know we're here to help you if you need it. Are you going to be using Ship Smart again during this move?

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com

sharonmoore
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:24 am

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby sharonmoore » Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:31 am

Robert,
Your follow-up response to your experience with Ship Smart is so timely as I have been trying to find out info about them! I live in the Bay Area and got a quote for move to MN. I am selling all of my furniture and will have mainly boxes and a few household items like a treadmill and a patio set. It sounded like a good deal but I couldn't find out much about them. I posted a query on the bulletin board on movingadvocateteam.com and someone sent me the thread with your answer! Do you have any other tips or ideas about working with them that you would do now that you have used them? Thanks so much!
Sharon

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

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Diane » Sun Jul 25, 2004 12:56 am

Sharon - I'm the one who "dragged" you over here. Robert may not see what you wrote unless you send him a private message that will be forwarded to his email account. You can do that by pressing the "pm" button under one of his posts and a box will come up in which you can paste your message and then send it. This should work since he has posted on the board very recently. Best of luck to you.

Michaela
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2004 9:08 am
Location: Brooklyn, NY

Re: Small Move - Should I use ShipSmart?

Postby Michaela » Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:04 am

First of all I wanted to thank everybody who's working on this dicussion board - you possibly saved me from a scam! I had already spoken to some movers but then after I read this website decided not to use them because they didn't seem too trustworthy as they showed all the signs that pointed to scammers.

My story:
5 Years NYC, moving back to Austria. Thank God my furniture is crappy IKEA stuff, so I'm not tempted to bring any with me. I still have about 1 or two pieces though and tons of boxes with books, clohing and household items that I want to take with me (including my guitar, computer and bike).

After reading some posts I am going to use Ship Smart. They gave me a quote based on cubic meters which seems a lot better than hiring a moving company (less than half the price of a move to Austria). My reasons for a shipping company:
I have few items that need special care (those will be packed by them) and can pack myself. I have a lot of friends here and over there who help me with the move, which is why I chose a terminal to port option which saves money as well.

As I will be moving soon, I am planning to report back my experiences with them, because I know there are many people who have small moves going overseas and might need some feedback..

Michaela


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