Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

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Transit

Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

Postby Transit » Fri Nov 12, 2004 5:20 pm

I'm planning a local (Brooklyn to Brooklyn) move in the coming month. In addition I have a 10x10x10 storage room (with piano) in NJ to move to the destination. I have a some options:

Rather than try to get it all in in one day I'm considering moving the items from storage as a test run for a mover. If it works out I'll use the same mover for the larger move (crowded 2 bedroom).

Some questions:
How much information (re: 2 moves) should I give the movers up front.
Do I have bargaining room due to the multiple moves?
Should I try to do it all in one day?

I'm looking at Flat Rate (DOT:488466) and All Star (515137). I was considering Flatbush(17632), which has been recommended here in various places but I note that their Safety Rating is unsatisfactory, they do not have Auth for Hire and their Common Authority Status is Inactive.

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

Re: Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

Postby Diane » Tue Nov 16, 2004 12:45 am

Transit wrote:Some questions:
How much information (re: 2 moves) should I give the movers up front.
Do I have bargaining room due to the multiple moves?
Should I try to do it all in one day?

Although I'm far from an expert, I'll share a few of my thoughts on the chance that they could be helpful to you.

I guess I would tend to try to decide which company is most trustworthy based on various factors such as those outlined below. Then I would level with the owner of the company and tell him up front that I have two moves and ask for a break on the price. I would let the owner advise me about whether it can all be done in one day (I don't think it can). Try to deal with the owner of the company if possible. [Just a head's up: All Star Moving is registered for this website so someone at the company may be reading this.]

NYC has to be one of the toughest places to be in the moving business. However, from what I've seen so far, the owners of the best companies try to be ethical even when faced with paper-thin profit margins, less than ideal workers, access problems in congested areas, lowballing competitors, and so on.

All I know about FlatRate (www.flatrate.com) is what I've read on this board--that it quotes by cubic feet for long-distance moves. I don't know how it quotes for local moves, but quoting by cubic feet for anything is a big no-no in my mind and tends to cast doubt on the company as a whole. FlatRate has no reviews on this board, but it does check out OK on www.safersys.org in terms of licensing and safety violations. One mover (an ex-scammer) cautioned me that any time you have a flat rate rather than people charging by the hour, the driver and helpers tend to rush through things and this can increase the risk of damage. The president of the company is Sharone Ben-Harosh.

I've talked to the president of All Star (Rich Barrale) at length on the phone and I described the conversation on this thread - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=22601. The company checks out OK on www.safersys.org. It has good reviews on this board. Without actually meeting Rich and seeing his office and warehouse, it's hard to be sure, but so far I feel pretty confident that he is a good person and that All Star is a good company. Rich used to work for Big John's in Manhattan. He has only 9 trucks--FlatRate is much larger. His assistant (Chris) is developing a company website at www.allstarnewyork.com.

I've also talked to the president of Flatbush Moving (John Liantonio) at length both on the phone and in person. I sat in his office for two hours last week and saw his warehouse and his lot and some of what goes on there. Flatbush, a Wheaton agent, also has good reviews on this board. John impressed me as a serious person who cares about the reputation of his company, which was started by his grandfather in the 1920s. This is a very small company--only 6 trucks. Its website is at www.flatbushmoving.com.

You are correct that Flatbush is currently unlicensed to do interstate moves under its own authority--it does have the required insurance but it needs to reactivate its interstate license with the FMCSA after reportedly letting it lapse inadvertently. John is technically breaking the law every time he moves someone interstate without a current license. However, I feel cautiously optimistic about Flatbush even though its lack of attention to licensing worries me. I'm hoping that John will take care of that problem soon.

So--bottom line--I feel most confident about All Star and I think Rich would give you good advice without your having to play games with him. Please keep us posted on what you decide and how it goes.

Transit
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:50 am
Location: New York

Re: Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

Postby Transit » Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:55 am

Thank you for your considered reply.

We got in-house quotes from Allstar and Flatbush. Also an outragously high phone quote from FlatRate. Both estimators seemed very professional and made similar recommendations. IE. To perform the move from storage the day before and bring the truck around on the second day. Both suggested the possible need for a second truck. Allstar offered a not-to-exceed price which was quite high.

We've decided to go with Flatbush despite the confusion over their insurance report. John came to our house to do the estimate and was very accommodating.

He gave a flat rate for the storage space portion of the move and an hourly rate for the apt to house portion which will be done the following day.

He offered a second truck in the event that we need it. Even in the event that the hourly job goes 10% over the estimate the cost will still be below that quoted by All Star.

I'll post again after the move.

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

Re: Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

Postby Diane » Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:13 pm

Good - I think it's worth giving Flatbush a chance despite the licensing irregularity. I observed that John was VERY conscientious about being available to answer the phone and frankly I'm surprised that he left the office long enough to give you an in-home estimate.

On FlatRate, I noticed that "carrieh04" just posted that she went with them (in her case it was the branch in MD) because she wanted to know exactly what she would pay. However, she later felt that she might have paid too much - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2839. She said that they also tacked on an unexplained $115 extra charge.

Transit
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:50 am
Location: New York

Re: Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

Postby Transit » Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:55 pm

Diane wrote: I'm surprised that he left the office long enough to give you an in-home estimate.

He was initially going to send someone else but I asked that he come by after my work hours. He said, "Then it'll be me." I liked that.

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

Re: Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

Postby Diane » Wed Dec 08, 2004 3:03 pm

Yep . . . he seems like a good guy, plus the company has a long history and the reviews to date are good. He and his brother Dominic have an album of old photos of their grandfather's business with testimonials. John told me how after his grandfather came from Italy he started out selling ice in the 1920s but one day he was offered $25 to move something and he went home and told his wife, "I think I'll change businesses . . . there's a lot better money in moving than in selling ice!"

I'm doing a review article on NYC area movers so please do post about your experience when it's over. Also, I would be interested to know how the All Star quote and the FlatRate quote compare with the final price that you pay Flatbush.
Last edited by Diane on Tue Dec 21, 2004 12:43 am, edited 1 time in total.

Transit
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:50 am
Location: New York

Re: Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

Postby Transit » Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:08 am

Yesterday morning we decided to get a jump on the process. I took the day off and we moved about 10% of our stuff into the new place in our MPV. We've got all the ready-to-hand stuff in and some of the more fragile/awkward items (bikes, mirrors, futon, combustibles etc.) We slept there last night.

As the quote is hourly we (hopefully) saved ourselves some money but more importantly, we are now feeling much more confidant about the move. We are pretty sure we'll be able to find all the important stuff as it's out already.

I'll post again when we're done. This site has been very helpful and I'm pleased to give something back.

John suggested color coding the boxes. Seems like a good idea, wish we'd thought of it before we piled them 8 high against the living room wall.

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

Re: Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

Postby Diane » Fri Dec 10, 2004 11:50 am

Good so far. I do want to caution you that someone who moved with Flatbush has just told me that he had some damage during his move. I suggest that when you give the initial $20 to the movers, tell them that you don't want them to try to lift things that are too heavy for them or work so fast that they damage the premises or your things. Better to prevent problems than to have to deal with claims later.

When I moved with ABF, the only significant damage that occurred wasn't on the truck but when the local movers I hired were carrying things from the street to our apartment at destination. I think that they dropped our entertainment center when I wasn't looking. If you can have people observing the movers I think it would be good.

Transit
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 10:50 am
Location: New York

Successful Brooklyn move with Flatbush

Postby Transit » Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:15 pm

A good move with Flatbush!

Final Write Up. This post is a continuation of the thread
Re: Multiple Move Strategy Recommendations please.

A hearty thank you to the people who made suggestions in response to our queries. I'm grateful to Movingscam and Diane in particular for sound advice and rapid response.

We completed a two day move with Flatbush Movers in Brooklyn, NY on Monday and Tuesday 15/13-14/2004.

I want to say up front that I was VERY satisfied with the price as well as the energy, professionalism and attitude of the movers from the owner John to the driver Pete, to the movers Pete Jr, Frankie and Mike (and Carlos on the first day).

If some of the rest of this report seems negative it is only because good things are not terribly interesting.

The move was somewhat exceptional in that we were moving only 20 minutes away and we had access to the destination for 15 days prior to the move.

John, the owner of Flatbush had visited our home and given a flat rate of $450 for the first day, a move (with Piano) from a 10'/10'/10' storage compartment in NJ onto a truck. He estimated the second day move around 8-9 hours plus 45 minute travel time. He thew in wardrobe boxes and said he would send a second truck just in case we would need it. More on the second truck later.

We moved out of a two-bedroom apt. on the second floor of a private house with a nasty turning stairwell. We moved into a two-story three-bedroom house with a friendly turning stairwell (albeit recently and only temporarily :( painted).

My wife, daughter and I moved ourselves and the ready-to-hand (pack-and-play crib, futon, some tools, extension cords, food etc) items last Thursday. We probably made 15 trips back and forth with boxes, valuables and small furniture.

On the first day the (three) movers were on time and I was stuck in traffic. They waited more than an hour for me. Without being asked, I gave them $40 extra for the wait (as it was a flat rate) and also gave them $20 each up-front for the day's tip promising more at the end of the second day. They were surprised to learn that there was a piano but then relieved that it was an upright/spinet. I was surprised that they were surprised as I had discussed the piano at some length with John. The truck load went smoothly.

They were 15 minutes early on the second day and I was ten minutes away when they got there. No $$$ this time as I was on schedule. There were four guys; the driver Pete, Freddie from the first day and two new guys, Pete and Mike. Pete was the drivers son. All were good workers. They started right up and kept going until the truck was loaded. 8:30AM to 11:00AM.

It was a good thing we made the preliminary trips as only one moving truck was sent and it was very tightly packed. They accidentally left behind a table in the bathroom and there wasn't enough room for everything in the garage, mainly a large flower pot. I put these things into my van and we drove to the new place.

I showed them my white board schema for the layout and Mike actually used it. I bought them a pizza lunch and they ate it on the clock. I didn't mind as they didn't dawdle and things were moving faster than we had expected.

There was one dropped box (antique china). It was clearly marked as fragile and was being lifted in a fairly unsafe way. We lost about ten dishes total. They were hand-me-downs and we had never used them. We were disappointed but neither of us was heartbroken over the loss. We had accepted the default insurance of 30 cents per lb. It wasn't worth writing up.

The second day job was done by 2:30PM. Six hours total, three hours less then the high end of the estimate. I tipped each guy $50, $60 for the driver. They seemed quite pleased. Total for the move with tip was about $1600.

Diane, thanks for the recommendation. I should have reminded myself about the breakage note in your last post. C'est la vie.
Last edited by Transit on Wed Dec 15, 2004 2:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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

Re: Multiple Move Strategy Recomendations please.

Postby Diane » Wed Dec 15, 2004 1:35 pm

Thanks so much for the detailed report. I was especially glad to read that the driver and crew were good since I didn't have a chance to meet any of those people when I visited the Flatbush office--I just saw one guy named Robbie who happened to be working in the warehouse.

Your intelligent planning, flexibility, and positive attitude are all VERY admirable and probably went a long way to making your experience a good one. A lot of people would have freaked out about the dropped box.

Just a FYI--another mover in NYC told me that they have to pay crews for a minimum of 8 hours regardless of how long the crews actually work and this can be a problem for moving companies.

One thing that I like about both Flatbush and All Star is that both said that they stop taking business when they're too busy, whereas some of the dubious companies in the city will keep booking moves and then either not show up or rush through the move so much that damage occurs. As John's brother Dominic told me, "If you don't have an embargo during the busy times, you kill the men and kill the furniture."

Thanks again for taking the time to post.


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