A mostly positive experience with Flat Rate

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brianmcgann

A mostly positive experience with Flat Rate

Postby brianmcgann » Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:23 am

My wife and I hired Flat Rate to move us from Queens, NY to Mercer County, NJ (approximately 70 miles). Overall, they did a good job but there were a few things which were not so good.

1. Showed up 30 minutes late, not a big deal as dispatcher called at 8:15 to say they were on the way.
2. Work order said we had 35 boxes but we told the representative from Flat Rate when he came to our apartment to give us a quote that we probably had twice that many boxes. We were right, we had 68 total. The head mover wasn't happy but we told him that we made it clear to the representative that we had way more than 35. Obviously it wasn't changed and the guy wasn't happy but he assured us the price wouldn't change.
3. Guys weren't very friendly or chatty but that's fine. They worked hard and moved quickly.
4. They did not take the directions we gave them and got somewhat lost on the trip down. We couldn't really help them since we were new to the area. They eventually found our new apartment but they probably would have arrived much sooner if they took the directions.
5. Flat Rate had assured us that they would box all our electronic equipment and artwork, which was really the primary reason we chose them. However, none of our electronics or artwork were boxed. Some was wrapped, but much of it wasn't (one mover was carrying my computer monitor with one hand while chatting on his cell phone). Nothing was damaged but it was certainly not what we had in mind.
6. We gave the guys water after they finished. A few hours later, we saw that they had left the empty water bottles in the parking lot of our new apartment complex. Not only that, one of the guys had peed in one of the bottles and left it there.

Overall, despite all of this I was happy with the service we received from them. It was a fairly big move but even with roughly 2 hours of travel time they got it all done in about 8 hours. They were certainly rough around the edges in some respects but I would recommend them.

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

Re: A mostly positive experience with Flat Rate

Postby Diane » Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:35 am

Hi, Brian - thanks for a very balanced review. The thing about not packing your electronics and artwork reminded me that Flat Rate recently told someone moving from NJ to Pittsburgh that the price included all packing and unpacking, which is rather unusual - http://www.movingscam.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5604 At least they didn't charge you for excess, unnecessary packing materials.

When you described how the guys were "rough around the edges" and got lost I was just wondering whether they appeared to be recent immigrants. Also, what did you pay for the move and how did the price compare to your other estimates? Did Flat Rate charge by the hour?
Diane
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Guest

Re: A mostly positive experience with Flat Rate

Postby Guest » Mon Aug 15, 2005 11:46 am

They never mentioned anything about unpacking but we never assumed that was included. Despite not packing up our electronics/artwork, they did wind up packing some of our clothes because we left them in a dresser with the assumption that this was ok to be moved like that. The movers were all Hispanic and with the exception of the head guy, most of the others didn't speak English.

We paid about $1350. The original quote was roughly $1800, but we told them we were going with Moishes because they had quoted about $1300. Flat Rate then lowered their rate to $1350 and mentioned the packing feature so we picked them. I honestly don't remember if it was by the hour or based on the amount of stuff we had--my wife handled that part.

I really don't regret using them and I would recommend them, but just be prepared because it probably won't be a perfect experience. The bottom line is they got all our stuff down to NJ by 5:00 and with very minimal damage and that is exactly what I was looking for.

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

Re: A mostly positive experience with Flat Rate

Postby Diane » Mon Aug 15, 2005 12:24 pm

Thanks for the additional info. If you see this, I would also like to know how many guys came and how much stuff you had besides the 68 boxes and the electronics and artwork. What size apartment were you in, in other words? I am interested because it will help me understand how Flat Rate's price compares to what other moving companies in the area would have charged. I think it's pretty amazing that they were able to reduce their price from $1800 to $1350 like that. That would be $169/hour, which I guess was probably for 4 guys (?). Did you give them a tip, and if so, how much? - Don't worry, we will be cautious in what we say about them and will refer people to your review.

Guest

Re: A mostly positive experience with Flat Rate

Postby Guest » Mon Aug 15, 2005 1:24 pm

Apartment was roughly 900 square feet. We had a very large couch, very large television, 3 chairs, 3 dressers, 2 desks (one quite large), small-ish kitchen cabinet, exercise bike, kitchen table with 6 chairs...I think that's pretty much it (it's all a bit of a blur at the moment).

There were 4 guys, and I tipped them about 20% (which I think is probably high but being that it was nearly 100 degrees I felt like they deserved it). I was also trying to figure out how they make enough $ to make it worthwhile for them--I'd assume the company keeps at least half of the fee, which only leaves about $650 to go around for 4 guys. I suppose that comes out to about $15/hour and it's probably off the books but it still seems like a tough way to make a buck.

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

Re: A mostly positive experience with Flat Rate

Postby Diane » Mon Aug 15, 2005 1:36 pm

Actually what we've heard from several sources is that Flat Rate pays the driver/foreman 10% of the cost of the move ($135 in your case) and the helpers get 8% or even as little as 6%. You're probably correct that they're paid off the books, but it's still extremely low. That's why I asked whether they seemed to be recent immigrants.

It was nice of you to tip them 20%, even though it was on the high side. I've been told that the norm for the NY metro area is 20%, although for a move from NYC to (for example) VA or FL the norm would be more like 15%. This is much higher than in most parts of the U.S. but apparently it's the norm in NYC. Because the cost of living is so high, most low-level employees of moving companies live in the outer boroughs or in NJ, and I'm sure that many live in "group housing" situations. What I've been told is that the tips are essential for the low-level moving people to make ends meet.


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