philadelphia to seattle - our experiences

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Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:34 am

philadelphia to seattle - our experiences

Postby PHL->SEA » Sat Sep 03, 2005 6:02 pm

Hi Everyone!
I want to thank this board for all the info it has provided us - it certainly helped make us more informed during this entire process. I am reporting on our recent move from the Philadelphia area (South Jersey) to the Seattle area (Tacoma, WA).

We were looking to move from our 2 bedroom apartment in NJ to a 2 bedroom apartment in Tacoma in late August 2005. We had some flexibility in our move-out and move-in dates, but definitely needed our stuff to arrive by August 26, 2005. We packed our own boxes. We also had two automobiles to ship.

Our experiences:
In late June, we began requesting in-home estimates from three major van lines. Based on info from this board, we considered Sinclair (Mayflower), Simonik (Allied), and Wayne (NAVL). Wayne told us they were already booked for the summer and wouldn’t be able to move us. We were able to schedule in-home appointments with Sinclair and Simonik within a week of calling each. Both agents were very professional and each estimated our things to be just over 4000 lbs. We specifically requested not-to-exceed quotes from each agent. Both estimates hovered around $4000, however, Sinclair provided a true 400N not-to-exceed quote while Simonik’s quote was a binding estimate with a clause stating if the actual weight was under the estimate, we would be refunded based on per unit weight. Both movers required that a refundable deposit ($100-200) be made to schedule our move. From our readings, this deposit seems pretty common for at least the Philadelphia area. Also, if making payment by credit card, the card is charged for the full amount a few days before the actual move date. Again, this appears to be standard practice. We ended up going with Sinclair for our move. While both companies have good reports on this board, we found more first-hand reports for Sinclair. That and the fact that Simonik didn’t give us a true NTE estimate is what ultimately swayed us.

We gave a 10-day range of when we could move-out. Sinclair notified us about 5 days before the actual move-out date. Our driver ended up being from United Van Lines. He called us the day before the move date to touch base and let us know what time he would be arriving. He was experienced and very friendly. The day of the move, he was able to give us an actual delivery date. Move out took about 4 hours. We were able to track our shipment on the Mayflower website, which was a neat feature. The info was up-to-date, and gave us extra peace of mind.

On the Tacoma side, we received a call from our driver the day before delivery letting us know when to expect him. He arrived on time with his crew. Unfortunately, the driver was not able to navigate his rig into our apartment complex and had to transfer our things to a smaller truck to get the things to us. Once actual moving took place, move-in took about 4 hours. Again, the driver and his crew were very professional, polite, and experienced. Our things arrived on August 26th.

Since we ended up needing shuttle service to get our things moved in, we had to pay extra for that. This was already outlined in our contract as a flat fee, so the extra cost wasn’t a surprise. Our weights did come in under the estimate, so we ended up still having a credit on our balance (we are still waiting for the credit; hopefully no snags for that). All in all, we had an extremely good experience with this move. We definitely credit our driver as to making this a pleasant move.

Vehicle shipping:
For our vehicles, we decided on DAS, solely-based on the good reviews here. We were quoted a 19-day shipping time for both our vehicles (an SUV and a minivan). We shipped terminal-to-terminal and since we had to get the cars there by August 26, we scheduled an August 6 drop off date. We were charged $1353 for each vehicle (this included valuation coverage + $50 off for multiple vehicle shipping). We dropped off our cars at Rob’s Auto and Collision in Bristol, PA. The staff was professional, and VERY thorough in reporting the status/condition of each vehicle. The terminal was a clean facility and there was no reason for us to feel unsafe leaving our cars there. We tracked the status of our cars on the DAS website. They sat at the terminal for about 15 days before being loaded onto transport (the DAS website states this is typical, and reports from this forum corroborate this, so we were not surprised). Our cars arrived one day early at Lakewood Towing in Lakewood, WA. The cars were washed before we took them. The cars were in the same condition we left them with an additional 0.4 miles on the odometer. The staff at Lakewood was professional and the facility was clean. We had read reports on this forum about some DAS terminals being located in shady parts of town, so we were happy that neither of our terminals were suspect.

In summary, we had a better than expected move. Everything went smoothly, and everyone we encountered in the process was professional and polite. We definitely wanted to thank everyone who contributes to this board, as you definitely helped make our move a success. Thanks!!!

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Re: philadelphia to seattle - our experiences

Postby Diane » Sat Sep 03, 2005 7:06 pm

Hi - Thanks to YOU for posting this detailed review of Sinclair and DAS. I'll repost the latter on our Auto Transporters thread. Do you know what company actually hauled your cars? The price seems a bit high, but maybe that's what it costs these days.

I've noticed that when people have booked an interstate move with Mayflower the truck and driver are almost always from United Van Lines--not sure why. Anyway, you seem to have had a close to ideal move with Sinclair with no transferring of your goods. This is about the third good review of Sinclair and I'll make note of it when I revise my Epinions review linked to below. Thanks again.
Check out domestic companies on this thread. Click here for a detailed, authoritative article on international moving.

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Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2005 1:34 am

Re: philadelphia to seattle - our experiences

Postby PHL->SEA » Sat Sep 03, 2005 10:06 pm

I am not sure what company actually hauled our cars. It is likely our cars were shipped by a DAS-owned truck. DAS states on their website that they handle most of their own shipments. When we got to the destination terminal, they had just unloaded the cars from the truck and I didn't think to look at the rig itself for markings (and I didn't think to ask for specifics). The trailer itself was definitely DAS since it had large clear markings of DAS all over it (looked identical to the small picture of the rig they have on their website).

We actually lucked out because our autos were shipped in covered transport, even though we didn't pay for it. Regardless, I agree the price we ended up paying was more than we expected (based on reports on this site), but we felt that DAS had strong enough reviews that we opted to pay the quoted price.

Feel free to ask any other questions! Good luck to all you guys moving soon.

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