Report: Door-to-Door move from Brooklyn to San Francisco

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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:38 pm
Location: San Francisco

Report: Door-to-Door move from Brooklyn to San Francisco

Postby ashinn » Wed Sep 13, 2006 5:59 pm

Hi Moving Scam forum,

I'm taking a minute to write a report about my recent move with Door-to-Door in order to give back some information to the forum. Movingscam was extremely helpful in informing me of the hazards of bad movers and steering me clear of the common pitfalls.

When I decided to go with Door-to-door I didn't find any complete move reports about them, so I took a leap of faith when signing their contract. Hopefully this report will help you.

My work-related move from Brooklyn to San Francisco was planned in May 2006. Because of my lease and my work situation in New York, I had to leave my apartment on July 15th, but would not even set foot in San Francisco until August 2nd. I also had not yet found an apartment in San Francisco, so I would have to have a flexible delivery date.

In the interest of time, I did not consider local storage and decided that only a storage container move would be appropriate for my situation. I considered Door-to-door, ABF U-Pack, PODS, and another container storage company whos name escapes me. Only ABF and Door-to-door could service my area in Brooklyn, and Door-to-Door was $2000 cheaper than ABF, coming in a bit over $3k for two containers, including loading service at my apartment in Brooklyn.

I grilled my service rep about storage environment, liability, contractors, claims and everything else I could think of, only to find that when the contract arrived, it had a "No Oral Agreements" clause that allowed Door-to-door to sidestep liability if anything he told me turned out to be wrong. The contract was good, but lacked specificity about things like storage conditions and some other concerns of mine, but was fair overall and held no surprises. My rep at Door-to-door, Derrick Escorpizo handled all of my questions and was patient with me throughout.

After quite a bit of packing, my moving team showed up on time on the 15th. Evidently, Brooklyn laws prevent door-to-door from even placing their containers on the pavement, so the containers show up on a truck, which is loaded and shipped out in the course of a day.

I think this part of the move made up about $800 of my $3k overall quote. Albert Relogistics was the local contractor that handled the move, which I was comfortable with because of their good reputation around here. Evidently Albert subcontracted the job out to yet another company (it is possible that they have no moving staff of their own, I am not sure) and I was surprised to see a different moving company logo on their shirts. I believe their compant was called A1 First Class, but I'm not positive.

In any case, the team was incredible. All four men spoke mostly Polish, with the team lead having a somewhat better command of English. One of the men stayed with the truck at all times and the other three formed a chain, moving boxes from to the curb, then dollying them around the corner to the truck. They padded my hardwood furniture, couch and television quite well, and had no trouble with my pre-move box sorting.

I piled my boxes into three separate piles, the heaviest boxes of books and LPs in one room, medium-weight items in another room, and fragile items in another room. I was happy to see the heaviest things being carried out first to line the bottoms of the containers, and it seemed that very little supervision was necessary for the move to work out well.

I checked on the truck a number of times throughout the move, and towards the end of the move the crew leader deemed it necessary to partially unpack one of the boxes to re-distribute the weight. When the team was done, they showed me the finished packing, which was extremely tight, top-to-bottom in the containers. I was very happy with the work, but when they asked me to put my locks on the containers, I realized that I had forgotten them completely! I literally ran across the neighborhood to buy a couple of padlocks, getting back quickly enough to prevent the team from becoming too horribly angry with me.

After locking the containers up and signing the bill of lading, I tipped the guys and let them go. It took about three hours in total and was virtually stress free. So far so good.

Within a week, I had a call from to Door-to-door's destination facility in the SF bay area, who told me that they would hold my containers for 15 days free of charge, and would charge me for something in the area of $3.50 per day thereafter. I thought that was entirely reasonable, so we signed off.

We need to fast forward now, to San Francisco. On August 25th or so, I finally had found an apartment, and as such, a delivery address that my containers could be dropped off at. Door-to-door is allowed to take up to 15 days to deliver your containers after you call for them, so I was happy to hear that they would be able to deliver them on September 4th, labor day. I said yes.

Now, contrary to Brooklyn city laws, in San Francisco the door-to-door containers can sit on the street for up to four days if you buy a permit for $100. I don't know if that works out to $50 per container or not... But the odd thing in my case is that the permit was not included in my initial estimate. I suppose I could have moved into a building with a private driveway or some such thing that wouldn't require a permit, but I was surprised by the additional expense.

I needed help unpacking my containers, and I picked AAAthebestmovers through I picked them because of the number of good reviews they had. I estimated that I would need three men for two hours. They accepted my request, and they were scheduled to come one hour after the drop off window from door-to-door.

Now the difficult part came. My new apartment was on a busy street, and I had to figure out where the containers would be dropped. I measured the curb length of the street parking space in front of the unit, which was large enough. I then rented a car for the day so I could park it in the spot in front of my building and move it when the containers arrived. Any other parking space would be difficult though - San Francisco streets are riddled with tiny driveways that cannot be blocked. So I had to get the spot directly in front of my building, or make my movers walk quite a long way between the door and the containers.

Things didn't work out as planned. There was a huge pickup truck parked in my space, and although I assumed it would move due to the street cleaning schedule, it didn't. In desperation, I secured the two spaces on either side of the truck, one with the rented car, and the other with some road construction barricades that I "borrowed" the night before just in case.

When the Door-to-door truck arrived, the driver told me that I would only need one of the spaces - I had overestimated the curb length needed for two containers. He dropped them side-by-side into a 10 foot parking space. I was relived.

The movers showed up a bit late, but things went extremely smoothly. The move in was actually wrapped up in less than an hour and a half. We immediately tore into some of our boxes of delicates (plates, albums, etc) to see how things had fared during the shipping process. Some of our boxes looked particularly banged up (mostly book boxes that weren't completely full), but the contents were intact, one after another. Absolutely nothing was damaged. I credit this to our packing, but also to the moving service in Brooklyn for stacking the containers properly, and also to door-to-door's container handling.

All in all, it was only rarely nerve-wracking, and the service was across the board excellent. This was my first move that I didn't do completely by my self, and I'm entirely happy that I parted with a bit more money to save myself the trauma of a coast-to-coast road trip in an enormous truck containing all of my worldly possessions.

I'd recommend door-to-door to anyone, provided they give you an affordable quote. If anyone has any specific questions, feel free to post them here and I'll reply as soon as possible. I currently have no internet service in my apartment, but that will change in a matter of weeks.

My sincere thanks go to the Moving Scam community for helping me take control of this move. I'm sure my next one will be even easier.

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Location: Los Angeles

Re: Report: Door-to-Door move from Brooklyn to San Francisco

Postby Diane » Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:34 am

Thanks so much for this very detailed post. I'll try to link it up with other discussions of Door-to-Door so that others can find it easily.

This is actually the first GOOD review we've had of A-1 First Class (Atlas) in Brooklyn and I'll add it to my summary post on that company. Someone in the past said bad things about the Russians damaging things in A-1's warehouse but I'm glad to know that the Polish people doing the packing and loading for Door-to-Door are better. I am very familiar with the Polish section of Brooklyn and I love that area and think that the people there are very warm and friendly.

I was interested to see that Door-to-Door arranges for labor only on the origin end, and people are on the own at the destination end. From what has been posted in the past, I believe that the workers they arrange for may use paper pads to pad things. Is that what you experienced? I think you are correct that Albert arranges for workers in various cities rather than sending its own employees.

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to record all this, including the little problems along the way such as parking in SF and how you solved them.

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Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: Report: Door-to-Door move from Brooklyn to San Francisco

Postby BigLeeCalif » Thu Sep 14, 2006 2:25 pm

I'm glad you had a good move.

Don't think too badly that the parking fee in SF was not included in your estimate. Each large city has different requirements for parking, and SF has different parking fees for different parts of the city, and it would be hard to determine cost in advance. They should have, however, alerted you that you might have to secure a parking permit for the date the truck arrives.

You are new to SF, so you will learn soon that no matter what you do to secure a parking place, there will be a monkey wrench flying out of nowhere to knock your plans awry.

If you don't have a reserved parking slot, or a garage, you will suddenly learn the value of a vw bug. lol
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

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Joined: Tue Sep 05, 2006 1:38 pm
Location: San Francisco

Re: Report: Door-to-Door move from Brooklyn to San Francisco

Postby ashinn » Thu Sep 14, 2006 6:20 pm

Hi Diane and BigLeeCalif, thanks for responding.

Diane, it's my pleasure. I hope my recollection helps. As far as door-to-door's labor arrangements, I believe that they only arrange labor when legally necessary. I was told that they included loading help in my quote because of a Brooklyn city law that makes it illegal for their containers to be placed on the ground at any time. I think they assume that you'll arrange for your loading and unloading under normal circumstances.

The movers didn't use paper pads for my move, they used standard cloth furniture pads, secured with tape and strapping. I was surprised that they did not charge me for the use of these materials. They told me to leave the blankets in the containers after unloading.

BigLeeCalif, you are wise to the San Fran parking ways. My rental car experience has validated everything you've said. Indeed, the $100 for the permit wasn't much, as far as unexpected charges go. I'm thankful that was one of the major snags.

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