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Old 02-07-2015, 03:27 PM
Location: Ozark Mountains Arkansas
1,951 posts, read 1,294,081 times
Reputation: 3801


We will be moving from south Louisiana to northern Arkansas once our house sells. I'm trying to decide if we will go the u-pack route and then hire labor to help load/unload or would it be worth paying more for movers (as in we box everything ourselves, they just load and unload). For anyone that has used a moving company, what did it cost you and was it worth it (maybe to save your sanity). I'd love to hear others experiences.
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Old 02-07-2015, 06:29 PM
Location: Tennessee at last!
1,886 posts, read 2,019,149 times
Reputation: 3790
I have moved both ways and because of a few bad experiences with the movers I no prefer either U-Pack type or U-Haul type of moves.

For me, one time the movers stole over ten thousand of dollars worth of stuff, and yes, they paid as I had photos of what was in each box and I checked off each box as it went on and off their truck. I was clear what boxes did not make it and what large stuff did not make it, and photos proved what the items were. Even then, I felt violated and did not want to spend the time in my new location dealing with the claims and the thieves and replacing things.

I also had people steeling things as they packed the boxes in one full service move.

The thiev'en mover also 'got lost' for 2-3 weeks. The delivery date was scheduled and he did not confirm or show. The moving company could not get him to answer his phone, nothing, he was AWOL with my stuff. After a few weeks of sleeping on the floor the moving company got him to respond and he did come, delivering a bunch of my stuff, but not all, and some stuff that I told him was not mine. He said that everything on the truck was staying at my house as I was the end of his stops. I called the moving company and they immediately sent someone for the other boxes of stuff that was not mine. They never found my lost stuff. I personally think that the driver stole it. Oh and he told me he wanted to stop at his mom's house for the holidays and did not respond as he was on 'vacation'---totally unscheduled vacation.

Another time they repacked my stuff onto another truck and they did not use pads and badly scratched many antique furniture pieces.

So I am now a moving control freak, I want to control how they pack it, not have them unpack it in route, and not get into the stuff. I hire loaders and unloaders, but that is it.

BUT if you get a good professional full service move it can be great, sometimes it was for me, but it is not something one can control And you do not know you have a bad one until its too late. I have moved 10 times.
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Old 02-08-2015, 08:58 AM
Location: Texas
3,942 posts, read 3,247,397 times
Reputation: 6712
I have moved many times as well, almost always out of state, and have gone the route of doing all the packing and driving very large trucks ourselves; and conversely, using large Van lines. At this point in our lives and career, we will never do a move ourselves again. It will always be via a large moving company.

Somebody indicated that a good way to estimate the cost of a move with a large carrier is $1 per each pound, and I think that is a good rule of thumb. Our last move was 3 years ago from TX to CO, and it cost just under $20K (we had a large home and some very heavy furniture). It was double what we were reimbursed for, and we paid the difference.

I have never had a problem with a Van line from theft or major loss of any kind. My communication with the drivers has always been very easy and accurate. Never waited for our stuff more than a day or two. But, there are horror stories out there about movers. There are also horror stories of people parking their U Haul for the night at a hotel, and the entire thing being stolen, so go figure. The majority of moves go without a hitch, but you will never hear about those.
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Old 02-10-2015, 02:24 PM
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
10,506 posts, read 8,710,766 times
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I always had the best luck with small local operators in the city of origin. I moved from Minnesota to Colorado to Washington DC using local companies in Minnesota and Colorado. There was much less red tape, they were more eager, and as family businesses they knew how to take care of customers.
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Old 02-13-2015, 09:43 AM
3,463 posts, read 4,525,633 times
Reputation: 7121
I used a mover once, in the 10 times we've moved over the past 14 years, and it was a huge mistake. I thought I was diligent and researched all the problems we could have had with them, but still got scorched on moving day with the "Load is bigger than you told us" shtick and then having to put thousands on a credit card or have the stuff held hostage indefinitely.
I found out after the fact, that they also off-loaded once which was very disconcerting. Im sure for the people whose stuff I got. After that, never risked it again. U-Pack We Move is hard for the time you are packing, but sooooo worth it in the end, there can be no comparison. I know people who have had good experiences with moving companies, but I will never risk it, again.
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Old 02-13-2015, 12:31 PM
5,897 posts, read 6,680,234 times
Reputation: 15202
Moving with a REPUTABLE moving company is a huge burden (excuse the pun) removed from your shoulders.

I just cannot imagine the stories some folks have posted here being consistent with a national, or very high quality local, moving company.

As a college student, yes we loaded up the U-Haul with a bunch of friends and away we went. Stuff went into boxes, boxes were tossed onto the truck, and grungy furniture was packed in as it would fit. Scratches, dents and broken items were just part of the process.

But, now I have decent stuff and don't want it even remotely scratched or dented.

My first major move using a moving company was exemplary. I believe it was United Van Lines. They had to only move furniture, as boxes went on another truck. Everything was wrapped, marked, and loaded/unloaded with care. Not a single issue.

My second, much larger move, I used a local guy with a very high quality reputation after getting estimates from four major carriers. He was NOT the cheapest, but he did a GREAT job in wrapping everything in blankets, then shrink wrap, then blankets between items on the truck. Took two days to load the truck, then THE SAME CREW drove for two days, and took another two days to unload the truck. Not a scratch or missing item! Three bedroom house; 900 miles.....the bill was about $13,000 IIRC.

Here's what you do: Get two or three recommendations from people who have moved. Look for national names, or very high quality local guys (NOT three guys and truck!) who are licensed in the states where you are traveling. THEN, have their rep come out and they will look at everything you have to move. Be honest and make sure they see everything (lot of people ***** because they "forget" to tell the mover about the fifty boxes that are in the garage and then, when the bill is higher than the estimate, the mover is somehow an SOB). One guy was at my house for four hours counting every box, wood working/lawn and garden machine, appliance and piece of furniture. The guy who actually did my move was there for an hour and had the closest estimate of the total weight! They will give you an estimate...some will be binding; others will be subject to actual weight. Make a decision about insurance as well. I bought my insurance from my agent; not from the carrier.

Then, start doing your homework. Reputation. Go look at their facilities. Look at their trucks. Is it all in top notch condition, or is it dirty and unkempt? Do they use their own labor? How long in business? Who unloads? Do they use "pick up help" on the other end (bad), or do they use labor from the local affiliate (better), or does the same crew that loaded travel with the load (Best)?

Will your load go directly? Will it be combined with someone else's load? Is there a delay? Will your stuff be secured indoors during delay? Will it be sealed on the road? Is there a guaranteed delivery date?

BTW, the ICC requires that the load we weighed and a copy of the weigh ticket be provided to the homeowner, and be kept with the load. It will tell you exactly what weight was put on the truck. Unless you have a fixed contract, THAT weight will determine what you pay, based on the miles moved. Even if the same local guy returns empty, you do not pay for his return trip. My guy didn't want a return load because he didn't control it from the time it was packed until it was unloaded. He was NOT going to haul something which he did not have responsibility for every step of the process.

There are sleaze balls out there in every profession. Do your homework, take nothing for granted, and ask questions and get responsible answers. Anything of the "we got you covered on that" is a red flag. Make sure the mover provides new boxes, tape, and anything else which you need to do a good packing job if you do it yourself. Label everything.

Using a quality mover makes the whole process a LOT less stressful. They are trained professionals.....even to the extent of taking their shoes off before they come into your home--even after they put furniture blankets on the floor and cardboard on every external corner so your house doesn't get dirty, dinged, or scraped. Make sure there are NO MORE than four guys at your house. One to wrap/pack, two to carry, and one to mange the loading of the truck, More than that they get in each others way, and "things happen".

Finally, no responsible mover would mess with your possessions. They inventory everything, they load it, lock it up, and tick it off when they unload it. They set up everything...beds, mirrors, etc., and don't quit until you are satisfied and sign off.

Costly? Yes. But worth every penny.

(PS, if they do a good job, tip them well).
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Old 02-16-2015, 04:28 PM
128 posts, read 444,193 times
Reputation: 40
Best I can offer is: you might want to consider insurance coverage for the event of loss and make sure it covers damage even if you do the packing yourself (particularly for the case of any claimed damage in transit).

I was quite worried about a move cross country to CA even with everything I own stuffed in my car. Which I repeated, renting a U-Haul moving from GA. Some overnight stayers are targets.

There can also be the setup of furniture pieces that must be taken apart, like desks, before leaving, then put back together when you arrive etc.

This How Much Does It Cost To Ship Furniture - CostHowMuch.com gives a rundown that might help make sure you are comparing what needs to be taken care of, so certain parts of the move don't fall through the cracks.

Then too, as lae60 as pointed out (theft) - you might want to confirm in writing an accurate account of all that is being shipped before placing your trust it in someone else's hands. I myself would take pictures of what you own, at least the most important stuff.
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Old 02-16-2015, 06:37 PM
Location: New Mexico
6,463 posts, read 3,611,213 times
Reputation: 12143
I moved 1,000 miles with a big mover but it was a fairly small amount of stuff -- about 5 rooms. I packed, they hired local loaders and un-loaders and drove the truck for $6k. They got to the new house about 2 hours after I did but made three stops along the way to pick up or drop off loads in the same truck. There was only a very small amount of breakage and I didn't have to do anything except pack and unpack. So what did I really pay for? I packed and unpacked. I could have hired loaders and un-loaders myself. The mover knew how to load the truck safely, drive it across country and get the stuff delivered on time with very little breakage.

In contrast, I made a prior move to the same place (1,000 miles) a couple weeks earlier with some essential housekeeping stuff in a pick-up truck and U-Haul trailer for a few hundred dollars. But the wheel fell off the trailer in a driving rainstorm in Wichita. Not really a good experience but U-Haul has road service and got us back on the road with a new trailer with minimal delay. We had to unload the old trailer and load the new trailer in the rain.

At my age I'll probably skip the U-Haul part next time. I'd sell most of my stuff and buy new stuff I really needed at the new place.
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Old 02-20-2015, 04:27 PM
381 posts, read 713,326 times
Reputation: 455
I continue to share our experience with ABF U-Pack trailers (not the pods). We have never had a bad experience and recommend to anyone who asks. We are very particular about how our items are packed and no way could give up that control. With ABF, you pack and unpack the trailer. Once it is packed, you install the wall at the back of your load and lock it in place (you supply the locks and you keep the keys with you). Even though you are given a quote based on the size of the home/# of bedrooms, the two moving addresses (old vs. new), and the possible dates, you are only charged based on the amount of space your stuff actually takes up! You either go over the amount they estimated you would need (and pay a per foot fee known up front) or you use less than they estimated (and are credited the same per foot fee). We have always used less than they quoted. Their quotes include everything as long, with you being responsible for the manual labor to load and unload. We have always had family and friends who have shown up to help, so our cost was usually several pizzas and drinks as a thank you. One time we were not able to have the trailer dropped off right outside our new home (no overnight), so had it dropped on the main road outside the development and rented a U-Haul pickup truck to go back and forth. A little bit of a pain, but it worked out well in the end.
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