Moving Scams & Industry Advice
We at Advanced Moving Company have compiled this list of scams and basic pointers based on our experiences in the moving industry. There are many other reliable moving companies, some we know well, but we all know the moving industry has a “sleazy” reputation. Nobody wants a huge unexpected bill or to feel they were taken advantage of. We believe that an educated customer is a good customer.
A moving company quotes you a flat or hourly rate that seems to be competitive. When the crew arrives, the customer signs the paperwork without noticing the conditions in the small print on the back of the forms. As the crew begins the move they will load your most expensive items first. Everything is typically very friendly until they are ¾ unloaded and begin to tell you about the extra fees you’ve incurred.
These charges are generally for stairs, shrink wrap, long carries, fuel, blankets, or large items. They’re called “up sells” and the foreman sometimes makes a cut of anything he can add on to your bill.
They will point out that you signed and agreed to these conditions at the beginning of the move. If you refuse to pay, they simply close the truck and drive away with the items they loaded first. You can call the police, but after reviewing the contract you signed, they typically have no choice but to side with the movers. You’re now left to argue with their customer service department and may incur additional storage fees while your items are held at their warehouse. Not getting quick results or having much flexibility, most customers just end up paying.
Because the internet has made information on undesirable movers so accessible, companies are now quickly changing their name to escape the reputations they’ve created for themselves.
Per Pound Estimates
Having a move run over budget because a shipment weighed more than estimated has been the biggest problem of the moving industry for years. Let’s face it; most of us don’t know how much our furniture weighs and have to trust in the estimators when they do an in home appraisal. When shopping an interstate move it is extremely important to understand what type of quote you are receiving. Don’t necessarily jump at the lowest rate, especially if it is a per pound estimate and the weight is lower than other companies are quoting. Also make sure to see the actual weight tickets of the truck before and after your shipment is loaded. Inquire as to when the truck has refueled as refueling after a shipment is loaded and before it’s weighed can add up to two thousand pounds to the gross weight and potentially your shipment.
With the rise in popularity of websites like Craigslist, many upstart moving companies are advertising for transportation services without licensing. There are almost too many scenarios to go over with this, but the worst is the movers never arrive to the delivery with your shipment. Another is, they are pulled over by a Department of Transportation agent and the truck is impounded with your goods. As a consumer, making sure your movers have a valid DOT # assures you they are not only completely traceable, but they must also comply with all of the billing and safety regulations of the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration.
Per Piece Quotes
There is nothing inherently wrong with per piece flat rate estimates. Usually they’re based on a list of items taken over a brief phone interview. Just beware, it is often unexplained that any additional pieces added to the quote on moving day are billed at an exorbitant rate. These moves can quickly go over budget, because items stored in garages, spare bedrooms, storage sheds, and attics are often out of sight and out of mind. Typically, these companies also have an extra fee for long carries, since they need to protect themselves from being taken advantage of if the move takes too long.
Containers (PODS/Pak Rat)
Containers can be a less expensive approach for consumers with storage and moving needs, but there are some scenarios that make them hard to price. For instance; if a customer has an averagely furnished 1500 square foot home and must store everything, a single 16’ container will usually not be large enough. It can be very difficult for sales reps to determine the amount or size of containers you’ll actually need, especially if they have not actually loaded these containers themselves. Make sure your dealing with someone who has firsthand knowledge of loading and gives you pricing that includes furniture pads (An absolute essential in the moving industry). At Advanced Moving Company we’re happy to assist you in recommending a realistic and cost effective approach to using containers for your move.
Uhaul. Budget and Penske (Do it yourself)
If you’re comparing doing a move yourself to hiring professionals, here is must have information to review your options and calculate your cost. First, it is very common for truck leasing companies to quote pricing that doesn’t include insurance on the truck or furniture to protect your furniture. These fees, as well as the numerous taxes and surcharges, will drive the cost of most daily rentals over $100.00 per day. You may also incur additional fees for cleaning and refueling that are often not mentioned and undiscovered until you review your credit card statements.
Second, diesel fuel is currently more expensive than gasoline and the average 24 foot box truck gets about 6.5-8 miles per gallon. Trucks typically need to be returned at the identical level of fuel as when they were picked up.
Third, loading and unloading a truck is time consuming, back breaking, and often very hot in Texas. Depending on your access to the residence, a 24 foot truck can take up to 4-5 hours to load and 2-3 hours to unload. If it’s hot or humid, the inside of the truck tends to get miserably uncomfortable. If you have high end furniture, make sure you have loaders that can operate under these conditions as they will spend a great deal of time in the truck, securing the furnishings to prevent damage.
Finally, you need to keep in mind that the sales associates from the truck leasing companies are not professional movers. If you are moving long distance, always contact a moving company to see if the size home you’re leaving will fit into the size truck they’ve suggested. We frequently inform misguided customers that averagely furnished homes over 2000 square feet have trouble being loaded into 24 and 26 foot trucks. Uhaul, is the only company that offers additional trailers that can be towed by these trucks in case a shipment doesn’t fit, but they do tend to be quite expensive. We have found there are no residentially leased trucks large enough to transport an averagely furnished home, over 2200 square feet or more. It still may be more cost effective for you to move yourself, but these issues do tend to add to the overall cost and stress of moving day.
ABF offers a cheaper alternative to traditional long distance moving services with the “U-Pack/We Drive” approach. This can be beneficial for some, but again there are scenarios that can cost far more than initially anticipated. The big issue is what if the shipment doesn’t fit. Most customers not having much flexibility are then forced to look at getting some portion of a 2nd container to get the remainder of their furnishings. If you’re sure that the shipment will fit, then you have the issue of furniture pads. ABF doesn’t supply or rent them. With any move, furniture pads are absolutely essential to prevent your items from getting damaged. You’ll need to either purchase or rent these pads from a moving company or leasing company like Budget or Penske. For a full 28’ container we would recommend 6-8 dozen pads depending on the quality of your items.
The common assumption is that full coverage is included when a moving company lists itself as a licensed and insured carrier. The reality is, this is only a statement indicating the company has the sufficient auto, general liability, and cargo coverage that the DOT requires. Most companies offer a 60¢ per lb. limits of liability waiver for their standard rates packages. This is not full coverage or replacement insurance; however it is the most standard coverage in the moving industry because no additional fees, descriptive inventory or value needs to be assigned to the shipment. Movers use these contracts to offset the huge amount of liability a company has when handling household items.