Monday, August 6, 2007

Moving on

Despite the mini-hell of the last few days, I am very excited to finally be moving into New York City. Now that I know I'm moving, it's time to find movers! I asked friends and relatives for their recommendations and picked up some good tips on how to pick a company:

- make sure the movers are registered with the DOT and licensed for interstate moving
- check their Better Business Bureau report
- call and ask for an estimate. If they don't ask for a general manifest before giving you an estimate, run!
- check to see if the estimate is binding or non-binding
- do they charge by hour or weight? Interstate moves should be charged by weight, and you can request to be there when they weigh the truck
- make sure insurance is offered and read the policy carefully. If you pack yourself, you may not be eligible
- this site has a decent breakdown of things to remember

After talking to a few friends, I had a pretty good idea who I wanted to go with - Gentle Giant. Two of my couple friends and one single friend had used them and loved them. One couple bragged about how they ran back and forth to the truck while unpacking. Sounds insane to me. They're also one of the best northeast corridor movers by reputation. My current roommate said they're all athletes and row crew. Rock on.

I picked two other companies to call - Two Men and a Truck and the local VanLines affiliate. They had mixed reviews, but I wanted to get more than one estimate. I was originally thinking of calling Mayflower as well until my friend told me a horror story about the movers showing up a day late, losing her stuff for 5 days and finally delivering it with 25% of her stuff damaged during a move from New Jersey to Iowa. No thanks.

Two Men and a Truck seemed pretty nice by phone and their estimate was decent. Around $1000 to move everything or I could pay by the hour. I vetoed the latter. The man I spoke with gave me some good information about moving to New York City. I said I'd call them back. They tried to pressure me into putting down a non-refundable deposit immediately to hold a slot. That annoyed me.

I left a message for VanLines after getting hung up on the first time during a transfer. Not too promising. They called back the next day and estimated about $1150, and I would have to share a truck since I wasn't moving a lot. The company was mostly for house moves, not tiny studio apartment moves.

I got a person at Gentle Giant, but had to leave a message for their interstate crew. The guy called me back 15 minutes later but the day was over before I could call back. The next morning, I called back and spoke with them. The guy gave me a light sales pitch that basically rehashed what my friends had told me and talked about their dependability. He also warned me that his estimate would come in higher than my other estimates. My friends had warned me about that as well but the consensus was it was worth it.

I have to say that Gentle Giant really sold me by phone. They just seemed nice, even if they are in Red Sox country. I asked about 15 questions, some really silly, and the guy was polite and funny in answering them all. So when I got the estimate of $1400 I was ready to go even though it was the highest. I knew my stuff was going to get there safely. I called back and put in my deposit. Let's hope it goes as smoothly as the sales pitch.

I did some more research for my next steps:
- cut down on my crap
- write a list of all things I am moving (manifest), make a copy for movers
- label all boxes
- pack everything I can into a box to avoid chowder (I guess chowder is what they call things not packed in a box. Okay.)
- get water/food for movers
- tip the movers!

Woot. Two and a half weeks to go.

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