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Hilarious Moving Fails No Decent Mover Would Ever Make (VIDEO)

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Preparing for a move, Uncategorized by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

For most customers, moving nightmares might consist of being overcharged, having some items broken and *gasp* even having their furniture held hostage. Those are nightmares, but sometimes, the worst moves start with the best intentions.

The internet, the world’s repository for everything embarrassing, has compiled several hilarious (for those not experiencing them) moving fails. Most are do-it-yourselfers, trying to save a few bucks, but some are actual moving companies, and trust me, we’re embarrassed for all of them.

Of course, I’d be negligent in posting this hilarious video without offering a few words of advice. Number one, please never, ever try hoisting a piece of furniture out of (or into) a window without help from professionals who have the right equipment.

Even experienced movers are reluctant to hoist a piece of furniture through a window, without someone specifically trained in the science. Most movers can hoist furniture up one or maybe two floors, but it takes special ropes and equipment and it takes being very, very careful.

You’ll find very few in the moving industry who are against the idea of people moving themselves. Sometimes, it’s the least expensive and most practical way to get from point A to point B. Sometimes, though, people get in over their heads. If an item can’t make it through a door, rather than forcing it, take the door and frame off, with the proper tools, of course.

As for the people in this video who appeared to be pros, shame on them. Remember, a logo and a t-shirt doesn’t necessarily mean professionalism. Always be sure to check social media (Yelp, Facebook, Google) and review sites like Angie’s List before hiring a mover. You should also check licensing information.

Remember, if you’re moving yourself and you find yourself in a jam, there’s no shame in taking for help. You don’t want to be caught as one of these moving fails.

When NOT To Move With A Moving Company – Even When You May Want To

in Advice, Local moving, Posts by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

It might sound weird to talk about not moving with a moving company — on a moving company’s blog — but for some people, moving with a moving company may not be the best choice.

When not to hire a moving company.

For the vast majority of people, hiring a moving company saves time, money (your time is worth money) and backs, but for a handful of people, moving yourself is the answer.

If you’re young and your best piece of furniture is an IKEA hand-me-down (not that there’s anything wrong with IKEA), it may not be worth paying professionals to move it.

If you just have a few boxes to ship, don’t hire a mover. Ship them through the Post Office, especially if those boxes contain books. The books may take a few weeks to arrive, but since many movers charge by weight for long-distance moves, you will save a lot of money if you have a lot of books. If there are books you need right away, take them with you.

If you have a single piece of furniture or two, call movers, but know that with most, it will not be cost effective. Some may have a few cubic feet of space that needs to be filled, and coincidentally, may be going to your area. They might be able to make you a good deal, but for most, it would be cost prohibitive to move just a couple of pieces of furniture, unless, of course, they are valuable and need special protection. If so, by all means, call a mover.

If you are clearing a home from a hoarder, don’t call a moving company until the home is cleared. Movers must have a safe place to work and when movers are contracted to pack, they pack everything they see. Sure, you could pay movers to help sort, but there are companies that specialize in hoarding situations. Any moving company would be happy to help once everything is at least somewhat organized.

What To Do When The Rain Becomes Too Much For Your Home

in Local moving, Storage by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Over the last couple of months, California has gotten a much needed deluge of rain, but our houses don’t know how badly we need it. Roads are flooding, but in many cases, so are our garages, our basements and even our main living areas. While a moving company can’t keep your home from flooding, it can help you deal with the problems caused by flooding.

Obviously, things aren't quite this bad in California, but water damage is nothing to take lightly. We can help.

Obviously, things aren’t quite this bad in California, but water damage is nothing to take lightly. We can help.

Obviously, the first thing you should do when dealing with a flood or just a leak, is try to stop it. Get sandbags, call a handyman if necessary. You might even need to build a trench, but what about the water inside your house?

Flooding tends to affect areas like garages and basements, which typically don’t have easily damaged floors, but they do tend to have items like cardboard boxes and often, furniture. The first thing you must do is get those out of the way of flooding, and probably, replace and repack the soggy boxes. We can help.

Unlike with your local self-storage company (or a big, not so local self-storage company), we have the staff and ability to take care of everything for you. We can repack all your water damaged boxes. We can protect your furniture from future damage. We can move your goods out of harm’s way and we’ll protect them in our dry, clean, secure storage facility.

Unlike with self-storage, we’ll do all the work. Not only that, but we inventory and take responsibility for every item that enters our warehouse. If there’s water damage on your favorite antique dresser, we’ll let you know before it leaves your home. We can even refer people who can fix it.

In less than best case scenarios, more than just a few stored items are damaged. Sometimes, new flooring, new drywall and even mold remediation are in order. We can help with that too. We will take things out of the way, store them as long as needed and return them when your renovations are complete.

Water damage is a hassle and for some homeowners, it’s a nightmare. While we can’t stop the rain or even the rain damage, we can certainly help you get back to normal without breaking the bank.

The Types Of Local Moving Estimates – What’s Best For You?

in Local moving by Ninja Movers Leave a comment
Image courtesy of the Lead Republic.com

Image courtesy of the Lead Republic.com

Thanks to a lot of recent press about moving companies – a lot of it negative, customers are becoming more savvy. Most customers are doing their due diligence and getting at least three in-home estimates before choosing a company. Unfortunately, that’s where things might get confusing.

There are several basic types of estimates that moving companies will provide, both for local and long distance moves. As we talk about each, you might find that one has a clear advantage for the customer and in most cases you might be right, but there are exceptions.

If you are moving locally (within the same state and within approximately 200 miles):

1. By the hour – Moving companies all charge by the hour. You’ll find that rates probably don’t vary that much from company to company, but there are additional charges such as packing materials. If you aren’t sure what you’re moving or how much you will be able to pack before moving day(yes, that does happen), an hourly move will probably be your only option. Your moving estimator might give you an approximate number of hours, but that estimate is meaningless. It will ALMOST ALWAYS go over that estimate.

2. Binding – A binding estimate protects both the customer and the mover. It is a flat/guaranteed price for the move. There are a couple of disadvantages in binding estimates, though. First, the customer needs to read the fine print very closely. The contract might not include all the services the customer expects, like packing or sometimes, with less scrupulous companies, the tape used to wrap furniture. If the move takes less time than estimated, the customer will pay the estimated price, regardless.

3. Not to Exceed – Not to exceed estimates are, for the majority of customers, the best option. If it costs less than the estimate, the customer will pay less. if it’s more, the customer will not pay more than the estimate. As with a binding, though, you should always read the fine print and make sure that you carry out your end of the bargain, such as the agreed amount of packing. Otherwise, the estimate will be voided.

Next week, we’ll talk about long distance estimates.

Google Driverless Cars Could Change Where People Move

in Local moving, Real Estate by Ninja Movers Leave a comment
Image of Google Car from Wikipedia

Image of Google Car from Wikipedia

Bay Area real estate is notoriously high priced, but still, young, highly-paid tech industry folk are gravitating toward the city centers and close to their places of work. Why drive when you can walk to work or at least to your social life? That could be changing with the advent of Google’s self driving cars.

Some in the industry, though, are starting to think about this potential high-tech reality: Driverless cars like the ones dreamed up byGoogle could ease traffic congestion, parking headaches, unproductive commutes and drunk driving concerns, making it easier to get from point A to point B. The suburbs, once again, could be cool – and not in an Arcade Fire kind of way.

James Kilpatrick, president of the brokerage NAI Northern California, pitched that vision to an audience at the Northern California Apartment Summit on Tuesday. He said on a panel while the idea might sound crazy now, developers need to keep an eye on how new technology will change how cities and the suburbs play off each other. He pointed out how some scoffed at the idea of micro-apartments last decade — only to see those building them make a killing now.

“What we will all look at five, 10 years from now is the how driverless cars will completely change how we think about parking and traffic,” he said. “This will help Oakland’s prominence and this will help Emeryville, and some other East Bay cities because their traffic is so bad.”

Source: San Francisco Business Times

What does this mean for Bay Area real estate and for Bay Area moving trends? It means that location will stop mattering as much. A two hour commute isn’t so bad if you can sleep or work through it.

It will be a while before people start leaving the urban centers for the burbs, though. While Google’s cars are legal, it’s not expected that they’ll be widely embraced for another few years, but it might not be too early to snap up the relative bargains in the suburbs before everyone else catches on.

How To Deal With A Bad Move

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Moving Costs by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment
Definitely a bad move. Image from Ripoff Report.

Definitely a bad move. Image from Ripoff Report.

It’s probably weird to see a moving company acknowledging the prospect of a bad move, but unfortunately, they happen. Despite the fact that we are the number one rated mover in Silicon Valley, we sometimes screw up. In fact one of the reasons we are rated so highly is that when we do screw up, we admit it and we take care of it.

Most moves get screwed up in one of four ways; either something is broken, delivery is late, movers are rude or the cost goes over the estimate. Of course, there are other ways, but those are the most common and the ones that even the best movers are sometimes guilty of.

If your move gets screwed up, the first thing you want to do is acknowledge it. I doubt there isn’t a business on the planet that hasn’t encountered a customer who seemed happy until they filed a report with the BBB or posted a negative review on Yelp. Heck, even I’ve done that. Sometimes it’s easier to express your feelings, unchallenged, in writing, than to confront someone, and sometimes movers are big and sound a little scary. Who can blame a person?

The truth is, though, that any good moving company wants the opportunity to make things right. They also want to correct potential bad habits before more customers are affected. The bottom line is, complain, but try to stay calm. Calm customers, of all businesses, tend to do better in negotiation than do irate customers.

If something is broken

Unfortunately, this might be the biggest sticking point between movers and customers. Most movers only cover your move by pound. In other words, your goods don’t even have a dollar value. There’s a good reason for that. A $5,000 dining room table is moved in much the same way as a $500 dining room table. Of course, good movers will take extra precautions with high value items, but the way the move is handled is not based on value. A college student moving from a dorm room deserves a quality move as much as their parents do. For that reason, most customers purchase extra moving insurance.

The best way to handle a damaged item is to contact the mover as soon as possible. They will want to know and they should offer you something, even if it is just $.60 per pound per item. Then, contact the insurance company. They will also contact the moving company.

Late delivery

This one is tough because sometimes there are things that are simply out of a mover’s control. The best advice is to be patient, but to acknowledge your specific inconveniences. If you are staying in a hotel room or if you are having to rent furniture, let the mover know. Depending on the circumstances, the mover might help defray or completely cover your out-of-pocket expenses. You can also ask for a small discount on your move.

Rude movers

First, remember that on moving day, emotions tend to run high. People are trying to deal with the movers, finish packing (if applicable) and often, deal with their kids. On top of that, complete strangers are occupying every corner of their homes. Who wouldn’t be cranky? Don’t put up with rude movers, but before you pick up the phone, ask yourself if you might be able to help rectify the situation on your own. Most movers have natural skills when it comes to relaxing tense situations, but sometimes, you catch someone on a bad day, or worse, you catch someone who should not be in any sort of customer service industry. Call the company immediately. Trust me, they will fix the problem, even if it means replacing the bad seed.

The cost went over the estimate

This is a tough one. An estimate, by definition, is just an estimate. The exception is if you receive a binding estimate. In which case, the cost should never go above unless you haven’t upheld your end of the bargain. The key is to make sure that all i’s are dotted and all t’s are crossed before the move begins. Know exactly what you are expected to do. If you are supposed to pack everything, make sure everything, including pictures on the wall and mattresses are packed. Most people find it easier for the mover to do odd shaped items like that.

If you have upheld your end of the bargain, complain. Find out exactly why it went over. Perhaps there were unanticipated problems at the delivery address, like stairs or perhaps the elevator wasn’t available. Understand that reputable movers want to honor their estimates, even if circumstances are a bit different. However, when the move ends up being much larger or more complicated than originally planned, they do need to cover their own costs. This is a time to negotiate.

Unfortunately, the world is filled with bad movers. That’s why the industry has such a bad reputation, but the last thing you want to do is assume that your mover is just like all the bad guys if you were careful in choosing them. If you chose your mover simply based on price, there’s a good chance that they don’t care if you are happy in the end. If you did your due diligence and checked Yelp and the BBB, you probably have a good one and they will bend over backwards to make you happy.

 

 

 

How To Get A (Mostly) Accurate Estimate Online Or On The Phone

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Preparing for a move by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

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Getting an accurate moving estimate can be tricky. Most of the time, it’s recommended that you get an in-person estimate, which should be a free service offered by any moving company. However, there are times when that might not be possible. Maybe you can’t arrange a time to meet with an estimator or maybe your move is small enough it can be handled over the phone, and with the right preparation on your part, it is possible to get a fairly accurate assessment of your moving costs. The key, of course, is to pick a reputable mover and give them an accurate assessment of your move.

Grab a pen and paper or a tablet

Before you call the mover, inventory everything in your home. You know how sometimes you can’t find your keys when they were right in front of you? The human memory can play tricks on you. When you look at a space every single day, you tend to overlook and forget things. Everyone does it. That’s why you need to tour your own home, as if you were a stranger, and write everything down. If things are under or over-sized, take measurements. Don’t leave anything out.

Are there stairs? Do you have narrow doorways? Do you remember any challenges moving items into your home? Are there particular hours that the movers need to be there? Are there parking restrictions? Can a large moving van pull right up to your front door? No? How far away does it need to park? If possible, answer the same questions for your moving destination.

Estimate the number of boxes. If you are average, you will probably have about 20 boxes. If you have a lot of books and you are moving more than about 200 miles away, let the mover know. Books are heavy and long-distance moves are charged by weight. On average, each shelf of books equals one box. Each drawer of clothing equals one box. Each two linear feet of closet space equals one box. Each set of dishes equals one box. Fine china and extremely delicate items need more space, so double the box count for them.

Even with a sight-unseen estimate, you are still entering into a contract. The contract will be broken if any of the terms are different. Don’t try to fool the mover by saying your move is smaller than it is. That is the number one reason people complain about their moves – the mover thought it was smaller and the price had to rise. Often, the mover is at fault. It’s the moving estimator’s responsibility to ask you all the right questions, but quite often, items are forgotten or overlooked and it tends to make for unhappy customers.

Avoid movers who don’t ask a lot of questions. It’s to everyone’s benefit for them to get details, like the size of your dining room table and the number of chairs being moved. They should ask about your electronics and whether you have the original packing material. They should ask how many people live there, how many bedrooms, etc. Once you get off the phone with a good moving estimator, you should feel as if you each know each other well and you should feel very comfortable with them. Don’t rush the process. It won’t take that long, but if it’s rushed, you can almost guarantee that something will be left off. Plan about 30 minutes. It will probably be less, but you should make that time.

 

Winter – The Best Time To Move

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Moving Costs by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

oak-trees-a-clear-winter-dayFor a moving environment, you really can’t beat the Bay Area. During the summer, the weather is almost always dry and sunny and during the winter, well, the worst we see is rain. Despite that, fewer people move in the winter, even in the Bay Area.

If you have school children, moving during the winter might not be a viable option, but if you don’t or if you are moving within the same school district, a winter move can give you a lot more flexibility than a summer move.

Summer is by far, the busiest moving season. What that means to most people is that movers tend to get booked up fairly quickly and as a customer, you have little room for negotiation.

During the cooler months, all of that changes. Movers need you more than you need them, or so it seems. You should have a wide option of availability and the movers themselves will be less harried. Winter is also the best time to negotiate a deal, but you want to be careful. Too good a deal is still too good a deal, whenever you decide to move. So, here are a few tips to ensure that your winter move is a good value rather than just cheap:

1. Do your homework. Some movers are going to be desperate this time of year, but not the better ones. Good movers have enough of a following to keep them in business year-around. Get referrals. Check Yelp, Angie’s List and the Better Business Bureau. Even a cheap move can be a ripoff if the mover is sloppy, inexperienced or even crooked.

2. Don’t trust too good a deal. Believe it or not, the profit margin on moving is very slim. A mover has to pay for gas, for the movers, for many materials used throughout the move and for other overhead. More than 20% off is usually an unrealistic figure with some exceptions. Either they will get it in other ways, like claiming that you didn’t uphold your part of the deal or they will cut back on quality.

3. If you do get a better than 20% off deal, find out why. There are times when giving fantastic deals is to the mover’s benefit. For example, if they have a move being delivered in your area, it might be better off for them to get some money for moving you back to their home base than for the truck to go back empty. For deals like this to work, generally you have to be very flexible with pick-up and delivery dates. In other words, fantastic deals generally require some give and take. Question a mover who offers you such deals without the give and take.

4. Don’t be too impressed by 60% or more off on a long-distance move. I’ll let you in on a little secret. For moves of more than a few hours away, most movers charged based on what is called a tariff. The vast majority of reputable movers use the exact same weight-based tariff, then they discount based on that tariff. The average discount is about 60%. It’s unnecessarily complicated, I know, but that’s how the industry works.

If moving in the winter is out of the question for you, it’s never too early to prepare for a spring or summer move. Before listing your home for sale, you should consider readying your home by storing all clutter and furniture that it mismatched or not in pristine condition. Ask about winter storage specials too. You might be shocked at the deals you can get.

Happy Veteran’s Day From Ninja Movers

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

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On this Veteran’s Day, Ninja Movers would like to take a moment to thank the brave men and women who have served our country. It is because of you that we have the freedoms that we so often take for granted.

In honor of our nation’s veteran’s Ninja Movers would like to announce that from this point forward, all American military veterans will receive a 10% discount on all moving services. It’s the least we can do.

For now, here are some fascinating facts about Veteran’s Day. For example, did you know that it wasn’t originally called Veteran’s Day? Here’s the video:

10 Things You Might Not Think About Before Moving – But Should

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving, Preparing for a move by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

It’s fairly easy to find advice on the obvious aspects of moving, like packing or hiring a mover, but there are several things that most people don’t think about and they can make the difference between a predictable and even pleasant move and a moving disaster. If you follow these few tips, your move might not be perfect, but you could be saved a lot of headaches.

1. Talk to your cities – You should contact both your current city and the city where you are moving. You should also speak to your management company or landlord if you rent and your homeowner’s association if applicable. Many cities and neighborhoods have ordinances regarding where moving trucks can park and what hours they are allowed. Some require permits. Be as specific as possible and exaggerate the time needed – it’s always better safe than sorry.

2. Talk to your neighbors – Many vigilant neighbors are on-guard for things like moving trucks. They are common tools of burglars. Neighbors can be very helpful during a move, even if it involves small things like them allowing the truck to block a part or all of their driveway. You also want to make sure that the street in front of your home is as clear as possible. That might require asking your neighbors to move their cars.

3. Try to schedule your move outside of rush hour – Most movers charge a flat fee getting to your move and returning from your move (unless you are moving out of your metro area), but you will be charged for the time traveling between homes.

4. Prepare your electronics – Always back up your computers. If you are packing your own electronics, remove CDs and DVDs. They are best packed in their original boxes with the original packing material, but you should always make sure they are packed securely and that nothing can move.

5. Prepare your appliances – If you have gas appliances, they should be disconnected by a professional. Most moving companies can recommend a profession to service your appliances. All appliances should be emptied and cleaned. Remove shelves and drawers from your refrigerator.

6. Make sure your appliances are compatible with your new home – Not all homes have gas lines for dryers or for ranges. If not, you might have to either install a gas line or purchase new appliances.

7. Don’t pack items that can’t be moved – The general rule of thumb is that if it’s flammable, corrosive or explosive, a moving company can’t move it. You can move non-corrosive cleaning fluids, but even those are prone to leak. They are best either left behind or transported in your own vehicle in a plastic container. Return your propane tank to the store. Some stores will be able to issue a certificate for an exchange in your new city.

8. Don’t pack small valuables – You should move all valuable jewelry, money and papers yourself. Valuable art and antiques can be handled by a reputable mover.

9. Measure the rooms and doorways in your new home – Often, people move their home full of furniture only to find that their oversized sofa or refrigerator simply doesn’t fit – either in the room or even through the door. If you have concerns as to whether your furniture will fit through the doors, contact your moving consultant. It could require a visit to your new home or at least a few measurements.

10. If possible, get rid of the children and the pets for the day – If you can have your children and your pets stay with family members or friends for a few hours, you might save yourself and the movers a lot of headaches. If you don’t have friends and family that can help, you can always contact child care and pet day care facilities. If that is out of the question, keep them out of the way as much as possible.

 

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