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How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part Three (Short Hauls)

in Local moving, Long-Distance moving by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

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Short hauls, or moves less than about 250 miles or within the same state from the origin, are, in the eyes of a moving company, sort of a strange breed. They are a hybrid between a long distance and a local move.

Unlike with a long distance move, a short haul is typically delivered in the same truck and by the same crew as when it was picked up. With long distance moves, you generally have to wait days or weeks for delivery (because shipments need to be consolidated) but with short hauls, delivery is typically made the next day.

However, unlike with a local move, short hauls are not charged by the hour. They are charged similarly to how long distance moves are charged – by a formula of weight and distance. If a moving company tries to charge you by the hour for a short haul, run as fast as you can. It’s one thing to run into a 30 minute traffic jam between San Jose and San Francisco. It’s quite another to run into a several hour traffic jam between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

You also want to avoid companies that charge by volume. There are too many variables in the way movers can pack a truck and frankly, there are too many ways to cheat a customer if they are paying by volume.

Since you are being charged based on the weight of your items, it’s imperative that you have a representative of the moving company come see everything that is being moved. Ask your moving estimator if he or she can give you a guaranteed or binding price.

If you do need storage between pick-up and delivery, most moving companies have that service available – at an extra charge. You will also have to pay for the time involved in unloading and reloading the truck, which is normally done fairly quickly.

 

 

See How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part One (Local Moves)

See How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part Two (Long Distance Moves)

See How Moving Costs Are Calculated – Part Three (International Moves)

 

 

How To Choose A Mover – Part One

in Uncategorized by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Image from SF Gate

Image from SF Gate

If you mention you are moving to a group of friends, you’ll probably hear a variety of stories – mostly bad. Of course, people tend to tell their bad stories before the good (a.k.a. non-eventful) ones, but despite that little quirk of human nature, moving nightmares could probably fill a library. A little preparation and knowledge is all you really need to ensure that while your friends are regaling you with their own tales of moves-gone-wrong, you can comfortably sit back, knowing that you really had a pretty good, albeit boring, experience.

It’s suggested that you get three estimates for your move but it’s likely that once you request moving estimates online rather than through an individual company, you’ll be barraged with enthusiastic movers. Personally, I would recommend doing a little homework and targeting three companies specifically rather than plugging information into a ‘lead source’ that broadcasts your information to random movers. So how do you find a good mover?

When you ask your friends about positive moving experiences, you might be surprised at how many will raise their hands to suggest a mover. That’s a good start, but you’ll want to investigate a little deeper. Try Yelp.com or AngiesList.com for more referrals or to research a reputation a little deeper.

Remember that different movers have different specialties. If you are moving across the country, you might be drawn to one of what are called, ‘major van lines.’ Major van lines are the big guys and their names have been around for decades. Despite the fact that you see a lot of trucks with their names doing local moves, the van lines themselves only do interstate moves. I’ll get to more on that in a bit. The advantages to major van lines is that they tend to be fairly well-organized and they are usually on the up and up. The disadvantages are that because they only do interstate moves, they often give you big windows of timing on both pick-up and delivery and they often charge large fees for any sort of storage or for a specific pick-up date. If you have any issues after your move, you might find you have to jump through some red tape.

You might see some companies who include “van lines” in their name but they are not considered one of the major van lines. Some of them might operate similarly to the major van lines, but some of them might not. If you are looking for a major van line, see how long a company has been in business. You can find this information through the Department of Transportation – ask for the van line’s DOT number or MC number (as opposed to the local agent’s DOT or MC number). If it’s less than 30 years, it is not a major van line. I’m not saying they are a bad company, but they are misleading you if they claim to be one of the majors.

If you decide to investigate some of the smaller names, you might find a lot of advantages, such as flexibility and the fact that you’ll probably be able to reach the same person on the phone throughout the moving process. Personally, I think the best moving experiences happen because of the personal connections you establish when you go with a smaller company.

If you are moving locally, all companies are small guys to one extent or another. As I mentioned, the major van lines only do interstate moves, so even if a truck has their name on it, if you are moving locally (and sometimes if you are moving to the next state over) you are being moved by their local affiliate (or agent). For local moves, the van line and agent have no connection other than the fact that if the agent racks up too many complaints, the van line might drop the affiliation. If you are moving across country, it will probably be the local agent who will be giving you your moving estimate, so it’s always a good idea to check out their reputation in both cases.
Watch for part two next week!

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