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How Many Movers Do You Need For Your Move?

in Local moving by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

One of the biggest misconceptions in moving is that less is better when it comes to manpower. On one level, it makes sense. For local moves, customers generally pay per hour per mover. Fewer movers mean a cheaper move, right? Well, not exactly.

For lack of a better term for the hardworking men and women who pack boxes and lift heavy furniture for 8-12 hours a day, movers are important tools. As any mechanic or handyman will tell you, it you don’t have the right tools for the job, the job won’t get done right.

It’s the same with moving. If you don’t have enough movers, the move will take much longer and it could even end up costing you more. How? For one, tired movers are slower movers, and if they don’t have the help they need, they will become unnecessarily tired.

More than that, though, each mover in a move has a very specific role. One or more might pack. A couple might wrap furniture and another loads the truck.

Sure, too many movers can trip over each other. That’s why a moving company should know as much as possible about your move before arriving. That way they can properly prepare and make your move as fast and as inexpensive as possible.

How many movers do you need?

Naturally, the answer to that question depends on your home. While things can vary (I’ve seen one bedroom homes need five or six movers), here is a general rule:

A typical studio or one bedroom apartment will need two movers (one mover is a very bad idea and generally never done, even for tiny moves).

Two and three bedroom homes generally need three to four movers.

Four bedroom homes typically need four to five movers.

Anything larger than that can vary and will absolutely need an on-site assessment.

There are several variables. If you have a lot of stuff, or if you are very minimalist, things might be different. If you have stairs or if the truck needs to park far away from your front door, an extra mover might be called for. If you have a piano, it might require an extra mover or two. Talk to your moving coordinator.

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 If It’s A Week Before The Move And You Haven’t Started

in Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

You’ve been thinking about it for a while. You’ve hired the mover, you may or may not have begun packing, but you notice the calendar and your moving date is just a week away. Panic begins to overtake you. You look around your current home. Would it be so bad to stay forever? That’s certainly easier than moving, right?

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While things undoubtedly seem overwhelming now, they don’t have to be. Your moving company is here to make things easier for you.

Since it’s just a week before, we’re hoping that you have done some advance prep work. Hopefully, you have chosen the company that will move you and have done your due diligence on making sure you’ve picked a good one (more on that next week). You should have already gathered your medical and veterinary records and have registered your children in school. This would also be a good time to let your insurance company and your banks know of your move. Hopefully, you’ve also transferred your utilities or cancelled the old ones and set up new. Here’s a comprehensive moving timeline. It starts two months out. That doesn’t mean you have to start two weeks out, but it means that in the last week, you will be busy.

If you live by yourself and you don’t have a heavy workload during the week before the move, you might be able to get your packing done. Your moving company will be happy to deliver all the materials you need and they can even show you how to put together the boxes and how to pack each one.

If you have a family and you have to work, things are going to be much more challenging. This is a good time to let your moving company know you aren’t packed. They can pack for you, but they may want to pack a day or two earlier. If that’s not possible or necessary, plan on a long day. You can still pack as much as you can and the moving company will be happy to finish the rest.

The best advice for last minute packing is to pack the easy things and let the movers take care of the breakables and more difficult items. Clothing and books can be packed relatively quickly, although you won’t have time to sort through everything. Don’t feel bad. Plenty of people have moved and then sorted. The cost difference of a handful of extra moved boxes is pretty nominal.

Personally, I’d rather pack than do the moving out cleanup. If you can afford it, you can hire someone to help. If not, rather than begin packing, start pulling things out of cabinets and scrubbing. This will help the movers and it will save you from having to do that scrubbing afterwards. It’s not advisable that you clean any external surfaces before the move. You’ll just have to clean them again.

The bottom line is we live in a great time. We are all incredibly busy, but if you need something done, you can generally pay someone to do it. Contact your moving company. They might have resources, like cleaning people and even painters. They will certainly take the burden of the actual move off your hands.

Featured image via Pixabay.

Moving Companies Band Together To Keep Chargers In San Diego

in Business, Posts by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

The city of San Diego is in a big tub of hot water with its football loving citizens. The city’s team, the San Diego Chargers, announced last week that they will be moving about 115 miles north to Los Angeles and the city’s moving companies are refusing to help.

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So far, 23 companies have created a website called WeWontMoveYouChargers.com, where they are refusing to participate in having “56 years of San Diego Chargers history be pulled out from under (them).” Nine Los Angeles moving companies have also joined the ranks.

“We decree, henceforth, that we shall unite as a perfect union of professional movers in agreeance to not aid the San Diego Chargers’ move to Los Angeles.”

The site, which we fully support, was started by Ryan Charles of HireAHelper. Charles said he’s a lifelong San Diego resident and a lifelong Chargers fan.

“We were just sitting there thinking about the physical move of the Chargers,” Charles said. “We were thinking we would not want to be a part of that, having been born and raised here and being a lifelong Chargers fan.”

Charles added, “It’s almost like the last line of defense. We were making this last statement of loyalty to the San Diego Chargers.”

It’s not often moving companies get political but this is football and it’s personal.

Featured image via SD Dirk/Flickr

10 Signs Of A Really Bad Mover

in Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers 1 Comment

If you’ve ever watched Dateline or read a forum on the moving industry, you learn that there are a lot of bad movers out there. As a consumer, obviously, that’s bad news, but it does give good movers a real opportunity to set themselves from the pack. How does one go about figuring out which one is a bad mover?

Today, we’ll talk about the bad. If you open your eyes, there are plenty of red flags that movers will wave in your face. Unfortunately, most people don’t know what to look for. Here are 10 signs that you should run, run far, from a mover:

10. Their truck is a junker – Sure, there are honest ‘man with a van’ types, but as a general rule, a company that can’t even take good care of its trucks is probably not going to take care of your belongings.

9. Their movers don’t wear uniforms – A uniform, or even just a uniform t-shirt, is inexpensive for a moving company to purchase. People demand uniforms, and they should. For movers, their t-shirt is their company ID. Not only that, uniformity in clothing often indicates a more professional and uniform way of doing business.

8. They refuse to give you a “binding” or “not to exceed” quote – We hear every day, “they put it in writing.” Writing means nothing. Only a binding or not to exceed estimate hold any legal water, and that’s only if every piece of furniture and every bit of packing is inventoried. That means that someone needs to see your place, even if it’s a virtual tour and don’t leave a square inch out. Trust me, you will be charged more if you leave things out. If a mover refuses to do that, though, they are going to scam you.

7. They charge for tape – One of the biggest ripoffs is one of the least significant sounding: tape. Movers use a lot of tape. They tape boxes and even if you do all of your own packing, they use a lot of tape to wrap your furniture in blankets. Rolls of tape can cost $10.00 and up and you have no control over how much a mover uses.

6. They promise you something too good to be true – No mover can move you from California to Florida in two days. It can’t be done. If a mover makes this promise, they are lying.

5. Their price is much lower than others – The moving industry is like every other industry; you get what you pay for. Picking the lowest priced mover will give you either the worst mover or a lying mover. Both are bad choices. The profit margin on moving is very low. There shouldn’t be more than about a 10 percent discrepancy between movers, unless there is a very good explanation, like that there will happen to be a truck in Florida that will be coming back to California and will be empty otherwise. Then, you might get a good deal.

4. They specifically badmouth their competition – There a difference between educating a customer on how to choose a mover and the things to look out for than specifically badmouthing one company. A moving company shouldn’t say anything more than “check their reviews,” or something along those lines. Badmouthing is bad form and it indicates an aggressive mover, which is something you don’t want.

3. Your sales person doesn’t give you his or her cell phone number – If you allow someone to visit your home, the least they can do is give you their phone number. Planning a move is not a 9-5 job. Your move sales person should be available for you, in case of questions.

2. The sales person doesn’t listen – Bad moving companies tend to treat all moves as the same. They aren’t. Your move is unique and a good company will find out your individual needs.

1. They’ve been in business less than two years – Many bad movers come to this country, get a moving license and then lose it a year or so later because of violations. Sure, there are some great startup moving companies and if you do your homework, you can get a great move, but as a general rule, not passing a test of time is a warning sign.

Featured image via Flickr.

Are There Different Types Of Moving Companies?

in Preparing for a move by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

VOLVO_TRUCK_AUG_31_2007_WASHINGTON_BLVD_LOS_ANGELES_IMAGE_PATRICE_RAUNET_HOLLYWOODAs you drive through town or down the freeway, moving trucks are everywhere. Some have big corporate logos, like Allied Van Lines or United Van Lines. Some look almost generic and many have logos you might never have seen. Other than the logos, though, the trucks look very similar, right?

The business side of the moving business is a bit more complex than most people think, although the final product can be amazingly similar. In all good moves, a crew of movers shows up within their designated window. They wrap, pack and move your goods. The company might store your goods before delivering. At the end, no matter what the corporate structure, your move will cost within 10-20 percent of what any other reputable company would charge. So, does it matter to you what kind of mover you choose?

The answer is a not-so-straightforward yes and no. Let’s break it down over the three basic types of movers you might encounter when you’re looking for a bid.

1. Van Lines – Van lines are the big guys. They have names like North American Van Lines and Bekins and Mayflower. While they might not have household names, their logos and their trucks are like a comfortable piece of Americana. You see them on road trips. You see them throughout town and you probably give them little thought, but subconsciously, their names are seared into your brain.

But like all businesses, the bigger name doesn’t always mean better or more reliable. Van lines are franchises. Each company has local agents, or companies, who do the bidding and often do the labor involved. The van line itself only comes into the picture when the shipment is being transported across country. If you are moving locally, the van line has nothing to do with your move whatsoever. You are dealing with a local and often small moving company. Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it simply means that as with all movers, you should do your homework and don’t let a name sell you. Ask for the agent name. Verify their reputation on Yelp and with the Better Business Bureau. Confirm their licensing.

2. Local movers – “Local mover” is somewhat of a misnomer because most local moving companies perform interstate moves as well as local (more on that in a bit). A local mover is one that unlike a major van line, doesn’t have a network of trucks and agencies throughout the country. They are independent. They often (like with Ninja Movers) are owned by people who are involved with the moves and know the customers.

Some local movers have trucks and drivers that run interstate moves and some subcontract out to an independent driver. Either way, the local mover is the one who’s responsible for your move.

3. Brokers – Brokers are a bit of a grey area because brokers don’t perform moves. They set people up with interstate movers. Often, the movers are unscreened by the broker and typically, you have no control over who the actual mover will be. Most of the horror stories you hear about moving companies involve brokers because they tend to promise things that the mover can’t or won’t deliver.

Be very careful when working with a broker. Do your homework. Make sure they are licensed at www.protectyourmove.gov. A broker may not be able to tell you exactly who is moving you, but they should be able to provide you with a list of everyone they work with. Ask for that list and check out each mover. Make sure that someone takes an actual inventory, otherwise all bets are out the window when it comes to the initial quote vs. the actual price paid.

Why Your Move Won’t Be Cheaper With Fewer Movers

in Moving Costs by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

1795763_818068038217889_6419290821201040947_nEveryone who’s on the mover’s end of the phone while setting up a move has heard a version of this question: “wouldn’t my move be cheaper if there were just two movers instead of the three you’re quoting me?” Generally, to the customer’s dismay, the answer is no. Fewer movers can actually result in a more expensive move.

Yes, that’s tough to imagine. After all, you pay by the hour for the each man, right? Yes, that’s true, but to properly answer the question, you have to put yourself in movers’ shoes for just a minute.

Moving companies have a pretty singular goal and that is to move you as efficiently and quickly as possible. While it might sound strange, that a moving company wants your move to go as quickly as possible, it makes perfect sense if you think about how moving companies arrange their schedules. Unless you have a fairly large move, it’s unlikely it’s the only on that the dispatch office has planned for your moving crew that day. It’s always better for a moving company to have two happy customers than to have one unhappy but high-paying customer.

An experienced moving consultant will factor in all aspects of your move. Are there a lot of stairs, a long distance to the truck or lots of packing? If so, it’s better to have a larger crew so the move can be run with assembly line efficiency.

Even if your move is straightforward, the proper number of movers will save you money. Why? It’s simple math. Yes, you are paying an hourly rate for each mover, but you are also paying for the truck. When your moving consultant estimates your move, he or she will be taking a complete inventory of your furniture and boxes as well as an assessment of the moving environment. After surveying everything, the consultant will calculate the number of man hours. For example, your move might require 15 man hours, including pick-up and delivery, and that can be divided up one of two ways:

2 movers for 7.5 hours each or 3 movers for 5 hours each

Either way, you are paying the same in man hours, but the second way will be quicker, and there’s another factor, there’s the truck. If just two movers are sent, you will be paying for two and a half more hours for the truck and the move will be done less efficiently.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t question your mover. You should always question your mover, but don’t always think that an estimate that includes fewer movers will be a cheaper move.

What Is A Moving Broker And Should You Use One?

in Moving Costs by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

In 1980, the moving industry was deregulated. Before that, there were a handful of household names that dominated the moving industry. After deregulation, consumers had a lot more choices, but they also faced a lot of fly-by-night companies with no federal oversight.

Soon after deregulation came another specialty – moving brokers. While, in theory, moving brokers can be a way to separate the wheat from the chaff  – the good guys from the scammers, the reality is that many, if not most brokers have made it more difficult for customers to find good moving companies.

If you go online and fill out a form that offers three moving quotes, you are contacting a broker. They might tell you that they have pre-screened each moving company that they work with, and they might have, but the amount of screening can vary tremendously. Some might check for valid licensing. Very few go beyond that.

Most brokers work with hundreds of smaller moving companies across the country. They collect customer “leads” and distribute them to around three or so of their customers. The moving companies pay them for this service. You will then be contacted from the three moving companies and there is where you’ll be able to differentiate between good brokers and bad.

With a good broker, you’ll always know the names of the moving companies they are sending you. Even if you are moving out of state, your mover should be local and you should ask them if they are performing the move. Many times, a broker will send you a local mover to do an estimate, but send you an out of state company to perform the move.

Hiring a broker doesn’t eliminate the burden of doing your homework. You want to thoroughly research each and every moving company. Far too often, fly-by-night companies get all their business through brokers. Brokers are typically not responsible for anything that happens during or after the move. Check the mover’s licensing yourself. Check their reputation on Yelp and check with the Better Business Bureau. Ask each mover if they will be handling or at least taking responsibility for the move and get that in a written contract. Many legitimate movers subcontract some services, but they always take full responsibility. Here are more tips on choosing a mover.

In general, going through a moving broker is a risky approach. Most do not provide onsite estimates. Most give just general information to each moving company and the companies bid based on very limited data. For example, they might only know that you have two bedrooms and two baths, but they don’t know that you have stairs leading to your home or that you have a lot of belongings.

A binding or guaranteed price is very rare through a broker and even if they do provide it, there are so many caveats that it will almost always be broken. The ONLY way to get a truly guaranteed price with a mover is to have the mover do a complete, onsite inventory.

In the end, a moving broker might seem like a convenient way to choose a mover, but it really doesn’t save you any work. It’s just as easy to log on to Yelp.com and pick highly rated movers and do your homework from there.

 

 

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