Monthly Archives: May 2013

Exiting The Comfort Zone at the CMSA Convention

published by on May 29, 2013For Business

MCR Booth in Action

Even though the 95th Annual California Moving & Storage Association (CMSA) Convention was more than a week ago, I’m still coming down from all the great experiences and even greater folks I had the opportunity to meet.

Being new to the moving industry and to trade shows/conventions in general, I wasn’t sure what to expect as a sales guy and first-time exhibitor. With “booth setup” instructions in one hand and a Mac Book Air in the other – I, along side Mark (our Product Manager) who attended with me, decided to embrace CMSA’s theme of “exiting the comfort zone.”

MCR Booth in Action

Me and Mark ready to meet the CMSA crew in our booth!

Steve, Renee and the CMSA team did an excellent job of packing the conference with great sessions and leaving an optimistic impression among attendees. Now is a great time in moving to try new things and bring a renewed energy to the industry. To take risks and stand out from the crowd (especially those pesky bandits) and to improve the moving process.

Heck, that’s a huge part of why we started  MCR and made the transition from the real estate business. Because we wanted to work with great folks to help move the industry forward. It was great to see such a concentrated effort on the part of industry leaders to innovate. We saw this too at the recent AMSA Conference we attended in March.

Looking back, the biggest takeaway I have from the Convention was learning how CMSA (and all the terrific movers that call themselves its members) is just one big family.

CMSA speakers.

Door prize raffles

I remember setting up the booth and looking across the room at the sea of Sport Coats, and realizing that these were husbands, wives, long-time business partners and former colleagues.  They hugged and laughed and called each other by nicknames. This wasn’t a random gathering, there were genuine companions in the room.

MCR gum truck photobomb! Checking out the events.

MCR gum truck photobomb! Checking out the events.

In my day job, I talk to movers all day on the phone so I was eager to meet them face-to-face and learn more about who they are and what matters to them. After spending a few days with the CMSA crew, I learned a lot and hopefully created great relationships.

Here are some of my favorite moments and notable conversations:

  • “Bernie” or Bernadette Lance of NMS Moving Systems was the first person to stop by the booth and throughout the trip became the person I found myself chatting with about everything from business to our mutual admiration of the beach.
  • Dave Rosenberg of Priority Moving, gave me a firm smile and a handshake and quickly informed me that he’d been in sales for many years. Anyone great at sales recognizes and welcomes the candor of another salesman. I politely accepted the analytical questions and “leg-pullers” Dave asked. With arms crossed and eyes laser focused on my booth, Dave asked the trickiest question in sales, “Why?” I answered confidently  [and scripted]. Mid-sentence was cheerfully interrupted by his second question… “Why?” That time, I summed it up in a sentence. I noticed him cracking a smile and he politely asked “How?” We laughed, he gave me his business card and a few pointers about my pitch, I shook his hand and he continued along the exhibitors.
  • Fred Wallace of One Big Man One Big Truck, pulling up a chair to our booth, leaning back in his chair and asking, “What is MovingCompanyReviews.com exactly?” He laughed and joked about how he had to “take a seat” to view our one minute video explaining our business model. Fred later won a $50 Gift Card our company donated for the door prizes. He greeted me later that night at the beachside dinner with a huge smile on his face saying how he got a massage with the Gift Card. It was awesome!
  • Talking CMSA Cookbook Recipes with Megan and Sean Andersen of Andersen Van & Storage.
  • Bobbing for apples with Linda Bauer Darr of AMSA.

All of these moments, and really all the experiences I had from the Convention and witnessed other attendees having, helped me understand exactly how hard working, fun and united the moving community of the CMSA truly is. Thanks for letting us be a part of it!

 


Going Rogue: How Scammers Are Giving Good Movers A Bad Name

published by on May 15, 2013Before You Move Tips, News

Don't get scammed by a rogue.

We all know someone with a bad move story. We hear things like, “I used the worst mover” or “I would never use that mover again.” There’s a pretty good chance, though, that these people didn’t actually use a real mover.

A mover is a licensed and insured business with a legitimate address and phone number. They have a physical location and will pick up the phone when you call them. Often, a mover has been in business for generations, is active within their community and is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service.

Meanwhile, those guys who advertise on Craigslist or a flyer in the neighborhood with the cheapest price may not be licensed or insured. Real movers like to call these guys “rogues” or “bandits.” If this sounds like it’s right out of an action movie, it’s not so far off. Many states are operating sting operations to try to catch bad guys who are out to rip you off, as you can read about here or even watch here.

Don't get scammed by a rogue.

Don’t get scammed by a rogue.

The rogues ignore state regulations and aren’t covered financially to protect you if something goes wrong. They’ll try to scam you by offering a too-good-to-be-true price and then surprising you with unexpected costs on move day. They may actually change their name multiple times so it’s hard to find out who they really are – some may even steal a real mover’s name or business address.

Sounds scary, huh? It is. But it’s our job to help you avoid the scammers and find good, credible movers who play by the rules and will treat your stuff (and your money) like it’s their own. We’ve done our homework so you don’t have to.

Here are a few basic steps we take to identify the bad guys. Look for future blog posts where we’ll go into even more detail on each step:

  • Identity: Are they who they say there are? The phone number and address they post should reach a real company that answers the phone with the name of that business.
  • License & Registration: Do they have the appropriate state and interstate licenses? We’ll provide more detail in a future blog post, but most states require some sort of license which you can typically look up online. We’ll do this for you. Just check the “fine print” section for each listing.
  • Insurance: Do they have the necessary insurance? Again, most states require that this is posted publicly, and we’ll help you identify if they meet the minimum.
  • Real Consumer Feedback: What’s been the experience of others using the company? Check out consumer reviews and be prepared for what you might encounter with a company. All of our reviews are verified, so you can trust that they came from a real consumer for a real move.

Soon we’ll be posting badges next to each company listing on MCR so you can quickly see which companies passed the steps above and which didn’t.

Moving doesn’t have to be scary. There are thousands of excellent movers out there. We’re here to help you find them.

If you have any suggestions for how we can make this even easier, let us know at support@movingcompanyreviews.com.


Review Your Mover And Get Pizza

published by on May 14, 2013After You Move Tips

Moving season is upon us! Millions of Americans move between Memorial Day and Labor Day, at the height of peak moving season. Are you planning to be part of the “mass exodus” this summer?

If you’re hiring movers to help with your move, we want to hear from you!

As part of our mission to help people find great movers on MovingCompanyReviews.com, we want to hear about your real experiences. We want the good, the bad and yes, even the ugly. You’ll have our undying gratitude, and a free treat to help you unwind after a successful move.

In partnership with Xfinity, every verified mover review you submit between May 20 and July 31 will be rewarded with a $10 Domino’s Card eGift.

Recently moved? Review your mover starting May 20 and be sure to upload your move receipt or Bill of Lading. We only post real reviews from real moves.

Moving before July 31? Sign up for a move reminder on our site and we’ll remind you a few days after your move to come back and review your mover. You’ll get your pizza as soon as we verify your review.

Moved a while ago and still have your move receipt? Great! Review your mover starting May 20 and you’ll be eligible for your pizza fix too.

Thanks for helping us deliver real reviews and creating happy moves. Hope everyone has a safe and happy move!

*Official Rules and Restrictions

First 1000 persons to submit a verified review of one of the participating moving companies via an applicable submission page on or before 6/30/2013 will receive an eGift Card worth $10 at Domino’s pizza. Moving receipt, bill of lading or other verifiable move document (each a “Move Receipt”) must be submitted with review; Terms of Use at http://www.movingcompanyreviews.com/terms apply. Open to U.S. residents 18 and older with domestic moves only. Limit 1 coupon per Move Receipt. Sponsor, Domino’s Pizza, LLC, and their employees, franchisees, members, officers, and agents will have no liability for claims or damages of any kind related to this promotion, including without limitation the use of or inability to use any eGift card.  Sponsor: MovingCompanyReviews.com, a division of HomeFinder.com, LLC, 20 N. Wacker, Chicago, IL 60606.

Any questions about qualifications or reward fulfillment, contact support@movingcompanyreviews.com (not your moving company).

 


What I Forgot During My Move

published by on May 13, 2013Before You Move Tips

Having gone through a recent move, I know how stressful the weeks leading up to and moving day can be. To help alleviate that stress for others, I took notes on some of the things I wish I had known about before I started packing.

Hold On To Your Keys – this seems like an obvious one but when you’re moving nothing is in its usual place. Be sure to keep your keys in your pocket or in a designated area otherwise you might be digging through boxes looking for them.

Garbage Bags, Everywhere! – When we were moving, these went fast! We obviously used them to take out garbage, but they also made for a cheap and convenient way to protect pillows and blankets as they went into boxes.  We used so many that when we got to our new home we were all out. I’d suggest either having a back up supply or ordering some online to meet you at your new home.

Cleaning Supplies – A lot of cleaning supplies are aerosol or caustic and were not allowed to be packed into our moving truck with us. We ended up giving all of these to a friend as the other option was throwing them away. I found it was really helpful to keep a list of these to make sure we could buy all of the ones we were now missing when we got to your new home.

**Helpful hint: As we discarded or used up items that couldn’t be brought with us, I found it very useful to keep a running list on the Amazon iphone app under their “Wish List” tab. That way I was ready to order all of the replacement items and have them waiting for me at my new address.

Disconnect Utility Services In Advance – All of our utility companies let us schedule our service disconnect which was really helpful to do a couple weeks in advance and not have to worry about paying for services we were no longer using.

Change of Address – Another no brainer which is easy to take care of weeks before your move. The USPS lets you set the date to start forwarding items to your new address after your move date, so go ahead and schedule this as soon as you have an address. That way you won’t miss any important mail! Start here.

Help me make this list better and share some of your helpful hints from your moving experiences!


5 Things We’ve Learned about Moving So Far

published by on May 10, 2013Before You Move Tips, News

Lessons Learned

It’s been three months since our soft launch. Since then, we’ve attended two moving industry conferences – FMWA (Florida Movers and Warehousemen’s Association) and AMSA (American Moving and Storage Association), talked to more than 100 moving companies, started collecting consumer reviews and released several consumer features to help further our mission to be THE resource for consumers to find a great mover.

Lessons LearnedBefore launching MCR, our team’s knowledge of the industry was based primarily on our own experiences – good and bad. We don’t claim to be total experts (yet) but we wanted to share a few things we’ve learned in our first few months.

1. Moving requires some homework

Switching cell phone carriers. Finding a babysitter. Buying a new car. Choosing a vacation spot. Big decisions require research. Would you buy a new car or pick a hotel without reading reviews? Would you change your phone carrier without researching coverage area and costs? Would you hire a sitter for your kids without checking their references?

Same goes for moving. Before you trust someone to handle your stuff, spend a little time researching your options – read reviews, check credentials and talk to the company. Because cheaper isn’t necessarily better when it comes to your prized possessions. See Point #2.

2. Cheaper isn’t always better

Moving can be a big cost. Especially when traveling out-of-state. According to the American Moving & Storage Association, the average cost of an interstate household move is $5,630 (based on an average weight of 7,100 pounds and an average distance of 1,220 miles).

It’s easy to want to save a little money on your move. After all, it’s way more fun to put that money toward furniture for your new place. But think of your move as an investment – in your stuff and your sanity.

We’ve read reviews of regret and reviews of praise. Before you pick the cheapest option, consider how you’ll feel sipping that iced tea after your move is completed within budget. Peace of mind may be more affordable than you think.

3. DIY is cool…unless you’re moving

We’re all for doing stuff ourselves. Members of our team have been known to sew their own curtains, install their own wallpaper, and build their own furniture, but we know when to leave the work to the experts.

Move with a great mover and you’ll never think twice again about doing it yourself. These guys are professionals. They know how to lift and pack better than most of us ever could. One member of our team watched his mover put a dresser – filled with stuff – on his back and carry it down 3 flights of stairs (twice!).  Instead of “paying” your loyal friends with pizza and beer for helping you move, save those treats for your housewarming party and spend the moolah on a mover. Your back, your friends, and your partner or roommate will thank you for it.

4. People want to talk about their moves

Ask anyone who’s had a bad move and you’ll get an earful. But talk to someone who’s had a great move and they will sing their mover’s praises, share that name with their friends and pat themselves on the back for having made such a good decision. We’re excited to get more reviews from people like you – so please, come back, and tell us how it went. And don’t be shy. We want all the gory…and good…details.

5. It’s a new frontier

We saw a problem. A void. An opportunity. Moving is hard and no one was making it easier. We know the online space and knew we could make it better for moving [read our start up story]. As anyone at a start-up will tell you, it can be frustrating, time-consuming and stressful, but it can also be loads of fun figuring stuff out as you go, and pitching in as a small team. We’re three months in and aren’t tired. We have a long list of stuff we want to do and we’re pretty psyched to do it. We hope to share lots of great news with you in the coming months.

 

 


Meet The New Kid On The Block – MovingCompanyReviews.com

published by on May 8, 2013News

A Bumpy Start (literally!)

A faulty fuel gauge. An endless expanse of rural Alabama highway. A moving truck full of stuff…

And out of gas.

You’ve probably heard your fair share of moving horror stories. This one happens to be our CEO Doug Breaker’s. It happened almost 15 years ago and he ended up having multiple Oregon-Trail-style setbacks along his solo trek from Alabama to Chicago.

Think transmission failure, multiple visits from a few UHaul mechanics, hours of being stranded on the road and topping out at 55 MPH the whole ride back to the Windy City. (Seriously, we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried. More to come on this story in a later post)!

Doug still remembers his frustration with how confusing it was to find a good mover then (and not really knowing if he could afford one), before he decided to rent a truck on his own and make the now ill-fated cross country haul back to his hometown.

His story, and all of yours, is the reason why we started MovingCompanyReviews.com.

From finding trustworthy movers, getting reliable estimates, planning your move and everything in between – moving is still hard. And unfortunately, the horror stories are still coming.

Last year, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported 3,100 consumer complaints against moving companies (up from 2,900 from the year before). That’s not counting the 9,000+ complaints against movers received by the Better Business Bureau.

To Moving Forward

After more than a decade of building HomeFinder.com (now a top national real estate site), to help people with their home search, we wanted to help make moving easier and move an industry forward.

So that’s how we began. MCR Logo

MovingCompanyReviews.comA few of the HomeFinders hopped over to the MovingCompanyReviews team, we hired a couple more amazing team members and started building the site we’d want to use next time we move.

We believe behind every happy move is a great mover, so we’re making it easy for you to find the good guys to trust your stuff with.

This means we’re doing our homework so that any time you search for movers on our site, you’ll know if they’re properly licensed and insured, if they belong to any state or national associations (usually a sign that they’re super credible), if they have prior complaints and much more. Tons of great info to help you make an informed decision about your move.

And we don’t want you to just take our word for it. Reviews are at the core of what we do (duh, it’s in our name)! MovingCompanyReviews.com is the only moving site with verified reviews of moving companies.  Any review you see on our site is from a real person talking about a real move. We know because we either confirmed the move with a Bill of Lading (move receipt) or we called your mover.

Extra! Extra! Read All About It.

We’re a small crew of six on this journey to help change the moving industry and ultimately, make moving easier for everyone involved (people on the move and the movers who move you).

We’ll share our start up adventures as we move along, but this blog really isn’t about us. It’s about you and completely dedicated to helping make your move process smooth and efficient, from the time you start planning your move to making your new digs a place to call home.

We promise to try to educate and entertain (because who really wants to read a boring blog?).

If you ever have questions or suggestions for what you want to see here, give us a shout at support@movingcompanyreviews.com. Let’s move forward together.