Monthly Archives: June 2013

5 Things to NOT Pack In Your Moving Truck

published by on June 27, 2013Before You Move Tips

When using bright tape isn't enough, use your head: pack smart and safe!

It’s important to keep safety in mind when moving. With all those moving parts, dressers and appliances travelling up and down stairs, kids bouncing around and heavy boxes being lifted, it’s a lot to keep track of to make sure nobody gets hurt. But before you get to your house, don’t forget that what you put in the back of the moving truck can also be risky in certain conditions.

The cargo container can get hot very quickly, especially so during the summer moving season. This can cause many types of chemicals and other products to react in dangerous ways, potentially endangering the moving crew and putting your stuff at risk. Keep these safety tips in mind when it comes to loading up the truck and avoid packing these items.

Don’t try and bend the rules to fit the following items on board:

1. Cleaning products – Bleach and all sorts of other household cleaners should never be placed in the moving truck. These kitchen cleaners may seem harmless, but they can present a serious risk when shaken around together in a box.

2. Car batteries – For those of you fortunate enough to never have dealt with a leaky car battery, the fluid can disintegrate fabrics and damage anything it comes in contact with. Not exactly the type of thing you want next to your children’s clothes, no?

3. Ignition fluids – Again, the moving container can get very hot, very fast. Anything that’s used to light fires like light fluids, flammable gel, etc. should be kept away from your moving truck.

4. Fertilizers/Weed Sprays – An often overlooked fire hazard, many fertilizers and other gardening chemicals are highly flammable. These are a risk the same way your cleaning supplies can be.

5. Ammunition – It should be obvious that the hot moving truck is a terrible place to put bullets. If you must bring them, bring them with you in the car with air conditioning. Follow all firearms safety guidelines when transporting your weapons.

Bottom line: don’t sweat the small stuff, all these items are replaceable. A happy move starts with safety.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.net 


Moving Lingo – Talk The Talk Like A Pro

published by on June 18, 2013Before You Move Tips

We all wish moving could be as simple as pick up, delivery, payment – and everyone walks away happy. But back on planet Earth, moving nightmares happen. Happy moves do too. So what can you do to secure your own moving day happy ending?

We believe doing your homework, being well prepared and partnering with a terrific mover is all part of the magic behind a happy move. And it starts with arming yourself with the right knowledge to avoid common moving scams and gotchas.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) created a booklet, Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move, to help you do just that. It’s chock full of goodies that can protect you from fraud and many moving headaches. At 25 pages, it’s pretty lengthy and might make you feel like getting acclimated to the moving process is like getting tossed in the deep end on day two of your swimming lessons.

We’ll do our best to break down some of the most important sections and help demystify the maze of rules to make you a smarter, more educated customer when it comes to the big move… so here we go.

Movers are required to give it to you before you sign anything, but if you want to get a head start on reading it, you can download the PDF at ProtectYourMove.gov.

What could be one of the most important parts of the moving process? The lingo! The moving industry has it’s own unique phrases that are part of the laws that govern the business.

Here are some you should understand and will likely come across often as defined in Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move and your interactions with movers:

Order For Service – The document authorizing the mover to provide all of the services described in your mover’s estimate.

Inventory – The detailed list of your household goods showing the number and condition of each item.

Bill of Lading – The receipt for your shipment and the contract for its transportation.

Binding Estimate – This is a written agreement made in advance with your mover. It guarantees the total cost of the move based upon the quantities and services shown on the estimate.

Non-Binding Estimate – This is what your mover believes the cost will be, based upon the estimated weight of the shipment and the services requested. A non-binding estimate is not binding on the mover. The final charges will be based upon the actual weight of your shipment, the services provided, and the tariff provisions in effect.

Flight Charge – An additional charge for carrying items up or down flights of stairs.   Charges for these services may be in addition to the line-haul charges.

Individual Shipper – Any person who:

1. Is the shipper, consignor, or consignee of a household goods shipment;

2. Is identified as the shipper, consignor, or consignee on the face of the bill of lading;

3. Owns the household goods being transported; and

4. Pays his or her own tariff transportation charges

[In other words, this is you!]

Advanced Charges – Charges for services performed by someone other than the mover. A professional, craftsman, or other third party may perform these services at your request. The mover pays for these services and adds the charges to your bill of lading.

Reasonable Dispatch – The performance of transportation on the dates, or during the period of time, agreed upon by you and your mover as shown on the Order for Service and/or the Bill of Lading. The term “reasonable dispatch” excludes transportation provided under your mover’s tariff provisions requiring guaranteed service dates.

The complete moving glossary can be found at the end of your Rights and Responsibilities booklet, and there are more detailed definitions stored here at ProtectYourMove.gov. With a little reading up, you’ll have the tools you need to put together a happy move. Check back with us soon for more Rights and Responsibilities tips from the MCR team.

 


Tips For Navigating Your New Neighborhood

published by on June 17, 2013After You Move Tips

The boxes are finally gone and your house has shifted from cardboard castle to proper home. Time to get your bearings and familiarize yourself with your new neighborhood!

If you’ve moved a long distance, chances are you’re headed for a new moving challenge: replacing all of your old haunts and services, which might include a flurry of paperwork, membership applications, web searching and meeting the neighbors for local tips. Not sure where to start on your recon mission?

Here are 5 Must Know Places In Your New ‘Hood

1. Emergency services – Hospital, police department, and fire stations. Being responsible and knowing where to go in case of an emergency is a must, even more so for newly arrived families. It’s also not a bad idea to know where the closest health care centers and public safety locations are. Aside from emergency care, know the direct line to the local police and where to find a new doctor or dentist.

2. Grocery store – Unless you plan on always eating out, look up a few local grocery stores to stock up on food and goodies at home. Grocery stores also tend to be a hub of local day-to-day happenings, so check out a bulletin board or a city newspaper to hear the news about town.

3. Child care center and schools – Search online to research childcare providers and schools in your area. If you live near your school, take a walk with your child to their bus stop or to their school to get an up-close impression and help your child acclimate to the new area.

4. Recreation center/gym – For those times you need to blow off some steam or just work on your fitness, many cities offer membership programs into community centers with gyms, swimming facilities, and other options. For the children, a lot of cities run municipal summer camp programs which can help your kid meet some new friends, even during summer move season.

5. Take out – After another long day of unpacking and organizing, you might just want to skip the kitchen and go straight to delivery. Knowing how to get some food dropped off or where your new fave take-out pizza place is going to be is a key survival tactic in the early stages of the post-move. All in the name of keeping your new kitchen clean for another night right?

Hope that helps, let us know what makes your top places to look for in your new neighborhood. Remember, getting used to the change in scenery can take some time, but you’ll feel at home soon enough!

 


Truck Talks With… AMWAT Movers

published by on June 12, 2013For Business

Gloria Dean Pugh AMWAT

We heart movers. Especially the reputable, trustworthy and all around good guys and gals of moving. Being new to the industry, what better way for us to learn the ropes than chatting with some of the real movers and shakers in the biz?

Every month we’ll feature a different mover in our Truck Talks series. We present you with our inaugural Q & A with Gloria Pugh, CEO of AMWAT Moving Warehousing & Storage. AMWAT is a certified ProMover based in Tallahassee, FL and was this year’s recipient of Move For Hunger’s national Mover of the Year Award.Gloria Dean Pugh AMWAT

MCR: How long have you been in the business?  

Gloria: AMWAT Moving Warehousing Storage has been in business since 1997. Dean Pugh founded the company as “A Man With A Truck.” AMWAT is the acronym for A Man With A Truck.  In 2005, I joined the company as its CEO.

MCR: When did you make the change to AMWAT and what facilitated the rebrand?

Gloria: We rebranded in 2008 due to growth and the original company name was selling the company short of the services it was able to provide.  The company grew and diversified its lines of business to include worldwide household goods relocations, commercial moving, storage, warehousing and logistics management.

MCR: How did you get into the moving business?  

Gloria: Like most young men, Dean Pugh had a pick-up truck and friends would often ask me if they could borrow my “man with a truck.” Dean had a knack for moving all kinds of items so the profession sort of moved into our life.

MCR: What are some of the hardest moving jobs you’ve had to do?

Gloria: Curiously, the hardest moving jobs have not been the physically challenging but the emotionally challenging. There have been numerous times wherein we have had to move elderly folks out of their lifetime homes (50+ years of lifetime memories) to an assisted living facility.  Often, it’s the family members who are making these life-altering decisions on behalf of the elderly family member because they are no longer capable of taking care of themselves.

Also, divorces can also be challenging specifically when both individuals are present and very emotional.  At AMWAT, we train on a regular basis not just on moving techniques and customer service but also on empathy, compassion, understanding and patience.  Hence, we do not hire day labor because we want to ensure every employee who meets with any of our clients are properly trained to AMWAT’s expectations.

MCR: What are your favorite types of moves?

Gloria: Repeat customers are always fun!  Everyone knows and feels comfortable with each other.  Fortunately, we have a lot of repeat business.

MCR: What is the most interesting or odd thing you’ve been asked to move?

Gloria: Art work, antiquities, scientific equipment, specialty/unique items are always interesting to move.  At AMWAT, our team enjoys the logistical planning aspect, implementing, executing and of course, impressing our clients with our professionalism, efficiency and expertise.

Throughout the years, we have handled some very interesting exhibits. For instance, we received and handled Baroque paintings from the Pinacoteca di Brera museum in Milan that had not been seen in centuries (the experience was surreal); Human Bodies exhibit (very interesting, we actually had our warehouse blessed by Tibetan Monks after we handled this shipment).  Receiving and delivering the Fallen Officer statute to Florida’s Capitol was also an honor for us.

MCR: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see when you arrive at a move job and how can these be prevented?

Gloria: Consumers underestimating all of the details, work, resources and time necessary to pack, load/unload and transport their belongings.  Moving companies like us offer a variety of services; those consumers who can retain a reputable moving company to handle the entire move from packing to transporting have a much easier experience.

However, it is very costly to retain packing and moving services so most folks only retain moving services that involve the transportation of their household goods to a new destination.  Frequently, one of the biggest concerns we have experienced is improper packing of goods.

MCR: What is the one piece of advice you’d give a new moving customer to ensure they could have the best move possible?

Gloria: Hire the services of a reputable professional moving company. It will make the task of moving efficient and ease much of the stress associated with your move.  Finding a reputable, professional moving company is not as hard as you think (yes it takes a little bit of effort but well worth it on moving day).  The best method is word of mouth; we live in a very transient society and surely someone within your family, neighborhood, church, office, etc., has moved and can offer some advice.  Also, social media is a great way to get referrals.

Lastly, if you are going to retain the services of a moving company, hire someone who is trustworthy.  Do not base your decision on price alone.  It amazes us every day to see consumers trust all their valuables to just anyone.

Ask yourself, who else in your circle of confidants have you trusted into your home and given them complete access to every inch of your home? What’s more, these folks know what you have and where you live.  There is a reason the moving industry has an issue with criminal activity; it’s because consumers make it so easy to be victimized.  Please do not just hire anyone, hire someone reputable.

Kudos to Gloria and the AMWAT team for the great business you guys are running! We couldn’t agree more that behind every smooth move is a great mover. That’s a huge part of why we started MCR, to make it easy for everyone to find trustworthy movers and enter move day with confidence.

Stay tuned for more from Gloria and AMWAT’s insider packing tips in a future post, as well as meet our next featured mover in July.

Have questions you’d love to see in a future Truck Talks? Let us know, we’d love to hear from you!

 


Movers vs Brokers, Know the Difference

published by on June 11, 2013Before You Move Tips

Quick question, first-time movers: do you know the difference between a moving broker and a moving company?

Both types of businesses advertise that they can help you move, but they are definitely not the same. Worst case scenario, you might be getting played by a con artist. In any case, we want to help you be clear on exactly what services you’re paying for.

The difference between a moving company and a moving broker is simple.

A moving company (or mover), offers transportation services for household goods. They operate with their own crews and trucks and manage the moving and delivery process from beginning to end.

A moving broker does not perform a move, instead they evaluate the move and sell the job to a moving company. They do not have logistics or labor capabilities. Brokers usually do not have the authority to give estimates on behalf of moving companies.

There are shady characters playing both sides of the moving market, and unscrupulous brokers misleadingly advertise their services as being those of a moving company. Moving brokers are required by law to advertise themselves as brokers and not movers, but that doesn’t stop some from trying to game the system. They may use clever wording to try and fit themselves through loopholes. While many moving brokers legitimately pair customers with trusted movers, there are some who simply search for the lowest bidder and take their cut of the loot.

If you do decide to use a moving broker, keep this Broker Checklist from the  Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in mind.

All HouseHold Goods Brokers Must:

  • Be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)
  • Provide you with the FMCSA “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” booklet and the “Ready to Move” brochure
  • Provide you with a list of the moving companies they use
  • Use only movers that are registered with FMCSA
  • Have a written agreement with movers they use
  • Base binding or non-binding estimates on the tariff of the mover that will transport your shipment
  • Reference in their advertisements their physical business location, MC number, and their status as a broker that does not transport household goods but arranges for this service
  • Have the mover that is transporting your shipment perform a physical survey of your household goods if they are within a 50 mile radius of the mover or its agent’s location, whichever is closer. It is your option to waive this requirement.

The best defense against a moving disaster is to not have one at all. Please do your homework and protect your move. If we can help, let us know at support@movingcompanyreviews.com.

Happy and safe moving!

 

 


The Long Road Awaits: Moving With Your Vehicle

published by on June 5, 2013Before You Move Tips

IMG_3256

Moving poses many different challenges. Are you going to hire a big van line? Will you need storage? When is your new home going to be ready? With all these issues to deal with, it’s easy to lose sight of another potentially important decision for one of your largest possessions: your car.

Literally right in the middle of our move

Literally right in the middle of our move

Your car can be tough to live without, especially in the middle of a major transition like a cross-country move. It can be the best way to get around and also serves as your command center on the road. When my fiancee and I made the move from Chicago to Santa Monica, we ultimately decided to drive ourselves.

Here are some tips from our personal experience that may help you make the decision on driving yourself or shipping your car.

We had our possessions shipped in a container to California and hit the road. Shipping your things is usually done through a portable storage unit company, many of which specialize in caring for and delivering households on the move. Depending on the company, you might have to pack the container yourself but the company will deliver your unit to your destination.

If driving cross country is not your thing, you can also consider packing your essentials into a suitcase and flying out. There are different ways to get your car from point A to point B without having to drive. Car shipping companies are one option, another one is a driveaway service. A driveaway service is where you leave your car with a hired driver, paying a base rate for the driver and sometimes compensation for fuel and mileage.

We did our homework before our move, and there are a lot of great deals out there. If you choose to have a second party transfer your vehicle, check with your insurance provider to see if there are any special policies for automobile shipments.

Santa Monica Route 66 end

At the end of our journey!

We ended up having a great time taking Route 66 from beginning to end. We planned ahead and brought stuff in the car like the internet router and bedding that helped make the first few nights at the house a little better. I hope that whatever choice you make, your move turns out as well as ours!

BONUS – You’re going to need a pick-me-up at the end of a long trip. Review your mover before June 30 and receive a $5 Starbucks eGift Card!

 


10 Stress Busting Tips For A Happy Move Day With The Kiddos

published by on June 4, 2013Move Day Tips

happy move day

To put it lightly, moving day is going to be insanely busy. Add kids to the mix and you have a lot to worry about. Here are some ideas to keep the whole family happy and calm on an otherwise chaotic day.

happy move day

Make Move Day happy for the whole family.

1. Have the kids decorate their boxes

Give your kids some stickers and markers and let them make the boxes their own. Just be sure their name/room is readable for you and your movers. Make sure there is no question which room gets their sheets or their favorite toys.

2. Pack a first night box

Remember that aside from basic essentials, your child probably has special items that would go a long way to making them comfortable in their new space. If little Bobby can’t sleep without his five favorite stuffed toys and blanket, make sure these are easily accessible along with these other common favorites:

  • Pajamas
  • Favorite toys
  • Favorite books for bedtime
  • Favorite snacks
  • Nightlight
  • A sheet or temporary window covering if their new room has different conditions than what they’re used to
  • Clothes for the next day

3. Give them a job

Making them part of the team lets them feel like they have an important role and keeps them busy and focused. Jobs like watching the family pet, giving the movers water bottles or wiping off surfaces in the new place will keep their minds off of the confusion of arriving in a new place.

4. Leave a surprise for them in their room

If possible, have their favorite stuffed animal or toy unpacked and waiting for them in their room when they arrive. Print a sign with their name to post on the door – anything to help the new place feel special and more like home.

5. Put them in charge of the checklist

If they can read, give them a checklist of things to be completed before leaving the old place. Ask them to check rooms to make sure everything’s been packed. If they can’t read, try giving them pictures of stuff to look for.

6. Pack a Move Day Survival Kit

You’ll need one too (and yours may involve cocktail fixin’s) but for the kiddos, make sure you have snacks on hand and anything they can’t live without. Keep first-aid supplies available. Make sure you’re prepared for whatever climate you’re moving in, have sunscreen or extra hats and mittens.

For older kids, let them play DJ while unpacking. Anything’s more fun with some happy tunes. With babies or toddlers, take a cooler or insulated box/bag in the car with the food essentials like fruit, milk and formula.

And don’t forget the toilet paper and cleaning supplies (save yourself a run to the store by having these handy items ready)!

7. Hire a sitter or invite a family member to help

You’ll be busy directing the movers to rooms, keeping track of the keys and supervising all critical aspects of the move. If you have a friend, family member or sitter available, ask them to be buddies with your kids for the day. You’ll be more relaxed knowing someone else is keeping them busy and fed.

8. Be ready for a change in schedule

With your family leaving town at once, things might not go exactly as planned. Little ones will probably miss their naps. If the schedule goes off-track, try to make up for lost time and be ready to deal with frustrated kids. Remember, it’s only temporary and you’ll all be enjoying your new home together soon enough.

9.  Don’t forget about the day after

You remembered the First Night Kit, but don’t forget you’ll still be acclimating to the new place in the morning. Hungry kids are grumpy kids. Plan on heading out for a nearby breakfast joint or clearly mark a kitchen box with stuff you’ll need first thing in the morning like bowls and cereal.

10. Have fun!

Create a scavenger hunt or map of the new place for them to check out. Try the neighborhood park or ice cream place. If that last pile of boxes can wait, give yourself a chance to drop the move from your mind and spend time with the family around town. Because it’s not really about the move, but moving forward with new memories.

Happy moving!

Bonus - We know moving is hard and we think you deserve a treat. How does a free coffee sound? Review your mover now through June 30 and we’ll thank you with a $5 Starbuck eGift Card once we verify your review.