Category Archives: News

10 Apps to Help Choose Your Perfect Neighborhood

published by on February 6, 2015News

agentapps

Preparing to move comes with many unknowns — starting with the neighborhood. Finding a neighborhood that fits your lifestyle is almost as important as the house you buy. Below are the most important factors to consider when narrowing down your list of possible new hoods.

1. Nearby Amenities

While distance to gas stations, pharmacies and grocery stores might not seem important when starting your search, these amenities will be invaluable after you are settled in. Before choosing a neighborhood, scout the area for the closest grocery stores, healthcare centers and bank locations. All of these factors will contribute to a more convenient lifestyle.

Apps that can help: Werzit (Free, iOS/Android), AroundMe (Free, iOS/Android)

 

2. Local Market Details

You’ve mapped the distance to the nearest Target and Starbucks, but how much do you know about the local real estate market and community? Begin your home search on a site like HomeFinder.com, that includes  important community details and market information. Also do thorough research on the taxes. You might have found your dream house, in your dream area, but the taxes could price you out of the neighborhood.

Apps that can help:HomeFinder.com Real Estate Search (Free, iOS/Android), Mortgage Calculator by Quicken Loans (Free, iOS/Android)

 

3. Transportation Options

Access to transportation (both public transportation and highway access) are an important part of your everyday life. After visiting a prospective neighborhood, drive around the area and note access to major interstates or highways. If you live in a metropolitan area, research what public transportation options are available to you. Using public transit to your advantage can help cut back on costs like gas and general car maintenance.

Apps that can help: Transit (Free, iOS/Android), Moovit (Free, iOS/Android)

 

4. Commute

Does your preferred neighborhood come with a long commute to work, friends or family? Consider if you’re willing to sacrifice the extra time spent on the road for your prime location. Purchasing a home within walking distance to a downtown area might cost more, but in exchange you will have the luxury of a quick walk to town, or easy train access if you are commuting from a suburb.

Apps that can help: Commute (Free, iOS/Android), Waze (Free, iOS/Android), Walk Score (Free, iOS/Android)

 

5. School District

Even if you don’t plan on using the school system, buying a home in a neighborhood with a great school district can benefit you. Purchasing a home in these areas can result in a higher resale value and offer protection from instabilities in the market. If there are school-aged children in your family, look beyond testing statistics and research core competencies, extracurriculars and teacher credentials and support. Learn more about why school district should impact your home search here.

Apps that can help:GreatSchools Finder (Free, iOS)

 

After you find your new locale, use these tips to give you and your family a fresh start in your new neighborhood.


Behind the scenes at MCR: Our chatroom

published by on January 28, 2015For Business, News

main page

Every now and then we like to share a peek at how we do things here at MCR. There’s an important key to keeping the business running smoothly (and why we all look so happy and friendly in our pictures) . It’s our chat room. We use a tool called HipChat for Instant Messaging (IM) and the team shares a room for everything MCR-related. But it’s more than just IM. It give us information, it helps our remote workers feel like they’re here in the office (hello Brock in Minneapolis or Dave with twins at home or Denzell with his new comfy apartment!), it makes us laugh and it helps keep everyone up to date on some of our most important metrics.

Here are just a few examples of how we use our chat room every day:

Canons go off to celebrate when we have a new sale:

Sale

A new sale

Someone – often The Rock – applauds when a mover receives their first quote from MCR:

First RFQ

Mover receives their first MCR Referral (quote request)

We quickly access information, like moving licensing requirements for a certain state:

State license lookup

State license lookup

Our developers share new features with the team when they’re ready to review:

Deployment

Deployment Notification

We see every time a new move is created and which movers the consumer selected. Through these notifications, we know which days are busiest, which cities are on the rise and how far ahead people plan (not much). Most of all, it helps keep our consumers “real” and remind us that we’re helping people plan one of the most important and stressful events of their lives.

New Move

A consumer created a move on MCR

And we have a little fun:

Mic drop

Heading home for the day (mic drop)

 

Caffeinate Me

Caffeine

Ok, a lot of fun and silliness:

Nothing to see here

Silliness

 

As we continue to grow with more consumers visiting our site and creating moves, and more mover customers working with us to grow their business, we’ll keep looking for ways to use our chatroom to keep everyone on the team in touch with the business and our people.

 


It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…Super Mover!

published by on November 17, 2014For Business, News

super mover

The votes are in! We combed through all of our reviews to determine what the highest rated movers on MovingCompanyReviews.com have in common. Check out the traits of the best movers in the biz!

 

Slide1

What makes a super hero mover? (infographic)


MovingCompanyReviews.com Launches to Connect Consumers With Reliable Moving Companies

published by on September 23, 2014News

MovingCompanyReviews.com

Chicago-based start-up shifts the moving industry through technology and transparency

Chicago, IL – September 23, 2014 – MovingCompanyReviews.com (MCR), a site that connects consumers with reliable moving companies, today announces its official launch from a beta period. Shannon Cullins, MCR vice president and general manager, co-founded the moving review site in 2012 with HomeFinder.com CEO, Doug Breaker. MCR was founded as a unit of HomeFinder.com to create happy move experiences for consumers.

MCR was born out of a belief that technology and transparency can improve the stressful experience of moving. MCR uses verified reviews to help consumers make informed decisions when choosing from more than 7,000 listed movers nationwide. MCR visitors are only contacted by the movers they want to hear from and will not receive phone calls or emails from unwelcome movers. Unlike other mover review sites, MCR verifies each review with a bill of lading (mover issued receipt) to ensure it was written by a real consumer, from a real move.

“Our goal is to instill confidence in both the consumer and the mover with the authenticity of a verified MCR review,” says Cullins.

To further confirm authenticity of a mover, MCR displays if a mover has the required state and federal licenses. Mover license rules vary by state, so if a mover lacks the required licenses and/or has demonstrated a history of poor service or dishonesty, MCR will display a caution badge on that mover’s profile.

“MCR works closely with the moving industry to address our challenges and to make it easier for consumers to distinguish the reputable movers from the bad ones,” says Andy Newitt of A-1 Moving & Storage and Chairman of the Florida Mover and Warehousemen’s Association. “On most moving sites, any company can post reviews. MCR researches and confirms that its reviews are written by real consumers. MCR makes it easier for people to find the movers who are most likely to perform a great, professional move.”

MCR also helps consumers streamline the process of getting a mover estimate, by using HomeFinder.com’s listing data to pre-populate home information (beds, baths, square footage, etc.), and suggests licensed movers in a consumer’s area.  Consumers receive free pizza as a thank you on moving day when they use MCR’s easy and automated phone system to review their mover.

For more information on MCR, visit www.MovingCompanyReviews.com.

About MovingCompanyReviews.com

MovingCompanyReviews.com (MCR) connects consumers with reliable moving companies to create happy moves. Through verified reviews and vetted movers on an easy-to-use platform, MCR helps consumers make informed decisions when choosing a mover. Unlike most moving sites, MCR visitors are only contacted by the movers they want to hear from so they won’t be bombarded with phone calls and emails from unwelcome movers.

MCR offers moving companies exposure to ready-to-book consumers. In addition to giving movers the opportunity to respond to reviews, MCR is also the only site that sends free leads to movers when consumers request a quote from them.

MCR is helping to shift the moving industry with its focus on honesty, fairness and transparency. MovingCompanyReviews.com is located in Chicago, Illinois and is a unit of HomeFinder.com.

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MCR Prototypes: Ideas in action

published by on August 27, 2014For Business, News

MCR Prototypes

A peek inside the Idea Machine

You may have heard us say that we’re a “small team.” Well, it’s true – there are just 8 of us (one out on maternity leave) cranking away to make MCR the best moving site around. It’s hard to do everything we want to do with such a small group, but a lean team helps us work quickly and smart. We are constantly debating and prioritizing which new features are going to make consumers happy and drive more business for our mover partners. These are always tough decisions because there’s so much we want to do.

But once a month, we get to roll up our sleeves and join the HomeFinder team in Prototypes Week. Here’s how it works: Someone has an idea and pitches that idea to the company in an attempt to form a team. Anyone in the company can join a team, whether it’s a customer service rep, salesperson or a software engineer. Then, for 2.5 days, the team cranks away at building the idea into a “prototype.”

Prototyping

Jose showing off the team’s project

 

At the end of the week, the teams present it to the rest of the company over beer. Awards are handed out for “Best for Business”, “Best for Technology” and “People’s Choice.”

Real-time chats with hot prospects

This past week, the MCR team swept the awards with their Mover Chat prototype. Here’s how it works:

  • Consumer is searching on MCR for a mover
  • They find a mover they like and can click “Live Chat” to chat with them immediately
Live chat button

Chat Now button

  • Or, they may still be deciding on a mover and ask to chat with an available mover in their area
  • Before initiating the chat, the consumer will provide some basic info about their move

chat opt in

  • The participating mover will see chat notifications in their dashboard and have the opportunity to respond back to the prospect in real-time.

    dashboard notification

    Chat notification in mover dashboard

  • With the chat, they’ll receive the info that the consumer entered – name, move date and contact info – so that they’re up-to-speed when they begin chatting
  • The mover and consumer can chat about things like availability and price and even schedule the move on-the-spot. The consumer doesn’t need to hop on the phone, but the mover still gets to ask the questions they need to price out and schedule the move. Instant gratification!
Chat Transcript in Mover Dashboard

Chat Transcript in Mover Dashboard

Why do we think this is cool? Consumer want quick answers, but movers sometimes complain that consumers – even when they’ve submitted a Request for Quote - are difficult to reach. Voila! Movers and consumers can immediately connect. And participating movers can get a leg up on their competition by being the first to respond.

What do you think of our prototype idea? Would you use it? Share your comments below!

MCR Prototypes

Brock wow-ing the audience

 

 


MCR runs for Move for Hunger

published by on July 21, 2014For Business, News

The MCR team joins other Chicago Movers to run for Move for Hunger.

MoveForHungerCutOutBlk-507c4adaa804c-e1373921805464The MCR team woke up bright & early this past Sunday with other Chicago movers to support Move for Hunger in the Chicago Rock & Roll 5k and 1/2 Marathon. Kudos to all the participants!

Special MCR Awards go to:

  • Jaime: 5th fastest woman in the Sunday 5k!
  • Denzell: 5k newbie
  • Marcus: Also rocked his first 5k AND blew past tons of seasoned runners
  • Dave: Ran a time LESS than his age
  • Shirlee: Biked to/from the race (Marcus gets points for this too)
  • Heather: Got the MCR team out running at 6am on a Sunday
  • Shannon: Fed the team post-race mimosas

Find out how you can support Move for Hunger at their website here or their Facebook page.

The MCR team joins other Chicago Movers to run for Move for Hunger.

The MCR team joins other Chicago Movers to run for Move for Hunger.

 


New! Mover Licensing & Credentials Info

published by on January 30, 2014News

movingcompanyreviews-licensing-credentials

A Step Toward Transparency

News Flash: Most consumers don’t know if a moving company must be licensed for their move, which licenses they legally need, and that the consumer should, as part of their homework, verify a mover’s licensing as part of the hiring process.

USDOT-300x300Movers, state regulators, and mover associations have worked hard to educate the public, but I think we all can agree that there is still an enormous lack of knowledge. Most people don’t know that a moving company must have a special license from the Federal government to move their household goods across state lines. Or that their state might have their own regulations for in-state moves, too. This ignorance is partially what keeps the “rogues” in business, creating a negative view of the industry.

Unfortunately, it’s not a simple task for a consumer to verify licensing for a mover. It’s hard to know where to go for the information, and how to interpret the information — even for us here at MCR!

That’s why we created a new LICENSING & CREDENTIALS section on our Mover Profile pages.

Updates To MCR Mover Profiles

  • State-specific regulations on each mover profile page
  • US Department of Transportation (USDOT) numbers with “verify” link to the Company Snapshot on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) website
  • Display of applicable state license info with “verify” link to the state licensing website or page with licensed movers
  • Display of applicable state mover association and whether or not the mover is a member, with “verify” link to the association membership roster.

First Class Example

Looking Ahead

Of course, the best thing would be for us to just come out and tell consumers: “Mover A has all the right licenses and is up to date as of this very moment; Mover B does not”. We’re getting there.

The various government entities and regulations are complicated, and access to the data is spotty, but we’re doing our best to make this information available to consumers in a way that they can use it. These enhancements will get us moving in the right direction to help consumers understand the licensing requirements for their specific move, know whether or not their mover meets those requirements, and in the end, choose a great mover and have a happy move.

With any release of data of this magnitude, there is sure to be a few things that have fallen through the cracks. Call us out on it! For movers and users of our site, we have a link on every single mover page to allow you to contact us if anything is wrong or missing. Please let us know if you see anything that is confusing.

Coming soon: Mover’s social media links, van line associations, and AMSA memberships. Stay tuned!


You can rely on our MCR Verified Reviews

published by on January 21, 2014News

mcr-verified-review

You may be wondering what’s up with the new “MCR VERIFIED REVIEW” green shield that displays next to every review on MovingCompanyReviews.com. They are there to remind you that this review can be trusted because it’s from a real customer for a real move.

mcr-verified-review

Online reviews in general can be so helpful, but one has to be careful when relying upon them. As consumers, we sometimes think “Hmm, this review looks fake”, and from business owners we hear “All my good reviews are being filtered out as suspicious.” Not a big deal when it comes to choosing a Chicago hot dog place (though trust me, it’s the Vienna Beef Factory Cafe), but in choosing a moving company to whom you must entrust all of your belongings, actual research is super-important.

Here at MovingCompanyReviews.com, we’re taking the guesswork out of reading online mover reviews with the “MCR VERIFIED REVIEW” badge and our review verification process. For consumers, this means we guarantee that the reviews you’re reading (praising and scathing, alike) are from real customers. For moving companies, this means that your reviews submitted by your real customers will be published (and not filtered out).

There are 2 versions of the “MCR VERIFIED REVIEW” badge:

1. “Verified with Bill of Lading”: This means that a Bill of Lading or equivalent was submitted as proof with this review. A moving company should provide a Bill of Lading to each customer upon delivery of their belongings. This document includes the mover name and license info, the move date, the customer name, and signature that the job was completed.

2. “Verified with Mover’s Customer List”: This means that the author of the review was positively identified and matched up against a trusted mover’s customer list. In most cases, a Bill of Lading or equivalent is also provided.

Verifying each review is a lot of work, and unfortunately (at the time of writing) causes us to reject more reviews than we publish, but we think it’s worth it to give you peace of mind. So we mark every review with a “MCR VERIFIED REVIEW” badge to reassure you, and leave the detective work to us.

Do you believe us now? Let us know in the comments or drop us a line at support@movingcompanyreviews.com


Caution: Questionable Mover Ahead

published by on January 16, 2014News

caution badge
Introducing the Caution Badge

To help you choose the best mover, we recently added a new feature to the site to identify movers you should avoid. Other sites have been reluctant to do this out of fear of mislabeling companies and possible backlash from impacted companies. But, our job is to make it incredibly easy for you to find great movers, which also means helping you avoid the bad ones.

It doesn’t get much clearer than this:

caution-blog-post

 

 

 

 

 

We’re doing a bunch of homework on our mover listings so you don’t have to, including checking that they have the licenses required to do the moves they advertise, researching any history of complaints and verifying moving association memberships (generally a sign of a good mover).

But when all is said and done, you just want to know who you can trust. The Caution symbol helps make this incredibly easy.

Our Caution Badge Criteria

A company must meet several of the criteria below to receive the symbol. We’ve found that these companies are riskier choices and warrant significant additional research before making a decision to book with them.

  • Multiple unresolved consumer complaints recorded at the state or national level
  • Company was caught by law enforcement holding goods hostage and/or committing other illegal behavior
  • Negative reviews on MCR and other review sites
  • Mover submitted fraudulent reviews on MCR
  • The address the company advertises cannot be verified and/or does not match what is on the license(s) they claim to possess
  • No state license where required
  • No USDOT/MC license where required (if their state requires, or if they claim they handle interstate moves)

You can read more about our criteria here.

Great movers are behind happy moves. Here’s to helping you find yours!

Any questions or feedback? Send it to us at support@movingcompanyreviews.com.

Movers: We’d love your feedback as well. And if you ever see the symbol associated with a company (yours or otherwise) that you think has been wrongly assigned, or, if there are questionable movers in your market, let us know at support@movingcompanyreviews.com.

 


Happy Moves Just Got Happier: Review By Phone Is Coming

published by on October 29, 2013News

review-by-phone

You just moved another happy customer, and the details are fresh in their mind. It would be a perfect time to collect that feedback, but they don’t have Internet yet and booting up their computer is probably the last thing they want to do.

With our new Review By Phone option (coming very soon!), your customers can now record a mover review right on their smartphone – in about five minutes or less. And get a free pizza for sharing their move story!

Read more…


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