Your Long-Distance Move Made Easy: An Interview with Andy Newitt of A-1 Moving & Storage
Thursday, August 14, 2014 | ANDY NEWITT
Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.
A-1 Moving and Storage is a second-generation family owned and operated business that has been in the Jupiter area for 42 years and we have been Interstate Agents for Atlas Van Lines since 1974. Louis and Jean Klause founded A-1 Moving & Storage in 1972, from a small one truck operation with a tiny garage A-1 Moving & Storage has now grown into a 45,000 square foot fully air-conditioned, state-of-the-art facility with multiple trucks of all sizes. We have become the area's most trusted transportation and relocation professionals. As a local, family-owned and operated company, some of the same customers who came to us in our early days still depend on A-1 for their moving and storage needs. A-1 has always depended on our customers, as we place a tremendous emphasis on repeat and referral business.
We are members in good standing with the American Movers and Warehouseman's Association (AMSA), Florida Movers and Warehouseman's Association (FMWA), we are both AMSA ProMovers and Florida ProMovers, we are members of the Jupiter-Tequesta-Hobe Sound Association of Realtors, most of the local Chambers of Commerce as well as many other business and civic organizations around the area. We are licensed with the state of Florida and the County of Palm Beach to perform professional moving and storage services.
Our services include local and long-distance residential moving with dedicated professional movers which includes air-conditioned storage, too. We also specialize in moving laboratory equipment and instruments as some of our customers include the world's best bioscience corporations like The Scripps Research Institute - Scripps Florida, The Max Planck Florida Institute, the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies and the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute to name a few. Additional services we offer include office and industrial moving and industrial logistics services.
Can you walk through a quick timeline for a long-distance move from the estimate to the final move?
The timeline of a long-distance move as I see it, is that a customer will contact a professional moving company requesting an in-home estimate. It is critical that customers get someone to come to their residence to give them a quote so that all of the challenges the movers will face will be known at the time of pricing so that there will be no surprises on moving day. This cannot be accomplished over the phone or through the Internet.
The customer should confirm that the companies they are contacting are licensed in both their state and county to perform moving services and these companies should be members of the national moving association called American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) to be sure that they adhere to a professional code of conduct. One way to accomplish some of what I have written above is to see if the company they are contacting is an AMSA or State "ProMover." This designation is only given to licensed companies and it gives the customer a level of comfort to know that the move will be handled professionally and ethically. Remember, if the price is "Too good to be true," it probably isn't true.
After the in-home estimate the customer should evaluate the estimates and choose the mover they feel most comfortable with, not necessarily by price only but by the level of quality, services, information and professionalism shown to them by the company representative. Once the moving company has been chosen the next round of decisions will need to be accomplished; the packing dates, moving dates, and delivery dates need to be confirmed along with any additional valuation coverage amounts the customer may wish to purchase.
On moving day, do yourself a favor and try to have a friend watch your children and pets for the day, this eliminates one additional stress item you don't need! Try and have water available for the crew if you can and discuss with the driver where the crew may smoke if they do and where you would like trash placed during the day.
Understand that we are all human so there is a possibility that they will need to use your bathroom so please be forward and let them know which one they can use ahead of time. While some moves happen over lunchtime the customer is not responsible for feeding the crew, however if you choose to do so I suggest something other than pizza, various sandwiches from the local food store are usually great.
Once the truck is loaded discuss the driver's schedule with him to see if he has an idea of when in your delivery spread he may arrive. Please understand that drivers will be picking-up and delivering other jobs along the way and by law they cannot drive more than about 600 miles a day, so it may take longer than you think for them to get to your destination.
If you were moving, what would you look for in a potential moving company?
The number one thing to look for in a potential moving company is, are they professional? There are many companies out there but not all of them are professional and you need to watch out for the ones who are just looking for ways to rip you off. Be an educated consumer and check them out, ask your friends and neighbors if they have ever used them.
I like to tell people, "Use the Internet as a reference tool not as a decision-making tool." What I mean by professional is, are they licensed, members of any professional moving organizations, members of a van line, do they have a good reputation, do their documents look professionally printed or are they hand written on plain paper, does someone answer the phone when you call or do you always get a recording, do they answer with "moving company" or do they answer with the company name you expect? All of these things go into who you should choose as your potential moving company.
How accurate are the estimates for long-distance moves? What is guaranteed pricing?
Accuracy is an important question that should be one you ask of all the estimators that come to your residence to give you an estimate. Ask for details on how they estimate, do they go by weight, mileage, cubic space, time, how? Within Atlas we use the weight method and they have a 25% accuracy requirement, meaning the weight the estimator comes up with must be within 25% of the actual weight of your shipment. Our estimators have an accuracy rate of 10.47% over the last year, meaning the weight we estimated has been within about 10½% of what we said it would be, which is quite accurate.
When you ask what is guaranteed pricing I think you are asking me about a binding estimate. This program applies to residential and national accounts, household goods shipments moving within the U.S. (except for Hawaii) or to or from Canada. Under this pricing option, the move must occur within 60 days of the estimate. The charges are based upon the estimated weight and services noted on the estimate. Any additional destination or other charges that are not covered in the original estimate, like storage, shuttles, waiting time or increased valuation coverage may be collected.
What type of insurance/guarantee do customers have that all of their belongings will arrive at their new home in the same condition as before?
In this question I think you mean assurance instead of insurance. If the customer is using a professional moving company as I outlined above, they should be assured that their belongings will arrive at their new home in the same condition as they were when they were picked up. Now you have to understand that some items you own may be old or in a condition that normal wear and tear of travel vibration and movement could cause them to break. Additionally accidents do happen and if something does happen to your goods the professional moving company you are working with will handle your claim using the valuation coverage you signed up for.
Do you have any advice to help people make their move as easy as possible?
To make your move as easy as possible I recommend a few things:
1. Choose a company you are comfortable with, you have to let your "gut" guide you sometimes. If you and your gut are comfortable, then all problems that crop up can be dealt with without any guilty feelings.
2. If a customer is going to pack any boxes on their own, use standard moving boxes, don't use grocery store boxes that are of all shapes, sizes and strengths. The crew can load a truck faster if they are using standard boxes and not trying to fit in an odd sized box or worse yet, a plastic bag of stuff!
3. Once you have packed these standard moving boxes label them - on the side of the box not the top. And label them for the room they will be going into at your new home. This way as the movers are bringing the boxes into your new home they can by placed in the correct room without needing to open the boxes to look at the contents.
4. Once you have packed and labeled the standard moving boxes, stack them to a height so that a mover can "grab" them with a 2-wheeled dolly. Stack them so that the labels are all facing the same way, too. By doing this it will make it easier for the driver to complete his inventory. Additionally, at the new residence the inventory stickers will be in the same location as the box description so that the check-off procedure can go more smoothly.
5. If you are splitting up your boxes, say some to your kids and some to your new home, or some are going to storage while others are going to your temporary apartment, use different color markers for doing your labels to give visual assistance to the different destinations.
6. Know your moving dates and don't plan to be away from your house during those times. This can cause all sorts of problems and possibly additional fees.
7. Pick a closet or small room to place the things you don't want the movers to pack or move, such as your kid's (or your) precious teddy bear, medicines, jewelry, your traveling clothes, luggage, keys, important papers, airline tickets, toiletries, laptop, etc. Put tape on the door to give a visual reference that the items in there do not go.
8. The last suggestion is to talk with the driver. Have a conversation with them so that you both are on the same page with what is going to happen and approximately when. Remember, trucks are mechanical things and they do break down, so plan for the worst and be ready for the best!
What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?
We have multiple methods for someone to contact us, that way they can use the method that is best for them. They can contact us through our website; www.a1moving.com, by phone at 561-625-0600 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.