Monday, November 7, 2011

How to Have an Effective Move

If you are planning to move, there are a number of things you can do to control your moving costs. Organization is the key to an economically successful move. Conversely, no organization will ensure that your move progresses slowly, and that you will pay top dollar for your relocation. 

Packing all goods into used liquor cartons is a mistake. They are small, oddly sized, and difficult to load in the truck. They will slow down your mover’s progress.  The rule of thumb is that if they are too heavy for YOU to lift, they are probably over packed. Under packed cartons waste space and cartons should always be packed tight to prevent damages.
    Another grave error shippers sometimes make is to not tape and label cartons adequately. Cartons with folded tops are hard for movers to work with; the loose corners tend to snag. Worse, some shippers fold the bottom of the box, load it full of goods, and tape the top. This is a recipe for disaster. When the mover picks up the carton, the contents invariably spill out on the floor. Proper labeling will insure the movers handle the property properly and get it to the correct location at destination.


    Another thing that will slow the movers down is to pack cartons on move day. Movers are most effective when all YOUR work is done before they arrive. The more you are prepared for your move, the faster the crew can complete the job.

    Make sure the movers have a clear path in the house and outside as well. If movers have to move things out of their way, or clear off furniture prior to moving it time will be lost. Also, make sure the path is clear for the truck to park as close to the residence as possible. More distance to the truck results in more time expended on the job and more cost for you. In addition, if your children are present during the move, you should make sure they are not in the way of the movers or playing around the truck. A truck ramp is not a safe place for child play.

    You should be sure to be at the origin location when the crew arrives, or have a representative available if you cannot be present. There is paperwork that must be signed prior to commencing the job, and your presence at the beginning of the job will ensure the movers understand how the move should progress. You should also be present at the offload, especially if you want to have your goods placed where you want them.

    Have a plan, and share it with the movers. When the movers arrive, you should complete a walk through and show them the complete scope of the move. Movers make a plan and load the truck according to the volume they see. Adding items (or roomfuls) can wreak havoc with the plan and be costly for you, the client. At destination know where you want your goods placed, and make it understandable for the crew. Color coding is great, but names work equally well. Tag the rooms, then tag the furniture and mark the boxes to match. A floor plan is great for each room to expedite handling.


    When you are moving there so much to be done! Often clients assume it would be a great idea to have other services rendered -- painting completed, appliances delivered, cable hookups completed and such -- during the course of the move, since they will be home at that time. Actually, that is a mistake that can be expensive, because the different service technicians will invariably disrupt each other and the movers.

    Make sure the facilities are on at both locations. It is hard, and sometimes impossible for a move to be completed efficiently with no electricity. It can be tortuous for movers to have no access to restroom facilities.

    Be sure to remain sober during the move. Excessive drinking can result in a bad move or worse, a bad accident. 

    In summary, the key to a successful move is organization. Each of the points illustrated here have been violated in our many years in the moving business -- seldom with good consequences. The more YOU do things right, the better and more effective your move will be.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    Moving Rental Trucks

    Often when moving, it is useful to utilize a rental moving truck to complete a do it yourself local move. Some people prefer a combination professional and do it yourself, where they move the small easier items and leave the big heavy stuff for the professionals. In other instances they may choose to use a rental truck for a long distance within the state or even to another state. In any of these instances, or for any other reason you might want to use a rental, it is good be informed about what is available and the differences between the rental truck companies.

    There are even times when professional movers use rental trucks.   Having experienced all of these issues and more in my 22 years as a moving company manager, I have learned quite a bit about the do's and don'ts of rental trucks that I would like to share.

    Currently there are three major national moving truck companies, and each one seems to have a slightly different focus and niche in the market. There are also some smaller, more local oriented truck rental companies should you be looking for a truck that you would return to the same location that you picked it up.

    We gave a comparison overview on our blog for the three big players offering local and one way truck rentals:   Uhaul, Budget, and Penske.

    Deciding on what type of truck to use can also be an overwhelming decision.  We covered the differences between professional moving trucks, freight trucks, and rental movers trucks on our blog here.

    If you want to rent a truck, how do you decide what to select?  There are a number of factors to consider and we visit those factors in-depth to give you all of the information you need: here.

    When Moving Companies Use Rental Trucks

    Even for a moving company, there are times when a rental truck is useful or needed. Some times that come to mind are: 

    1) in very busy times when all the company owned trucks are already in service
    2) when there is an unexpected breakdown
    3) when a customer has an unexpected issue such as trouble at the closing and needs to store items in the truck for a day or three
    4) when providing service for a long distance move where all of the items will not fit in a single truck.

    How to Select a Rented Movers Truck

    If you want to rent a truck, how do you decide what to select?  There are a number of factors to consider.

    If you are making a local move the decision is easy to make. The things to consider are price, availability, distance to the dealer, and ease of loading and unloading. On a local move, the size of the truck is not a huge issue because if it won’t all fit the first load, you simply make a second trip.

    Selecting a truck for a one way move a long distance away should be considered carefully. It is wise to spend time ponder all of the options. The things to consider are price, fuel mileage, dependability, truck size, comfort, and distance to the dealer at each end of the trip

    Pricing for long distance one way truck rentals is based on a number of factors not always proportional to the real cost of driving the truck. If a rental company has an influx of trucks to a certain area, they have a tendency to discount trucks leaving the area, especially if the client is driving the truck to an area that has a shortage of trucks. As an extreme example, a few years back, we had trucks moving in and out of the greater New York area frequently. When I checked on the price of renting a truck to bring back to North Carolina, the rental company wanted $2300 for the truck alone, excluding pads, insurance, and fuel – while a truck leaving North Carolina and heading to the New York area was running less than $400.00. It always pays to shop all the companies to find out who is offering the best deal.

    Diesel trucks will burn about one third less fuel than gas trucks, but with diesel fuel about 5-10% higher than gas, the difference becomes nominal. However, diesel trucks tend to be more dependable and are more powerful than gas.

    Truck size is a major concern, because if you fail to get all the goods in, a second load is not a good option. It is better to have a truck that is too big, rather than one that is too small. If you cannot get all your goods into the biggest truck, what are the options? Most obvious is a second truck, which effectively doubles the cost of the rental. Another option is a trailer. Rental truck companies will not allow you to tow a trailer from another rental company behind their trucks. They will, however, allow you to pull your own trailer, should you happen to have one.

    If you decide to use a rental truck, each of the rental truck companies has their truck specs listed on their web sites. You can look at truck sizes and available cube space, weight limits, fuel mileage, and amenities –along with a plethora of additional information. Each company will list the reasons that you should choose them. The final decision is yours.

    Comparing Professional Moving Trucks, Freight Trucks and Rental Movers Trucks

    There are some major differences between freight trucks, professional mover's trucks and rental mover's trucks. Since most freight is moved from dock to dock, and standard dock height is 4', freight truck bed height is set at 4' as well. This is not as well suited to moving household goods because 4' is a lot of rise for carrying heavy articles by hand, or even with a dolly. Many freight trucks have no means for getting items from the bed to the ground, although some have lift gates or ramps. Lift gates are manageable for moving furniture, but not ideal because they are very slow. Freight trucks generally have one door at the rear of the bed that is a roll up door. This is ideal for freight because the driver can open the bed door from the loading dock. With swing out doors the driver would need to exit the truck, open the doors, and then enter the truck and back it to the dock.

    Although many smaller moving companies will use freight trucks, professional mover’s trucks are designed differently. They are usually much lower than a freight truck making them more efficient to load. They have three sets of swing out doors, one on each side, and one in the rear. Side doors are desirable because often it is much easier to load or offload on the side due to accessibility. Swing out doors is preferred because roll up doors take up part of the load space where the door pulls into the truck. Mover's trucks have e-rails and use logistic straps to hold the goods, which are packed in tiers, in place. Some movers trucks have pull out bumpers, which allow some goods to be loaded outside the truck, should the load be too large to all fit inside. Mover's trucks tend to be low, yet tall, allowing for plenty of space for loading.

    Rental trucks, on the other hand, tend to be a bit of a hybrid. Because they are driven by the general public who often lack the experience of professional drivers, they are designed to be lower at the top of the bed. This reduces the likelihood of collision with low branches, overhangs, or bridges, but results in less available loading space within the truck. Rental trucks have roll up doors on the rear, but no side doors. Most rental trucks have tie loops and/or rub rails, along interior sides of the box for securing items to the walls. Rental truck companies will rent pads to use for your move, but in general they do not compare with professional movers pads; they are usually smaller and thinner than what the professionals use.

    Comparing One Way Truck Rental Companies: Budget

    Budget was the next company to enter the market in 1958. In 1998 they acquired Ryder TRS, the division of Ryder which specialized in rental trucks for do it your self household movers. Their trucks are semi low profile, such that the can work for either freight or moving. Budget also specializes in local and one way truck rentals, offers moving tool rental and sells moving supplies. Budget offers moving trucks in three sizes, 10', 16', and 24'. The also offer cargo van rentals, and car carrier trailers. Budget trucks are burn gasoline, except for the 24’ ones, which are diesel.

    Comparing One Way Truck Rental Companies: Penske

    Penske is the third company, entering the business in 1969. Penske has grown dramatically since that time. In 1983 they joined Hertz to become Hertz Penske. In later years Penske dropped away from Hertz, and went international with the acquisition of other truck renting and leasing companies here and abroad. Their focus is much broader. The provide rental trucks for local and one way moves, but they also rent and lease straight trucks and tractor trailers to corporations. Penske trucks are set up to use either as freight trucks or as moving trucks. They also rent moving tools and car tow dollies and sell moving supplies.

    Penske has full service repair shops for their own equipment at many of their locations, and also seek business from outside corporate accounts. Penske has an superior maintenance program.

    Penske has moving trucks in lengths of 12', 16', 22' and 26'. They also offer cargo vans and car carrier trailers. Penske also has a fleet of freight trucks used for local rentals that can also be used for moving. The freight trucks are 26’ trucks with a lift gate rather than a ramp. Penske trucks burn gas, except for the 26’, which are diesel.