Hi. I’m finally back updating my website on a regular basis (whenever I have something of value to share).
One reason for a lack of activity on my web site, and especially my YouTube channel (Ken Brenner) is because 2021 was a “MOVING” year.
Summary of Events:
1. October, 2019: We decided it was time to live in a quieter, less “busy” location (we were living in Cumming, GA). After much prayer and consideration, we decided to move to my wife’s home area – Laurel-Hattiesburg in south Mississippi.
2. January, 2021: We signed a contract to build a new house in a country subdivision (Highlands), located just south of Ellisville, between Laurel and Hattiesburg.
We spent some time getting our house ready to show, marketed our house for sale by owner, and sold it in 6 days.
3. February, 2021: We completed all work requested by the buyers. We researched and chose a moving company (see Movers section below). The buyers had to prepare their house for sale, and requested we rent back our house from them upon closing.
4. March 1 – May 1, 2021: We closed on the sale of our house, and rented it back from the new owners as requested. This worked out well for us since our new house was being built in Mississippi, and we wanted to reduce the time in temporary living.
We also used this time to go through all of our belongings and either keep, give away, or throw away items in an effort to “slim down” what we would be moving.
5. April 30 – May 1, 2021: Movers arrived (1.5 days late), packed and left with all of our belongings to be moved. They were placed in storage until requested by us when our house was completed.
6. May 1 – May 19, 2021: Stayed with our middle son and his wife as we awaited anticipated completion of new house in Ellisville, MS (originally slated for end of May).
7. May 20 – June 18, 2021: Stayed with my wife’s brother and his wife as we awaited the completion of our new house (delayed).
8. June 18, 2021: Closed out and occupied new house. Notified movers who were supposed to bring our belongings in 7-10 days. Lived in hew house using newly-purchased beds, television with sound bar, bar stools in kitchen, paper plates/plastic utensils/etc., and borrowed lawn chairs in living room. My main access to visual entertainment was via the internet on my laptop. The subdivision has excellent high-speed fiber internet from CSpire, which we also use for “internet television” (CSpire TV) and cellular phone service.
9. July 7, 2021: Mover (singular!) arrived. Unloaded our belongings and conducted setup. Discovered we were missing some items and those that arrived had various levels of damage. The mover was informed by the company that the remainder of our items were in an Atlanta warehouse, and would be provided to us the next time they had a truck coming our way!
10. August 9, 2021: Mover (singular again!) arrived with remainder of our missing items. However, still missing a few items, for which we will never see…
By around mid-November, we had completed all move-in tasks both inside and out.
We will be planting some shrubs in the coming winter months, but basically, we are moved in.
During my work life, we were involved with 4 cross-state, corporate moves.
For each move, the moving company hired by my employer would come to the house to determine the amount to be moved (a.k.a. inventory).
This is a key component to a move, as you’ll see later…
We would not hear from them again until just before the move date.
Decision on Mover Type:
For this move, which we would be responsible financially, we immediately eliminated any method that required us to rent a truck, hire workers (at both ends of the move), or require us to do heavy physical labor.
This led to our use of a “corporate”, turn-key style move, we hoped would be similar to the 4 corporate moves we made (mentioned above).
We assumed that hiring a national, traditional “corporate” mover would be more expensive (false). So, we looked at all companies on the internet based on ratings, etc. and did not consider the ones for which we were familiar.
The company we ended up using was in fact a broker, who searched for available actual moving companies. We did NOT know this until after the movers picked up our belongings in Georgia.
This is VERY important when doing the kind of move we chose.
We were moving belongings from a 2200 sq. ft. home occupied by 2 people.
As mentioned earlier, we had gotten rid of a lot of things, and I had packed several dozen boxes and placed in the garage in the hopes of making things easier and cheaper (false).
In early February, the broker had us do two inventories:
1. On the phone with our customer contact
2. On their web site
We answered all questions both times.
From that, they quoted us a price, and said the cost was the most it should cost us.
In fact, they indicated the price included two trucks in case needed (important to note).
The price also included two months free storage, in case our new house construction was delayed.
The Monday before the movers were to come on Friday, a representative of the broker called us and conducted another inventory. From that, he raised the price 14%.
Originally, the movers were to spend two days with us:
Day 1: Pack
Day 2: Load
Those dates were set as Thursday, April 29 and Friday, April 30.
(We had to be out of the house by Monday, May 1).
They did not arrive until Friday afternoon, 4 pm on April 30.
They arrived with ONE truck (not truck and trailer), and 4 men (1 a “foreman”).
The foreman looked at all items, including the boxes I’d already packed and staged for them.
Around 8 pm that night, he came to me and indicated that based on his inventory, the amount being moved would cause the price to be increased another 38%!
It was Friday night, they were late, the broker was closed, and I had to be out by Monday. I reluctantly signed the papers so we could move forward.
The movers left late on Friday, returned on Saturday and by that afternoon, had filled up their ONE truck. But, they still had things to load.
So, they left, went to a warehouse somewhere in the Atlanta area, unloaded enough things to make room for what was left, and returned to our house 2 hours later to finish loading.
They left around 9 pm for what I thought was the warehouse they deposited our other belongings (false). They ended up driving back to Florida and put them in a warehouse there.
The July and August deliveries and damage found has been discussed in the Summary above.
By this time, we had paid a lot more than originally estimated in January, experienced late arrival of the first load, missing items not delivered for almost a month, and more damage than we’d seen in 4 corporate moves. One would wrongly assume that by paying as much as we did, we’d have received the best service ever. False…
As info, the delivery man (a very nice guy who was a contractor to the moving company) told us our total experience was now typical of the moving industry, based on his overall experience. He was considering no longer contracting to any moving company and just doing delivery of goods. That ought to speak a good bit about the current status of the industry.
Damage Claims and Settlement:
The moving company referred us to a company that specializes in damage claim settlement. Here is a timeline of how this process worked out:
August 18: I was referred to the claims company who began the “claims process”.
We were responsible for taking pictures of ALL damage, and noting each damaged item in an online system provided by the claims company.
September 15: The claims company began their work.
November 16: The claims company completed their work. We read and accepted the settlement amount.
As of this writing (December 6), we have yet to see the settlement check.
UPDATE: Finally, in late December, we received the settlement check.
Tips to Avoid This
1. Do not sign any contract with a moving company BROKER. Best to work directly with the company that will be doing the work.
2. Do not sign any contract unless they come to your house and do their own inventory. Then, they can give you a BINDING estimate, with NO changes.
3. Ask how they determine the cost: weight or cubic footage (which is what they used on us).
It was the worst financial transaction and execution of services I’ve been involved with.
I only share this much detail so that anyone that is planning to hire a moving company will know what to expect and hopefully prevent them from being abused as we were.
We are thankful to be in our new home (which will be discussed in another post), in a much nicer and more peaceful place.