I need an inexpensive, yet reliable moving company in Chicago?
August 5, 2009 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a reliable, yet reasonably priced moving service/company in Chicago?

We are moving September 1 from Bucktown to Ukrainian Village, so the distance is not an issue. I have always rented a van and called on friends to help with the move (friends that we have helped in a similar capacity), but this year I don't have anyone that I feel comfortable asking to help with such a big feat. My bf and roommate is already dreading the move, and given our size/strength differences, moving everything ourselves is going to be very stressful if not impossible. We don't have a lot of stuff, so I am just looking for someone with a van and a few dudes to lift our stuff. We don't have much, but we do have a few nice pieces of mid century furniture that I would hate to be damaged in the process, so I would greatly appreciate any recommendations for a reliable company for the best price.
posted by shrimpsmalls to Home & Garden (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Starving Artist Movers FTW! I've used them, they're great, reasonably priced, and you're supporting the arts by hiring them.
posted by thedanimal at 10:25 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

I just came in to recommend Starving Artist Movers too. I've used them three times, and they're great. The guys always take good care of my stuff, and they're cool to chat with too.
posted by smich at 10:27 AM on August 5, 2009

Another vote for Starving Artist Movers. They were completely awesome; I'll never use anyone else.
posted by esmerelda_jenkins at 10:36 AM on August 5, 2009

I have heard people recommend Starving Artist Movers a lot, so I tried them once, and they ended up being more expensive and far less professional than other movers for similar moves. Moving is hard work for which experience is beneficial, and it is not a skill that lends itself well to the lifestyles of artists. The starving artists we got were straight from Central Casting - "Urban Hipster" and they had trouble with some of the stuff and also wanted to stop to smoke pretty often. I ended up doing a lot of the work myself - basically as a fourth man on the crew, and it still took way too long for the amount of stuff we had. I like supporting the arts, but I feel like I should have just used professional movers and made some contributions on the side.

On all other local Chicago moves I have used Golan's Moving and have always been very happy with them. I have also recommended them to some friends and they have been very happy as well.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 10:39 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Angie's List is great for movers. Totally worth the fee, and we now use it for a lot of other service providers.
posted by Amizu at 10:48 AM on August 5, 2009

Yeah I just moved this weekend in Chicago and I gotta say that I'm a little shocked looking at the rates on Starving Artists-- pro movers in Chicago tend to charge $20-$25 per man per hour (if you bring the truck yourself), whereas Starving Artists starts at $45 per man per hour and then shifts down to $37 per man per hour. Yikes.

Are you looking to rent the van yourself and hire movers, or do you want the men-and-a-truck full-deal thing? The movers I used were great but they come sans truck.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:58 AM on August 5, 2009

The Moving Scam website has forums where people offer recommendations for movers in specific areas.
posted by sharkfu at 11:03 AM on August 5, 2009

I've had two very good experiences with Golan's. The quotes were originally more expensive than Starving Artists -- but the crews were bigger, more professional, and took a lot less time, which ended up costing me less money.

(Keep that in mind when you're pricing -- a lower hourly rate will not necessarily mean lower costs, depending on the talents and work ethic of the movers. A place like Golan's -- who will typically have multiple moves scheduled per crew per day -- wants to be in and out of there really fast, but tend to have a lot more experience/skill than those who are "movers on the side")
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:06 AM on August 5, 2009

Starving Artist Movers is serviceable if you just need to get all your stuff from point A to point B at some point during the day and don't really care if it gets scratched or scuffed. They're basically one step up from recruiting your friends in exchange for pizza and beer. When I used them, they were late, stinky, and I could tell they didn't really want to be there - but they were nice enough and cheap enough, and they didn't try and charge me any additional "you didn't tell us this was a walk-up" stuff.

I haven't used Golan myself, but I've heard nothing but good things about them.
posted by Metroid Baby at 11:11 AM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Movetastic, of course.
posted by nitsuj at 11:12 AM on August 5, 2009

PS, IANYL, but I was horrified to find out, after our move, that Starving Artist Movers is not really a legitimate business, i.e. they are not bonded, insured, incorporated, anything. I think that they just take money from the movers they work with to get referred for moves. I shudder to think what would have happened if one of those guys got hurt moving something heavy - you could very well be looking at some sort of liability claim from one of them.
posted by iknowizbirfmark at 11:22 AM on August 5, 2009

I've used Golan's for every move I've done in Chicago and would use them again. Fair prices, pro crews who don't screw around. I've never had anything, damaged, either.
posted by sugarfish at 11:37 AM on August 5, 2009

another vote for golan's.
posted by lester at 11:47 AM on August 5, 2009

another vote against Starving Artists.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:48 AM on August 5, 2009

I have moved twice (Suburbs/Bucktown/Logan Square) this year and hired a man recommended by a friend's colleague. Its just a random old guy that works at UHaul and his younger acquaintance. Actually, the old guy just stands by the truck and the younger guy does all of the work so you might just want to call the younger guy (he's 50 but looks 35). This guy moved my entire apartment by himself including up and down a 3rd floor walkup. I have a lot of books but light furniture.

He just asked what I wanted to pay (I had looked around and gotten quotes and offered slightly less than my quotes) and he said okay. So there's no insurance or the backing of a company but they're very nice people who work hard and did everything quickly and efficiently. I liked the idea that the people moving the stuff were getting all of the money apart from the $19 they paid for the truck rental. I did give the younger guy a big tip since he did all of the work and it still was less than hiring Golans/Starving Artists etc. and paying 3-4 guys small tips. Send me a message if you want his contact info.
posted by Bunglegirl at 11:54 AM on August 5, 2009

Golan's was reasonably priced, quick and my move with them (from DuPage Co to Boystown in the City) was without incident. I don't, unfortunately, remember the actual cost, but they did take less than the minimum hour charge.

We used USA Moving & Storage for the move from one place in Boystown to the other, which was $124/hour with a two hour minimum. They provided free boxes ahead of time for me to pack.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:35 PM on August 5, 2009

Golans. They are great, almost too fast for their own good. (Don't think "oh, I can pack these last few boxes up while they're hauling out the rest of the stuff" because before you know it, your TV will be in a box wrapped with 100 feet of packing tape - which they do charge you for - or they will just tape up your bedside table with everything in it and put it in the truck.) Will use them again next time I move though, definitely.
posted by misskaz at 1:10 PM on August 5, 2009

I am a broken record: Avoid E-Z Movers like the H1N1 virus, they suck - terrible terrible terrible and bad. How bad? The movers wouldn't unlock their truck until we paid in cash for that part of the move. How bad? American Express took our side and gave us what had been charged back.
posted by zenon at 1:29 PM on August 5, 2009

It pains me to do it because I like the concept of Starving Artist Movers, but I can only recommend them with serious reservations. In the interest of efficiency, I will copy and paste the Yelp review I wrote about SA:

If you don't have a lot of stuff, and the stuff you have is not particularly nice and you're not particularly attached to it, and you're on a budget and you just need a couple of people with a truck who are willing to carry your little bit of not nice stuff up and down stairs and you don't care that they will drop it and break things and forget that you asked them to put the two coolers worth of perishable items in the kitchen with you and instead bury all of your frozen foods underneath the jumbled heap of your other possessions that they careless dumped in the farthest corner of the apartment, Starving Artists is a perfectly reasonable choice.

If you have a lot of stuff, or if you actually care about any of your possessions, just hire a real moving company because SA will drop, tear, scratch, break, and otherwise molest your possessions, without apology.

I would also avoid SA if you have a problem with eye-wateringly bad BO. Our two guys left a funky miasma of stench behind in every room they entered and left. This wasn't the kind of stink that happens because you have a manual labor job and recognize the futility of showering before work. This was the kind of BO that people cultivate as a political statement. We're talking about weeks of summer sweating without showering or changing clothes and perhaps years of deodorant avoidance. And hey, if that's your thing? More power to you. But these are not the guys I want to get stuck with for 45 minutes in a narrow stairwell as they try to figure out how to move a couch that is about ten times heavier than their combined, starving body weight.

Specifically, they dropped a box of records, broke the glass on a large framed painting, and dinged or scratched or tore every other piece of furniture they moved. Plus that whole "ruining a fridge full of food by not heeding my reasonable request" thing with the coolers. They don't wrap anything, they just throw it all in the truck and hope for the best.

We haven't moved since we hired SA, so unfortunately I can't make a better recommendation, although I appreciate this question since we will eventually need to hire movers again.
posted by jennyb at 2:38 PM on August 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Done Right Movers were slightly above average. They asked what I wanted wrapped/padded etc and followed instructions well. The rate per hour seemed slightly lower, but they do charge for tape/packing materials if they use beyond a certain amount (they wanted cash payment which was hard to calculate - one downside). They worked efficiently and didn't scratch anything. I had one nice table and desk I cared about and a lot of particle board furniture that survived without falling apart.
posted by ejaned8 at 7:36 PM on August 5, 2009

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