moving advice sought, St. Louis to Minneapolis
March 10, 2005 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Long and short of it: I'm going to be moving by end of April from St. Louis to the Minneapolis area. A handful of complicating factors in the usual the more, it is, etc.

I don't drive due to bad vision, so renting a U-Haul or the like is right out. I don't have all that much furniture, but definitely enough that I've rejected the idea of simply shipping smaller bits, selling off the rest, and moving up mostly blank-slate, so movers it shall be.

I'm going to be staying with extremely good friends till I get resettled, so said furniture and bits being moved up will mostly be going into local storage at destination. I'll be up there for a few days to get that lined up, transfer bank accounts, etc., before heading back to St. Louis for the mover-logistics. Which is going to be an interesting thing for me, being the first time I've done this sort of thing with any possessions to speak of.

So I'm looking for general advice. Absolutely ideal would be an unexpectedly large number of askmefi denizens who've made the exact same move, citywise, and have positive recommendations on certain moving companies to go with. Anyone? Bueller? :) But I'll take any general advice you folks have.
posted by anonymous to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
Watch out for any moving company with a name similar to, but not exactly like, a major moving company you've heard of. For example, Operation Give got badly burned by an outfit in Atlanta calling themselves Atlas Lines. Not Atlas Van Lines, which is a real company.

My advice is to find yourself a local agent for a major moving company. Call up a few from the phone book and have them give you estimates. Be sure to ask about boxes and packing -- the company I ended up choosing for my Detroit-to-Seattle move not only gave me the lowest price for the actual move, but also provided me with free (used) boxes for packing. That saved me a bunch. Having your movers pack you is very expensive; any you can do ahead of time is well worth it.

The movers I used were an agent for Atlas Van Lines, as it turns out. I was unloaded by a different agent in Seattle.

Take anything fragile or really valuable with you in the car. Like a computer.

The movers will give you a window for when your stuff will be delivered. The window will be a week to ten days long and your stuff may well be delivered at the end of it. Be prepared for this.
posted by kindall at 9:47 AM on March 10, 2005

Since you won't be driving, have you considered a POD? The prices are pretty reasonable, and I think storage at the other end is an option.
posted by Sheppagus at 9:52 AM on March 10, 2005

because you won't be needing your stuff immediately, there's no reason not to go with a big name van line. they give reduced rates for small loads because they use them to fill truck with a large load that doesn't quite take up the whole truck. because you're piggybacking a higher paying customer's load, your delivery is usually delayed (longer than window kindall mentions), but that sounds like won't be a big problem for you.

both my sister and i had problems with smaller independent movers when going from one state to the next. nothing major, just mishandling of things, and a couple lost boxes. however, my family made more than 10 interstate moves in 15 years with the major companies and had only two problems (mishandling broke the legs off the dining room table and a packer stole two of mom's evening dresses) with the major movers.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:53 AM on March 10, 2005

Considered posting on the local university bulletin boards/paper need for a student driver to MN around that time that could drive a rental van for/with you?.
posted by Pressed Rat at 10:39 AM on March 10, 2005

I've had good luck shipping stuff with Beltmann group out of Minneapolis. They're the largest franchise of North American Van Lines. I ship large 1 piece loads with them, and have never had any problems at all. here's their site:
Beltmann Group
posted by cosmicbandito at 12:05 PM on March 10, 2005

Amtrak also lets you rent a container and move your stuff that way.

There are a lot of moving scams out there, for instance recently in NYC, companies forcing you to sign the papers first, then raising the price b/c in their contract it says that they can change their price at anytime. Also movers withholding your stuff until they get the price they want. So read your contracts, and move with a large, reputable company that won't screw you. When you decide on one, post here and google them to make sure they don't have any glaring bad episodes in their past.
posted by scazza at 1:25 PM on March 10, 2005

No moving advice from me, but having just read your views on zombies I must welcome you to the neighborhood and extend the offer of mutual consumption of alcohol and/or caffeine.
posted by squidlarkin at 3:17 PM on March 10, 2005

Oi, welcome to MPLS. We should be ready for another meetup about then.
posted by esch at 3:44 PM on March 10, 2005

Interstate moves are heavily regulated by the federal government. They are required to provide a BINDING estimate of the cost.

If you pack yourself the movers have less liability about breakage.

No matter how nice the folks are at your point of departure, you may have a totally different experience at arrival. If you pack yourself, you are more concerned with the agent in MN than in MO.

I've never moved to/from either place, so can't offer any specifics. It is good to use the big national companies, but they are all only as good as the agents who handle your stuff. I've used Mayflower, Atlas and United. All had one problem or another, none a disaster. My worse move was international (Germany to London) and this was because the excellent contracting company (in England, hired by the employer) hired a German agent that was complete shite.

You may wish certain delicate items to explicitly be packed by them, while packing more general stuff (books and linens) yourself. Back up your data! If you have original cartons, use them for your electronics.

Make sure you understand their terms and conditions as regards insurance and their liability for the condition of your goods. Do not purchase insurance you don't need, do not fail to purchase insurance that you do need.

DO NOT SIGN papers at your destination that say your stuff is in good order until you KNOW. They will be in a hurry for you to sign. Simply write in "Not inspected or inventoried" and cross out any statement about condition etc. Be prompt at reporting/complaining about any problems. At destination, by all means, call the office if you're not happy, in the middle of the unload operation.
posted by Goofyy at 10:20 PM on March 10, 2005 [1 favorite]

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