Recommend a moving company to get us from FL to Hawaii
January 5, 2011 1:45 PM   Subscribe

Recommend me a reputable moving/shipping company that will move us from Florida to Hawaii (Oahu). Personal experiences welcome!

We are moving from Florida to Hawaii in late February. The job is paying for the move of all our stuff, of which there is not much, and of one car.

They require 3 quotes to choose from. I want to make sure I get a good moving company that will not mess up our stuff, so I'm taking recommendations! Money is not really an issue, since I'm not paying.

Also, recently ship a car to Hawaii? Have a good company? Tell me!
posted by hybridvigor to Travel & Transportation around Florida (7 answers total)
We've used united van lines twice now. The first time was awesome, the second not so great, but still pretty good. Both times we moved about 2000 miles, so not as far as you guys are going, but still a distance. Also, is your company reimbursing you for the move? If so, you can actually write the move off on your taxes as well as get the reimbursement.

My recommendation is to make sure you get full insurance coverage through whoever you end up going with. For united it was only an extra $100, but anything that is broken, is replaced at full value, not based on weight.

The second time we moved, they guaranteed a delivery between 2 dates, and it ended up taking them 3 weeks longer to get our stuff to us. We were not very happy, but they reimbursed us $125 a day for every day they were late past the last day they quoted.

Also, it is worth having them pack everything, trust me- packing sucks! At least in february it won't be too hot in florida- it always seems like moves happen in the middle of the summer.
posted by TheBones at 2:01 PM on January 5, 2011

I shipped a car to Hawaii some years ago. To be honest, I can't recall the company I used. As far as I know (and I don't know very far in this area) there are only two actual shipping companies operating on Oahu: Matson and Young Brothers. I had my car shipped from California, so there was no cross-country step involved. I don't know how the shippers deal with that, but I imagine they'd be able to tell you more if you call them.
posted by lex mercatoria at 2:14 PM on January 5, 2011

For a long move like that, you're going to going to be dealing with three companies:
  1. The company that puts your stuff on the truck
  2. The company that drives the truck from your origin city to your destination city
  3. The company that takes your stuff off the truck
Company #2 is a long-haul carrier. Company #1 and Company #3 are local agents of Company #2 at your origin and destination, basically local franchise operations.

What this means:
  1. Your choice of long-haul carrier determines what local agents you will use at your origin and destination (each agent has a territory and they don't overlap). You will deal with the origin agent for initiating the move and for customer service during and after the move.
  2. The major long-haul carriers are roughly equivalent, from what I hear, so you should choose one based on the reputation of the local agents and of course price.
  3. The goal of the long-haul carrier is efficiency, not speed, so if you are going to Hawaii from Florida, and your stuff does not fill up an integral number of trailers, your stuff is going to sit around in a warehouse until they have another customer going in the same direction to fill up the truck. This is why they give you a big delivery window, and sometimes miss it, because they simply don't know for sure when that will happen.
  4. Your stuff will be moved from one vehicle to another, probably more than once, during the move, so some stuff is bound to get broken or lost. Since you are moving to Hawaii, your stuff is probably going to go to Los Angeles first, and then it will get put in a shipping container and put on a boat, but it may not go directly to LA on a single truck either. Pack well and don't give them anything irreplaceable.
The local agent will send someone out to your house, look at all your stuff, and give you a binding estimate. So I would call your local Atlas, Allied, North American, United, and Mayflower agents and get estimates from all of them. Ask who will actually be doing the unloading at the destination and check out the reputations of both agents.

When I moved from Detroit to Seattle in 2000, I used Atlas Van Lines and a Detroit-area agent, DMS Moving Systems. They gave me the lowest estimate by far. No major problems, though they did lose a bed frame (which they reimbursed me for). By the way, be prepared to be peeling little colored stickers off your stuff for months. Most everything that goes on the truck will have one.

I would recommend using the large, well-known moving companies such as the ones I mentioned. In particular, watch out for companies with names very similar to well-known ones ("North American Line" rather than "North American Van Lines," for example). These are often scammers who will take your money and run off with your stuff, or ask for extra money after loading you up. Again, remember you will not be dealing directly with the long-haul carrier but with a local agent.

Your movers may be able to ship your car as well; ask them.

Good luck and happy moving!
posted by kindall at 2:46 PM on January 5, 2011

I had an acquaintance that moved to Hawaii a few years ago and he used ABF's containers to pack and ship. He was happy with the experience. He was in the logistics business, so I would value his choice. YMMV.
posted by raisingsand at 7:24 PM on January 5, 2011
posted by mizrachi at 8:19 PM on January 5, 2011

Good information! Thanks everyone!
posted by hybridvigor at 12:50 PM on January 7, 2011

Missed this:

Also, is your company reimbursing you for the move? If so, you can actually write the move off on your taxes as well as get the reimbursement.

No, you only get a deduction if you are paying for the move -- actually, you can deduct your costs in excess of reimbursement, so if it costs $4000 and they pay half, you can deduct the $2000 you did not pay. (If they pay nothing, then of course you can deduct the full amount.)
posted by kindall at 1:46 PM on January 7, 2011

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