Best "white glove" cross-country moving service for a "van load"
June 25, 2013 3:55 PM   Subscribe

My septuagenerian parents are moving about a van load of their belongs (computers, television, clothes, kitchen dishes, etc.) from coast to coast. Ideally, the company hired would come to their house and respectfully pack everything and then ship it across country where, once again, they would unpack everything. Do you know of such a service? (Related, but not exactly: do you recommend a service for moving a car – vehicle – cross country?) Thank you!
posted by noway to Travel & Transportation (7 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
When I was a kid, we had several long moves paid for by my Dad's employer that were exactly this. To the extent that if we did not empty our wastebaskets before the movers came, every item in the wastebasket would be carefully wrapped, put in a box, and unwrapped and returned to the wastebasket at the destination.


The two names I remember, in the long hazy reaches of several decades, were United Van Lines and Mayflower.

When I moved from Tennessee to California in 1995 I got quotes from one or both of those in the $11k range for a household of two people that, when we actually moved, fit entirely in a large Ryder rental. At the time I thought that was outrageous, now I can't imagine how they did it so cheaply.

Hopefully others will have more recent experience.
posted by straw at 4:18 PM on June 25, 2013 [1 favorite] is a good way to sift through what local companies serve particular areas & check recent reviews. Specifics of your parents' endpoints likely helpful here.
posted by knile at 4:36 PM on June 25, 2013

We have been subject to multiple corporate relocations, although not very recently. The established movers such as Mayflower provide well trained packers who take care of your stuff. It is also true that they will pack your trash if you do not think to dispose of it in advance. Having pictures of your belongings before the move is a good idea. This is something you could do to assist your parents if they lack camera-fu. They then can prove there was no scratch on the dining room table. Movers insurance is minimal; it might be wise to take the extra policy especially if there is considerable value and/or fragility in the load.
You get all the swell jobs: encourage them to discard e.g., your 5th grade spelling paper, and anything else that they can live happily without. Movers charge by weight.
posted by Cranberry at 4:39 PM on June 25, 2013

Car transport comes in three major flavors

- We put your car on a truck and drive the truck - this is often semi-expensive, you can't put your junk in your car like you would want, and you need to deal with a fairly large window of time for drop-off. When i got this done with my truck (from Indiana to Cincinnatti) it was about $400.
- Driveaway companies - you give them your car, they pair it with someone who needs a car to drive - decent with timing, less expensive I think but I only know this via people who have been drivers not people who have had their car driven
- Finding a friend or person on Craiglist. I do this for people who pay my gas, my lodging at motels along the way and my flight home. This is often cheaper to get someone to do this than to get s shipping company to do it plus you get door to door service. You might be able to find someone who would think of this as an awesome road trip opportunity (and if the destination or the departure location are in New England, I might be interested)

It all costs more than you'd want most of the time, but usually it's in the $1000-2500 range for a coast-to-coast car delivery.
posted by jessamyn at 5:26 PM on June 25, 2013

If you could provide your parent's origin location, perhaps I can make a recommendation for a specific company. Otherwise, stick with the big agents of big movers like Allied, northAmerican, Mayflower, United, Atlas and Graebel. There are other quality movers as well, location specific.

If you want to move a car, there are lots of choices. But start with a quote from DAS as they are the big player in the industry, and move on from there using their quote as a starting point. Shipping a car can be hit or miss as to quality, price and delivery spread, so be prepared. If your parents are shipping a new car, ask for enclosed or front of trailer position as this will protect the vehicle from road spray and gravel etc. This will be the more expensive option. Regardless of the value or age of the vehicle, I would also suggest extensive video and photographic documentation of the vehicle's condition before shipping, making sure everything is properly date stamped.

For your parent's household goods and personal effects, the movers will pack up everything, but at unpack they will only put the items on the closest level surface. So a lot of things will end up on tables and floors, maybe not even in the room you wanted them.

If this is an issue, reach out to Home Sweet Home. Their website does say they are limited in locations, but give them a ring anyway as I know they are expanding every day. When you call, get a quote for their Discard and Donate program to help get rid of items that your parents don't want to send to destination. Using D&D will help your parents lower the weight of the household goods shipment, the cost savings which will pay (or net / net) the cost of using D&D. Next, get a quote for Quick Start, which is the program whereas professionals (not the movers) come into your parents house and put away everything in their proper place. Depending on the price you want to pay, they could simply put everything away properly in the kitchen, or put the whole house together.
posted by lstanley at 6:47 PM on June 25, 2013

For unpacking, look for Professional Organizers in the area, or call a temp agency.
posted by theora55 at 7:57 PM on June 25, 2013

Just came to say that any of the national moving folks will have people come in and do packing and unpacking at the new location. I've used Bekins.

I will say though, that seriously, they'll pack your garbage if you're not careful.

Now, the caveat. Moving companies will go to local day labor suppliers. So you'll get all the guys that are hanging out at the Home Depot that morning. The good news is that the moving company is liable for anything that happens.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:34 AM on June 26, 2013

« Older Comfortable shoes for NYC businessman edition.   |   Choosing the best neighborhood in Baltimore Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.