Recommendations for US Moving Companies (FL to MA)
July 7, 2014 4:34 PM   Subscribe

I’m looking for moving company recommendations for a cross-country move in the US

I’m helping a family member move from Tallahassee, FL to a suburb of Boston, MA. I’ve searched past Ask Mefi questions which have all mentioned the website so I know to check that out, but I’d love to hear any personal recommendations for reputable moving companies that you or someone you know have used. If there are certain companies you would recommend avoiding, that would be good to know too.

Some additional relevant information:

We are going to be moving a lot of stuff and the whole “ditch everything and rebuy it” thing isn’t an option. Frankly, money is really tight at the moment, but a lot of the furniture, etc., is really nice and way better than we can afford anymore. We also don’t have the means to do much of the legwork ourselves beyond packing and unpacking the boxes, but we could probably separately higher movers on each end if the best option is to use a shipping company that doesn’t provide movers. Cost is definitely a major consideration, but the most important factor is getting the stuff successfully moved in one piece.

A couple of bonus sub-questions:

1) Does it matter what city a moving company is based out of? On the moving scam site a couple of their “endorsed movers” are based out of Boston, so I wasn’t sure if there is any advantage to using them in a move with a final destination of Boston versus some company based somewhere else.

2) Any general ideas about what this kind of move should cost, roughly? We’ll shop around for quotes, but if you’ve done a similar move and have a ballpark figure, that would be great.

3) Other than price estimates, any particular questions we should ask when we’re calling various companies? Any red flags to look out for?


[Using a sockpuppet because of potentially identifying info that I don’t want linked to my main account]
posted by puppet, sock to Travel & Transportation (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Our stuff is in transit, so I don't want to recommend them just yet, but a friend highly recommended Allied (they were booked for our time slot.) How soon is the move? We had trouble doing it less than a month in advance, so if you have extra time, that will give you more choices. I do know that some of the movers that seemed to have better reviews didn't operate out of Pennsylvania, even if they worked in New Jersey, so check to make sure they cover both zipcodes.

2) This is highly dependent on how much stuff there is and what it is. Memail me if you want to know what we're paying for a two bedroom apartment cross country move (we packed everything ourselves but the furniture.) Count on buying extra insurance, packing supplies (including decent tape: do NOT cheap out on tape, get the stronger grade slightly stronger, non-shreddy stuff or duct tape), and water/coffee/tips for the pick up and delivery guys.

3) Some of the pricing quotes we got were super shady: very inexpensive, and the language/email template was the same even if coming from ostensibly different companies. We weren't really prepared to give a full list of every single piece of furniture, art piece, etc. and we badly underestimated the amount of boxes, so make sure that either you know what's what there or be prepared for the quote to move higher. I think if we had had more time, they would have had a representative come and visually assess everything.
posted by jetlagaddict at 7:01 PM on July 7, 2014

Dropping in a day later to give high marks to Graebel. Have used them twice; for long-distance, and then local move.

Graebel is the only national moving company that is truly national. That means that all their drivers and workers are trained to - and operate under - the same standards. With some companies, you book XYZ Movers but the crew that shows up is Daryl, my brother Daryl, and my other brother Daryl. Graebel employees have long tenure (a sign that they are treated and paid well). The chief/driver on our local crew had been with them over 20 years. His lieutenant had over 10 years. The lowest tenure was still 4 years.

Our local move occurred on one of the hottest days of the year. I heard not one complaint. It was nothing but, "Yes, sir"; "No, sir"; "Where would you like me to put this, sir?"

They were fast and efficient. They were very careful; laying down mats over carpet and hardwood.

No, they're not cheap. Terrific value for the money, though. Show them any estimates you have and ask what they can do.
posted by John Borrowman at 8:29 AM on July 8, 2014

All Interstate moves are subject to tariff, so have some movers come to give you estimates. They basically walk around the house looking at stuff and guestimate how much it will all weigh.

Then they put it in a contract. If they underestimate, it doesn't matter, they have to honor the contract. Trust me, they're going to be right on target, because this is their business.

Interstate movers I have worked with and liked just fine, Bekins, Graebel, Mayflower. They should all have a franchisee in both locations. My guess is the quotes will be very close together in price. Pick the mover you feel the most comfortable with. Ask for recommendations from friends, co-workers, etc. If employed, ask who corporate uses, and see if you can get a rate.

When buying insurance pay for the replacement value. Let the movers wrap and pack any large, expensive and delicate objects, lamps, artwork, flat screen TVs. Take lots of pictures of things prior to the move (like inside ALL boxes before they get sealed.) During the loading of the truck, and then after the move.

You will lose something in the move. Be prepared for that. Nobody gets out of a big move unscathed.

I'm going to take a swag and say that a three-bedroom house with everything moved is going to cost around $6,000-$7,000 from Florida to Boston.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:09 AM on July 8, 2014

Thanks so much for the answers everyone! There are a lot of moving companies out there, so it's great to have some specific companies to look into, and all of the general moving advice has been really helpful as well.
posted by puppet, sock at 8:38 PM on July 10, 2014

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