What movers (if any) will get my things cross country without a wait?
January 15, 2017 2:35 PM   Subscribe

I need my things to go cross country at the same time that I do, but don't want to move them myself.

I'm moving cross country, from New England to Wisconsin, for work and I'm trying to figure out how to do it. I'll be reimbursed by my new employer, so cost is not my primary concern (within reason), and I was hoping to hire movers. The problem is that I need my things right away -- my parents are coming the day I get there to help unpack (I really need the help) and I have only a few days to get settled before starting work. Most moving companies seem to give a window of time, either days or weeks, when they'll deliver your stuff....but I need it to get there when I do. FWIW, my budget is about $4k.

Do companies exist where a crew loads your stuff, drives it cross country, and unloads it themselves? Or is my best bet renting a truck, driving it myself, and hiring a crew to load/unload on each end?
posted by lxs to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do companies exist where a crew loads your stuff, drives it cross country, and unloads it themselves?

That's more or less what moving companies do, except anymore they use routing systems and driver shift changes, if you're asking if the same people stay with your stuff the whole time. They are most likely to hold your stuff hostage or change routes so that your things don't arrive the day you planned.

We were given, I believe, a 4-hour window for the delivery of our PODS and it arrived within 30 minutes of the window opening. We did have to ship it off almost two weeks before the arrival date, so that's what we did (and took a couple weeks to pack the things up in the first place, though we should have staged in the garage and then hired someone to do the final load-up). There are very few methods besides do-it-yourself that are going to mean you and your belongings leave the house on the same day and arrive at the new house on the same day.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:43 PM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think your last sentence explains what I'm looking for better than I did: for my belongs and me to leave and arrive on the same day. I'm less concerned about the same exact people necessarily being with them -- it's more the timing issue.
posted by lxs at 2:47 PM on January 15, 2017

Those companies (a crew packs up your things in a truck, gets in the truck, drives the truck to your new house and unpacks it) definitely exist, but they tend to be smaller and more expensive outfits. Ask around a bit and ask movers specifically if they offer this kind of service. There's nothing preventing it except your willingness to pay for it.
posted by potrzebie at 3:06 PM on January 15, 2017

I don't personally know of any movers who do that and I did quite a bit of research before a cross-country move a few years ago. The problem is that they are usually taking your load and putting it together with other loads, so that's where the delay comes from. You might look into "white glove" movers, who offer a more personalized service. You'll pay for it though.

What I did in the same situation a few years ago was have the movers come a week before I moved, and stayed with a friend until the day I actually moved (I flew). It was still a week on the other end until my stuff came - the last day of the window I had gotten.

One thing that may make this easier - if you have a small-ish amount of stuff (i.e., a one bedroom apartment's worth), it may be pretty cheap to have the movers pack and/or unpack for you. It only cost me a few hundred to do that and it was so very worth it.
posted by lunasol at 3:14 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

When I moved cross country it was the same guy who packed the things and did the driving, and he hired a local crew to assist at both ends. The company was called Allied. Thing is though it takes time to drive safely from the east coast to Wisconsin so you have to factor that in. You will be without some of your stuff for some period of time. Take a lot of stuff with you on the plane (like clothes, stuff you need for work, etc) and use your parents assistance to get set up with what you can.
posted by bleep at 3:17 PM on January 15, 2017

I've done a ton of cross country moves. The fact is, the truck is going to be slower in getting there than you will - regardless if you drive or you fly. And there is always going to be a 3 day window because shit happens - especially in winter weather. There is just no way to have the exact date settled.
A $4k budget isn't a lot for a cross-country move, depending on how much stuff you have.

Here are some options:
- Hire local packers to put your stuff and disassemble your furniture into a U-Pack that you've rented. The U-Pack gets moved to your new location. Hire local unpackers to unload your stuff and reassemble furniture. The U-Pack leaves ~4-6 days before you do and you sleep on a borrowed air mattress and keep limited clothing and toiletries in your old place. You leave for new place and U-Pack is there upon your arrival. In my experience this is the best combination of cost effective and fast.

- Hire the same EXPENSIVE people to do the loading, driving, and unloading. As someone else mentioned, Allied is a company that will do this for you. Regardless, it will still take time. You could plot it out that they leave 4-5 days before you do though.

- Don't drive the truck yourself in that long of a move.

But overall, just have your folks come out a little later to help you unpack. And breathe. Order stuff (paper towel, TP, basic food) on Amazon prime to be there when you arrive. Unpacking with your parents help will probably be 2-3 days of work, even if you have a ton of stuff. Again, I have moved so many times with way too much crap and this is true.
posted by k8t at 3:31 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

It cost about 3k for two ABF upack pods that we loaded and unloaded ourselves to go from California to Wisconsin. The pods came exactly when scheduled, but we took about three weeks to cross the country. The only way that you are going to get your stuff across the country at the exact same pace as yourself, at that price point, is to drive it there yourself.
posted by rockindata at 5:49 PM on January 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I think that if you want your things when you get there, you should consider packing and shipping at least 2 weeks before you leave. Hire a mover that can store it locally in advance of you arriving, and sleep on an air mattress, live out of a suitcase and eat off of paper plates from your current location for your last weeks (if it is not too late for this).

There is just no way to guarantee your things will be there when your parents are otherwise. I've moved cross country 5 times (to New England to California and back twice, and from New England to Seattle), the earliest I could ever anticipate my stuff was 2 weeks after I arrived, and my things arrived over 1 week late 3 times, once almost 3 weeks late.

NE to Wisconson is going to take extra time in the winter, no question.
posted by pazazygeek at 6:14 PM on January 15, 2017

Just please research the hell out of whomever you hire so you're not the victim of a scam. Happy moving!
posted by Bella Donna at 6:14 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Are you moving to Milwaukee? Hernia Movers is highly recommended by a number of my friends. I'd call them for advice and see what they can do.
posted by sulaine at 6:36 PM on January 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

We had this style of mover on our last move, in 2011 (after a horrifying scammy experience on our prior move). We went with a locally-owned company to where we started. If you find a company that says they do both short and long distance moves, call them up and ask them if they will load a truck with only your belongings and drive it directly to your new home. We were only moving about 1000 miles, and the cost was about $5k. That was packing up a 3 br home with the stuff for 2 adults and an infant. We did the packing, they did loading/unloading, driving truck, and furniture disassemble/reassemble.
posted by freezer cake at 1:15 PM on January 17, 2017

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