NYC moving company recommendations
October 23, 2018 8:25 PM   Subscribe

So, I'm in the market for a moving company. All of my previous moves have involved fairly informal, relaxed building regimes where it was OK to use a "man with van" service from the Village Voice classifieds or random strangers from TaskRabbit to move in or out of the building. This new place is a little different. They're more uptight. Among other things, they require a certificate of insurance from the moving company in order to approve the move-in.

This is a whole new ballgame for me. I need to hire actual professionals.

Can anyone recommend a moving company operating in Queens, NY that could fulfill this requirement? Extra bonus points for not ripping people off. They don't have to be brilliant at the job. I don't need specialists; I'm not moving fine art or a grand piano or a collection of Toby Jugs. I need a reliable, honest, professional group of movers who can move about two dozen boxes' worth of stuff, a queen-sized bed, a twin-sized day bed, a small chest of drawers and a recliner from one part of Queens to another one five miles down the road and provide a certificate of insurance to my building management.

Related questions --

1.) Should I avoid any company that charges by weight? I've heard of scams where the movers will charge by weight and then impose extra charges in the middle of the move because, they claim, the weight exceeded what they were expecting.

2.) What is an unrealistically low estimate for the kind of job I'm proposing? I haven't actually moved house in sixteen years so I haven't been following this stuff very closely. What do you think is a realistic budget, including tips?

3.) Do I have to have the movers visit my house for an estimate? I can understand why some people would want this but it seems like a major hassle for me, especially if I'm trying to get estimates from three or more movers and I don't have a lot of stuff in the first place.

Any other insights and input you could share, including companies to avoid at all costs, would be appreciated.
posted by the hot hot side of randy to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
I do not have a specific recommendation, but any professional moving company will have the cert. of insurance. I used Moshe's moving in NYC some 30 years ago and they were fine. Professional and efficient although if I recall, not the low priced bidder.

In terms of estimates, a lot of companies can give a pretty good estimate based on square footage, how many bedrooms and a few other relevant questions without actually seeing it.

Not sure how relevant it is, but I moved 2 miles in Westchester going from a 5,000 sq ft house to one about half the size and it cost me $2,500.
posted by AugustWest at 10:06 PM on October 23, 2018

They're in Brooklyn, not Queens, but I've had great experiences with Cool Hand Movers. They're a small outfit but professional about paperwork and very reasonably priced, and operate throughout NYC. They've moved a similar amount of stuff (i.e. about a small studio's worth of packed boxes and furniture, it all fits in one van load) for me twice in the past five years, for around $500 or less each time, and I've recommended them to friends who've also reported having positive experiences. I never had to do the insurance certificate thing but their FAQ suggests they can handle it. They didn't need to visit for an estimate; basically you fill out their form with the amount of stuff and they give you a quote, which they've stuck to each time I've used them, even though I had probably underestimated the number of boxes. There was minor damage to a rickety piece of furniture in one move (leg of an inexpensive desk) and they had tools on hand and put a few screws in to fix it for me. The lead guy actually remembered me (or rather, an unusual piece of furniture I have) from the first move 3 years prior to the second. Anyway, moving in NYC often sucks and I always recommend them to people because it's such a relief to have found such a good and affordable crew.
posted by karayel at 1:14 AM on October 24, 2018

I used Oz twice. They were very professional and efficient. I think you would want at least one to come so that you get a better idea about how a mover sees your house. Also I let them pack almost everything too which helps on the stress.
Honestly, my vote is let them do as much as you can afford to. Moving sucks. Make it easier.
posted by shothotbot at 4:16 AM on October 24, 2018

On the quote, the amount of stuff to move obviously is a big impact, but so is the elevator/stair situation -- are you moving from a walkup/elevator building to a walkup/elevator building? If it's a walkup, how many flights of stairs? If either building is a walkup, and especially if the building you're moving into is a walkup, that may impact your quote a lot.

I moved this summer and one moving company gave me a quote that was pretty cheap, except for the fact that they charged a "stair fee" of $1 per stair per hour. I was moving to a 4th floor walkup and they estimated the move would take 6 hours so this added an extra $350 to the quote, buried between the lines! (To be clear, I'm not begrudging them charging extra -- of course it's so much extra work to move into a walkup building. But it felt like they were trying to hide that extra cost.)

I think it's somewhat preferable for them to come to your place to give you your quote, but it can definitely be done over the phone. Just don't be stupid like me and describe your boxes and furniture from memory somewhere else, like I did.
posted by andrewesque at 4:50 AM on October 24, 2018

Best answer: I highly recommend Shea Moving, based in Jackson Heights. Their prices are fair, they are super-professional, and every interaction I've had with them has been above-board and thoroughly non-sketchy. They moved me twice (once from Long Island to Manhattan and once from Manhattan to Vermont) and I have nothing but good things to say.

You don't have to have movers visit your house, but some will provide "Not to Exceed" estimates if they do. If you are certain of what you have (e.g. have you already packed those 2 dozen boxes so you know it's actually 2 dozen boxes?), then my guess is you don't have to have the company come to your house.

If you are the one who packs the boxes (I assume this is what you're going to do, although it's slightly unclear), my guess is this will cost you somewhere between $500 and $1000, probably closer to $500. But, call Shea and ask; they're super helpful and friendly.
posted by Betelgeuse at 8:38 AM on October 24, 2018 [1 favorite]

Flat Rate is fine, but pricey. Most places I've looked at will give you a quote over the Internet once you provide them an inventory. They will charge by hour and so far I haven't had any problems with significantly exceeding the time estimate.

The certificate of insurance thing stressed me out the first time I heard of it, but it's completely routine and any competent moving company will be able to provide one on request.
posted by praemunire at 9:12 AM on October 24, 2018

« Older What are some good but free ways to incentivize...   |   Do you let your cat see you naked? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.