Moving your belongings should be an exciting time (moving to a new home, a new community, etc) but for most it is a task that brings extreme vitriol. Moving from one home to another can be so stressful but luckily you can hire a professional moving company to make things a lot easier. Hiring the right company is the difficult part but if done correctly it will make moving a lot easier and you won't even need to beg everyone you know to come over with the promise of beer and pizza!
I recently had the pleasure of speaking with a friend of mine, Jeff Collins, who is the founder and President of Moving Ahead Services. Moving Ahead was founded by Jeff in 2005 after he finished his military service. At the time he was working at a storage facility and realized there was a real need when customers of the facility would ask if he knew of anyone who could help them move their stuff. Since 2005, Jeff has grown the company significantly with a focus on customer service. They recently purchased two competitors and they currently have offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati with a fourth in Pittsburgh expected to open soon. They currently employ around 70 employees and reach closer to 90 in the peak summer season. Because of their growth, Moving Ahead Services recently won the Fast Track 50 Emerging Business Award in Lake/Geauga county.
I asked Jeff a handful of questions to better understand what is involved in hiring a moving company and making the experience a great one. I didn't realize that moving companies are regulated by the Public Utilities Commission and they have to publicize their prices (called tarrifs) online. They have to be within 10% of the published price. There are actually two ways you can pay a moving company. The first is a non-binding hourly rate per mover. The second is a binding rate that is a flat rate based on an in-home inspection of everything the move entails. Generally, the hourly rate tends to be the better deal for customers, especially if you are willing to do a few small things to make it easier on the movers.
For just moving (without any additional services, like packing), you can expect to pay roughly $1800 to $2200 for a local move of a 3-4 bedroom home. If you are hiring Moving Ahead to pack all of your belongs you can expect the price to double because of the time it takes. Jeff said that many homeowners will hire them to pack their most fragile items (like the kitchen and dining room) instead of hiring them to pack everything. One way to save some on cost is having your belongs packed and ready to go.
Disconnecting large appliances like the washer and dryer or even disassembling your bed are things that many people forget to do that takes the movers time and adds to the bill. It is also a good idea to have any pets out of the home as well as small children for safety purposes as well as to allow the movers to work efficiently.
When you are planning your move you should realize that the peak season is between Memorial Day and Labor Day and you should book your move about 2-4 weeks in advance. With local moves you do not have to pay a deposit, you just have to pay once they move everything to the destination. With long-distance moves a 50% deposit is require 72 hours before the load date. The balance is due upon arriving at the destination.
Moving Ahead Services is more than equipped to handle any long-distance moves because they are an agent of Stevens Van Lines. Being an agent makes the costs significantly reduced for homeowners. This is because they can take a family's belongings from Cleveland to Texas and then pick up another load in Texas to move to say Florida. And then fill up the truck in Florida to bring someone else's belongings to Columbus, for example. They recently completed a trip from Cleveland to Las Vegas to Texas to Florida to Massachusetts and back to Cleveland that involved a handful of different customers!!
Knowing how important online reviews are, I have been blown away by the reputation Moving Ahead Services has online. For example they have a five star rating on Google with 63 reviews and they have a 4.7 rating on Facebook with 123 votes! That is really impressive! Jeff did say that of course damage can happen in any move but they have about 1/3 of the damage claims that is typical for the industry and in generally claims are quite rare. They work really hard to make sure damage never occurs and they quickly reimburse a customer if something does happen. It is important to remember that it is almost impossible to move all of the belongings in a home on a large moving truck without at least a small nick or scratch.
There are hundreds of competitors in the movers category but Jeff and Moving Ahead Services stand out because of their communication with customers. This is why they have such a positive presence online and why they are winning awards. If you are planning a move, please check out their website for more information or call them at (440) 256-2224.
Images were provided by Moving Ahead Services.