Things started off well, with the Starving Students moving truck scheduled to arrive around 8am. At 7:30am I received their call and by 7:45am Steve Knight and Chad Koropp were on site. The paperwork is fairly straight forward, but make sure you pay attention to the coverage options. Another important piece of paperwork is the "Not o Exceed" amount. If you think that number too high or not what you agreed upon, call the office. From there, they survey and document your possessions. Go along with them to make sure everything gets listed.
Now that the preliminaries are completed, the move starts in earnest. By 10am the jam packed 10x10 storage unit was cleared out and we were on our way to my studio apartment. There they had to deal with street parking and an antiquated elevator. Steve and Chad repeated the survey and documentation process at the apartment. Once again, make sure to double check that they document everything. The elevator proved to be too much trouble for most of the move so they had to haul the stuff down the stairs. They were very careful with everything and overcame the precariousness of the stairs so that nothing was damaged. Despite the stairs and larger items, the apartment took under 3 hours.
They worked tirelessly taking breaks only long enough to drink some water on a hot June day. While it's not required of you, it is considerate to offer water or other beverages for them. With everything loaded and secured in the truck, we were off to the new apartment. There they had to move everything up a flight of stairs as the new place has no elevator. The boxes and other items were quickly and neatly stacked in the main room. While larger items, like the fridge and bed, were deposited in their final destinations. It took about 3 hours to unload the truck, an impressive feat considering the approximate five hours it took to load.
They had me do a final walk through on the truck and sign some paperwork before they were off. If you are as happy with your move as I was with mine, make sure to tip the movers. These guys do a lot of hard work.
About Starving Students
In 1973, Ethan Margalith, our founder and Chairman, could not find a part-time job to pay his way through college. He found an old truck, which he fixed up and drove around moving people's things - one old beat up truck and one young driver - pretty humble beginnings. He did everything to ensure a quality move at the lowest possible cost, but still it is amazing how far a simple smile will get you.
Today, we are not students anymore; we have gotten older and better. We are a vibrant national moving company running hundreds of trucks from Los Angeles to New York and everywhere in between. There are many things that he has not forgotten about his humble beginnings. And if you ask, he will tell you, "it is the driver that is the most important part of what we do, not the truck." And that is why our drivers still exuberant that youthful optimism and enthusiasm each day - a readiness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.
And that is it. We have kept it that simple, just the driver, his branch manager and the two teams. This means a driver anywhere on the road in America is only one tier away from the decision making process for the entire company. We are in touch with every aspect of operations and we react with speed and sensitivity to our drivers and customers' needs –we will give you "the best move you've ever had".
With success comes growth. We now have more than a thousand people who rely on us to pay their mortgage and feed their families. It is a responsibility we take very seriously. The complexity of keeping track of the more than 60,000 families we move each year, requires high quality standards and constant monitoring. We are here for you.
You can contact Starving Students on the web at http://www.ssmovers.com, by email at [email protected] or call them at (6683).
Moving Company Tips
When looking for a moving company, in addition to getting recommendations from friends and relatives, consumers need to check to see if their mover is licensed, says Douglas Hill, president of the California Moving and Storage Association. You can do that by calling the public utilities commission or Department of Transportation nearest you, or by calling one of the industry trade groups, such as the American Moving and Storage Association (703-683-7410). Its Web page lists many, but not all, licensed movers. Licensed movers are registered with the state and have at least basic liability protection. Be warned: If the mover is not licensed, it is operating illegally. Also, go to the mover's office and simply buy a box. Seeing the office and the employees might indicate whether you'll feel comfortable letting these people into your home. Not having a local office is another red flag.
Understand that all licensed movers offer "valuation" packages, the industry's answer to property insurance for your goods. Like so-called "collision damage waivers" that you can buy when renting a car, the moving industry's valuation packages are not insurance. But they function much like it. The standard package, included in the cost of a move, compensates you 60 cents for each pound of lost or destroyed material. If the mover drops a 30-pound computer monitor, it will pay you $18. There are two other valuation options, but they'll cost you. You can buy "actual cash value" coverage, which will compensate you for the depreciated value of goods that are lost or broken during a move. That's enough, for example, to get you another two-year-old computer monitor if yours gets dropped, but not a new one. Or you can buy so-called "full value" protection, which would compensate you, in the previous example, with enough to buy a new monitor. Actual cash value coverage usually costs $5 to $7 per $1,000 of goods covered, Hill says. The cost of full value coverage varies based on whether you agree to pay a deductible in case of a claim. No-deductible coverage can cost up to $10 per $1,000 in value, while coverage with a $500 deductible runs $2.10 or less per $1,000. That's mainly because the average claim in the moving industry is small – a few hundred dollars in damage. If you have a lot of electronic equipment or expensive items, the additional coverage is worth considering. Roughly one in every five moves generates a damage claim.
Never sign a blank contract. All promises should be in writing. Any changes should also be in writing, initialed by you and the mover. Realize that the rate quotes you get over the phone are not binding. Reputable movers will not charge more than they quote, if you give them accurate and thorough information. But if the mover finds you have more furniture than you said, or you're moving up three flights of stairs, you should expect to pay a lot more. The only legally binding limit is the "not to exceed" price written on your contract that you sign at the time of the move. Pay attention to it.
Finally, Report problems to your state's consumer protection agency, your local Better Business Bureau and the Federal Highway Administration. Get a copy of "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move," a booklet prepared by the FHWA and available online. Your mover should be willing and able to provide it to you.
General Moving Tips
One Month Before Moving
- Fill out change of address order form for post office.
- Fill out an IRS change of address form.
- Make arrangements with moving company or reserve a rental truck.
- Make travel arrangements, if necessary, with airlines, buses, car rental agencies and hotels.
- Transfer memberships in churches, clubs and civic organizations.
- Obtain medical and dental records, x-rays and prescription histories. Ask doctor and dentist for referrals and transfer prescriptions.
- Set up a checking account in your new city.
- Check into the laws and requirements of your new city regarding home-based businesses, professional tests, business licenses and any special laws that might be applicable to you.
- Take inventory of your belongings before they're packed, in the event you need to file an insurance claim later. If possible, take pictures or video tape your belongings. Record serial numbers of electronic equipment.
- Make arrangements for transporting pets.
- Start using up food items, so that there is less left to pack and possibly spoil.
- Switch utility services to new address. Inform electric, disposal, water, newspaper, magazine subscription, telephone and cable companies of your move.
- Arrange for help on moving day.
- Confirm travel reservations.
- Reserve elevator if moving from an apartment.
- Have appliances serviced for moving.
- Clean rugs and clothing and have them wrapped for moving.
- Plan ahead for special needs of infants.
- Close bank accounts and have your funds wired to your new bank. Before closing, be sure there are no outstanding checks or automatic payments that haven't been processed.
- Collect valuables from safe-deposit box. Make copies of any important documents before mailing or hand carry them to your new address.
- Check with your insurance agent to ensure you'll be covered through your home owner's or renter's policy during the move.
- Defrost freezer and refrigerator. Place deodorizer inside to control odors.
- Give a close friend or relative your travel route and schedule so you may be reached if needed.
- Double check closets, drawers, shelves, attic and garage to be sure they are empty.
- Carry important documents, currency and jewelry yourself, or use registered mail.
- Carry travelers checks for quick, available funds.
- Renew your driver's license, auto registration and tags.
- Shop around for new insurance policies, especially auto coverage.
- Revise your will and other legal papers to avoid longer probate and higher legal fees.
- Locate the hospitals, police stations, veterinarian and fire stations near your home.
Published on Oct 30, 2006