Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Small shipments this summer; wave of the future?

Van Lines are increasingly opting for containerizing smaller shipments as the demand for trucks, drivers and help exceed the supply.  The "driver shortage" this year is real, and van lines are taking measures to reduce the demand on interstate drivers and equipment. With the increase of smaller shipments, trend towards less "stuff", and personal possessions, demand for treatment of smaller shipments has risen sharply.  Ways to service these smaller shipments economically and efficiently has led to container shipments. 

Containerized shipping allows household goods to be shipped by alternate carriers and equipment.  Also, scheduling such shipments is much more predictable as most van lines using this method can specifically pin point load and delivery times.  

Small shipments in the past have taken lower priority in load and delivery times, and dispatched space on moving vans.  Small shipments are the ones, during peak periods, are loaded, taken back to the terminal and wait for a driver/truck that can load them and take them to destination; frequently with a lengthy delivery spread.  Household goods weights under 4000 lb are usually categorized as small shipments, and in the past have been subject to minimum weight charges; usually charges on 3000 lb. even if the shipment is only 1,000 to 2,000 lb. 

Most of the containers used (each van line has its own name), typically hold about 1200 lb, the equivalent about one room.   Dimensions vary but are in the area of 87"x45"x87".  
Lift Van

Pictured here is a Lift Van which in the past had been used for smaller international shipments which did not need a full container.  Many of the containers that are being used are of this size; varying in name and construction.  This container may be loaded at the home, while on the truck or loaded at the terminal if access to the home or apartment is difficult.  Van Lines are offering this services or requiring this service which included van line packing, loading and unloading as well as the shipment of the container.  With a Van line this would not normally be a customer self load and unload. 

Containers are "exclusive use" meaning only the customers items will be in the container.  Moving vans in a more traditional move method are loaded with several customers items, separated by bulkheads constructed between customer's loads.  

Consumers Relocation offers at least 3 van lines which provide this service.  Pricing for such shipments is about the same as a full service traditional move as the same services are being offered.  The amount of packing required by van line varies from partial pack to full pack.  Valuation or insurance coverage on for each container varies from about $7,500 to $10,000.  In some cases our contracts offer this coverage at no charge. 

Containerized shipping as described is not your low cost option.  You should expect the costs to be about the same as a traditional full service move in a moving van.  The advantage in cost is the customers final bill will be for only the containers they need and the services provided, not by a minimum weight restriction.  

Restrictions do apply to items that may be loaded into containers.  Such items as safes, large sofas, tempur-pedic mattress', plants, flammable items, grandfather clocks, and antiques may be restricted.

Storage options are normally available; some at a reduced cost for a period of time, others at normal storage charges for this size of shipment. The advantage here is that your items may be handled less since they may be loaded directly into a container, go into storage and then delivered with the container sealed the entire time.

Consumers Relocation has used a nationally recognized freight service for a number of years which has a household goods specialty group.  This option allows for the container to be dropped off, then self loaded by the customer, then shipped and dropped off at destination for customer unload.  Extra labor may be scheduled at additional charges for this service too.  This option is somewhat restrictive in metro areas where there is not available space for the container to sit while in the customers possession.   During the past several years we have seen a large increase in demand for this service, prior to the  van lines actually formalizing their programs. 

Estimates for cost and surveys are often completed using video survey techniques eliminating the need to have a van line representative to come to the home.  Video surveys have been perfected and prove to be very accurate, and work well since in most cases the cost of these moves is per container, not the actual weight of the shipment.  Very predictable cost.  Video surveys are normally done with smart phones, ipads and similar devices by the surveyor and customer.  

Containerized shipping is growing.  Van Lines that talked about it several years ago, now have a solid program in place and experience with this type of service.  The company we have used for a number of years with household goods freight shipping has perfected their moving services and completed hundreds of shipments for us using this method. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Maine HR Conference

Amy Olsen and Les Velte attended the 4 day Maine HR conference last week.  Downeast Maine at the Samoset Resort was the perfect venue for more than 900 attendees. 

Great conference and LOTS of interest in our Move Management Services!

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Important information regarding choosing a mover in 2019!

After weathering the storm of a driver shortage last year, all major van lines are making pricing adjustments now for 2019 to insure loads are picked up by good drivers and crews.  Last year, even major van lines experienced some issues with shipments and timely driver assignments to load and deliver them.  In the last couple years, we heard stories about shipments being held for pick up after what is called "pick and hold" for protracted periods until a driver is found and assigned to the shipment.  Less scrupulous movers, apparently not concerned with quality service and customer satisfaction, just left shipments unloaded and failed to show up at all in some cases. These companies took deposits, promised dates and never delivered on their promises. 

Major carriers, the ones we use, are taking steps to insure their success in delivering on time household goods shipments by retaining and recruiting experienced and quality drivers,  Everyone moving wants a satisfactory move, and the driver of the truck is the boss of the actual day to day activities of the move.  They organize the move, hire the crews to load and unload  Attracting these drivers and move boss' requires compensation and job satisfaction just like any other important job.  Their compensation and benefits come directly from the prices paid by the shipper (customer).

Even national accounts like Consumers Relocation must respect some of the pricing demands that dictate satisfactory moves for our customers.  The less scrupulous movers can continue to deeply discount the cost of moves to the customer now, require large deposits, with the promise that they will pick up the shipment on time and deliver it in a timely manner in the busy season (May-September).  We hear too many stories of these movers not showing up or delaying the shipment for long periods of time until a truck is available after the move has been booked and dates promised.  We get the calls from these shippers looking for us to assist them in finding a mover at the last minute since the cheap mover they chose cancelled the move.

Quality Van lines are making these price adjustments now for moves in May through September although we are not quite there yet.  Shippers need to think ahead to their moving time frame and anticipate this shift in pricing.  At Consumers Relocation we have long standing, written transportation agreements with all the movers we use for our customers.  These agreements dictate the terms of responsible pricing, full value protection for the shipment, pick up and delivery performance, and claims settlement parameter for delays in shipment and damage.  These terms protect, as much as possible, all of our customers from financial surprises and hardships due to delays in shipments and damage.

At this time of year in particular, these assurances for satisfactory moves are so important to all shippers (customers).  Choosing the right mover can save thousands of dollars in the end, even though it might be tempting the find the cheapest possible mover for a move.  The old saying "you get what you pay for" comes into stark reality during the most stressful time for any family; moving.

We are offering several containerized shipping solutions through companies with years of experience in that business.  Containerized shipments are most often used for shipments under 5000 lb. where they would occupy a smaller amount of space on a large moving truck  The advantage of this solution is a predictable load the delivery schedule, full pack in some cases, Pricing for this service is normally a flat rate per container.  Sizes of container vary by company.   Very predictable pricing. 

Let our experienced Consultants guide you through this busy summer season of moving.  "We have your back "  in pricing options, setting up your moving dates, checking with van lines prior to moving day that a driver has actually been assigned, and all aspects of your move.  We are your resource to insure the best possible outcome for your move with our vetted, long term van lines relationships. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Household goods shipments and pricing options

The ever changing household moving business has created so many different variations in pricing options in the last several years.  Every different pricing option has a different twist that must be considered to truly understand what the end cost of a move will be!  Additionally, we are seeing a building demand for containerized shipping options, which has certainly come a long way offering many full service options in this area.

For many years household goods pricing basis was a tariff called the 400n; published and maintained by the Household Goods Bureau.  Variations from the tariff had to be filed; but were normally minor.
Discounting off this tariff was huge, and mostly rates were discounted upwards of 55 to 60% off the tariff.  National account agreements, like what Consumers Relocation enjoys, offered other benefits in addition to a predetermined discount.  These other benefits, which we still have, include full value protection up to a certain level, performance promises for crew quality, pick up and delivery windows, claims settlement periods, and overall quality of service assurances. 

Now, most Van Lines have developed and filed their own tariffs which slightly resemble in some cases the 400n, but in many cases to do not.  Some very attractive features are now built into these new pricing models which provide interesting price protection and simplify what you will pay. 
It is VERY important to understand these nuances since they in the end could save thousands of dollars!  One great example is eliminating the cost of a shuttle at destination if needed.  At least one company builds this cost into their overall pricing so that if a shuttle is needed, they will not charge your for it! 

Picture this, you are moving to a location that the mover has not seen during the estimate process at origin, and therefore have not idea what the access to your new home is. The company gave you a binding not to exceed price for "the services listed in your estimate"   Your 3 bedroom home worth of belongings shows up at your new home, which happens to be a narrow road and the truck will not fit down the road, and there is not place for it to turn around even if it did fit.  The driver tells you; you need a shuttle!  They rent a small truck and shuttle all of your things to the new home from a parking lot location 2 miles away.  At the end, the driver adds an additional $1500 for the shuttle and added labor time to move your things.  They had no choice. And, since shuttle services were not listed in your binding price as bound, you have to pay this added amount!

Had the move been completed by the company that had the cost of shuttle at no charge in their pricing, there would be no extra bill and your price remains the same as you expected. 

So in the end, choosing the company that appeared less expansive initially, ended up to be the more expensive option.

The variations of pricing are too numerous to list in this article.  The best way to sift through all the pricing options is to work with your CRS Consultant in comparing estimate options, and potential outcomes of the pricing and features. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

NAR reports a good uptick in existing home sales for February over Janaury.

11.8 increase in home sales month to month February over January.  This still leaves home sales behind last year for the same month.  Hopefully this positive news plus lower mortgage rates will propel a surge in real estate activity in the coming months!

If real estate sales continues to improve, better start planning your move now if you are moving in the spring and summer!  Call Consumers Relocation to get your move planning started before the rush!

Read the rest of the report: 


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Tips on how to load a moving truck! Great guide by Penske

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

The Day of the Finals Inn Keepers Ski racing series; CRS Team

We all finished with good runs but won't have official results until the awards party next week.

Here are 4 out of 5 of the team.  One lucky member is powder skiing in the back country of British Columbia!

Stay tuned for the final results next week.