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.  
Loading


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: 

https://www.nar.realtor/newsroom/existing-home-sales-surge-11-8-percent-in-february


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.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wish the CRS ski team good luck in the finals tomorrow!

Bromley Mountain Inn Keepers race series Finals tomorrow. CRS is in second for the season closely behind the first place team; The Other Ones.

   2019 INNKEEPERS RACE SERIES
                                    02/27/2019

                                    Team Standings  Best 8

Plc Team                     1   2  3   4   5   6   7  8   9  10  11  12 13  Total

  1THE OTHER ONES           75  76  80  75 71  76                            456.88
  2CONSUMER RELOCA          75  77  83  76 73  75                            461.32
  3WESTON MARKETPL          79  77  77  78 101  79                            493.52
  4LUCKY CHARMS             86  84  87  82 83  87                            511.76
  5FORESTRY FANATI          83  86  94  90 90  84                            529.08
  6THE VERMONT SAL          90  89  88  86 89  89                            533.21
  7BLACK LINE TAVE          89  91  86  78 145  91                            581.35
  8PHANTOM 5                98  99  95  98 98 106                            597.56
  9RAVENS DEN               96  99 102 101 105 114                            618.88
 10THEFT OF SERVIC          88  88  91  96 118 139                            623.99
 11EAST SIDE LADIE         107 114 102 109 101 106                            642.21
 12WILD BOARS               94  99 101 110 128 129                            662.86
 13I QUIT                  104 107 103 104 123 128                            672.29
 14TACHY                    89  91  99  95 226 127                            731.25
 15SALEM HARDWARE           80 148 149  99 144 145                            767.00
 16THE BOG TAVERN          129 134 120 113 143 185                            827.18
 17OVER THE HILLER         158 162 109 112 121 178                            842.76
 18ALCOHOLICS UNAN         108 217 175  98 152 111                            863.84
 19JOHNNYS ANGELS          113 198 111 109 165 176                            874.12
 20THE BOG TAVERN3         138 208 131 101 150 151                            881.59
 21SNOW ANGELS              94 107 171  99 208 210                            891.46
 22IT'S ALL DOWNHI         222 170 106 168 163 126                            958.06
 23GATE CRASHERS           185 191 211 122 105 151                            968.20
 24CVC                     118 129 221 169 167 174                            980.39
 25SURE WE'RE CHEA         125 138 185 131 227 227                          1,034.86
 262+2                     157 211 182 114 270 243                          1,179.56
 27HOFFMANS TOO            270 270 270 105 163 210                          1,288.62
 28HOFFMANS STILL          270 270 270 109 207 209                          1,336.11
 29LINDAS HAIRRAIS         270 270 236 189 192 186                          1,345.42
 30NINJA SNOWFLAKE         195 270 225 132 270 270                          1,363.33
 31HERITAGE TIMBER         212 213 270 270 270 211                          1,447.75
 32HOFFMANS ALSO           270 270 270 105 270 270                          1,455.61
 33HOFFMANS                270 270 270 215 215 217                          1,458.03
 34HOT TOTTIES             270 270 166 212 270 270                          1,458.58
 35BENNINGTONIANS          217 270 217 216 270 270                          1,461.12
 36WATTS UP                270 270 113 270 270 270                          1,463.01
 37TBS                     270 270 270 217 217 221                          1,465.76
 38JEFF IS A JERK          270 270 135 270 270 270                          1,485.17
 39THE BOG TAVERN2         270 270 241 270 216 225                          1,494.45
 40TROPHY HUSBANDS         270 270 270 270 208 270                          1,558.87
 41TEACHERS                270 270 270 220 270 270                          1,570.96
 42BAG LADIES              270 270 222 270 270 270                          1,572.04
 43ANGRY DRAGONS           270 270 270 270 270 270                          1,620.00
 43BALSAM                  270 270 270 270 270 270                          1,620.00
 43DAY OFF                 270 270 270 270 270 270                          1,620.00
 43MOTLEY CRUE MID         270 270 270 270 270 270                          1,620.00
 43THE MOTLEY CREW         270 270 270 270 270 270                          1,620.00

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Further consolidation of moving companies good for CRS!

The announcement last week of Wheaton Van Lines' acquisition of Stevens Van Lines provides Consumers Relocation more capacity to serve our clients needs!  Wheaton Van Lines, one of our largest preferred moving partners, gains over 100 new agents and many more moving trucks in an industry where these assets are shrinking. 

Our customers and clients will see greater capacity during the spring, summer and fall busy seasons, and expanded coverage of localized areas through this acquisition.  What this likely means to customers is our increased ability to offer customers their preferred load and delivery dates during peak periods, more local storage locations at destination and/or origin, and great overall service.

Stevens Van Lines has been a well respected, well run van line for over 100 years.  Their agents, as Wheaton's, are top notch and their crews and drivers are great.

We look forward to offering this added service coverage to our Clients. 

Coming into the busy season now!  Call us or visit us through our website if your company is planning new or existing employee moves! 

802-824-3496
www.consumersrelocation.com

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Relocating long distance in the winter?

When I think of driving a long distance in the winter months, November through April, I always prepare for the worst in winter weather.  To us in Vermont, this means proper tires, a shovel, flash light, jumper cables and a warm blanket or two in the car.  You never know when you will be trapped in an impossible traffic jam caused by ice or snow, slide off the road, or be stranded in white out conditions.

In New England we take these harsh conditions into stride, but with the  recent weather events all over the country this winter I often think of those poor people that are not used to this wintry weather, and are stuck in it.

One thing we see time and time again are vehicles and owners thinking that all weather tires or new summer tires are just fine in the snow!?  If you are in the snow for any length of time you will appreciate your car's ability to operate safely with snow tires.  With all of the recent ice events, studded snow tires and 4 wheel drive make all the difference in the world in the way the automobile operates.

If you are relocating in the winter, and you need to drive through an area where winter weather is possible, watch weather reports for a number of days before your trip, equip your car with the list of items above and spend the extra money for good tires!  This will enable you to weather the bad driving conditions more safely and with less hassle.

Here is a good overview of  tire selection by Consumers Reports.

https://www.consumerreports.org/winter-driving/best-tires-to-buy-for-winter-driving/


Friday, February 8, 2019

Tis the season in Moving!

CBS news Meg Oliver's piece on moving scams comes at an appropriate time of year.  As the moving season ramps up, its all important to know who the relocation and/or moving company is that may be moving your prize possessions!

The link below brings you to her well done story on moving scams, and in this case in the state of Florida.



Consumers Relocation has been providing move management services and vehicle shipping for over 25 years to the nations largest association's members, large and small company's employees, universities, college's  existing and newly hired employees.  We selected and vetted every moving services partner with which we work, and monitor their performance on every move.

Call us this spring for more information and to speak with one of our knowledgeable Consultants!