Wednesday, September 4, 2019

What Consumers Relocation does behind the scenes!

Customers that use our services certainly know what we do as we work with them throughout their move.  Visible are steps like organizing their move with them, ordering the moving estimates, comparing and reviewing the estimates.  And then all the follow up steps with each customer to be sure they are on track.  And.. post move follow ups. 

But probably one of the most critical behind the scenes steps is maintaining contact with the customer's chosen van line/mover to be sure they are all set as well!  After all, they are the ones that will be providing the onsite service to our customer.  Both the van line and local agent must be on the same page with loading instructions, dates, delivery instructions and the like. 

A follow up goes to every van line/mover prior to each move to obtain a registration number and a driver assignment.  A registration number indicates the move is in the van line's dispatch system, and the driver assignment insures there is a truck and driver assigned to the move.  We do this follow up until we are satisfied that both steps have been taken by the van line.  No answer on either one raises a huge RED FLAG.

Consumers Relocation conducts many behind the scenes activities to insure a move goes as smoothly as possible.  Looking at google maps to determine if a truck will likely have access to a home that seems to be in a remote area!  If you are moving to Vermont, so many little tiny dirt roads exist.  Sharp bends in the road could put a tractor trailer in a culvert!

Experienced Consultants at Consumers Relocation know the ropes, and can be critical in the moves planning, even the activities you would normally think would be all taken care of.

Call Consumers Relocation for your next Company moves or individual moves and let the experts guide you through the process.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Moving during this summer's heat waves!

Yikes!  Forecast is for 110 degrees in Washington DC this weekend!  Similar forecasts in a number of states in the country.

We hear about all the warnings for leaving children and pets in cars in any kind of heat.  Can you imagine what the inside of a moving van might be in summer heat over 100 degrees!  Or even 80 or 90 degrees.

When moving in this weather, everyone should be cautioned to think about what they might be moving in a moving van and the potential effects on certain items of heat.  The moving vans are crossing potentially very hot areas, and are exposed to the direct effects of the sun all day long.  Just a few items I can think of such as plants, and wine collections would definitely be effected by this heat.  Perhaps think of alternate ways of transporting anything you may be concerned about in a hot moving van.

Another important item!  Think about the moving crews that are providing the services to you.  They will be working very hard physically during the day; potentially in the sun, and humidity.  Have plenty of water and perhaps salt or bullion cubes available to these crews to prevent dehydration and salt loss!  They will be very grateful and you may be warding off any unfortunate effects of the heat and efficiency caused by the heat!

Be proactive give some thought in these extremely hot conditions and your move will go much smoother.

Call Consumers Relocation Services with any questions you might have on this and other topics for moving.  👍

Friday, June 21, 2019

CRS Celebrates 1st day of summer!

First day of summer after a really really long winter in Vermont!  Still, overcast and temperatures in the high 50's and low 60's; but summer!  Our first BBQ for lunch!  Brats

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Moving? Preparing for possible delays in the summer

Delays!  Seems like we see them often in our everyday life!  The vast majority of our experiences are on time ones!  But it is the few times we are delayed that we remember the most.  We need to be prepared for those few times we are delayed to make them more tolerable. 

Spring and summer are the busiest time of the year to move.  This year, with the driver shortage scheduling pack, load and delivery of your household goods presents a challenge for dispatchers and local agents around the country.  Everyone's objective is to schedule these important dates around the needs of our customers and meet every customers expectations in hitting those dates!  However, just like everything in life, we must have a back up plan in case delay's occur.

Delays can occur during busy times for a variety of reasons.  Weather, mechanical issues, sickness, customer delays, larger shipments than expected and the like can create a delay in a moving van.  I recently attended the loading of an automobile by a carrier. This truck was enormous!  I asked the driver if he had issues moving in the snow.  He said he had special chains for the truck, but in a bad storm he would prefer to hunker down somewhere and not travel.  "The last thing I want is to skid off the road and damage someones $50,000 car!"  Not only a safety issue but also customer satisfaction issue of doing everything possible to insure their goods are delivered the way they were picked up.

So, with all the variables, over 90% of the shipments we manage are delivered within the delivery spreads provided for in our customer's order for service.  But, everyone must take some small precautions to be sure their life is not totally disrupted if a delay should occur.  Yes the van lines we use all will compensate our customers for delays which is intended to cover their living expenses due to delay,  But, everyone needs to think about the necessities they need to carry out the things they intend to do when they arrive in their new location.

Be prepared to live without the items being shipped.  If you are working, pack seperately any work cloths needed to work for a short period of time; say several days.  If the delay is longer, you can always clean some of them  If you are moving to a warmer climate, take cloths you may need there for warmer weather.  And, if your computer is importand, plan to take it with you and not on the moving truck.  If you have important medication, carry it with you.  Empty house at destination?  Perhaps if you have a large family, blow up mattress' would be a fun adventure of camping out in your new house with the kids!

Being prepared for the unexpected with a plan is smart!  Even if you can not take all the items you may need if you encounter a delay in delivery, a plan on how to cope and obtain nececssary items can make  the situation much more tolerable.

Our Consultants work one on one with all of our customers to deliver valuable information throughout our customer's moves. Should unexpected things happen during our customer's move, one call to their Consultant will heip them through with alternatives. courses of action and information.  Call Consumers Relocation to manage your next move. 

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Recruitment and talent acquisition move assistance

Every HR conference we went to this year was well attended by company recruiters and talent acquisition specialists.  Everyone of them spoke of the challenges they encountered in attracting new professionals to their organizations!  Everyone of them who spoke to us about our Move Management services expressed interest and said "boy could I use your services when I bring people in from out of state or over seas".

Many organizations large and small seem to be struggling with the notion of assisting  newly hired employees with their relocation to the new location.  Some organizations have a solid policy of reimbursement for new hires' moves while others have none.  Mostly none!

Our services are used a lot for newly hired employees whether the company is simply reimbursing the employee for costs, paying for move costs directly or a combination of both.  We are used also for companies that will not be participating in the cost of the move but wish to offer move assistance that will save the employee time and money when they move! 

Simply, at the least an employee moving from out of state is going to spend time and money moving their personal belongings, whether a complete household or one room of things.  In most cases they will be charged with the daunting task of figuring out the logistics of moving a full household or simply a small amount that will not fit into their car.  And, they are dealing with time constraints of getting to their new job on a schedule which accommodates their new employer. 

I was talking to one health care professional yesterday who was asking what our company does.  She explained she just moved from Florida, and all her Regional Health Care System did was give her a couple local real estate magazines with homes for sale and contacts!  That was it!  No prearranged services to ease her transition or guidance about suppliers which may assist. 

Consumers Relocation provides move coordination assistance and vehicle shipping from anywhere in the country or world eliminating the complicated task for the employer of finding reputable movers and auto shippers in out of state or country locations.  We provide the new hire guidance and one on one assistance with a professional Consultant in our office for the physical move portion of their relocation; allowing them to concentrate on their new job; not getting there.  We provide the employee or employer vetted proven movers with specific contract guidelines for pricing and service delivery anywhere in the country or world.  We provide the resources for small moves that need to be containerized to large full service moves.

We alleviate the "deer in the headlights" syndrome for an employee when they are faced with a long distance move and don't know where to start!   We provide the employer a valuable service to offer their employee to eliminate that shock!  Both the employee and employer win.

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.

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.


                                    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! 


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.

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!