November 12, 2015
If you have been keeping up with us on social media the past few weeks, you have probably noticed all the information about our participation in the Augusta area Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which was held on November 7th. As a part of our partnership with UniGroup we joined other United and Mayflower agents nationwide and set out to support our local chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. Throughout our campaign we worked to raise awareness among our staff and share tidbits of information with people on our social media channels. In addition we collected donations, sponsored “Casual for a Cause” Friday’s and even hosted a “Purple Out” celebration on the final day of our campaign to get geared up for the walk, encouraging each of our employees to wear purple for Alzheimer’s awareness to have a donation made in their honor by Ellefson Transportation Group! We ended up exceeding our goal of $1,500 and were very excited to present a representative from Walk to End Alzheimer’s with our donation at our “purple out company spirit day”. We also had the opportunity to learn about local outreach and resources for those living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia, as well as their caregivers. If you are not familiar with our local Alzheimer’s Association in Augusta, make sure to check them out! We were honored to have Kimberly Ross-Maslon, Community Outreach Director for the local Alzheimer’s Association in attendance at our Purple out event to give our team a few facts and figures about this illness, how to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s and how they can get involved.
COO Nyles Ellefson presents Kimberly Ross-Maslon of the Alzheimer’s association with a donation from Ellefson Transportation Group at our Purple Out Spirit Day.
In addition to fundraising for support, we also had a great time with our team members at the Walk event, which had over 800 participants rallying to support the Alzheimer’s Association and raise awareness. If you are looking for a worthy cause to support, definitely look into this one. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US and effects more than 5 million people. It’s also the only leading cause of death that cannot be cured or slowed down, which is why funding for research and support is so important.
Thank you to everyone who help our team reach their goal! We are very proud of all the members of Team ETG for all their hard work, you can check out pictures of our team at the walk, as well as our “Purple Out” get together on our facebook page!
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October 29, 2015
With the holiday season rapidly approaching, most people are turning their attention to festivities, gifts, and yuletide parties, however some people are shopping around for more than just the perfect stocking stuffers. If a new home and end-of-year move are on your wish list this holiday season, it might be time to start thinking about the latter part of that wish! Selecting a moving company can be a tall task and definitely isn’t one to be taken lightly. While “peak season” or the summer months is when moving companies see the most relocations, we often see a small peak during the winter break, with families taking advantage of school being out and a few additional days off from work to get all the loose ends tied up.
Whether you’re planning for your first move or your fifth move, its always important to do your due diligence when selecting a relocation partner. Make sure you ask the tough questions and, in the end, that you are comfortable with the selection you made, not just on the financial side of the equation, but the quality and experience side as well. Working with a well-trained, professional team will go a long way in ensuring that your relocation produces the least amount of stress possible.
So, how do you know if you’re selecting a quality relocation team? Well, one place to start is to look for a company that is a part of the American Moving and Storage Association. An AMSA provider has passed AMSA background screening with government authorities at the state or federal level, as well as with their Better Business Bureau chapter and pledged to abide by and uphold the AMSA Code of Ethics, a great start for finding a reputable team. Beyond that, make sure you take the time to “interview” a few different service providers to pick the one that best meets your needs.
Here is a list of 10 questions your moving company should be able to answer for you prior to your move (and a few “red-flag” responses to lookout for):
- How long has your company been in business and can you provide me with references from past clients?
RED FLAG: If a mover is unable to provide any information supporting an established business with credible references, you might want to look elsewhere. It is not uncommon to find “movers” who often change names and information to avoid a trail of bad reviews and dissatisfied customers.
- What is your experience level and do you have any speciality experience?
If you are relocating to an urban area with walk-ups and freight elevators, or small streets, make sure that your moving company is equipped to handle that. Additionally, if you are looking to hire someone to move large pieces, such as a grand piano, make sure you disclose this information and discuss other options if they are unable to equip your specific needs.
- Are you licensed by the USDOT and insured?
RED FLAG: If a company is unable to provide you with documentation of licensing and insurance, chances are, if something goes wrong, the DOT and other organizations might not be able to help you. Always do your homework and make sure that your service providers checkout.
- Are you licensed for State and Interstate Transport?
This is key if you are moving across state lines, you will want to make sure that the company you select is licensed to handle a move, whether its across town or across the country.
- What is your insurance & liability coverage for lost or damaged items? Do you offer additional moving insurance?
It is SO important to make sure that you understand the liability and insurance policies of your relocation partner prior to your move. By law, your mover should provide you with a document outlining your rights & responsibilities during your move. If they do not, this is a RED FLAG, and it might be best to look elsewhere.
- What is your availability for the time frame I am looking to move in and how firm are your dates? Do you have any consolidation policies and what are your delivery windows?
If your moving dates are in a tight window and you don’t have much room for error when it comes to the process, make sure you communicate that and have a discussion about the process, especially if you are moving from state-to-state when shipments might take a few days to reach their destination, as opposed to across town, which might be completed same day.
- What are the restrictions or changes to liability if I am interested in packing items myself? How does this affect the cost of my relocation?
Everything is give and take, while it might be a cost savings on the front end to pack items yourself, make sure you understand how that might change the liability and insurance of your items during the process.
- What costs are included in my quote? Are there any other factors that could contribute to the cost that are not listed here?
Make sure to ask about rate changes and add-on fees, a reliable company should and would disclose this information to you, if asked, so make sure it’s a part of the discussion. Things like fuel cost, moving extra items from storage or new items purchased prior to the move, peak season rate changes, etc. should be discussed to make sure you get the most accurate picture of what your final bill may look like.
- What supplies and equipment are provided? What items will result in additional charges?
Make sure to check and see if prices of packing materials, and speciality equipment are included or if you will incur additional charges after a specific amount of supplies is used. This might also be a good time to discuss the crew size that will be used for your move so you know what to expect on the day of your relocation.
- What forms of payment do you accept and what is your typical payment process?
RED FLAG: If a company only accepts cash or demands a large deposit upfront for services, it might be worth looking into other options. This could be a sign that things might go south later on and then you will be out the funds with no way to track it or stop payment if the services end up being fraudulent.
Hiring any type of service provider should be grounds for doing some extra digging to make sure that you are getting the best service possible, but knowing and trusting your moving company is key! If you are unable to confidently turn over your belongings to your relocation company without fear or worry that something might go awry in the process, we suggest getting back to square one and taking these questions along as you interview new service providers.
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October 15, 2015
We’ve all heard the stories about the ill-fated move that seemed more like a scam than a professional relocation, and in todays world there seem to be so many options for service providers it’s hard to know where to start. When planning a move, some people prefer the DIY route, or the “family and friends” tactic, or possibly bargain hunting for the best deals, but its also important to that you trust the people you select to help you move. They are, after all, packing up all your possessions and transporting them for you. You are more likely to come across the horror stories and scam alerts online than any helpful tips about how to select a good service provider, so, we wanted to take a minute to offer up a list of a few things to take a second look at as you’re planning your move.
We’re just going to touch on a few of the items here, but you can check out the full break down of tips and explanations in this moving.com article.
The estimating phase is an important part of selecting your service provider. Estimates should not be done over the phone. They should be done in your home and it shouldn’t be a brief walk through. Your estimator should take the time to walk through your home, discuss items you are, or are not taking, things you might purchase between now and the move, whether you have items in storage and other things that may effect the size of your shipment. It’s better to give too much detail, rather than not enough.
- Identity Crisis
Make sure you are selecting a reputable service provider. If a company has changed their name several times, is hard to find information on, or can provide you with no references, it might be best to look elsewhere. It is possible they are trying to hide some skeletons in the closet, and you definitely don’t want to run the risk of being part of their next scam.
- Money Matters
If it seems like a potential service provider is overly focused on the money, chances are they are! Your mover should not ask you for a large upfront deposit and should be transparent about any additional costs you may incur during your move. Make sure all costs and fees are discussed upfront! Also, make sure that you have all your paperwork in order and that you are never signing documents with blank spaces or inaccurate information. Also, be sure to keep signed and completed copies of everything.
- Liability and Claims:
All movers are required, by law, to give you the “Rights and Responsibilities” pamphlet prior to your move. It’s also important that you understand the liability, insurance and claims process (including the window of opportunity to file a claim after your move). All this information should be given to you beforehand. If it is not, it might be best to find a service provider who is going to take the time to help you understand all the parts and pieces of your relocation. You can read more about this on our previous blog post!
Sometimes, in the heat of the moment, we don’t always take time to consider all the options and we are just concerned with crossing the next item off the to-do list, however, hiring a reputable moving company is something you don’t want to rush. The best way to ensure that you are receiving quality service is to look for a Certified Pro-Mover and to do your due diligence prior to hiring a service provider. If you feel that your recent or current move might be a nightmare in the making, take a look into “Move Rescue” a consumer advocacy group created by United VanLines and Mayflower to help protect consumers from moving scams.
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October 1, 2015
In one of our previous posts in our ABC series, we touched on your rights and responsibilities when you’re moving. Understanding the role you play in your move is key to making it a success. It’s very easy to rely solely on your service provider to get the bulk of the work done for you, but not doing your due diligence and being aware of the various processes, expectations and laws that play a part in the relocation process can make for a messy move.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that the “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move” brochure be given to each customer prior to a move. This brochure defines the rights and responsibilities of the consumers(you) and the household goods carriers throughout the process. fFrom estimates and booking, to moving day, filing claims, and beyond, it is important to fully understand all of these rights. You can find the full list of rights and responsibilities here. We have highlighted some of the biggest things to take note of as you’re preparing for your move below:
- Get a written signed estimate and keep it in your records.
A professional and qualified mover will never charge you for an estimate on a move and all estimates should include the decisions you and the carrier have made regarding your relocation. This includes things like what you want moved, the number of crew members your move will require, the truck size, the delivery date, who is packing the move, and the movers liability for loss or damage.
- Be Ready when the mover arrives.
If you have agreed to pack your items, make sure they are ready and that the boxes are organized and labeled. If the mover is packing for you, make sure that you have sorted through all your items and have pulled out all the things you want to take with you including an overnight bag, a first-aid kit, medications, personal records and documents, and valuables that you do not want loaded in the moving truck.
- Work with the mover to make an inventory prior to your move.
It’s important to know what you have and make note of your items and their condition on the inventory form. This will be used on the backend to ensure that your items arrived safe and sound!
- Understand and agree with the Bill of Lading before signing it.
The Bill of Lading is your contract with the mover. It states the mover’s responsibilities including the services they will perform, when and how they will charge for the move, and what their liability is. Be sure you understand the contract before you sign it and make sure to obtain a copy. Movers are required to issue you a bill of lading, so do not hire a mover that does not want to use one!
- Before your move require the mover to explain its limits of liability and your options for loss and damage protection.
The carriers “liability” and “insurance” are not the same thing. The Addendum to the Uniform Household Goods Bill of Lading details the carrier’s liability which may be less than the value of your goods. According to law, carriers are not liable for the full value of your property unless you pay an additional charge for that protection. This is called Valuation.
- Be at the destination at the agreed upon delivery time.
If your items cannot be delivered because of your absence, your property may be placed in short-term storage, and additional fees may be incurred as a result.
- Check the condition of your property BEFORE you sign the delivery receipt.
If you see loss or damage to your items upon delivery, make sure that you note that on the bill of lading and be specific. Ensure that the notations appear on both copies of the bill of lading (yours and the carriers). If you do not make note upon delivery and prior to signing the delivery receipt, it could be very hard to make a claim.
- Be Flexible
Moving can be stressful on everyone and sometimes the process takes an unexpected turn. Be patient and trust that your move team will help you navigate through the process even if it takes a little longer than you had expected.
If you have any questions regarding your rights or responsibilities during the relocation process, be sure to speak with your mover or relocation coordinator to ensure all your questions are answered prior to your move and that you understand all the bits and pieces of information and how to protect yourself!
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