ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so far...

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mattinla
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: LA, CA, USA

ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so far...

Postby mattinla » Thu Jul 15, 2004 12:03 am

Well today was moving day.. and I had a couple of problems.

First, the local guys I hired were not exactly quick.. In under 1 hour, everything was down from my apartment and on the street waiting to load on the truck.. and somehow it took another hour to load those last few feet eventhough they had everything they needed... they really seemed to be stretching the time, and one of them had his dog with him..and if my friend had not been out front watching my stuff, the dog would have tinkled on my sofa! And once we got to ABF, the dog was underfoot. So I am not going to recommend these guys to others.

Anyway, second problem: THE ABF CONTAINER IS NOT 5 X 7 X 8 AS ADVERTISED. Well, maybe it is on the outside, but the way it is constructed, you lose about a foot and half in each direction on the inside. It was like opening a closet. It is supposed to hold as much as 3 linear feet. That is what their website says.. it will absolutely not hold 3 linear feet. My 3 cushion sofa and chair would have barely made it in..and then there would have been no efficient way to pack the boxes. I could only recommend this method if you have some small furniture pieces and boxes. Load something like a full size sofa and you will have a lot of trouble.

So I had to go to the dispatcher, and ask if I could load a trailer the regular way instead. And because they were anticpating just loading the pod onto a trailer, I had been assigned one of the oldest and grossest trailers. The people beside me were all loading nice brand new trailers.. but it was either that, or wait for another loading day...which was impossible at that point. You could see through the wooden parts of the load floor to the ground at many points.. and the side walls had some pin point holes (luckily all behind where my stuff is)..and the floor was just so dirty. Perhaps this is common for ABF and the LA terminal is lucky to have newer trucks available for those who plan this in advance? The LA terminal puts the trailers in a parking lot across the street from the main "yard".. and that way you have your 2 days to load without needing access to the yard.. Personally, I would not have felt comfortable leaving it there overnight.

I had my local guys back their truck up to the trailer and they put their ramp in between and just moved my stuff over to the trailer and I sent them on their way. Thank god I had a (a really good and understanding) friend with me.

My stuff would have loaded into 3 linear feet as planned... but I decided to spring for the extra foot to not have to pack so high and worry more about load shifting. (Remember, my original plan would have had everything in the container.) I packed everything as tight as I could, put two eyelets in the floor and ran some rope from the ceiling beams...called the dispatcher and a driver was there in about 10 minutes. We put up the barrier..which also did not give me the best confidence about its ability to stay in place as it was as old as the trailer, it seemed... he hooked up his cab and drove off. I tried to tip the driver because the barrier was really hard to put up (due to age of the thing) but he would not take it.

I have no beef with ABF. The dispatcher was friendly and efficient. They run a tight ship. I do have a beef with upack and the way they represent the container size. When I call tomorrow, we are going to chat about that.

I was lucky I had brought lots of old pillows and things to stuff in the crevices to keep everything tight..and I also had plastic to throw over the top.. although that won't do much good for the dust that's going to come through the floor.

Thanks to tips on here, I bought the really cheap mattress foam toppers at a discount linen place - and they were having a sale - and I had fully wrapped my couch and recliner in those and then stretch wrapped them... K-Mart has twin size acrylic blankets for $5.49 each. I feel sorry for anyone who actually has to use them as bedding, but they worked well for wrapping my tables and using in the load.

Box City in West LA is a great place for all your moving supplies. They are very friendly, the prices are great and you can return anything that is still in "new condition" - even boxes...just save your receipt. I overbought, so that is a great thing.

My partner is meeting the truck at the Miami terminal... so I'll have to wait and here how it goes on that end and report back.

Matt

PS Diane, you sent me an email, but was not sure how to respond through here.

Diane
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so fa

Postby Diane » Thu Jul 15, 2004 9:46 am

Great feedback, Matt. I've already emailed my contact at ABF to alert her to the problems you had. This will be reinforcement for whatever you say to them.

I went to the ABF website page where the containers are described - http://www.upack.com/equipment/container.asp
It's clear that, as you say, the interior space of the container must be the equivalent of less than 3 linear feet rather than 5 linear feet as an unwary customer might suppose from the outside dimensions. Also, I can see how a 7-foot sofa (for example) might not fit in a container whereas it might fit in 3 linear feet of a trailer.

So these containers are for really small shipments, and probably most appropriate for just boxes. (I don't see where the ABF website says that the containers hold 3 linear feet, although it says that they hold the equivalent of one room of furniture.)

Regarding my PM, I just wanted to know how the person who loaded you worked out in case he turned out to be someone that could be recommended to someone else. Since he wasn't all that great, I don't need to know any more. (BTW a PM can be answered with another PM by clicking on the reply button at the bottom left of the PM.)

Your experience certainly shows how there can be glitches under the best of circumstances. I'm glad that you felt that the ABF personnel were at least trying to help and that the driver wouldn't accept a tip. Keep us posted.

mattinla
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: LA, CA, USA

Re: ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so fa

Postby mattinla » Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:59 pm

Actually I should clarify about the 3 linear feet. I used their space calculator at their website, and it came up with the 3 linear feet, but then it (the website) suggested I try the container. When I called for pricing, the container was a lot more expensive than the 3 linear feet, so I was just going to get the 3 linear feet. But the sales person had me speak to a "specialist" who was really pushing me on the container, and she said it would hold a bit more than the 3 linear feet and she would give it to me for the same price. They are really pushing these containers... and frankly, I don't know why.

As for dimensions, I overstated the foot and a half thing probably after I thought about it some more. In terms of depth and width, the way the 2 x 4's are configured inside, plus the thickness of the plywood on each side, you lose about 10 inches. In terms of height you lose a bit more than that, because the bottom has been constructed to accept a pallet jack.

My 7 foot sofa, a large recliner, a kitchen table base and 4 kitchen chairs, plus an assortment of boxes and small TV would have easily fit in the 3 linear feet, had I been prepared for it by bringing more bracing material to stack higher. That is what I put in the ABF calculator and it came to 3 linear feet or the container. As I said, these items would have never fit in it. I wish I had taken a picture!

I'm such the anal type, I had marked out a 5 x 7 x 8 section in the corner of my living room, and shaved off several inches in each direction "just in case" and did a test pack.. everything fit.

Diane
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so fa

Postby Diane » Fri Jul 16, 2004 12:30 pm

I've posted your updates on our main ABF thread, Matt, but I just want to be sure that I posted accurately. Did you pay $990 for the 4 linear feet in the ABF trailer? How much did you have to pay the people who helped you load?

I remember you said on the other thread that Movex quoted you at $1700 and a U-Haul was $2200 (ouch!), so even with paying helpers, it seems as if you made out pretty well pricewise.

Also, first you said that your things WOULD have fit into the ABF container if you had had bracing material for stacking, and then you said that they WOULDN'T have fit. Could you please clarify this?

mattinla
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: LA, CA, USA

Re: ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so fa

Postby mattinla » Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:10 pm

I am still trying to get through to someone at upack about my price.. yesterday their mainframes were down. I am on hold with them as I type this. However, if I pay for 4 linear feet, it would be the $990.

What I meant was that my stuff would have fit within the 3 linear feet on the trailer (as originally estimated by their moving calculator) if I had proper bracing material. Because I was expecting to fill the container, I had not been worried about stacking things so vertically up to 9 feet in the trailer. Since I could not use the container, I had to decide whether to risk the stack being so high, or get the extra linear foot and reduce the height of my load. I decided to reduce the height of my load.

My stuff would never have fit in the container. It is not the dimensions advertised (at least on the inside). I would say if anyone is considering this type of move, they go to the terminal ahead of time and open one up and see for themselves. I wish I had.

Diane
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Joined: Tue Oct 07, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Los Angeles

Re: ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so fa

Postby Diane » Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:17 pm

Thanks for the clarification and good advice. I suggested to ABF that they need to put the inside dimensions of the mobile container on their website. How much did you pay your helpers in LA, and for how many hours' work?

mattinla
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: LA, CA, USA

Re: ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so fa

Postby mattinla » Fri Jul 16, 2004 4:41 pm

My helpers were $75/hr for 4 hours.. so $300. I think it should have been a 3 hour job.. but that's how it goes.

And yes, no matter what, I will still save over Movex, Uhaul, BE, etc.

My biggest concern remains the condition of that particular trailer, and just being more worried in general about my stuff not being in a locked container and more subject to load shifting, etc.

-----

GOOD NEWS - I spoke with ABF and they said they were offering the deals because they are trying to get feedback on how the containers are working. He said he fully understands, and was sorry I had such a hassle with the trailer. He's going to reprice my move and knock about $200 off my original 3 foot price. So that makes me feel a lot better and clearly this is a company that cares about their reputation.

mattinla
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: LA, CA, USA

Re: ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so fa

Postby mattinla » Fri Jul 23, 2004 4:26 pm

I did confirm that the price for my move turned out to be only $575. So my misfortune worked in my favor - as long as my stuff survived in that ratty truck :)

Upack called my partner two days ago and said the truck would be in Miami on Thursday. That was the first estimate I was given, too, at the start of the move. Luckily, I had told my partner to plan on a Monday pick up since he had to make arrangements with a local mover, and I wanted to be sure the stuff was there, and this fell within Upack's 2 day window. Because I just called the Miami terminal to send them an authorization to release my stuff to my partner, and they said the truck would actually get in tonight. I spoke to the Miami terminal and they were very friendly...faxed them my authorization and should be all set. Will let you know the condition of my stuff when he gets it.

mattinla
Posts: 27
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:25 pm
Location: LA, CA, USA

Re: ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so fa

Postby mattinla » Mon Jul 26, 2004 8:29 pm

HOORAY - My partner opened the trailer today, and he said the hardest part of the pick up was removing the barrier. Apparently my stuff did not shift at all, and nothing was dirty or damaged. The movers he hired, backed up their truck to the back of the trailer, and it was transferred in about 25 minutes.

So in the end, I have nothing but good things to say about ABF.

Thank you all so much for your help during this stressful transition :)

Matt

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twalker
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Re: ABF container/POD move - be careful!! And the move so fa

Postby twalker » Mon Jul 26, 2004 9:21 pm

Great news Matt! Thanks for getting back to us and letting us know how everything turned out.

Tim Walker
MovingScam.com


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