There are exceptions to the rule. Please consider this...

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BillAdams
Posts: 775
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:12 am
Location: Cos Cob, CT / Oxford, CT

There are exceptions to the rule. Please consider this...

Postby BillAdams » Thu Oct 31, 2019 9:39 am

I've been a contributor since 2007 and a huge supporter of everything this site does for consumers.
I'd like to open up a discussion on the advice given in the article "How to Find a Reputable Mover" that eliminates all movers from consideration because they cannot send an estimator to the customer's home for an on-site survey.
In the end I'm hoping the article can be edited to include some exceptions.
Here's what it says:
Set up appointments for three moving companies to come to your house and do an in-home estimate in the order of your least favorite to your most favorite company. If they won’t come to your house to do an in-home estimate, move on and find another company. Find out up front if the company will be doing the move themselves, or if they will be sub-contracting the job to another company. If they won’t be moving you then you should move on to another company.
As a long-time rep for a licensed 48-state independent mover who self-hauls everything (a must, as referenced in the article), I get many requests for estimates where we are quite capable of doing the move, but not physically close enough to go see the customer.
I have done many of these off-site estimates by using two methods. 1) By looking at photos or videos sent by the customer for each room of the residence, 2) We now use a service that uses artificial intelligence that uses mobile devices to record encrypted videos (per room) that actually calculates cf, weight, and packing for us. I also go Online to see the house from the street view, and inside photos if the house has been listed for sale by a realtor. Lastly, I like to have a phone conversation to best understand the clients' needs, concerns, and expectations.
I have had no issues with estimating accuracy using these methods, and I always suggest that the customer get at least one or two other estimates to compare before selecting a mover that's right for them.
Let's face it, finding a trustworthy mover using the Internet is hard enough, and so eliminating a potentially good mover because of their inability to ring a doorbell is not entirely good advice any more.
Thanks for reading.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
-Mark Twain

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4665
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: There are exceptions to the rule. Please consider this...

Postby BigLeeCalif » Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:05 am

Hey Bill..

How are you? I don't get on much since I have retired in 2015.

You bring up some good points, especially with the new technology that was not available 10 years or so ago.

I like where you say you could use AI to do calculations. A friend of mine who said he couldn't get to every survey uses the information provided by the shipper via skype or facetime, or video chat. The shipper walks the sales person through the house, and the sales person can [if he is on his computer] record the video and use it to calculate weight. I don't know which service he uses but Whatsapp is a very secure platform for that type of sharing.

Peace
Big Lee
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

NYCMover
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Mar 09, 2009 4:35 pm
Location: New York, NY

Re: There are exceptions to the rule. Please consider this...

Postby NYCMover » Thu Nov 07, 2019 2:13 pm

Hey guys,

I agree with Bill and Big Lee. Times and technology have changed and tools are available now that make it possible to do an accurate quote remotely. I get a mix of in-house and video surveys to do and I find that for the biggest homes and/or more complicated moves - the in-home visit is still preferable if it can be arranged. This is especially true when the customer has expensive and extremely fragile items where a lot of crating and 3rd Party Work is going to be required. But for the average 1 BR or Studio apt? Well, I said it about 3 years ago, but the COD Estimator profession is eventually going to go the way of the Chimney Sweep. I just hope I'm retired before that happens. The handwriting is on the wall and you might not like it, but there is no stopping the future. People have appointments with their Doctors now by remote access; they certainly can interface with a moving estimator by the same method.

Yes, the parts in the advice article that tell customers to look for someone else if an in-home can't be arranged should be qualified - it's not such a simple black-and-white matter anymore.

NYCMover

BigLeeCalif
Posts: 4665
Joined: Sat Aug 23, 2003 5:59 pm
Location: Escondido, California

Re: There are exceptions to the rule. Please consider this...

Postby BigLeeCalif » Sat Nov 09, 2019 5:51 am

Hey there NYC Mover...

How are you?

I do agree that if an estimator cannot do an in-home survey, and he/she and the shipper can do a remote video survey, there should be no reason that it wouldn't work. Items that need special attention can be viewed by the estimator and shared with the third-party service for the purpose of estimating cost of said third party service.

In addition, a video survey may prove to be added protection for the customer where the old you had more items than on the estimate comes into play. The shipper is protected if there are no additions, but the estimator is also protected if items that the shipper did not show him pop up and increase weight/cost. I still think I would have the shipper fill out a fillable cube sheet, and compare it with the items on the visual tour..

I'm getting bored and was thinking of setting myself up as a freelance moving advisor.
"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt" Mark Twain

BillAdams
Posts: 775
Joined: Thu Jun 28, 2007 6:12 am
Location: Cos Cob, CT / Oxford, CT

Re: There are exceptions to the rule. Please consider this...

Postby BillAdams » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:11 am

Hey guys,
Thanks for your input.
Congrats on retirement Lee. If you get bored, try pickleball :D
Good point on going to see those homes that are large and with high-end furnishings.
Also good point regarding what the client wants moved during the estimate vs. what they want moved on load day. The video can be referenced in the case of discrepancy.
To be honest, I think about 100% of my customers make changes between estimate day and move day. Fortunately most of them ship less than initially inventoried. Once they understand that they will pay for weight, they start pitching things that aren't worth shipping in order to keep the bill low.
Here's a few more benefits to the virtual survey:
1. Customers can do videos at any time of day, on their own schedule.
2. The family dog doesn't lose it's mind when the doorbell rings, and I don't get bit.
3. I save time, gas, tolls, parking, and stress (seeing a NYC apt. costs me $50-$80 and 6 hours of time).
After driving for 30 years, 4-6 hours a day, I currently do zero in-home appointments.
For the past 14 months, all of the estimates I've done have been over the phone or using videos, and accuracy hasn't been an issue.
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones that you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover."
-Mark Twain

chptrkrules2
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:41 pm

Re: There are exceptions to the rule. Please consider this...

Postby chptrkrules2 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:24 pm

Same here in Portland. I do those moves over the phone with pictures or we have a cheap service that will do it over Skype for us for $50.

I have one loading in a little AZ town this week that didn't have an orig agent within 125 miles.

Good to hear from you Bill


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