All licensed movers must carry cargo insurance, for the customers’ and the company’s protection. This translates into cargo valuation coverage in the amount of 60 cents per pound per article. Obviously, this is basic and limited coverage for covering your belongings.

illustration of a person putting moving boxes in a moving van to prepare for an interstate moveRemember: Movers Are Not Insurance Companies!

Some moving companies offer different options for increased coverage, but you should remember that no interstate moving company is an insurance company.

If your long-distance mover has offered to sell you increased insurance coverage directly, then this is increased valuation, NOT INSURANCE.

This increased valuation means that for your interstate move your relocation company has agreed to be liable for damages above the $.60 per pound limit (usually this maxes out at around $5.00 per pound). This is still not enough to cover the full replacement cost of many items, especially smaller, lighter, expensive items such as TVs and fine china.

Guarantee Coverage

The only sure-fire way to guarantee that your things will be covered at full replacement value is to purchase additional insurance (not increased valuation). Many interstate movers offer this option through reputable third-party insurers who deal only with moving and storage.

Additional Insurance Options

Elephant Moving and Storage is pleased to offer a variety of increased additional insurance for interstate relocation. The basic coverage of $.60 per pound per article is included automatically and free of charge with every move, and also with all storage.

The two most popular additional overages our customers most frequently purchase for their interstate relocation are ‘Total Loss Only’ and ‘Full Replacement Value.’

Full Replacement Value – Lump Sum

This coverage is for a specified dollar amount (customer states that shipment is worth $XX,XXX). Any items specifically valued at greater than $500 must be noted at the time of purchase.

Damaged and destroyed items are covered at full replacement value up to the lump sum amount of the insurance. Customers should be careful not to undervalue their total shipment since compensation is limited to the total lump sum amount specified at the time of purchase.

Full Replacement Value – Valued Inventory

This coverage offers full value protection for a list of select items.

You will be prompted to create an inventory list that includes the name, value, and condition of each item. Damage to listed items is covered, but items not included on the valued inventory are not covered by the additional moving insurance (the basic coverage of $.60 per pound will apply to these items).

Total Loss Only

This coverage is for a specified dollar amount and pays only in the case of catastrophic loss. Small damages are not covered by this type of insurance.

Benefits of this coverage include low cost and protection against a major accident or disaster.

Pairs and Sets Insurance

This includes pairs and sets coverage and mechanical and electrical derangement coverage. Pairs and sets will replace a full set of something if only one or part of the set is damaged.

The mechanical coverage covers the internal workings of mechanical and electrical devices (without this add-on coverage, only physical damage to the unit itself is covered).

All of our basic and increased insurance options cover the goods that we transport and store. None of these options cover damage to the premises we work in.

Be advised that Elephant Moving’s liability is limited to $100.00 for damage to floors, walls, doors, and painted surfaces.

When you have an internal plumbing problem, you go to a medical professional. When you have a household plumbing problem, you hire a professional plumber. In other words, we all seek out specialists who are the best at what they do.

It’s a similar story in business. Manufacturers, for example, are best at making stuff. Retailers are best at marketing, merchandising, and sales. Professional movers, like Elephant Moving & Storage are best at logistics – moving office and household furnishings efficiently and carefully from Point A to Point B.

This is why some of the biggest names in retail rely on Elephant Moving & Storage in the Austin and Central Texas area for what the logistics industry calls, “white glove delivery service.

What Is A White Glove Delivery Service?

movers providing white glove delivery servicesWhen shipping or moving office or household furnishings a white glove delivery service ensures complete and total care of your items. This level of service typically includes:

  • packaging
  • moving
  • loading
  • unloading
  • disposal of debris and packing materials
  • inspections every step of the way

When you buy a large piece of furniture or a major appliance in a store or online, it must be delivered and often it must be assembled or installed in your home. And, often, as with mattresses, the item that’s being replaced, must be removed and taken to an appropriate recycling location.

This is way beyond curbside delivery and drop-offs. In many cases, the store or manufacturer requires that the appliance or furniture item be inspected, and if necessary, repaired before it is delivered to the customer. If it can’t be restored to the original condition, the item must be returned to the shipper.

Trust in Elephant Moving & Storage

Our professional, trained movers have years of experience doing all this. This is why we’re able to offer white-glove delivery services in addition to our residential and commercial moving services.

We’re white glove moving specialists, and darn proud of it!

Elephant Movers and StorageDo you know the difference between a moving company vs a moving broker?

A moving broker is definitely not a mover!

Brokers do not have the operational and logistic capabilities that moving companies have. They do not have moving trucks, professional movers, proper moving equipment, and in a lot of cases not much moving experience.

What Is a Moving Broker?

Moving brokers are basically a sales team that book your move and sell it to an actual moving company, so the day of the move you would get a surprise: the mover you chose after long research, to trust and move your home, is a different mover – not the one that you picked!

Sometimes the broker does not manage to sell the job because he ‘lowballed’ the estimate and no reputable moving companies are willing to buy the job. In this case, you can get stuck with no mover on the day of your move.

Worst of all, many of the moving brokers are located in a call center somewhere far from your city.

Stay Informed About Your Move

When you book your move make sure to ask the company you are moving with if they are an actual moving company. Make sure that the company you booked uses their own crews and trucks to pick up your shipment.

When in doubt, stick to using a reputable local moving company instead of relying on a moving broker.

Summer is without a doubt the busiest time of year for the moving industry. But why is this?

Summer MovingThe number one reason summer moving is so common is the weather! Everything is harder in the winter. The cold makes moving extra challenging, with icy roads and sidewalks, snow banks hindering parking, and frozen hands and feet. Moving when the weather is warm has none of these drawbacks.

Yes, it can be hot, sweaty work, especially here in the Austin area where the temperatures soar into the triple digits for weeks at a time, but trust us, summer moving goes so much better in so many ways than winter moving. Winter weather can often cause delays for people who are moving, but even when it’s blistering hot there are rarely weather delays on summer moves.

Summer Is Also the Busy Season for Real Estate

People like to move when the kids are out of school, and that means they wait until summer to sell the house and make that trek across town or move across the country. Moving in the middle of the school year can be stressful for all involved, so waiting until the end of the school year gives everyone time to adjust and get settled before the new school year starts up in the fall. Older kids also move out of their parents’ homes to head for college in the summer, and college students typically finish their studies in the summer and then relocate for employment  (or move back home with mom and dad!).

Don’t Forget That Summer Is Wedding Season

Weather and the school year may have something to do with why people choose to get married in the summer months. And what do people do once they are married? That’s right, they move into a new home together after the wedding!

Whatever your reason for moving during the summer, remember that since it is peak season movers and trucks will be in high demand. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to find an available mover for the date you desire. If you have any flexibility with your move date, try to avoid moving on the weekends or during the peak end-of-the-month time period. These times are the busiest for movers, and even if you do schedule well in advance there are sometimes unavoidable delays due to the full schedule.

Need To Move This Summer?

Elephant Moving maintains crews of professional movers all year round (we don’t use day labor or sub-contractors); our field crews are trained in how to maneuver and transport household goods in the most careful and efficient manner using techniques that have been developed by us over 12 years in the moving industry.

Every crew member goes through a background check and doesn’t hit the field before he is aware of all the aspects of household moving during the summer.

As we all know, the temperature in Austin routinely climbs past 100 degrees Fahrenheit – Elephant Moving makes sure that the crew is capable of working in extreme weather conditions and that they have enough water with them for their day of work.

Your local Austin and San Antonio movers are affiliated with all the major truck rental companies in town in order to supplement our fleet of trucks whenever necessary. Elephant Moving can provide the trucks needed for any size move on short notice.

Summer is hectic, but with our movers, we ensure that every customer gets their money’s worth on each and every move!

We have received a number of inquiries lately about the shipping website uShip.com, which is an online marketplace for shipping services. Service providers bid against one another for customers’ shipments.

While you might be able to get your items shipped for dirt cheap using uShip, you should be aware that uShip is simply an online marketplace for helping parties connect.

What’s The Problem With uShip?

Licensed MoversuShip provides a venue where a shipper and a service provider can agree on a price for service, but uShip is not actually involved in the transaction. Most importantly, you should be aware that uShip;

“does not prequalify or validate the claims of transportation service providers with respect to their license, insurance, or other operating authority.”

And this is the main problem with this website.

Many of the service providers you find on uShip.com are not licensed, bonded and insured moving companies. They are either unlicensed moving companies operating illegally (the US Dept of Transportation has very strict regulations about licensing and insurance and any company performing moves without a USDOT operating authority is breaking the law) or they are just a guy or a couple of guys with a truck, trailer or van.

Even if they say they are licensed they may not be, so be sure to do your homework just like you would when researching movers you find anywhere else.

Check out the USDOT website to check the status of their license number.

The Pros and Cons of uShip

We have heard horror stories from a couple of customers about hiring movers they found on uShip. And we have heard some positive experiences as well.

It seems like a decent service that can save you money if you are shipping just one or a few items – most moving companies have minimum charges that even single item moves are subject to but uShip service providers may charge less.

For larger shipments, we have received some negative feedback, mostly due to the fact that the customer chose an unlicensed service provider and his insurance was not adequate.

If the mover you choose does not have a valid license (USDOT operating authority) then the mover is likely not insured and is not following all of the safety requirements and regulations that a licensed carrier must adhere to. Without the proper insurance policies, you could be out of luck in the event of a major disaster on the road or even in case of relatively minor small damages.

If the vehicle being used to transport your items is not properly registered then a state trooper could stop the driver and impound the vehicle, which is certainly a headache that no customer should have to handle.

We think it is always better to go with a licensed and insured professional moving services company for an interstate move. There are so many moving companies out there that offer wonderful service while managing to follow all DOT regulations and requirements.

There’s no reason to risk your worldly possessions to save a few dollars by going with an unlicensed company or some guy with a truck. There’s a reason the moving industry is heavily regulated; going outside that regulated zone is not a risk worth taking when it comes to relocating your entire life.

Stay Informed About Your Movers

Read online reviews wherever you can find them to get an idea of how other peoples’ experiences with them went. Make sure they provide a proposal in writing as well as a contract for service. Pay using a credit card or Paypal account.

And of course, remember if the price seems to good to be true, it probably is.

When it comes to selling residential properties, market research indicates that word choice and phrasing really do matter. While “location, location, location” is still paramount, certain words and phrases can influence both the perceived value of a home and the time it takes to sell, according to research by CoreLogic, Inc.

A CoreLogic analysis looked at more than 1 million single-family transactions that were closed in 2016 nationwide. Days on market is defined as the time between the list date and the date a contract is signed.

Distressed properties, including real-estate owned (REO) and short sales, were excluded from the analysis since they are usually priced lower and tend to sell faster than non-distressed properties.

The researchers used word cloud graphics to show which combinations reduce and which combinations increase the days on the market for a listed property.

For example, “finished basement” and “updated kitchen” help properties sell faster, while “gourmet kitchen,” “two stories,” and “golf course” seem to increase days on the market, perhaps because they suggest premium price.

Similarly, another CoreLogic analysis says word pairings can increase or reduce the perceived value of a listed property. The words should be custom-tailored to the local market. For example, desirable neighborhoods, appealing local attractions, fashionable street names mentioned in the listing can add value,while other choices can reduce the value perceptions.

 

In addition to careful word pairings, there also is a growing trend toward the appealing story and narrative in describing listed properties. Sellers and their agents sometimes hire professional writers to craft 250-word descriptions that go way beyond the usual “3 bdrm, 2.5 bath, 2-car garage,” etc.  Now, it might be something like:

“With magical, embracing arms, this home can whisk you right back to your childhood. Remember racing down the street with your brand new Schwinn bike to be greeted by the smell of bacon frying for your special BLT lunch….”

Marketing experts also recommend throwing around respected brand names, including names of appliances, furniture makers, designers, and architects, to suggest customization, uniqueness, and quality.

So, there you have it. Now, choose your words carefully, and when you’re ready to move within Texas or beyond, choose Elephant Moving & Storage, Austin’s favorite home-grown moving and storage company. #Texasmovers #Austinmovers #Elephantmoving

It hardly seems that long, but sure enough, this July marked 10 years in business for Austin-based Elephant Moving & Storage – our favorite Texas moving and storage company. Happy Birthday to us!

Wow. From just an idea we had to start a small business in Austin, to a moving company that now operates throughout Texas and even beyond, in only 10 years. In case you missed it, here are some highlights from our first decade in business:

  • Launched the business in July 2006, handling both local residential and commercial moves;
  • Expanded to include moves between the Houston and Austin areas, between San Antonio and Austin, then all of Texas;
  • Expanded again to provide interstate moves;
  • Added warehouse storage as one of our services, and now manage a facility encompassing 25,000 sq. ft. for both short- and long-term storage;
  • Created a dedicated delivery service to handle white-glove and deluxe deliveries of large furniture and appliances for major retailers and e-commerce websites;
  • Active members of the Southwest Movers Association, and
  • Triple A rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Although we have grown and evolved, one thing hasn’t changed from the first day: we are licensed, bonded and insured. We play by the rules and are proud of it.

To be sure, we’ve had our growing pains — like many successful businesses — but, on balance, we serve our customers well, and we’re proud of the referrals and repeat customers who have helped drive our growth. When we perform below a customer’s expectations we want to hear about it, so we can continue to improve how we operate.

All signs point to continued strong growth for many parts of Texas, and we look forward to being part of it in the years ahead. Our thanks go out to our many friends and customers for your encouragement and support.

compare moving quotesSince this is the peak of the moving season, it seems like a good time to talk about movers, compare moving quotes and estimates, and how to compare apples to apples. To keep it relatively simple, we’ll limit our focus to local and intrastate moves. We’ll talk about long-distance/interstate moves in another post.

First of all, realize that the moving business is a highly regulated industry — and for good reason. Individuals and families entrust their valuable property with movers, and unfortunately problems can arise.

That’s why legitimate, professional moving companies, such as Texas-based Elephant Moving & Storage, play by the rules and are fully licensed, bonded and insured. If you get two or three quotes and there is a large disparity, it could be a red flag. The low-ball quote might be from an unlicensed, uninsured and perhaps illegal operator. If something goes wrong, you will have no recourse.

Even if they say they are licensed, they may not be, so be sure to do your homework.  Check out the USDOT website (http://www.safersys.org/) to check the status of their license number.

To determine whether an operator is licensed in Texas, visit this website:

https://apps.txdmv.gov/apps/mccs/truckstop/

Make sure they provide a proposal in writing as well as a contract for service. Pay using a credit card or Paypal account. And, of course, remember if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.

So, let’s assume you’ve confirmed that the two or three companies you’re considering are legitimate, professional movers.

How do you compare moving quotes or estimates? Start by determining whether they are actually comparable:

  1. Estimate or fixed price, there’s a big difference
  2. Do both take into account the same variables, e.g. same size load, travel time, stairs/elevator, long carry?
  3. How do the hourly rates compare?

After you’ve determined that the quotes indeed are comparable, then drill down into the details:

  • Does the mover charge extra for plastic crates?
  • Does it charge more for moving on weekends and holidays?
  • Do they charge extra for protective padding and wrapping?
  • Do they charge extra for any other services?

Recently, you might have noticed some entrepreneurial storage companies also are offering limited moving services. These companies might be a good fit for folks who are moving/storing just a few items, but beware: these companies only pick up and move what you have ready to be picked up at curbside.

With these companies, any disassembly, power/plumbing disconnects, and in most cases, even moving the items to the outside pickup spot are your responsibility. The moving quotes are low for a reason: very limited service. These companies make their money mainly on the storage fees, and there’s usually a hefty minimum, e.g. four months.

Bottom Line: Know what you really need and get the details before you make a commitment. And be sure you hire a mover that is without a doubt licensed, bonded and insured.

If it’s the last week in July, that means it’s moving time for thousands of Texas college students. Moving is never fun or without hassles, but here are a few tips to help minimize the negatives, so you can enjoy the positives of your move.

student movers texas

1. Do your homework. If you’re trying to decide whether to do it yourself or hire a professional moving company, carefully research the costs. After you add the basic cost of renting a truck or trailer, plus insurance, plus gas, plus other fees, you very likely will find that hiring a professional moving company, like Austin’s Elephant Moving & Storage, is only slightly more expensive. And, the additional cost may be offset by fewer hassles and more time to spend with family and friends. You owe it to yourself to at least get the facts.

2. Make a Plan. Make two lists: To-Do, and To-Bring.

3. To-Do is your list of tasks in preparation for the big day; stuff like confirm move-in date/time with the building manager; coordinate schedule with roommate(s); schedule movers or truck/trailer rental; find out the moving day requirements of the apartment building or dorm; schedule utility hook-ups, if necessary.

4. To-Bring is the packing list and inventory of your things. Categorize them according to Critical/Valuables, Necessary/Important, Desirable, and Borderline. Do this list as a draft then review it and eliminate as much as possible. Remember: you’re not leaving civilization, so don’t pack like you are.

5. Start packing. Now, like the supermarket check-out, the question is paper or plastic. Or, more precisely, cardboard boxes or plastic bins. It mainly comes down to personal preference, but if you can’t tell what’s inside just by looking at the container, be sure to color-code them and/or label the containers. Just make sure that the Critical/Valuable items, including documents, medications, electronic devices, etc. stay with you and do not get packed or loaded with other stuff.

6. Storage – For various reasons, students often need storage. Self-storage facilities often fill up quickly, but fortunately for you, Elephant Moving & Storage can accommodate your needs in its large, climate-controlled warehouse.

We offer long-term and short-term storage options in Austin. Our storage warehouse is a great place to stash your things for the summer or a semester abroad. Our crews of experienced professional movers will pick up your things when you need them out and deliver them to wherever you need them, whenever you need them – same room as last year, one a few blocks away, your mom’s house in Houston or a new place in Nashville once you get that post-graduation first job.

Our most popular service for students is pick-up, short-term storage for a few days or weeks, and delivery once you move back in time for fall classes. Our skilled Texas movers wrap all furniture in quilted blankets and prepare a detailed inventory of the items they take.

Once everything is loaded up, you’re done. No need to bother with a trip to a self-storage, no locks, no keys to lose. Our crews will unload shipments into our storage warehouse and package each shipment separately on pallets with shrink-wrap. Accidentally packed your favorite shoes? No problem. You can access your storage items anytime you need. Simply let our office know when you want to come by and our warehouse moving staff will make sure your items are accessible so that you can find what you need.

Everything stored in our secure warehouse facility is always insured at our basic level of $.60 per pound. If you need additional insurance you can insure up to full replacement value for one item, multiple items, or even the whole shipment. Elephant Moving & Storage is licensed, bonded and insured. Our crews of well-trained movers will make your summer storage stint a breeze!

Need a quote? Get your moving and storage estimate now!
Place an order for moving boxes and packing materials now!
Place an order for earth friendly packing crate rental!

 

June and July are the busiest months for moves and relocation. Planning and preparation are essential. Here is a simple Five-Step Plan for making your move as painless as possible:

1. For any move in Autexas moving tipsstin, Houston, San Antonio or Central Texas, of course, contact Elephant Moving and Storage. We have the experience, capability, equipment, facilities, and supplies to handle any residential or commercial move in Texas – all at competitive rates and prices. Contact us by phone, e-mail, or our website for more details and to start the process.

2. About 30 days before the actual move, make a checklist and begin scheduling notifications re utility shut-offs and service transfers; mail service; new address notifications; schools; others. Assemble important documents that will be needed in getting settled, such as school vaccination forms, insurance policies, and other documents.
3. About three weeks from your move date, start taking inventory and decide what must be moved, what can be trashed, and what can be given away/sold/recycled. Set aside or begin trashing all the items that will not be moved.

4. About two weeks from moving day, start packing. Label boxes and color code for rooms and priority. If you hire us to pack, we complete the packing in one day, usually the day before the move, sometimes day of, or it could be a couple of days before, depending on your needs. Make sure to maintain control over your small valuables, medications, small electronic devices, including chargers, and critical papers.
5. The week before moving day, make arrangements, if necessary for child care and/or pet care. Consume or give away frozen foods. Confirm payment arrangements with the movers.

One more important point for interstate moving: Interstate moves can be affected by distance, weather, road/traffic conditions, other customers, and various unforeseen circumstances. When you Elephant Moving and Storage, we will give you a “delivery window,” based on your destination and the first available delivery date you provide. For example, average transit time to Florida is 5-7 days; average transit time to New York City is 7-10 days, etc.

Although we aim to deliver as close as possible to the first available date you provide, we do not guarantee delivery dates unless you have contracted for an exclusive truck. The maximum delivery window to any location is 21 days. DOT regulations require that we deliver your belongings within that maximum delivery window. That means that you must be sure to keep with you any critical items that you must have during that maximum 21-day delivery window, and plan accordingly.

We’ll discuss delivery windows again in more detail in a future blog post. Stay tuned…

There are lots more moving and packing tips on the Web, but if you follow these basic steps, you will have a smooth move. Planning and preparation pays off. Last-minute decisions always increase costs and headaches.

For more information and ideas, visit the American Moving and Storage Association at www.moving.org.