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.

congested roads austin

As anyone who’s driven through Austin can attest, the stretch of I-35 that bisects central Austin is a driver’s nightmare. It’s so bad, the state built a super-fast tollway east of I-35 to lure through-traffic away from the interstate. Now a national study confirms it: the situation is as bad as we thought.

The latest analysis by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI), the research arm of the American trucking industry, shows that the stretch of I-35 that bisects central Austin ranks as the 10th worst traffic intersection (out of 100 ranked) in the nation.

Why the researchers included that dreaded stretch of highway with 99 other intersections isn’t clear, but we get the point. Just to be correct, the formal name of the study is, “Congestion Impact Analysis of Freight-Significant Highway Locations – 2014.”

Drilling down into the specifics of the report, it shows that from about 1 pm to 8 pm, the average speed of traffic on that part of I-35 is 35 mph or less. During peak rush hour (4-6 pm), the average speed drops to 15 mph or less. And, that’s on a normal day.

Only The Begining

And with Austin’s population expected to grow to almost 885,000 in 2015 and to more than 965,000 by the end of the decade, the traffic congestion is only going to get worse.

At Elephant Moving and Storage, your Austin movers, we do our best to avoid traffic congestion, because time is money – your money. If you’re planning a move, be aware that travel time is a cost. Plan your move to avoid peak traffic routes and times. Be flexible, and let us work with you to schedule your move to minimize the traffic factor.

You can find more on the traffic study here and here.


winter movingWinter is a great time to move!


The rates for winter moving are often cheaper and you will find that you have an easier time renting a moving truck or hiring movers – but you should be aware of potential moving issues so that you can avoid them before they occur. Although the weather in the Austin and Central Texas is typically mild, the occasional winter storm does blow through and can cause delays if you are moving on one of these rare days. If you are moving from Austin or Central TX to another state that generally experiences colder, more severe winter weather you should plan ahead to ensure your journey is a smooth one. Here are some suggestions for moving during the winter.

Get Your New Home Ready for Winter Moving

Before moving day check with your real estate agent or rental property manager to make sure the new place is ready for you on moving day.

  • Make sure you have heat and lights. Don’t forget this one! You need to be sure that your utilities are functional. If possible have the heat, water and electric turned on a couple of days prior to your arrival so that you can make sure everything is functioning and the house is warm when you arrive. While this is a good idea no matter when you move, in the winter it is even more important since the days are much colder and the sun sets earlier. Movers can work when it’s hot or cold, but without lights they won’t be able to get much done.
  • Clear ice/snow from walkways. Make sure your driveway and walkways are clear. If you move locally try to stop by your new home the day before your move so you can check that everything is clear and free of ice. If needed, salt or sand the area. If you are moving out of town and can’t visit your new home prior to the move-in date, have your agent or property manager check the area for you.
  • Check that parking area is clear. Regardless of what season you move you should always make sure there is parking available for your moving truck. This may mean negotiating with your new neighbors, or hiring someone (or doing it yourself) to clear the driveway  or alley of snow.

Moving in winterPrepare Your Old Home

  • Clear snow. Use salt or sand to ensure sidewalks, walkways and driveways are free of ice and snow. Parking area should also be cleared with ample room for movers to maneuver. Check the area on moving day in case it snowed or iced overnight.
  • Protect inside spaces. Use cardboard or plastic sheeting to protect high traffic areas from snow, dirt and water. Tape plastic sheets to the floor or use cardboard for carpeted areas. Experiment first before the movers arrive so that you are sure the coverings are secure and will not come loose and trip up the movers.
  • Keep sand or salt and shovels on hand. Stock up on winter supplies in case your vehicle or the moving truck becomes stuck or it starts to snow. Monitor conditions throughout the day so you can act on any changes as needed.
  • Have hot drinks on hand. Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring movers, make sure you have hot liquids available. Hot chocolate, tea and coffee will be most welcomed by everyone who’s helping with your move. Extra mittens and hats are a good idea, too.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. While this seems like common sense, on moving day you’ll be so wrapped up in the move that you may forget that conditions might change. Check the weather well in advance of moving day, then follow it closely right up until the movers arrive. If there’s a possibility of inclement weather, keep the radio on during the move to ensure you’re receiving the latest updates.

What If a Storm Blows In?

  • Have a back-up plan.If a winter storm is expected on your move date make sure you have a back-up plan in case you need to reschedule your move. If you’ve hired movers check with them to see what their policy is for inclement weather. Some movers are used to winter weather and may not be willing to postpone the move. If the movers do want to postpone, make sure you speak to your real estate agent or landlord to see if you can stay a few extra days. Typically, if you’re not able to move out, no one is able to move in, either. But arrange this ahead of time. If you can’t negotiate extra days, speak to the movers about your options. They may be able to still pick up your things, but not deliver them to your new home. If this is the case you will need short-term storage.
  • Plan your travel route carefully. Know your travel route and make sure you contact the local authorities to determine if highways are open and safe to travel on. Each state or province has a phone number and website to check with regular updates provided. You should also know the location of overnight accommodation in case you need to stop.
  • Get you car serviced and have all the necessary equipment with you. Make sure you have your car winterized, including all fluids topped up, and tires and brakes checked. It’s a good idea to carry chains (if allowed) and know how to put them on quickly. Practice in your garage before you leave. You should also carry a gas can, extra windshield fluid, and salt or kitty litter (works great if you get stuck). Have a good snow shovel, emergency blanket and membership to a roadside assistance service, too.
  • Have an emergency contact list with you. Make sure you have all the necessary phone numbers with you, including roadside assistance, highway patrol and a number for reports on highway conditions. You should also ensure that someone who isn’t moving with you has a copy of your travel plans. Make a call-in schedule with that person so they’ll know where you are and when you should be arriving.

moving tip #11Moving Tip #11: Keep important papers with you!

Your list of “important” papers might include:

  • birth certificates
  • school records
  • moving estimates
  • new job contacts
  • utility company numbers
  • recent bank records
  • current bills
  • phone lists
  • closing papers
  • realtor info
  • maps
  • and more.

Don’t leave these with your Austin moving company. Keep them with you! This way, you will have immediate access to them without having to dig through a dozen boxes or hunt all over your new house for the box you need.

You may think you labeled your box of important papers well enough, but quite often it can be difficult to locate one particular box when you have your entire house packed into 100+ boxes spread all around. Keep in mind that although it is rare, occasionally boxes or small items are misplaced during a move.

Your Austin mover will make every effort to get your mis-delivered item back to you as quickly as possible, but in the interim it could be frustrating to be without some of those essential documents. Better safe than sorry!

Get your local or long distance residential or commercial moving estimate now!

Place an order for moving boxes and packing materials now!

moving tip #9Use your luggage

Helpful moving tip # 9 – Fill luggage and duffel bags with clothing, sheets, towels, and paper goods.

Even for local Austin moves you will be able to quickly spot your green suitcase holding your favorite sweaters, whereas “Box #97” might remain elusive for days. Avoid packing books or heavy items in large suitcases, as these can be extremely difficult to move and may damage the luggage.

Also avoid packing dishes or fragile items in suitcases or duffel bags, as luggage generally does not offer the same protection as boxes specifically designed for china and other delicate items. Be sure your Austin moving company knows that your inventory list will include suitcases and/or duffel bags.

For local moves this may add to the time your move takes, and for interstate moves it will increase the weight or volume of your shipment. Either way, you want to be sure your estimate is as accurate as possible by providing your mover with the best information prior to your move.

Get your local or long distance residential or commercial moving estimate now!

Place an order for moving boxes and packing materials now!

moving tips #6Moving Tips #6 Keep Things Together

For our Moving tips #6 we will help you stay organized and make unpacking after your move much easier.

Insist on keeping things together when you or your Austin moving company are packing boxes. Keep bookends with books, light bulbs with lamps, and extension cords with appliances.

Small, loose parts can be attached to the item they belong to with tape or placed in small bags or envelopes (to keep picture hooks with pictures, shelf brackets with a bookcase, a special wrench and bolts with the wall unit, etc).

Keep larger corresponding items (such as a cable TV cord or remotes) in ziplock bags, and tape these to the underside or back of the item. Alternatively, keep a “Parts Box” open on the kitchen counter and fill it with cables, cords, parts, pieces, brackets, or nails that are removed from any items of furniture.

It is a good idea to label the pieces so you remember what hardware goes with which item. Keep this parts box with you or label and mark it well with a rainbow of colored stickers so it can be easily located on move-in day!

Get your local or long distance residential or commercial moving estimate now!

Place an order for moving boxes and packing materials now!

moving tip #1Moving Tips #1 Make A List

Make a list if your helpful moving tips #1. Your friends at Elephant Moving & Storage know that moving may not be the most fun you’ve ever had, but planning ahead will go a long way toward making the process bearable.

Leaving everything until the last minute will only stress you out. A little preparation will help make you feel better about your local Austin move or interstate move.

Nothing is worse than the feeling of helplessness that will overcome you if you schedule a move and are completely unprepared when the movers show up. Following are some simple tips and tricks to help you make the most of your moving experience, whether your move is a local Austin move or a cross country long distance move. And of course you can always contact our friendly office staff for additional suggestions or to ask specific questions about your move. We’re here to help!

Write everything down!

Trust us, you will thank yourself later (like when your 8 year old is inconsolable and wants only his spiderman jammies…). Before you pack even one box, create a simple record keeping system. Create a computer-printed list of numbers with a space to write the contents. Or have a spiral-bound notebook for the job. Place a number on EVERY box you pack and specify the contents on your list. Don’t put the list down unless it is in a place you will call Packing Central.

This is where you can find your labels, marking pens, box tape, and other supplies. When describing the box contents, be specific — “A-D files” is better than “files”, and “flower dishes” better than “misc. kitchen”. The more specific you are, the less you will have to dig for necessary items later on.

Get your local or long distance residential or commercial moving estimate now!

Place an order for moving boxes and packing materials now!

moving claimsAt Elephant Moving and Storage we strive to maintain the highest quality services.

Our movers work hard to get your valued possessions moved safely across town or across the country. Occasionally, however, despite all efforts and precautions, small damages may occur. It is important to remember that all claims must be submitted in writing.

A phone call will not be sufficient to process your claim! If you have a damage claim the best way to begin the claims process is to submit your claim to our claims department by emailing claims@elephantmovingaustin.com.

Please include your name, the date of your move, a description of the item and the damage that occurred, the value of the item, and what you are asking for as compensation. If you have photographs of the damage please send those along with your claim.

Be advised that damage claims will be limited to $.60 per pound per article as noted on our local and long-distance moving contracts unless increased insurance has been purchased. This is the basic level of liability that is included automatically and free of charge in the rates for moving. If you purchased additional moving insurance coverage through MovingInsurance.com then you must submit your claim directly to them online at http://www.movinginsurance.com/claim/login.asp. For any damage to floors, walls, doors, and painted surfaces, Elephant Moving’s liability is limited to $50.00.

Also, please note that pressed wood and particle board furniture are exempt from any third party insurance (such as coverage purchased from www.movinginsurance.com) or increased valuation coverage (claims are limited to the basic coverage of $.60 per pound). This furniture is not stable, and is not meant to travel fully assembled. For further discussion on this topic please visit the pressed wood section of our blog. If you have questions about the claims process or insurance for your move please feel free to call our office and we will be happy to assist you.

moving insuranceRead Everything!

When purchasing moving insurance coverage for your local or long-distance move you should be sure to read the fine print carefully! There are some things that are not covered by any third party moving insurance policy. Boxes, containers, and items that are packed by owner (PBO) are excluded from full coverage – the maximum amount that will be paid for these items is $250. If there are items that need to be boxed or otherwise packaged that you would like insured for above this amount then you will need to order packing services from your Austin mover in order to get full replacement coverage.

Delicate and fragile items – including glass tables/tops, marble tables/tops, slates, paintings, framed pictures, chandeliers, display cases – must be professionally packed and/or crated in wooden or other protective containers to be covered. Wrapping such items in moving pads only does not constitute professional packing and are not covered.

All lamps, including floor or pole lamps not professionally packed in cartons specifically made for this item, will be excluded from coverage. Loss and/or damage to articles not professionally wrapped with special moving pads, bubble wrap, and/or shrink-wrap will also be excluded from coverage. Mattresses and box springs are specifically excluded from coverage unless packed by the mover in mattress cartons specifically designed for this purpose. Shrink-wrap alone does not constitute proper protection.

The following items are excluded from coverage regardless of how they are packaged:

  • Jewelry
  • Watches
  • Gem
  • Stones
  • Cash
  • Currency or bank notes
  • Deeds
  • Traveler’s cheques
  • Coin or stamp collections
  • Sports memorabilia
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Negotiable items
  • Furs or garments trimmed with fur
  • Plasma televisions
  • Firearms and ammunition, or contraband

Loss or damage to motorcycles is not covered. Wrinkled or soiled clothing, linens, drapes, or rugs are also excluded.

Additional Exclusions

*** Moving insurance excludes damage to any furniture constructed of veneered chipboard, particle board, composite board, pressed wood or similar. Any reduction in quality arising as the result of dismantling or reassembling of any such items of furniture is also excluded. Click here for other posts on this subject. ***

And perhaps the most important exclusion to remember: Items not listed on the movers’ inventory prepared at origin are not covered. Items not shipped are not insured. Be sure to double check the inventory your Austin movers have prepared for your shipment!

As with any insurance policy, it is important to read through your moving insurance policy information so that you are aware of all exclusions and exceptions to the coverage. If you have any questions or concerns talk to your move coordinator.

The insurance offered on your move covers only the items that the movers are transporting. Please be advised that our liability is limited to $50.00 for damage to floors, walls, doors, and painted surfaces.

 

moving seasonThat’s right, summer is here, and that means it’s moving season!

Did you know that 70% of all moves take place during the summer months? Elephant Moving would like to wish Austin a safe and successful moving season this summer! Here are a few tips to help you get through your summer move:

As always, be sure that your mover is a licensed moving company that carries the proper insurances.

Check with the Texas Department of Transportation (for local moving) and/or the U.S. Dept of Transportation (for interstate moving) to make sure your potential movers are currently licensed.

Be Aware

Be aware that all movers charge higher rates during the peak season. If you are trying to save money on your move try to move before May or after August to get the lowest rates.

Only Option

Summer moving may be your only option (time off work, kids out of school, etc). You will want to shop around and get a few quotes before making your final decision on a mover. If you are moving a house or large apartment get an on-site estimate to ensure you have the most accurate quote and avoid extra charges on moving day.

Make Comparisons

As you compare estimates pay careful attention to the services that you will receive for the price. Make sure each moving company has the same information from you (complete item list, location info such as a curvy staircase, long carry, steep driveway, elevator, etc). Look carefully at the details of each price quote. How many men will be on your crew? How many trucks will the crew bring? Is disassembly/reassembly of furniture and disconnection/reconnection of appliances included, or is that extra? Will the movers wrap your furniture before moving it to protect against damages, or do they take it as is? Look for the differences between the services included with each mover and choose what’s best for you.

Don’t Forget…

Remember that the cheapest is not always best! Do some research and read reviews on independent local message boards such as Citysearch and Yahoo! Local to find out how your potential mover has been doing at keeping customers happy before, during and after their moves!