Tag Archives: moving company

A Costly Mistake, but all is well.

Post 24

There are advantages to moving to a new city five months before your belongings arrive. One of them is that you are calm and collected when the boxes and furniture are delivered, and you are not already exhausted when you start to unpack. I am taking my time and enjoying re-discovering what I own. The move was not, however, quite the triumph I had hoped it would be from a financial point of view.

At storage unit in Saskatoon

On the morning of Sunday, April 18, right at the appointed hour (i.e., at 8 a.m.), Country Wide Movers/Allied Van Lines arrived at my storage unit in Saskatoon to pick up my belongings and bring them to Toronto. Three weeks prior to that, I had sent out quote requests to seven or eight movers. Four replied –with five estimates. The two lowest bids both came from the same company – Two Small Men with Big Hearts. (One of their estimates was for $2,300 and the other for $2.760 for the same weight and distance.) The other three were about $1,000 more. After checking on-line for the reputations of all four companies that submitted estimates, I took the lowest of the three higher bids (all of which were within $100 of one another): the one from Country Wide Movers/Allied Van Lines.

Due to the small print and confusing layout of the estimate (see below), plus the fact that it was so close in amount to the other two acceptable bids, I neglected to notice that the Country Wide quote was based on a weight of 3,000 lbs while the others were based on a weight of 4,000 lbs. I did realize that all companies would weigh the truck before and after they had loaded the goods, and revise their estimates based on the actual weight. However, if most companies figured that my belongings would weigh at least 4,000 lbs based on the list I had provided (which included 30 to 40 2 x 2 ft. boxes of books), why didn’t Country Wide?

Still, the fault is mine for not reading more closely. Never assume anything when it comes to a moving company. Or any cost estimate, I suppose.

As it turned out, the actual weight of my possessions was about 4,600 lbs, so my charge from Country Wide ended up being about $1,000 more than the estimate. In the long run, I could have got the move cheaper from ANY of the other companies. Stupid me.

Allied did do a good job of moving my things efficiently and safely from Saskatoon to Toronto. They arrived for the pickup exactly when they said they would, and they delivered when they said they would. Both times the driver called the night before to double-check the time and the address. I was very happy with the driver and his assistants in both Saskatoon and Toronto. It was only the estimator who did not leave me feeling very pleased. Considering how many problems people have with movers, I guess I should be contented that nothing else went wrong — but money is money, especially when you’re moving and so many other costs are involved. As far as I’m concerned, $1,000 is a lot of money at any time.

By the way, the Government of Canada has a very good checklist for consumers when it comes to choosing a mover. I highly recommend that others (even non-Canadians!) read it before undertaking any major move. It’s located here: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/oca-bc.nsf/eng/ca02029.html

My apartment before the movers arrived...

And now I have all my belongings in one place. All I have to do is unpack and figure out where to put everything. I have had no second thoughts about moving to Toronto. I am already finding more work here as a freelancer than I have had before, and I’m busy with social activities, visitors from the west and south, and events I want to take in solo or with other people. And I still love the subway. 🙂

... and after the delivery

It was a good decision for me, and I am one happy former-Saskatoonie-former-Edmontonian-former-Londoner(ON)-former-Wainwrightian-current-Torontonian.

The estimate from Country Wide

In [sic] glorious transit (Part 1)

Post # 12

Days to departure from Saskatoon = minus 6! (below and to the right is a photo of the main reason why I did not post this update sooner Library - 1720: my first grandbaby, whom I am now visiting in Calgary is an attention grabber, to say the least.)

Days to departure from Western Canada = 12

Wow! I am no longer a resident of Saskatoon.

“Incredulous” is the only word that comes close to describing how I felt last Tuesday at noon when I walked onto the plane for Edmonton as scheduled. I cannot begin to count the number of times prior to that moment that I was absolutely certain I would never make any of the deadlines I had set for myself.

Here is how the final days of the move unfolded (fell apart) —

On Sunday, October 25, my state of mind went back and forth from energy-fuelled elation to despair. Depending on the hour, I was either certain that I would get everything into boxes before the movers arrived at 8 a.m. the next day, or sure that I could never finish, not even if I stayed up all night.

At about five p.m., my friends Mari-Lou and Albert dropped in. Mari-Lou looked around at the disarray in my apartment, took in my crestfallen expression, and then asked me a question that helped immeasurably.

She said,  “How much stuff do you actually still need to pack before the movers get here?”

Her question made me realize that until then, I had been trying to pack for two moves all at once. The first move, the one that would take place on Monday morning, was from the apartment to the storage unit. The other involved the belongings I would need immediately when I arrived in Toronto. That second part of the packing job didn’t need to be done until Tuesday.

Library - 1711

Sunday evening

So after Mari-Lou and Albert left (having offered to help with the packing, an offer I declined with thanks because no one could sort out the mess but me ), I went for a farewell bowl of noodles at the Nutana Café and then, reinvigorated, started shifting everything I would need immediately in Toronto (my computer, clothes, something to sleep on, linen, cosmetics, a few books, financial and work files, etc etc) into my bedroom. That left me with only what I needed to pack to move to the storage unit.

And there was still a lot to pack….

At about 2 a.m. I quit and went to bed, still completely uncertain I would  get it done on time. I planned to get up at 6, but I woke at 5:30 and started packing again right away. Fortunately the movers were an hour late, and an hour or so after they did arrive, I ran out of boxes. By then, I was almost finished packing the stuff for storage, so I put away the packing tape and marking pens, loaded a few paintings into my rented car, and started making all the phone calls I should have made on Friday if I hadn’t been too busy that day to remember that there were no business days left between me and the move.

The first place I needed to phone was an auction house. Since I had not received any inquiries in response to my furniture ads on Kikiji, and I was determined not to move furniture I didn’t want to Toronto, I’d decided to try to put these items up for auction. On the basis of an ad in the Yellow Pages, which made me think the company didn’t deal in junk but also wasn’t too exclusive or specialized for my furniture, I called McDougall Auctions. The owner, Terry McDougall, was very helpful, friendly, and sympathetic. Although he doesn’t normally do household auctions he agreed to take my couch, table, chairs and lamp and a few small other things, and to put them up for sale in a couple of weeks when he has some appropriate other items to auction.

The next item on my list was to cancel my internet connection and tv. Attempting to make contact with SaskTel of course led to half a dozen decisions about which buttons to push (why is there never any “back up one step” option?), followed by the usual wait and wait on hold for a customer service representative (who would “be right with [me]” according to a recorded voice I’ve come to know in the past four years better than I do the voices of many of my relatives). This (again as usual) was followed by great confusion at the SaskTel end because I no longer had a phone with them (VOIP is cheaper, folks), which meant that they didn’t know how to look up my account. I finally managed to get the service cancellation sorted out, but was then informed that I would need to come, in person, to the SaskTel store downtown — no other location would do — to return their equipment to them.

Library - 1715

Sunday evening

Thank you very much, SaskTel. I will not miss you even for a second.

I had intended also to call the utility company to get the power doused on Tuesday afternoon, and to phone my health insurance and tenant policy carriers, but by the time I was finished with SaskTel, the movers were ready to depart.

After a stop at the auction house to unload the items to be sold, we went to the storage unit, and the two young men unloaded my belongings there in short order. (I was very impressed with the efficiency of Saskatoon Movers, and recommend them. The one-hour delay was caused by a broken-down truck, and not their delinquency, and everything else went smoothly.) While I was waiting in the car for the movers to finish, I managed to find City of Saskatoon utilities on my iPhone’s internet, and cancelled my power effective the following day.

After the movers were finished, I had a few errands to run:

  • I took my aunt’s watercolour paintings to a shipper (Pack and Ship – they were recommended by a framing company I’d done business with previously) to send to my son and my cousin. We don’t want those valuable works of art spending time in an unheated storage unit
  • I got more boxes and more packing tape
  • I dropped off clothes and some household items I no longer wanted at Goodwill.
  • I went to my insurance company office, and got the storage unit added to the coverage on my tenant policy. (After I get to Toronto, I will have thirty days to find a new insurance company for my belongings–including those still in the storage unit in Saskatoon)
  • While I was at the insurance company office (where a  huge fish tank had just cracked apart along a seam, spilling gallons of water all over the rug, which added to the  feeling of unreality of the day. And no, I was not the only one to ask them if they had insurance), I realized that my driver’s license was about to expire. I didn’t want to have to get an Ontario license as soon as I arrived there, so I decided to renew in Saskatchewan so I would be valid until I had time to sort things out post-move.  Unfortunately this required a photo. So my new driver’s license photo features me mid-move, sweaty and wearing grubby clothes. I couldn’t find a hairbrush in my backpack, although it contained everything else but the kitchen sink. (It’ll probably turn out to be the best driver’s license photo I’ve ever had.)

I finally got home at about 4:30 and had a quick shower before going out to dinner—which turned out to be a feast—prepared by the aforementioned Mari-Lou in honour of my departure and a forthcoming natal day.  Rejuvenated (a little) I went home to tackle the final phase of the packing, the cleaning of the apartment, and a host of other odds and ends that needed to be done before my plane for Edmonton left at noon the next day.

(to be continued)