There’s more to moving long-distance than just loading up a truck or van. So how does a move work? We reached out to the Director of Operations, Customer Care, from UniGroup, our parent company. She provided a wealth of insights and a comprehensive overview of who and what’s involved, as well as what you can expect at every stage of the journey.
Here are five things you should know about how a typical long-distance move happens – along with some tips and techniques for making the experience as seamless and surprise-free as possible.
Q: Is a Long-Distance Move Similar to Long-Haul Trucking?
A: Not exactly. Long-haul truckers usually move a full shipment along a regular route in the quickest way possible. What customers don’t always realize is that most interstate movers fall under the category of “irregular route carriers.” Not everybody lives in a major metropolitan area or near an interstate highway. So, for Mayflower, we go wherever people are moving to and from. Doing this cost-effectively often means that – unless it’s an extremely large shipment – there will be more than one set of customer belongings in the van. For us – and really any major long-distance mover – it’s a matter of utilizing the equipment efficiently and being able to service as many customers as we can.
Q: So, It’s More Complex Than “Point A to Point B”?
A: Definitely. A 53-foot moving van usually has enough room to handle multiple moves for multiple customers. So, in this one van, if we’ve got customers going from California to Florida and also another customer moving to Arizona the van driver may load shipments in California and deliver them to homes in Arizona, Texas, and Georgia before they get to Florida. Or they may load one shipment in California, another one in Arizona, another in New Mexico, and then take it all to Florida. There’s a lot of planning involved. That’s why, at Mayflower, we count on our Transportation Specialists to bundle loads together and then offer them out for our movers.
Customers can be a bit surprised by the route their belongings take on their journey to a new home. Sometimes they will ask us “Why is the van showing here?” when they see it on a tracking device. Much like when you’re tracking a package sent by Amazon or UPS, it all comes down to logistics and efficiency. That said, our Move Coordinators do a fabulous job of keeping customers informed!
Q: What factors can impact a delivery window?
A: Customers sometimes ask us why they can drive from, say, New Jersey to Florida in a day, but the mover needs additional time. As a reputable mover, we have high standards that include regular hours of service. Our drivers also abide by Department of Transportation rules and regulations which means drivers can’t just hop into their vehicles and drive straight through. Nor would we want them to!
There’s also the fact that not all of our customers’ belongings are moved exclusively in vans. Depending on the location and type of service, we also move shipments using containers and trailers which have their own windows and timeframes.
Weather conditions and the occasional mechanical hiccup also happen from time to time. And when you consider that many vans are carrying more than one customer’s belongings, loading and unloading is another reason delivery windows are kept somewhat flexible.
Q: Any advice you’d like to give to someone about to move?
A: I can’t overemphasize the importance of planning ahead, especially if you’ll be moving during the Peak Season months of May through August. From the type of move you want to the date you want to be settled in your new space, put time on your side by starting the process and getting moving quotes sooner versus later.
Make sure the mover you hire is reputable, reliable, trustworthy and has a clearly defined moving process. Lately, our industry has seen an influx of scam movers who over promise and underdeliver – and even hold their customers’ belongings hostage. See our “Movers or Fakers?” checklist for tips on how to identify and avoid them.
Whatever moving company you choose, I also recommend checking out the useful content we have available on everything from setting up a to-do list to packing your belongings, settling into your new neighborhood as well as our guides to regional cuisines, cities, and national parks.