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I know what you’re thinking, ‘… said no one ever!’ But the truth is, for our company, one that prides itself on operating ethically and providing the highest level of service to our customers, we really do.
Dozen’s of calls roll in each day and often the first words said are, “I’m just calling around to shop rates.” This is the launching point for us to provide some education about industry regulations in Oregon, the reason behind the regulations, and the importance of them. The regulations are in place ultimately for the protection of the consumer, but they also allow us to run our business in a highly customer-centric way with a focus on providing the best quality experience possible instead of chasing after one gimmick or marketing scheme after another.
After all, choosing a moving company isn’t just about transporting your furniture from one location to another, most of the time it’s about transporting family heirlooms, items that represent cherished memories as well as collectibles and investment pieces that perhaps you’ve worked years to obtain. The regulations, which dictate what we (moving companies with authority to transport household goods) can charge, allow you to choose based on the highest quality of service and best reputation.
You’ll find dozens of “moving companies” online when you look in the Eugene/Springfield area, but currently there are only six that have ODOT authority. The web is like the wild wild west in this way. Google, Yelp and others simply don’t vet businesses that list with them. One postcard and your business is in. A couple of 5-star reviews and your business looks legit! So while you’re calling around to the dozens online, you’re likely to find some offering much lower rates, not realizing that they haven’t gone through the rigors of ODOT requirements to gain authority, nor do they adhere to their standards. It’s important to vet prospective movers during the pre-move screening process by verifying that they are in good standing with the agencies that regulate them. Another good resource to find out if they’ve had complaints filed against them is the Better Business Bureau.
You put your belongings and bank account at risk when you choose what we like to call our ‘local rogue movers’. We’ve all heard the horror stories of shipments being hijacked and held for ransom or thousands of dollars in damages caused during a move and no one who will answer their phone afterward or a storefront to go to for a resolution. These folks often fly under ODOT’s radar and if something goes wrong with your move, you have little to no recourse.
On a national level, the USDOT and FMCSA license moving companies that perform interstate moves (moves that cross state lines). Every interstate carrier has a DOT number as well as an MC number and can be found on the FMCSA website. But remember, any intrastate move within Oregon is governed by ODOT and any mover must adhere to ODOT’s regulations.
The following are just some of the regulations that help protect you when you move in Oregon:
- All moving companies that have been authorized by ODOT have an operating authority number. This operating number must be posted on all marketing materials and the mover’s website. Ask for this number when making your initial contact.
- Moving companies with a valid ODOT number have met state requirements for insurance, safety and financial stability.
- All Moving companies with authority to move household goods in Oregon are listed on the ODOT website at https://www.oregon.gov/odot/mct/pages/householdgoodsmoving.aspx.
- Liability and cargo insurance must be maintained by carriers at all times.
- Criminal background checks as well as health and fitness screenings must be completed and maintained on each employee.
- All moving companies must charge ODOT-approved tariff rates. Discounts, sales, under-estimates and kick-backs are not allowed.
- Moving companies are required to provide customers with a General Information Bulletin for Moving Household Goods in Oregon, which explains the rights and responsibilities of both the customer and moving company.
- A Bill of Lading must be provided to customers on move day. This Bill of Lading is the contract between customer and mover and outlines the charges for services rendered.
- In general, any move within 30 air miles of your city is considered a local move and charges will be based on the number of workers and the hours spent performing the move. Anything outside of this radius and still within Oregon is considered an intra-state move and charges are based on a weight times distance calculation.
- Estimates are always non-binding. At the end of the day, charges will be based on actual hours spent or the weight time distance calculation.
- For local Eugene/Springfield moves, time starts when the crew departs the terminal and ends when they return to the terminal.
- At Elite Relocation Services, we encourage all of our clients and potential clients to reach out to us with questions about regulations, rights and responsibilities and anything else relating to a move. And if you’ve scheduled a move with us, we always provide you with move day tips and reminders to help you prepare. Your comfort is always our first priority.
Written by Claudia Schouten Jones, Owner
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Picture this - crews dispatch at 8 a.m. and arrive at their respective job sites around 8:15 to perform their moves. 8:20 the phone rings. It’s the crew lead for one of the jobs. “Boss, this customer is not move-ready. I’m going to text you some photos.” Ping, ping, ping, the photos start arriving. What we see are garbage bags full of clothing, plastic bins with no lids stuffed with items that are not wrapped, an array of untaped boxes such as grocery store produce boxes, shoe boxes, partially crushed boxes, and a number of items not boxed or packed at all. So we get on the horn to the customer, who by this time is overwhelmed with stress, sleep-deprived and often an emotional wreck. It’s at this moment we realize that the term “move-ready” is not fully understood by everyone.
You might be thinking that being move-ready would simply be common sense, but as it turns out, most folks don’t move very often, some not at all, and there are several things people simply don’t think about until the day of the move when there’s a flurry of activity and no time left to prepare!
Over this last year, more than ever before, our crews have arrived to perform a move only to find that the customer was really not ready. So, in an effort to help our customers and relieve some of move-day stress, we came up with a move-prep checklist, including tips and suggestions to help the move go smoothly.
The following are the most important excerpts from our Moving Guide & Checklist and Move Day Tips & Reminders. For a full list of tips starting one month before your move, visit us online at https://www.eliterelocationservices.com/moving-guide--checklist.html.
Label, Label, Label - Clearly mark every box and container with the room it’s from, its contents, what priority it will be to unpack, whether there’s anything breakable and whether the box is heavy. Use different colors and a consistent format to help identify each box at a glance. Example: Kitchen, Pots and pans, High (priority), or: Office, Books, Low (priority), Heavy. Label cords to electronics or take photos of how they attach so reconnecting them in your new home will be a breeze.
The Cleaner, The Better - Clean dust and debris off of furniture and appliances, especially the tops of items that may not get regular cleaning. We pride ourselves on providing clean equipment and pads. We don't want to bring someone else's dust into your home on our pads and do not want to take yours with us to the next move.
Clear The Way - Make sure walkways are clear and have a rough idea of where you would like furniture placed in your new home.
Do Double Duty - Pack breakables in packing paper or clothing, towels and bedding. Pack lightweight clothes, towels or linens in dresser drawers. If your dresser is antique, fragile, made of composite material such as particle board or is in an area of your home that is difficult to maneuver out of, the extra weight in drawers may put unusual torque on that dresser, so we suggest all drawers be empty.
Be Box Smart - Be sure to use appropriate boxes for their contents. Boxes made for moving and packed well can make all the difference in the protection of your belongings. Containers to avoid as they may not withstand stacking and/or the rigors of transport are: plastic totes, garbage bags, shoe boxes, used boxes that are partially crushed and/or have been exposed to moisture. Make sure boxes are taped along all seams. Find the perfect fill. Don’t overstuff a box, and don’t make it too heavy to safely lift and carry. Try to pack contents firmly so items don’t shift and so the box can be stacked without crushing inward. Pack heavier items in smaller boxes. Lighter items can go in bigger boxes. Heavy boxes are hard to carry. Trust us.
Avoid Spillage - Pack items such as toiletries, soap containers, jars, etc. in plastic bags, and make sure to stand them upright in a box, then clearly mark the box as containing liquid items, and note which end must remain up.
Take it Apart - For anything that has to be disassembled, keep all the parts together. Put screws, bolts, brackets, curtain rings, etc., in plastic ziplock bags and pack them in a box marked "Parts Box" so that all of your parts will be easy to locate. Furniture with glass shelving should have the glass removed and boxed if possible.
What We Can’t Haul - Plan to haul flammable or caustic liquids or combustible items such as household aerosols, weapons and ammunition yourself.
Pack a Suitcase - Pack a bag with all your daily essentials as though you were going on a trip or vacation. That way you’ll have a change of clothes and all your necessary toiletries, medications and personal items handy when you get to your new place, without having to rummage through boxes.
Mind Your Littles - Make any necessary arrangements for your children or pets on move day. Line up babysitting or daycare for children and boarding or pet-sitting for pets the day(s) of your move. If children and pets are onsite during your move, (for their safety and the safety of the crew) please ensure they are safely away from movers, trucks and equipment.
Be Available - Make sure someone is at the house while the crew finishes loading. If you leave before everything is loaded, you won’t be able to do a final walkthrough to make sure everything that should be moved is on the truck.
Paying for Your Move - Payment is due when your items are delivered to your new home.
With these tips, you’ll be more than ready for your move and move day will be stress-free!
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Fall Moving: Tips to Help Your Family Transition Smoothly
Fall can be a great time for moving. The sweltering heat of summer is over, peak season has passed so there’s more scheduling flexibility, and school is back in session so routines have become regular again. But, moving in the fall can be more difficult with school age or little children. They know all of their classmates and teachers, are into a school/activities routine and fall holidays are fast approaching.
You can make moving fun for your family however and there are ways to turn sad goodbyes and missed activities into happy hellos and exciting new adventures. These simple tips will help you and your littles survive fall moving.
Plan Well In Advance of Your Move
Make sure you secure your move date(s) and plan ahead for things like inclement weather, colder temps and messy walkways. At Elite Relocation Services, we have full home protection kits that include doorway and banister pads, floor runners and mask for your carpets and hardwoods as well as furniture pads and shrink wrap to protect your furniture. It’s a good idea to sweep outdoor walkways so they are free of leaves and debris just before the moving crew arrives.
Start packing months (not weeks) earlier than you think is necessary. If it takes you twice as long to get out the door now than before you had kids, it will take twice as long to pack up your house, no matter how small it is. Gather packing supplies and start little by little, like with things already in closets. You can tuck those packed boxes back into closets until closer to move day. Also consider packing boxes at night when your children are asleep. Plan playdates for your children on move day so they are occupied with something fun. Out of sight, out of mind for your young children.
And on that note, donate or sell items at night. Pack your Goodwill piles into the trunk of your car at night so that you can drop them off the next day without your children spotting that one toy that was in the back of the closet that they never play with. You know they will decide it is their favorite toy if they spy it.
Use color coded duct tape for marking the boxes of each child’s room. This way there will be no confusion on which room they belong to. Let them help unpack their boxes in their new rooms.
Make Connections and Plan Activities in Advance
Contact your children’s new school(s) and find out who their teachers will be. Get in touch with the teacher and ask if they might send your child a note welcoming them to the school.
Look into churches, community organizations, parks or playgroups in your new neighborhood and plan some visits after (or before if possible) your move. Also check out what fun fall and winter activities are going on in your area. This will help your children to visualize the positive things about their new home.
“See You Later” Instead of “Goodbye”
With technology today, staying in touch with friends is easier and easier. Work with parents of your children’s friends to encourage them to stay in contact. This can be through more traditional methods like letter writing and phone calls, but it can also be through face-to-face contact like FaceTime or Messenger. Moving doesn’t mean your children have to say goodbye altogether and, with nurturing, sometimes the best friendships are those that begin when we are young.
Make Moving a Fun Event
Make a fun craft activity by having your children decorate a box with pens or stickers and then pack all of their special toys into it. This will make spotting their special box easy when it comes off of the moving truck and into your new home, and it gives them a sense of ownership and being a part of the move process. Leave this box out until the morning of move day so they have their favorite things all the way up to the big day.
Have a Few New and Exciting Surprises
Purchase a few new toys for the move and plan a visit to their favorite family restaurant to keep up morale. Put together a little welcome basket filled with a few new items and place it in their new room. This can be as simple as some new bath toys, vinyl cling decorations for their bedroom windows or a new stuffed animal or throw pillow for their bed.
Give Yourself and Your Kids a Break
Moving is psychologically and emotionally exhausting. It can takes weeks and even months to fully recover. Make sure you allow yourself and your kids to run through the emotions, both happy and sad. Practicing kindness is the best gift you can give to yourself and your children.
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It’s the most wonderful time of the year…for relocating! At Elite, we are excited for the holiday season and our crew is looking forward to bringing all the cheer they can into your new home. While we may not be there to help decorate the tree or string the lights, we do have suggestions to help you manage the stress of adding a move into the holiday mix.
With all the travel and gift-buying expenses that normally add up during the holidays, it can already be difficult to stay on budget. Add in all the expenses associated with moving - from boxes to packing material, and you may need to look at tightening your belt. Get an estimate for your move and work out your budget well in advance and then set aside a certain amount each week leading up to your move so you’re well-covered.
This is the golden rule for moves all year round but it is especially helpful when the season becomes a snow globe whirlwind of events and activities. Stay in touch with us about changes to your move plan. For instance, if you originally planned to pack yourself and are simply running out of time and need assistance, let us know and we’ll do our best to schedule time to help finish your packing. We’re here to help so if you make a list, we’ll check it twice!
A large part of moving is getting rid of the junk you’ve had lying around the house for years. You’re also likely to find things like toys and clothes that your family has outgrown, along with electronics and furniture you no longer use. Not only is it a great time of year to donate these items, but you can write those donations off when it’s time to do your taxes.
The last thing you’ll want to do is be packing during the already busy holiday. Usually, you’ll have at least a month’s notice before moving day. While it can be tempting to put your packing off, make a list and aim to get one room packed each week. That way the move will feel less overwhelming, particularly if you’re also trying to visit family and friends over the holidays.
Hire Us to Do the Packing
Let’s be honest, you have enough wrapping to do already. Why not reserve our professional packing crew for a stress-free pack? Everything from fine china to flat screen TVs can be padded and packed to prevent damage. Need it done the day before the big move? Let’s get you on the schedule for a prior day pack. If it’s just your kitchen that could use a helping hand, we’d be happy to do a partial pack.
Prepare for the Weather
Obviously, the weather for your holiday move is outside of your control. If you’re relocating to or from the hills or mountainous areas, you’ll need to be prepared for cold (sometimes freezing) temperatures. From white-out blizzards to icy roads, the holiday season can mean challenging weather conditions. When you’re packing, use as many waterproof plastic bins as you can. Stock up on winter-ready clothes and proper moving supplies to deal with the worst possible weather conditions. Don’t forget to make sure your electricity and heat are already turned on in your new house before you arrive.
Make sure You’re Protected
The weather outside is frightful, but your brand new hardwood floors are so delightful. While we always provide home protection to keep your floors, walls and banisters clean and scratch-free, having us perform a visual survey of your locations and alerting us in advance to unusual entryways, steep driveways or icy walkways is helpful so we can adequately prepare for your move day.
Sadly, robberies and home invasions tend to increase during the holiday season. According to the FBI, each November and December, more than 400,000 burglaries take place. 60% of burglars surveyed said that if they noticed a home alarm system, they would look for another target instead. To safeguard your new home, be sure to set up your security system before you move in. You’ll need to arrange this with your security system provider a few weeks before you move so they can install your system and ensure it’s working before moving day.
Get in the Spirit & Make it Fun
Regardless of the stress of holiday moving, find the time to sneak in some fun. Let the kids know that Santa will still be able to find them. Take the time to relax and have a family dinner after long days of packing. Put on some holiday music while you’re packing and talk to the kids about how nice the holidays will be next year in the new house. If your appliances and kitchen supplies are already packed, many hotels offer a sit-down Christmas lunch and dinner which can take the pressure off. Most importantly, give yourself a break and enjoy the season!
Let us Help
If you’re just starting to plan your holiday move, we’d love to help. We know how stressful it can be to relocate over the holidays, and our experienced team will do everything they can to make your move as easy and smooth as possible.