Every year, Mover-Help.com takes a deep dive into the moving industry to find that “diamond in the rough” moving company that is making the right moves. This year, Mastodon Moving has really caught the attention of our staff. Besides being a mover for athletes and celebrities – many high end realtors in the Boston area say this is the only mover they will recommend.
So, what is it about Mastodon Moving that really stands out from the other movers in the area which include past winners like Monster Movers and Gentle Giant.
Uniformed, Trained Professionals – Every one of Mastodon’s employees show up ready to work and in uniform. Since the pandemic, many residents have said movers are coming in ripped pants, sweatshirts and sometimes even sandals. Mastodon Moving reminds us of the old-school companies coming in simple black and white lettered trucks with lettered jackets and steel-toed boots. The movers themselves are not allowed to take personal calls, smoke or use poor language on any move and this is something the operation manager takes seriously.
Reliable – Every other moving company we looked at had at least one review where the crews did not show up on time and/or didn’t come at all. On moving day, this can create a load of un-needed stress.
Responsible – It is clear that the owner, JJ runs a tight ship. Every person on the moving team takes clear ownership of how moves are performed.
Facilities – You will be hard-pressed to find a nicer moving facility than the storage at Mastodon Moving. While the pandemic forced many moving companies into cheaper, smaller and less secure warehouses, Mastodon doubled down on safety. Their facility is so clean and managed 24/7.
It is really difficult to find a good moving company these days, but we are sure Mastodon is the best choice for 2023.
What is a Shuttle Fee and Will I Be Charged During my Out of State Move?
Shuttle fees – one of the biggest moving scams in the world – can cost owners hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Most of the time shuttle fees are completely made up and unneeded and the most expensive of all of the “additional charges” moving companies and van lines can hit you with.
What is a shuttle fee?
A shuttle fee is a fee that a long distance moving company or van line will charge to put your shipment on a smaller truck to take it to a larger tractor trailer. It is usually an hourly rate ( expect approximately $150/hour). A normal three bedroom will take 6 hours or so. Out of state movers and van lines will charge these fees if:
they think your residence is too far to walk from
they cannot park on your road or in your city
they are scamming you into paying more money – this is legal
steep driveway or roads
overhead power lines
Here is a typical shuttle scenario involving a van line:
At the pick-up address, the driver will park his truck as close to the pickup address somewhere nearby. A van line will hire a local origin agent to move the shipment with a smaller truck and a two man crew to help load the items out of the origin residence onto the smaller truck at an insane rate around $150/hour. The smaller truck will than transport the goods to the over the road van. The driver and his crew of the over the road van will than transfer the household goods from the smaller truck to the over the road van. Depending upon the size of the shipment, this process could take several trips with the small truck. At destination, the process is reversed if there is a need for a shuttle. Make no doubt about it, van lines want to charge shuttle fees because they make 20-30% off of each of these moves.
This is an opportune time for an out of state moving company or van line to increase their fees for your move. These days there are private out of state movers that use smaller trucks for efficiency and you will never have to worry last minute that you will be charged a shuttle fee. Please note – even if you have a moving estimate, shuttle fees aren’t known until the driver actually arrives. Check your paperwork, shuttle fees are legal to charge anytime!
Shuttle Fees for Out of State Moves – Be Aware
Most movers have impractical operation (or shuttle) provisions in their tariff which allow them to legally apply additional equipment and manpower charges to your bill of lading.
Most of the time, your driver will assess the situation but he can charge the shuttle fee at any given point. Even if the charges are not included on the original cost estimate. Your out of state mover cannot charge a customer for shuttle service if they didn’t use any other equipment or manpower to perform your move.
Cities That Have the Most Shuttle Fees
In these cities you will find movers will charge shuttle fees in most cases:
New York City
Denver/Vail/many places in Colorado
San Antonio, TX
Many smaller, walkable cities like Boston and NYC have laws preventing tractor trailers in many areas. In NYC, tractor trailers are not even allowed in Manhattan. Your best bet is to hire long distance movers that won’t charge these unnecessary fees.
Having been a realtor way, way back in the day – I used to cringe when clients asked me for a referral. I know what you are thinking – that’s one of the most crucial parts to being a real estate agent – giving people good advice – right? Wrong! I had the pleasure of taking my real estate courses by a broker who scared the bejeezus out of me. In my dreams – I could hear him chanting his favorite phrase “displace responsibility, remove liability.” Essentially, explaining to us that referring a service/company/lawyer may find you in a defendant’s chair. Well, that broker is almost out-of-business now and I have found a new calling. I have been a part of the moving and storage industry for 15 years now and am excited to write the:
Realtors Guide to Moving:
To Refer or Not to Refer:
Referring a moving company these days – is actually pretty darn easy. There are a few moving companies that have really set themselves apart form the mistrusted industry. Another bonus – their movers will actually sponsor an open house for your broker tour! You can download a moving comparison sheet here – or send the link to your clients – it has all of the pertinent questions to ask your moving company.
Scenario: Your Clients Need Overnight Storage or Short Term Storage
In the case of a bridge loan or new construction, your buyers may need overnight storage or short term storage. This is one of the most common moving needs – and storage is tricky. First off, pods are not recommended. After a few years, their reputation has taken a serious hit and the amount of people complaining about stolen items is too much to risk. I suggest finding a mover in your area who will let you keep your clients items on the truck overnight – it’s called on-board storage – a quick search moving overnight storage should give you a good list to start with. On-board storage should run about $100-$200/night in the peak months. Short Term storage will require two separate moves as well as a monthly storage fee. It is very important to find movers that have clean, secure storage – you can always google map their location to take a closer look.
Scenario: Your Sellers are Moving Out-Of-State
This is your last chance to help your sellers out. The long distance moving industry is in the middle of a much needed overhaul. Long gone are the needs to wait up to 14 days for a van line to haul your customer’s belongings across the country. Private long distance movers are doing this much faster ( about 4 days MA to FL) and are even less expensive. How you ask? Private long distance movers don’t load/offload items into multiple storage units/trucks. They also don’t charge all of the typical van line fees like: fuel surcharge, mileage fee, taxes, tolls, fees for stairs, elevator and the biggest doozy – the shuttle fee. The shuttle fee is added if a larger 53 ft tractor trailer cannot access your storage facility/house/condo. Very common in Boston, New York City, Miami, Washington, DC and Los Angeles.
How to Get a Quick, Surprisingly Accurate Moving Estimate
Here is a quick link to a quick yet accurate moving cost estimate form. You or your clients plug in the furniture they have and a vitally instant moving price is generated and sent to your email. This comes from a private company so your information is never shared or distributed.
Ultimate Moving Checklist
By now, if you have ever looked up moving checklists you will find thousands – maybe even millions. I think Martha Stewart alone has about 100 moving checklists. This moving checklist has everything your client will need – from who to call to what to pack. There are links as well to specific packing tips.
Best Closing Gifts
The best closing gifts are always gift certificates and/or experiences in your client’s new town. And no, not to a home improvement store. Think dining experiences, massage envy, etc. Another gift that keeps on giving is a subscription to a wine club, craft beer of the month club, etc. This gift keeps your name and great service constantly coming up.