The Amazing “Panel Cart”

I don’t want to tell you how many years I did moves without the benefit of a Panel Cart! I became a True Believer after a High-Rise to High-Rise move where we moved pieces from a German “Shrunk” (a German-made Wardrobe) It had these heavy six-foot tall doors, and we had no good way to move them down the hallways and elevator and long walk through the parking lot to the truck. A worker tried to put them on a Magliner Gemini box handtruck that folds down to a cart. The delicate finish on the Shrunk doors got scratched up on the metal handtruck. Major Disaster!! If we had a standard panel cart, we could have laid the doors down in the carpet-floored Panel Cart.

Most Movers and Customers first become acquainted with the Panel Cart while moving office cubicle partitions. But anything flat and long fits a Panel Cart nicely:

1) Mattresses and Box Springs (see picture below)

2) Tables

3) Pictures and Paintings

4) Flattened Out Boxes

When going on a Moving Job in a High-Rise, we will also roll moving equipment in the cart to the Origin unit. This includes pads, tape, shrink wrap, boxes, and other packing material.

Because the Panel Cart has big, heavy-duty, soft wheels, it is idea for rolling other items that are not so flat–closed-up boxes, end tables, chairs (see picture below)

CLAIM WARNING: If you push the cart through doors into residences or into office rooms, you have to be very careful that you don’t bang the unprotected metal handles against the door. The handles can easily leave scratches if they are unprotected. The one picture below shows the metal handles padded, and you can also buy at the Equipment Supply Store –special slip-on pads that fit the handles.

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Parking While Moving

If the moving truck has to park on a major street in a downtown area, you better check the parking signs and laws.

In the picture below, in Atlanta, on Juniper Street outside of the Tuscany Condo complex, the parking sign says there is no parking Mon to Fri from 6:30a to 9:30a and from 3:30p to 6:30p. That gives you a 6 hour window between 9:30a and 3:30p. Since most professional movers prefer to start between 8 & 9:00am, they are not going to be able to park then at this convenient place on the curb. If it is an afternoon job, then they might start at 1:00pm and be looking to unload around 4pm. Also “Not a Go” if the unloading will be done at this curb.

And I don’t recommend “Risking It.” Cities are hard-up for cash, and they are looking hard for opportunities to fine you $250 — the going rate for a parking ticket at this location in Atlanta.

There are only a few ways around this problem:

1) Park somewhere else. At this “Tuscany” complex a moving truck can actually go inside the security gate to park. Often it is not as convenient access, but it is not bad.

2) Plan it so the truck is only parked within that six hour window. If loading there, you will have to start after 9:30. If unloading, the movers will have to be finished before 3:30p, or they may have to come back the next day.

3) Do the move Saturday or Sunday.

Access Issues on a Residential Move

The size, complexity, time length, and cost of a move can be broken down into the following three variables:

1) The Load
2) Access Issues
A) Access at the Origin
B) Access at the Destination
3) The Transit (from Origin to Destination)

In this posting we will discuss the second variable, “Access Issues.” How easy is it to get to the furniture at the Origin and how easy is it to deliver it at the Destination?

So for any move, there are access issues to contend with at both the Origin location and the Destination location. For both the Origin and Destination, the estimator needs to look at:

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1) Truck Parking

A) Will the truck park on the street or in the driveway?

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B) If on the driveway, is it flat, circular, declined, inclined, or too steep for the truck?
C) If on the street, is it a small side street or a busy boulevard? Just try parking on Clairmont Rd. (busy street in Atlanta). Moving trucks get $150 parking tickets when they park on busy streets in downtown Atlanta to do high-rise moves.

D) Is there a Loading Dock? If so, then the items will come out of the truck quickly, but there is probably a long walk to the residential unit and there are probably elevators involved. The movers will need 12 to 30 of the 4-wheel dollies in order to efficiently roll the items being moved.

E) Is there a parking structure? If so, the truck is most likely too tall for the entrance and will have to park outside the parking structure. There will most likely be a long walk to the elevator, and again, the mover will need 12 to 30 of the 4-wheel dollies.

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F) In extreme cases, the roads themselves leading up to the house may be impassable by the Moving truck. There are mountain towns like “Big Canoe” in Georgia where many of the town’s roads are impassable by tractor trailers. In Big Canoe, there are places where even standard 24’ box-trucks need to be in either 2nd gear—if a standard transmission—or the lowest gear if an automatic transmission. Once you get to the mailbox, there may be a steep winding driveway which now requires a still smaller vehicle—like a 14’ shuttle truck or even a van—the size of an electrician’s van.

2) The Walk From the Truck to the House

A) How many feet, or how many car-lengths—of a standard-size sedan like a Camry?
B) Is the walk level, up, or down?
C) Over what type of terrain? If asphalt or concrete, then four-wheel dollies and handtrucks can roll smoothly over it. But if the walk is through a yard, If it is through grass, or dirt, or gravel then rolling a four-wheel dolly or handtruck may be impossible.

3) Are there Stairs or an Elevator?

A) If stairs? What kind, and how many? Up or down?
i) Stairs can be hardwood, in which case you cannot set heavy furniture like armoires on the stairs or else they will scratch
ii) Stairs can have new white carpets which will streak if handtrucks are rolled on them
iii) Stairs can be narrow and have switch-back turns which are difficult to navigate with large furniture like sofas and armoires.
iv) Staircases may have low overheads, especially in low townhouses, where a Queen-sized box spring will not fit up the stairs.

B) If there is an elevator, what are its limitations?
i) Is it a freight elevator which you can reserve and dedicate for your move?

ii) What are the allowable hours for using it during a move? (For Office Moves in Class A buildings, you usually have to move after 5:00pm or 6:00pm during the week or during the weekend) Residential moves can have time restrictions too. We did a move recently into the “Campbell Stone” retirement building in Sandy Springs, GA, and they do not allow moves to be occurring between 11:30am and 1:30pm

4) Going into the House, Condo, Loft, or Apartment

A) Front Door: Double or Single-Door? Narrow or Wide Door? “Straight-Shot” in or is there a tight right-angle turn to get in the door. Once you get inside the door, is the staircase in the way?
B) What is the Floor Like Going in the Door?
i) Real hardwood? Light or Dark? Light shows the scratches more and is more difficult to touch-up or repair?
ii) laminate? Less sensitive, and easier to repair, but dents more easily.
iii) Carpet? Light or Dark? How new? How easily does it tear?
C) Doorways Inside: Are they narrow? Will the refrigerator’s door need to be taken off in order to get through the doorway, or will the refrigerator have to be put on a four-wheel dolly, and then one-door opened and maneuvered through the doorway with the door open?
D) How Many Levels? One level, two, three, or four?
E) How many rooms are there? and how big is the house (how many square feet?) The size of the house will greatly effect the amount of time it takes to do a move, and this is independent of the total pounds on the load. For a load of 7200 lbs of household goods, a crew may be able to move it at a rate of 700 lbs per man per hour when it comes out of a first floor, two-bedroom apartment. When the same load comes out of a 6 bedroom, 8000 square foot house, the crew may only be able to move it at a rate of 425 lbs per man per hour!

Moving to High-Rises Like “Plaza Towers”

We will be moving a repeat customer next week to the 20th floor of the “Plaza Towers” on Peachtree Road.  This building is incidentally across the street from the “Park Place” high-rise which is where Elton John is reputed to have a penthouse (see picture below)

Our customer is only moving a one-bedroom apartment, so she initially felt a two-man moving crew would suffice. I explained that High-Rise moves add an extra layer of complexity and risk.

If you just have a two-man crew, then there is not an extra man to watch the furniture in the truck or left outside the elevator. Once we had a dresser stolen that was left outside an elevator of an upper floor of another High-Rise in town. During an unload to a High-Rise: With a three-man crew, one man can push items from the truck to the elevator. The other two men can take the items up the elevator into the destination unit.

A FEW THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT HIGH-RISE MOVES:

1) Talk to the Building Management about the details of reserving the freight elevator.

2) Will the Movers have exclusive use of the elevator during that time period? If they don’t, the move will take much longer.

3) Will the Movers have a key to the elevator, or will it otherwise be “locked” for them, or will they have to wrestle with trying to hold the door open as they move items in and out of the elevator?

4) A High-Rise residential move is similar to an Office Move in that additional four-wheel dollies are required. Make sure the Movers have between 10 and 20 four-wheel dollies on the move. The more furniture which can be loaded onto dollies, and rolled into and out of the truck, and then into and out of the elevator and into the destination unit, the faster the move will be.

Make Sure the Movers Have Between 10 and 20 of These

Make Sure the Movers Have Between 10 and 20 of These