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:
1) Truck Parking
A) Will the truck park on the street or in the driveway?
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.
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!
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.
We moved a customer into the ”
” today on Euclid Ave. It is the old “William Bass Junior High School” which was built in the 1920s. Our customer had us go in from the south side of the building. There is a parking lot with a “Circle” at the end. A sign says “No Parking in the Circle,” but there were about seven cars parked there. With the cars parked there, you can still drive a car around the circle, but not the Moving Truck.
We made an awkward turn-around and were able to get the truck in a decent place without tearing down too many branches. There was still about a 125 foot walk to the stairs (four stone steps) going up to the double-doors going into the building. This was a small one-bedroom move, and we completed it in two hours, but only because we had three men, and plenty four-wheel dollies and a speed-pack. A speed-pack is a very large box you can put on a four-wheel dolly and load up with small items like chairs and lamps and loose items. You can then roll all those items down the long hallways and into the elevator.
Our customer was pleased and gave us each a tip. It was neat to see the old building, and the displays with school pictures from the 20s, 30s, and 40s.