In early 2023, Chloe and her fiance moved from Seattle, Washington to Marina del Rey, California to be closer to family.
Chloe spent nearly a month considering her options and getting quotes from full-service movers. She ultimately chose to work with Virginia-based JK Moving Services. As a premier independent mover with more than four decades of experience, JK’s customers include Fortune 500 companies and at least one former President.
So did JK Moving come through with world-class service on Chloe’s long-distance move? Or does she feel like she paid too much for what she got?
To take advantage of a $500 relocation stipend and help anyone planning a move like hers, Chloe participated in our Better Moves Project by documenting and sharing her experiences with JK Moving.
In this post, we’ll look at what went well on Chloe’s move, what didn’t, and what she learned along the way.
Move day takeaways for JK Moving customers
- Communication: JK’s move coordinators were helpful and attentive early on. However, Chloe felt like the lines of communication broke down as her move progressed
- Pricing accuracy and transparency: Chloe’s quote went up by around $1,000 because she had more stuff than the original quote accounted for. Within 10% margin of error is not unusual for long-distance moves and you should always budget accordingly
- Professionalism: JK’s movers and drivers were friendly, careful, and efficient
- Timeliness: Chloe’s household goods were picked up and delivered on time
- Loss and damage: Chloe chose not to pay for a custom wooden crate for her dining room table top, and unfortunately, it got damaged between Washington and California
- Would Chloe use JK Moving again? Chloe will probably use another service provider if she moves again in the future
Chloe needed help moving from Seattle to Marina del Rey, California
With nearly 100 boxes and household furnishings that weighed about 7,000 pounds, Chloe’s condo move was larger than most.
She also had a number of fragile items like framed artwork, televisions, and a large marble tabletop that needed special attention. In addition, there were truck access and elevator reservation issues at both ends because she was moving out of a high-rise condo in Seattle and into another one in Marina del Rey.
Since her move was far from typical, Chloe knew that she’d need to work closely with her moving company coordinator to ensure that everything went off without a hitch.
Price was an issue (our moving cost calculator is a great budgeting tool), but Chloe prioritized working with a company that could communicate effectively and honor its service commitments.
Chloe’s move in a nutshell
|Move date||January 20, 2023|
|Moved from||Seattle, Washington|
|Moved to||Marina del Rey, California|
|Move size||Two-bedroom, two-bathroom condo (about 1,200 square feet)|
|Moving company||JK Moving Services|
Chloe got four quotes before selecting JK Moving Services
Chloe began her search for the perfect mover by asking friends, family members, and coworkers for referrals.
They came up with a few helpful suggestions, but she took matters into her own hands by visiting individual company websites and doing head-to-head comparisons on moveBuddha.com.
Chloe liked that JK’s sales representative responded to her estimate request quickly and took the time to do a thorough virtual walk-through. During their meeting, they also discussed condo parking and insurance regulations and how the moving crew would need to protect the building’s floors, walls, and elevators while they were working.
By contrast, a few of the other companies didn’t seem particularly interested in her move details. Chloe got the impression that they just wanted to shoot her a quick estimate and move on to the next prospect as quickly as possible.
After lots of emails and phone calls, Chloe had the following quotes:
|Company||Estimated weight||Estimate amount|
|South Lake Union Movers||Between 5,000 and 7,000 pounds||$4,100 to $4,300|
|American Van Lines||Between 5,000 and 7,000 pounds||$5,055|
|Colonial Van Lines||6,674 pounds||$8,464|
|JK Moving||6,719 pounds||$12,228|
Chloe had a positive experience with JK Moving five years before
JK’s estimate was higher than Chloe was expecting, but she thought the two lowest quotes were probably inaccurate. She was already leaning toward JK Moving because she’d had a positive experience with the company on a corporate relocation five years before.
Another thing that made JK Moving stand out was that unlike some of the other companies, they gave Chloe a guaranteed pick-up day. This was a huge selling point because it allowed her to reserve the elevator and loading dock at her condo complex in Seattle without having to worry about when the movers would show up.
JK’s detailed quote included the following:
- Shuttles at origin and destination (neither condo parking lot was accessible to a tractor-trailer)
- Furniture padding and standard disassembly of items like beds and tables
- Loading and unloading labor
- Door-to-door transportation
- Full-value replacement coverage
Chloe considered having JK build a custom crate for her large dining room table top, but she decided to pack it in mirror cartons herself to save money.
Things were falling into place on Chloe’s long-distance move
Chloe felt confident that JK would deliver a predictable and stress-free experience. She thought that paying a few thousand dollars extra would be money well spent.
She paid a small deposit to lock in her move date, but communication became more sporadic as move day approached. She attributed this to the fact that she had one moving coordinator at JK Moving and another at New World Van Lines. The companies had recently started working together to provide more comprehensive long-distance moving services.
Chloe prepared for the big day by staying organized, packing diligently, and doing her best to stay on top of all the details.
Moving day went pretty smoothly
Chloe’s move was booked for January 20th, but the crew showed up unexpectedly on the 19th to prepare the inventory and pad wrap her furniture.
This wasn’t a huge deal, but it was a little inconvenient because Chloe had to work from home that day. The crew ended up staying about six hours. They wanted to start moving some things out to lessen the workload for the following day, but this wasn’t possible because Chloe had only reserved the elevator for the 20th.
The movers arrived to finish the job the following morning at 9:30. Chloe was worried that they wouldn’t have enough time to get everything done because she’d only reserved the elevator until 1:00 PM.
Thankfully, she was thrilled with her crew’s professionalism and efficiency, and they were able to use the elevator until the last box was loaded onto the truck.
There were a few issues on the delivery day
Chloe stayed in contact with her coordinators at JK Moving and New World Van Lines while her things were in transit. She thought there was room for improvement in regard to communication.
Her things arrived within the agreed-upon delivery window, but the truck wouldn’t fit in the condo building’s tight parking lot. That meant the crew had to go back to the warehouse to get a smaller shuttle truck. On the bright side, they returned with an extra helper and carefully covered the floors before beginning the arduous process of moving everything into Chloe’s condo.
Chloe was pleased with the movers’ performance, but she was disappointed to discover that her marble dining room tabletop had cracked in half (image right) somewhere between Washington and California.
Our take on Chloe’s move
Poor communication is an issue we hear about frequently from Better Moves Project participants, and we understand Chloe’s frustration. Having move coordinators at two different companies doesn’t make much sense. Communication issues aside, who’s to blame for the broken dining room tabletop?
Marble tabletops generally need to be packed in custom wooden crates before being moved from one state to another, and JK was willing to provide this service to Chloe. Unfortunately, material and labor charges for large crates can easily top $500. Some customers just aren’t willing to pay that much, but the alternative — corrugated mirror cartons — don’t provide adequate support.
Most movers require customers to sign a liability waiver if they pack these items themselves, but it’s a big tradeoff. Customers can save hundreds of dollars, but they may not have a leg to stand on if the item gets broken. In most cases, movers are only liable for damaged items inside packed-by-owner (PBO) cartons if there are tears, gouges, or crushed edges on the outside of the box.
That said, we hope Chloe and JK Moving can reach a mutually acceptable agreement on the matter.
And lastly, Chloe didn’t like that her move cost about $1,000 more than the original quote. Nobody likes paying more than expected, but JK’s quote was within 10% of the original estimate, and this is considered accurate by industry standards.
The verdict – did JK Moving make the grade?
JK picked up and delivered Chloe’s household goods on time and with only minimal damage. She was also impressed with the company’s drivers and movers, but pesky communication issues and the broken tabletop cast a dark shadow over the whole experience.
In hindsight, Chloe thinks she expended way too much energy making sure the coordinators at JK and New World were managing her move details. In the end, she felt that she’d have been better off hiring a non-premium mover and saving a few thousand bucks.
Here’s how Chloe rated JK Moving on a scale of 1 to 5:
- Communication – 2
- Timeliness – 3
- Quote accuracy – 2
- Overall experience – 2
Chloe’s advice for anyone planning a move like hers
Chloe suggests making communication a priority when screening moving companies.
Her coordinators seemed to be great early on, but things deteriorated as her move progressed. It’s also worth noting that communication is especially important if you’re dealing with elevator, shuttle, and building management issues at either or both ends of your move.
Chloe also found that self-packing was way more expensive, tedious, and time-consuming than expected. To avoid packing headaches, she suggests setting aside more time than you think you’ll need. It’s also a good idea to hire professional packers if there’s room in your moving budget.
In addition, we’d like to point out that you’re well within your rights to request a binding or guaranteed not-to-exceed estimate from long-distance movers. Moving companies aren’t obligated to give you these types of estimates, but if you’re not comfortable with a standard non-binding estimate you’re free to thank them for their time, cross them off your list, and find movers that will.
Knowing what she knows now, Chloe would also consider doing a hybrid move by renting a truck from a company like U-Haul and hiring movers to help with loading and unloading.
Before signing off, check out these helpful resources:
- Best Long-Distance Movers
- Best Moving Container Companies
- What to Look For on Moving Estimates
- Which Type of Moving Estimate is Best