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Estes is a veteran of the trucking industry with more than 80 years of experience. In 2012, it launched what they call the SureMove division for personal moves.
Basically, you pay to rent space for your stuff in a 28-foot freight truck, then a professional driver delivers the trailer to you, after which you have three days to load your stuff. Other people's cargo, headed for the same region as yours, occupies whatever space they reserved in the trailer. (A partition, which is included in the price, keeps your stuff from catching cooties from strangers' stuff.) After the deadline, a professional truck driver comes and drives the goods to their final destination. You are responsible for unloading, again within three days.
For the purposes of this guide, I planned a long distance move (1,100 miles) from a three-bedroom home in Fort Lee, NJ (New York City area) to Kissimmee, FL (Orlando area). I ordered the service during busy season for movers (summer). I completed the order and later canceled it. But the company never took my credit card information, which is a different experience from all others on Moving101 so far.
I am also planning a fictitious move from Fort Lee, NJ to Ridgefield Park, NJ for my parents to give you an idea of the company's local moving services. Estes SureMove permitted me to go through with getting an estimate and reserving a date for this local move, although a representative from the company suggested this was not an ideal move for a freight truck moving service.
However, the website does not exactly suggest local moves are a waste in the way Old Dominion had. Still, I was able to get a price and suggest a reservation date. By keeping the particulars of the move roughly the same for each order, I've made it possible for you to easily compare.
Here are the specifics about what we'd be hauling into the truck.
I live in a three-bedroom home with two large flights of stairs. In addition to the bedrooms, there are:
My parents live in a similarly sized home with three floors and three bedrooms, but they also have the following:
The quotes I received are based on the info above.
The long-distance move from Fort Lee, NJ to Kissimmee, FL is a great value. Included in the $2,508 price is 22 feet of space in the truck, the ramp, partition, taxes, fuel, tolls and mileage. The quotes are said to be valid for 30 days after they are given. As previously mentioned, I would only pay for whatever space I used. If it ended up being less or more than the estimated 22 feet, my quote would have been adjusted.
Each foot in the trailer costs $31, according to the quote. I thought this was a fair price, considering all that is included. Since a professional drives, and I just have to worry about loading and unloading, I was thrilled. After all, at this price, I could hire movers to help me with the heavy lifting and hack a Full-Service, long distance move at a fraction of the cost.
On the other hand, the local move price was not so great. To move my parents' stuff from Fort Lee to Ridgefield Park, a mere 4.8 miles, it costs $1,525. Granted, again, it would be for 22 feet of space in the freight truck, the ramp, partition, taxes, fuel, tolls and mileage. But there are no tolls on that journey, fuel is minimal, and the miles are laughably few. Still, the quote is just $983 less, highlighting how impractical local freight moves are.
Although I was able to go through with making the reservation online, I find it hard to believe the freight truck company would even agree to make such a local move. The representative who finally called me suggested it was not a great value. He added that local moves were not the forte of freight truck companies. Then, however, he did say that the final decision about signing a contract was up to me. Anything is possible.
Like other freight truck companies conducting personal moves, SureMove rests the responsibility for keeping items safe in transit mainly on the shoulders of the customer. For starters, the company gives a thorough explanation of how to tie down items to protect them from shifting. It suggests customers use tie-down ratchet straps, bungee cords or ropes. It also says to wedge soft items in bags between boxes and furniture to fill in gaps and prevent shifting in transit.
Also, they recommend you check with your homeowner's or rental insurance policies to see if moving floaters or riders are possible for coverage. In addition, the company clearly expresses its policy regarding any damage incurred as a result of its fault: "SureMove liability begins when SureMove picks up the trailer at point of origin and ceases when the trailer has been dropped at the delivery destination."
In addition, "the company's maximum liability shall be either actual loss or damage, not exceeding $.10 per pound of the weight of any lost or damaged article." But here's where things take a shift from some other freight truck companies. SureMove allows customers to purchase increased coverage! For $50, customer's coverage would increase to the actual loss or damage not exceeding $1 per pound/per item up to a max of $5,000 per trailer. For $100, you can increase the coverage to $3 per pound/per item up to a max of $10,000 per trailer. You must ask your agent about these options in order to explore them. And again, it might not be necessary if you can be covered by your own insurance.
The long-distance move is a great value, the local one not so much. Overall, the company's offerings and pricing are comparable to the competition. For instance, most seem to allow you to pay for the space you use, whether it is more or less than the estimate. Not having to drive the long distance yourself is perhaps the most valuable aspect of this deal. Having a professional haul your precious belongings takes a bit of the pressure off you and makes this option extra worth it. Plus, you have the ability to increase liability coverage. Ultimately, if you're moving far away, the price makes SureMove worth your consideration.
Now, there are ways the price can end up increasing or decreasing. For instance, when I plugged in the information for my free estimate, I received a message about the "early bird special." If I booked within seven days of getting the quote, I would save $50 or more, according to the promo. The company promises discounts on DIY moves for military families: $100 off a move of $600 or more.
If you want "guaranteed service", meaning that you know the exact time when your stuff is going to arrive at its destination, then you can pay extra. What is also nice is that you have the flexibility of increasing your load and paying the difference. However, if you ask for space in a second trailer in your estimate and you don't end up using both vehicles, you will have to pay a small drop fee. On the other hand, if you end up needing a second trailer unexpectedly, you can usually get it fairly quickly, according to the website.
All the freight truck moving options are best for those who are traveling a long distance. They are particularly optimal for anyone moving from one large house to another because the trailer is roomy. Anyone (like me) who loathes the thought of driving a big rig with all her worldly possessions, especially a long distance, will love this option. If you want to hack a full-service move, then this could potentially work with your budget.
Again, this bears repeating because it is music to my ears: You don't have to drive that ginormous truck with your stuff in it. A professional - with experience and know-how - takes care of that for you. This is a big plus for the scaredy-cats among us.
Moving already requires you to take many risks. Just think about it. You're packing up your life and going somewhere to replant your roots. It takes guts. Anytime you can eliminate some of the risk, you should jump at the chance. Deciding to move with companies that have lots of experience is one way to minimize the risk and thus, your concerns. SureMove might be a relatively new division of Estes, but the company itself has more than 80 years of experience in the trucking industry.
Nothing tugs at my heartstrings more than when a company is transparent about what I'm getting in exchange for my hard earned cash. SureMove was thorough in its explanation of the price. It didn't only tell me what I was going to pay, but it laid out precisely what was covered. There was also a thorough explanation of liability coverage. And throughout their online FAQ, you can discover potential ways you can end up spending more money than you should.
For example, if you lock your trailer while loading or unloading and fail to unlock it before pick up, you will pay for the entire trailer. (Yikes!) In addition, if you take more than three days to load or unload, you will pay a $50 per day fee. And Saturday drop-off dates require an additional fee.
The price for the long-distance move was affordable and fair. At $2,508, I would be getting 22 feet of space in the trailer, the ramp and partition (to separate my stuff from those of others), and a professional driver to haul it all for me. Of course, the gas is included in the price; When you rent a truck, the gas can end up increasing your budget more than you expect. Granted, anytime you're talking about thousands of dollars, you have to consider the value. Considering that Full-Service, long distance moves could cost upward of $10,000, this freight trailer option is a decent price. After all, you could hire people to help you load and unload the truck and essentially hack a Full-Service move at a fraction of the cost. The same is not true for a local move, which could be completed at a cheaper price point with a different service.
The online reservation process was the weakest link in the Estes SureMove system. First, you input all your information and request a delivery date for the trailer. Then, you're given a message about someone getting in touch with you to confirm the reservation soon. In another part of the page, you see a phone number you could call for questions and presumably confirmation, but you are never asked for a credit card. I received an email confirming my request and suggesting a representative would get in touch soon to finalize the details.
A representative called me after almost a week. Then, he sent me a contract via email for my signature, to which I never committed. So, I never ended up sharing a credit card number with anyone. Before the phone call, I felt like I was left hanging. In this day and age, it would be much simpler to have a way to input a credit card online and get the process rolling immediately. Since conducting reviews on moving options, this is the only company that does it this way. A representative should have gotten in touch with me as soon as I requested the date. That's how you close a deal, isn't it?
This seems to be the norm for the moving divisions of freight truck companies. You have to load and unload your stuff, so the liability is mostly on you. While Estes seems to offer opportunities to increase liability coverage, it still seems difficult to prove the company would be to blame for any damaged stuff. "SureMove must be notified immediately of loss or damage. All claims must be filed within nine months of delivery," according to the website. The moral of the story is to take good care to pack your stuff in a secure manner. Use the tips that SureMove offers on its website. Getting help from experienced movers during the loading process helps minimize risk, too.
Cancelling is not as easy with freight trucking companies as it is with other moving options. And Estes SureMove is no different than the others. You have to give at least a week's notice of cancellation to avoid paying any fee. If you cancel during the week before your scheduled trailer delivery, you have to pay $50. If you wait until the day of delivery, you pay $150. Still, as long as you are aware of the policy and keep track of the schedule, you can manage canceling without risking paying penalties.
Estes SureMove is part of Estes Express Lines, which has more than 80 years of experience in trucking. Its parent company is large and has 35,000 pieces of equipment and more than 13,000 dedicated transportation professionals. The fleet is described as "increasingly newer" on the company website. Headquartered in Richmond, VA., the company has 200 terminals "with coverage in all 50 states, the Caribbean, Canada, and Mexico," according to the company website. The company also promises that it can ship to virtually anywhere in the world thanks to its network of air, ocean and ground services.
It was during the Great Depression when founder W.W. Estes took a used Chevy and started hauling farming equipment. That job blossomed into a family business that kept growing. Today, Estes Express Lines is the largest privately owned LTL carrier, according to the company website. After more than 80 years, the Estes family is still in charge, too! In 2012, the company launched Estes SureMove.
In a timeline of the company's history, Estes points out that the company terminals completed solar panel projects. In 2015, for example, solar panel installation was completed in Greensboro, NC. Two Maryland terminals completed installation in 2013. This is definitely one facet of Estes' future.
As North America's "largest privately owned less-than-truckload transportation company," Estes delivered more than 9.3 million shipments in 2012 alone.
Damage to washer and dryer during transport
Estes was an hour late at original location, but was early at the destination. Time of transport from St. Louis to Phoenix was appropriate. The truck could have been cleaner. The drivers were polite. Using a freight trailor worked great for what we transported. It was a small load with mainly boxes. Some advice for customers with larger loads and delicate items is to have it professionally loaded as items will shift during transport more so that a professional moving company. We booked thru Move America, with Lauren. Everything went well. Lauren was great to work with. Accommodating our every need.
Very good service. Would use them again on future moves.
The SureMove® image above is used solely for identification purposes and serves as the primary means of visually identifying the subject of this article and provides an illustration of the entity that is represented.
Estes® and SureMove® logo are the registered trademarks of Estes Moving®. HireAHelper, LLC has no affiliation with Estes and SureMove has not authorized the use of its trademarks.