Moving Companies: Estimates vs. Final Bill

I recently moved, as I wrote about on Barista Kids. The ordeal went as well as such an ordeal can go. Uprooting oneself is much like getting a root canal. You need to do it; you’re thankful you can afford it; and after the procedure is over, it hurts badly then gets much better.
If only laughing gas came with moving. You especially need it when they give you the final bill. A bill that rarely matches the estimate (see what mine was on the next page).
In case you’re researching moving companies, here are the estimates I got from the following companies that friends had recommended. My move was from a 5-bedroom house to a larger house less than a mile away in Montclair. Estimates included my antique grand piano.
1. Pony Express from Little Falls
estimated 7 hours, $1612
2. Casella & Sons from Verona
estimated 8 1/2 hours, $1700
3. Reilly movers from Montclair
estimated 14 hours, $1900
4. Chatham movers from Chatham (came highly recommended)
estimated 12 hours, $4200 (yikes!)
See who I chose and what the final bill was at the jump…

I chose Casella & Sons because I really liked the owner who came over to my house. I liked Greg from Pony Express, too, but he wasn’t available for my move-in date. I also chose Casella because they were cheaper. I’ve heard great things about White Glove moving as well, but I heard too late. My movers had already been hired.
I decided not to let a regular company play with our antique piano. Instead, I hired a specialist, Camel Piano Moving Company, and they charged me $275. The instrument is in perfect shape, before and after its relocation.
Casella showed up on moving day with the owner’s son as the crew manager, and the crew was excellent. Everyone was polite and careful. The only snafu was a longer than expected trip to Dunkin Donuts, but that was minor. This report is according to my husband. I wasn’t there because he shipped me and the twins off to my mother’s. He said having us around would’ve given him a nervous breakdown. He is a wise man. In the aftermath, I think he’s ready to ship us off again.
The end bill from Casella was $2100, well over the estimate. We fully expected an overblown bill, so we didn’t curse too much. That amount doesn’t include the $200-plus in tips we gave to the men. You’re supposed to give about $20 per man per day, and we did. But we were happy. No walls were scratched, and all the furniture arrived as furniture instead of kindling.
That’s a lot better than I could have done by myself. In college, I was a one-woman moving company along with my Dodge Ram D-50. But those days are gone–and thankfully so.

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  1. I highly recommend and have never had a problem with L&L Movers and Van Lines from Hoboken NJ and Wharton NJ. They are professional movers- meaning this is what they have done from the time they could walk. They will hump anything down the stairs. My only issue is that they never seem to have their screwdrivers handy!
    I have never paid more than the estimate.

  2. The actual price doesn’t shock me, but the collective amount of “tips” is way over the top!
    My Gawd! $20.00 @ day, per man ? Don’t know (you didn’t say) how many men there were, but that’s alot of tips.

  3. I’ve noticed that Baristanet editors overtip. It’s a strange trait. A while ago, one of them posted about how leaving tips for the garbage man. I believe the suggestion was a plate of crudites. But really, garbagemen have garbage all over their hands. They don’t have sinks. Unless you are going to have them over to your house to wash up at 5am, they will have a tough time eating the cauliflowers. Plus they can probably find all sorts of good stuff in the bin if they get really hungry. Plus lots of porn. It’s like a free tip!

  4. I used one of the companies you listed and had an identity theft
    nightmare very soon after. They moved me
    ..double check your bank
    security info etc. NOW..

  5. I have referred more than 100 people to Lakeland Moving (family owned) in Ringwood. They have moved family members 7 times and I have never had 1 instance of there being over runs on the estimate. I have found them to be less expensive than Essex County movers.

  6. I used Cassella in February. They were on time. Totally on the estimate. Curteous, careful, etc.
    I’d use them again in a heartbeat.

  7. I’m moving on Friday using Hercules Movers — came highly recommended from 2 friends. I’ll let you know how it goes.

  8. I am in the middle of interviewing movers. this is very helpful. The last last move I made from N.Y. to Montclair I used Goman. They showed up with out ANY packing materials, took up an extra hour and a half to get packing materials and then charged me!!!! It was a bad to worse experience from beginning to end. Looking forward to better treatment.

  9. A few years ago I used Tri-State Moving in Bergenfield. They came highly recommended, and I agree. Did a great job and stayed within estimate.

  10. Update – the move went beautifully and came in as estimated at $3800, which included packing us, moving a piano to another location and two big pieces of furniture to another. Pedro (foreman), Michael, Kevin, Louis and Carlos are the best! They were careful, quick, helpful and just great people to work with. Hercules Movers:

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