Chicago moving expert talks with Angie's List
Walter Burrows worked for more than 20 different movers in the Chicago area before buying his own truck and doing cross-country moves for 15 years.
But when he jackknifed his rig in icy conditions in 1970, "I crawled out the window, said 'Thank you, Lord' and moved back to Chicago and started Burrows Moving," he says.
His customers having been thanking him ever since - his company has won five Angie's List Super Service awards.
Why should people use professional movers, and what should people know before calling a mover?
"One reason is that some people aren't in shape to move and they don't know it, or they don't know the proper way to pick things up without injuring themselves. We have the right equipment, we don't waste time and we're efficient.
"There are several things people need to know, but the main thing is how to pack properly. When people talk about 'nightmare moves' most of the time it's because they have things in open boxes and shopping bags, and that just makes it tougher for the mover.
"You need to close, tape and label the boxes, and you shouldn't move one thing until everything is packed. Another thing you should do is call the Illinois Movers and Warehouse Association and see if the mover has any complaints against them. I'd also recommend three written estimates where the companies actually come to the residence."
How do you charge?
"Moving is regulated in Illinois - we're required to charge an hourly rate, not a flat rate.
"We're also required to go out to the home and do an estimate. I always try to estimate a little more time so there aren't any surprises.
"Our fees are $36 per hour per man and $36 an hour per truck. Most movers worth anything are going to be within $3 of that rate. We also do packing and there's a fixed price per box, plus the paper, tape and other things, so that gets more complicated."
What are some of the most difficult things to move, and do you charge extra to move them?
"The most difficult thing to move is probably a safe. Generally, we don't charge extra for smaller, non-commercial safes.
"We do have a surcharge on piano moving because it takes specialized crew and equipment, so those cost more depending on the type of piano and the difficulty of the move."