Meet the World’s Most Expensive Movers

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Tired of hearing about how expensive it is to move? “Why is there a charge for shrink wrap?” “I shouldn’t have to buy more boxes, you guys should fit everything in the ones out in the garage!” “What do you mean furniture pads aren’t free?!”

Well, believe it or not, there is a cure for these experiences. Their names are Stephanie, Sara and Cassio, and apparently, they are more than happy to pay all kinds of extra charges for what they are being told is a “white-glove move”.

Courtesy of the New York Times, here are some examples of what this white glove mover service in New York City is willing to help you out with.

  • $150 extra per move for a special “low-noise” box tape: For people who “don’t like the screeching sound of regular packing tape.” (Bonus guarantee: If the low-noise tape runs out, someone will hold their white-gloved hands over your poor delicate ears for you.)
  • $180 per hour (!) to figure out your move: That means they’ll do “…everything from taking an inventory of your home, to creating a budget and interviewing moving companies.” (Just don’t expect them to lift anything heavier than a pair of white gloves.)
  • $200 for a ride to your new home: Because, my god, have you ever seen how dirty a cabbies hands can get?
  • $500 per day to call the cable and gas companies to inform them of your new address: Yup, someone out there will pay you 500 clams to be put on hold for you.

To prove that people are willing to toss their money around like this, the Times also offers a few quotes, including a couple beauties from private citizen Stephanie:

“As with many of us,” says Stephanie, “my moves have often been hideous experiences.” (My god! They’re not even wearing white gloves!)

This type of service is “extremely helpful,” she continues. “Not like having boxes in a dark basement that are stuffed with 50 dining room dishes and a lampshade.” 

Pamela Muller, co-owner of NouvelleView, the company in question that specializes in suckering customers into thinking they can’t handle an address change, says her firm will “oversee every aspect, from the initial strategic plan to seeing that every box is unpacked.” (Especially the ones in that dark, scary basement.)

“I always say to clients that we are the most expensive in the business,” says Michael Jaque, a director at the shipping company Gander & White. At least they know what’s coming.

The funniest part about all this? NouvelleView says many of their clientele, with their delicate ears and their taxi cab allergies, still hire a traditional moving company to handle the bulk of the items!

And this is where you come in. Charge Stephanie, Sara and Cassio whatever you want for that shrink wrap, those boxes and the furniture pads you’re getting back anyway.

Just make sure you pick up some white gloves at Wal-Mart on your way over.


Cover photo from The New York Times.

‘What’s an SEO?’ Simple Strategies to Drive More Traffic – and Customers – to Your Moving Website

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Rare is the person who has never heard of “SEO”, or Search Engine Optimization. Or at least someone who doesn’t know that someone out there is paid a lot to know how it all works.

SEO is critical for driving more traffic – and more potential customers – to a website. But how do we movers “do” SEO? How do we convince those internet search engines to point more people to us?

There are actually tons of ways. Some are easy to implement, while others … not so much. Today we offer up three easy strategies you can put to use right away (plus a tip for holding onto those potential customers who come to your virtual door).

Keywords are everything.

Keywords are what bring your customers and you together – provided you are using the right ones! So what are those magic words? Just think: What would people type into that little search box on Google if they want to find a moving company in, say, Boston? That’s right: “Boston moving company”. But how many moving companies are there in Boston? You’ll want to set yourself apart somehow so those search engines will pay you some attention.

How? People moving in to or from Boston aren’t usually just looking for a moving company. Really, they’re searching for “Boston movers that can assemble furniture,” or, “insured Boston movers.” What specific services or features do you offer? When you’re writing your webpage, build one that cleanly and clearly explains each feature you offer, so that as Bostonians search for “Boston area pet-friendly movers”, they’ll find your animal-lovin’ crew at the top of their search results.

7 Embarrassing Lessons I Learned While Moving People

7 Embarrassing Lessons I Learned While Moving People

Lessons I, Kevin The Mover, learned during my earliest days on the job through the mistakes of others (and my own).

There’s a website for that.

As good as your plain guesses might be on what people are searching, go one step further with these free SEO keyword tools that help unearth even more magical keywords:

Moving Company SEO Tips

With Moz’s Keyword Explorer, you can do 20 free searches per month. Plugin your best guess at a search phrase and Moz reveals data for that phrase, including how many times that phrase gets searched, its ranking difficulty, along with a list of additional keyword ideas.

Google Keyword Tool

Google’s Keyword Tool is also a great tool. It’s powerful, offering long lists of related keyword suggestions alongside search volumes for each phrase. It’s true that you have to log in to use it, but anyone can sign up for a free Google account. (You might benefit from using Google’s advertising tool, Adwords – but that’s a post for another day!) Keep in mind – Google purposefully does not show all the keyword suggestions they have in their secret vault. They also only report an estimate of the search volume (the times a keyword phrase is searched). That means if you’re seeing phrases estimated at 10-50 searches per month … it could actually be double or triple that.

There are about a million other keyword suggestion tools out there – Übersuggest, SEO Book’s keyword tool (requires a free account like Google), and others each offer their own spin and data on keyword search ideas.

What do you do with these words?

Now that you’ve got your master list of keywords, the question arises: Where do we put them?

Answer: all over your website! This piece on keyword placement suggests several places to put them, from the obvious (the title of your website) to the semi-technical (your META description) to the biggest, broadest aspect of your entire website: your content. 

This does not mean you cram a keyword phrase into every corner of a page. Using a phrase 100 times on a page to try and rank for it in searches will actually get you “in trouble” with the search engines (you won’t rank). Use the phrase normally as you would on any page talking about that topic. A page talking about pet-friendly movers will naturally mention being “pet-friendly” a decent amount of times.

What does “content” mean, exactly?

This is the meat of your website – It’s about writing high quality, authoritative content around topics you’re already an expert on.

Search engines have gotten surprisingly good at doing more than scanning your content for the right keywords like they did in 2000. Now, search engines basically read your content and separate which content is high quality versus keyword fluff. That means if you’ve spent the last 10 years training your crews in the intricacies of moving pets (and have had a website that whole time), Google will detect if you write content that’s from your expertise… or just “words words words keywords words keywords”.

Don’t get me wrong, the keyword phrases on your list need to appear in the content at least a few times. In fact, after you’re done writing, it’s important to search your content for that keyword phrase to make sure it’s in there. But like I said before, don’t cram the keyword into every line. Your content should sound natural and informative to any reader. Just like you would want to read.

Protip: Search engines tend to pay more attention to websites that are updated regularly. This means it is advantageous to add content to your site once in a while. The most common, and perhaps most relevant way to do this as a moving company, is to maintain a blog! It can have tips for packing, guidelines for moving or even stories about your company. Just make it clear, quick and fun. And yes, find a place for those keywords!

Keeping a blog takes time, but it can be time well spent when those blog posts start bringing in interested customers.

Putting links to other people is essential.

The “World Wide Web” is exactly that: a web. And in this massive, intertwined virtual community, where would you rather be? Off by yourself hanging out in a remote corner? Or in the middle of thousands of people?

“Backlinks” are a specific type of links, which in themselves are just electronic threads that connect your website with other websites. From a technical standpoint, backlinks are links on other websites that transport people to your website. The best (not the quickest or easiest, but the best) way to create these backlinks is by creating content for other websites – content that either contains or ends with a link or links that will bring people from that website to yours.

That means giving other websites reasons to link to you!

The important point to note here is that with backlinks, you aren’t solely attracting the people who read those guest articles you write for other websites. It turns out that when other sites link to your site, search engine starts thinking you must be something special and will bump you up higher toward the top when someone does a search using the keywords you’ve embedded in your site.

It’s all coming together!

To score a couple of backlinks, you might start out by writing moving-related articles for your local paper or an organization like your Chamber of Commerce. Or go big and shoot for a place like the Huffington Post that draws millions of readers every month. Not everyone will read what you’ve written, but the mere fact that you now have a backlink from a site as heavily-trafficked as the HuffPost means search engines will really think you are something special.

One last thing protip!

Speed. Let’s face it. People are impatient. Once upon a time, we would be excited if the postcards we sent from our tropical vacation got home to our friends before we did. Now we get frustrated if we can’t upload our selfies right there on the beach.

Same with using the net. People don’t want to wait. So if your site doesn’t appear within no more than a few seconds, your potential customer will start hitting that back button to move on to someone with a faster homepage. 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, according to Kissmetrics. This is particularly relevant with the mobile version of your site – Google itself reports that 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. And what takes the most time to load? Images!

There is a myriad of ways to minimize the time a potential customer has to spend waiting for your site to load. Many of them require a bit of technical know-how. But reducing the size and thus the load speed of your images is simple. Want to know how? Try tinypng.com to compress your images – as they get smaller without losing quality, you’ll see how much faster your site moves!

Taking over your block.

So will this SEO advice really work for you, the small moving company with big ambitions? We think so. For a real live example of how a moving company figured out how to boost their SEO situation, check out this story on SLC Moving of Salt Lake City.

Go the extra mile to map out a strategy for increasing your traffic, your customer base, and your bottom line. That’s what the big moving companies are doing.

How to (Properly) Wrap Cords For Your Customers When Packing

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Tips on packing electronics and other electrical household items are easy to come by. What’s not as common is how to safely deal with their electrical cords or whether they are fixed, detachable or retractable. Do we tie them up? Tape ’em down? Wrap them around what they’re attached to?

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How to Use a Moving Dolly Like the Pros

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Moving house without a hand truck – or a moving dolly – is like riding a bicycle without a seat. It’s technically possible, but honestly, who does that?

A sturdy, reliable hand truck is any mover’s best friend. Used properly, it saves you time, rescues your back and it can singlehandedly keep your stuff from getting damaged.

(Thinking of a square furniture dolly?)

But they’re not as easy to use as they look, provided you are using them in the proper way. With that in mind, here are tips compiled by moving pros as to how to optimize that hand truck you found in the back of your moving truck, or that one your friend let you borrow and you don’t want to return broken.

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Packing Shoes the Right Way

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There are two basic ways to pack shoes.

  • Line a carton with paper, drop in a pile of shoes, tape the box shut and mark it with a big fat “SHOES” sticker
  • The right way

Even if the customer’s stuff will only be in boxes for a few days, improperly packed shoes can come out ruinously misshapen. Here are a few tips to prevent this from happening.

Before the Pack

shoeskevinbefore-copy

We’re basically talking about shoes here, not sneakers. But whatever the case, a few preventative measures should be considered:

  1. Pack only dry shoes. Moisture can do bad things, particularly to suede and leather. But mold? It can make even the king’s cross-trainers smell.
  2. You know those balls of tissue in the toes of the shoes in the shoe store? They’re not there just to annoy us. Besides helping a shoe maintain its shape, some balled-up paper can absorb any residual moisture that might be lingering. Pro Tip: Consider using socks for this.
  3. Wipe those nice shoes clean. No need to set up a shoeshine booth, but dust and dirt can mar a shoe’s surface over time.

For the Pack

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http://simplystyledbyemma.blogspot.com/

Now that we’ve taken measures against moisture, mold and marring, our prime concern is to make sure our customer’s shoes don’t get crushed.

  1. When possible, pack shoes in their original boxes. The nicer the shoes, the better the chances the customer will still have them. Regardless, it’s still a great idea to wrap them in paper to keep them from rubbing and scuffing each other. When enough paper is used it prevents that shoebox from getting crushed.
  2. Unless you’re packing (a) long-legged boots or (b) Shaquille O’Neal’s size 23 Nikes, one sheet of packing paper should be enough not only to adequately cover both shoes but to provide enough excess to form some protective padding for your bundle. Roll up one shoe, then the other in order to keep them separated – no need to be a neurosurgeon here but keeping the left and the right off each other is good practice. Note that some sources suggest wrapping shoes with their soles touching, others with the soles out. We lean toward putting the soles in against each other.
  3. Start with a cushiony layer of paper at the bottom of the carton. Usually a 3-cube works for packing shoes but a 4.5 will work too. Either way, those shoes at the bottom will want a bit of protection underneath. A layer of paper between layers of shoes further protects against crushing.
  4. Pack shoes on their sides to allow the soles to add some support and integrity to your carton. Form a layer of bundles of shoes on top of a layer of packing paper. Generally, heavier shoes go at the bottom. However, boots (those ladies’ long dress boots, not bad weather boots) can suffer creases in those long leggy parts if there are several bundles of shoes on top of them. Pack these items on top, again making sure there is paper separating them.
  5. Dress sandals and open-toed shoes are particularly susceptible to being misshapen. While less critical, sneakers and summer sandals (i.e., flip-flops) should be shown at least some degree of care.

A Final Word

Moving across town might not demand the same amount of care as a long distance multi-day move that involves storage. Good old common sense goes a long way and saves precious time. But with a customer’s pricey shoe collection we can never be too careful. Replacing those wingtips or stilettos might not be impossible, but getting all bent out of shape is a hassle the customer would undoubtedly like to avoid.

Packing an Oil Painting: Slick Tips

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[Synopsis: Packing higher-end art calls for special materials and top-notch techniques.]

We come across large picture frames and mirrors often enough to know how to pack them. Wrap them in newsprint – or better yet, large sheets of kraft paper or that brown paper the big guys always have on hand. Grab a mirror carton or custom-size a box and pack the corners with packing paper and tape it up well.

Nothing to it, right?

But the day may come (if it hasn’t already) when we come face to face with an oil painting. We may use the same brown paper process and come away unscathed, but there are a few tips and tricks we can employ to keep that piece of art in prime shape, maybe even impressing our customer in the process.

Our Weapons of Choice

For the specialized packing we are about to attack upon we’ll need a few things we might not normally have on hand:

  • Bubble wrap
  • A mini roll of plastic wrap (on a handy-dandy dispenser)
  • A locking tape measure
  • Some large sheets of foam board
  • A knife to cut them to size

For that ultimate professional touch, we’ll arm ourselves with a couple of new weapons, namely artist tape and a type of water-resistant, grease-resistant paper called Glassine. And, as the guys in the following two videos prove, the ability to wield a tape gun can really come in handy.

Food For Thought: Video #1

In this first videoour host tackles his oil painting pack job by using foam board and a mini roll of shrink wrap to make what he calls a painting sandwich. Pretty slick, ay? (Start at the 2:35 mark. It goes to about 3:50.)

Note: Our painting sandwich maker uses peanuts for protection – and makes a decent mess of things. We suggest sticking with packing paper.

Mega-Supplies: Video #2

The host of our second video is a real stickler for protection. But so are his customers. First, he breaks out his Glassine at about the 1:23 mark. To keep it in place he uses artist tape rather than packing tape or even masking tape. Watch from the 1:43 mark to hear the (probably obvious) reasons why.

Done with the Glassine, he turns to his massive stash of bubble wrap, keeping the flat side against the surface of the painting. And he uses PLENTY of the stuff, in two different bubble sizes! We may not need to go nearly as crazy – unless our customers want us to. Ask them ahead of time.

For glass frameworks of art, our hero puts strips of artist tape right on the glass, to prevent damage to the art should the glass crack or break in transit.

Finally, at about 14:50 he talks about putting cardboard corners on before the bubble wrap. He also ensures the safety of the piece by placing a piece of cardboard over the front/glass side.

Note: He does admit that not all of us will have mountains of the stuff on hand, and suggests at the 6:25 mark using sheets of Styrofoam. Again, this is an option – but so is our packing paper.

Wrapping Up

We may or may not encounter a customer with fine artwork. But they do exist, and what if those people are looking for someone who knows how to handle their oil paintings or other expensive paintings? If you have that skill on your list of offered services, you may just get the call over someone else.

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