Moving Stories

As we reported last week, seniors are making the move to new homes or new locations for a variety of reasons. Change of Address offers some additional suggestions for the increase for the increase in senior mobility.

Snowbirds – As seniors start going south for the winter on a regular basis, they make connections in those areas and decide to move there to be closer to their new friends. They like the warm weather and get tired of living in two locations and having to maintain both places.

Experience new places – Now that they are free from working and are still healthy, it is a good time for retired seniors to take the plunge and live in a location they have always thought they would enjoy.

New vocation – Retirement income may not be sufficient to support some seniors in the lifestyle they desire. In this situation, they may relocate for employment opportunities.

Live near their children – Some may be tired of traveling to see their children and grandchildren and want to become part of their lives on a more regular basis, so they choose to live nearer to them. Others need the help of their children so they can stay in their home if they begin to fail physically or mentally.

Assisted living or nursing care becomes a necessity – Sadly, this is probably the main reason seniors change addresses. They can no longer take care of themselves at home so they make the hard decision, or it is made for them, to move into an environment where care is readily available.

Making the move to a new home or location, whether the decision is made from choice or out of necessity, is a big decision for senior citizens, despite how common it’s becoming. It can be very stressful to leave a home where one has lived for 30, 40, even 50 years.

Of course when seniors are downsizing and/or making a move, Seamless Moves  is ready to help!

As a society we have become more mobile, and that includes our senior citizens. More and more retired people are uprooting out of their long-time homes and moving around the country; something that is vastly different than in the past where most people stayed  in one place for years.

Change of Address suggests a few reasons for the increased mobility:

Downsizing – Larger houses become too much to take care of and “empty nesters” don’t need as much space as they once did. Some people have lost spouses and may choose to eliminate much of their furniture and other possessions. With fewer possessions, they end up choosing to downsize their living space.

No More Yard Work – Moving to an apartment or townhome gives the added benefit of having a grounds manager who will maintain their yards so they can still enjoy them without doing all the work themselves.

Retirement communities  – 55+ communities offer more affordable housing options and amenities which are right in their  neighborhood such as pools, exercise rooms, planned activities and sometimes a golf course.

Travel – Some seniors have chosen to sell almost everything, live in a RV and travel around the country. There are opportunities for retirees who live in campers to work as hosts at campgrounds and ski resorts, which give them a place to stay plus a little extra income.

Of course when Seniors are downsizing and/or making a move, Seamless Moves is ready to help!

Last February, a home located in the 6400 block of Lake Washington Boulevard S.E. caught fire. Initial damage was reported at $500,000.

According to the Newcastle News, “The fire was caused by radiant heat from the home’s fireplace that ignited a pile of boxes stacked nearby. The fireplace was located in the home’s sun room area. It progressed through the home by burning through a nearby sliding glass door and entering the kitchen. “

Bellevue Fire Department Lt. Troy Donlin said the residents had just moved into the home less than three weeks before the fire started. (emphasis ours)

Thankfully, because of working smoke detectors, a 22-year-old woman was able to leave the home without injury. Her stepfather was taken to the hospital, but luckily he suffered only minor burns.

We were relieved to see that the loss from this fire was, while substantial, only property-related. It did make us wonder, however, whether a fire of this type could have been prevented if this family had had professional assistance unpacking and removing the cardboard moving boxes at the time of their move. We usually market our service as saving people time and stress. Now we wonder if there may be an important safety aspect as well.

Craft Room Before (left side)

Craft Room After (left side)

Here are some great Before and After pictures of our client Nancy’s craft room. As Nancy describes it, with the help of her Seamless Moves team, she transformed a room that was so crowded she could only use it as a ‘dumping ground’ into a beautiful, practical workspace.

Craft Room Before (right side)

Craft Room After (right side)

Nancy’s favorite parts of her organizing day (actually 4.5 hours) were:

1) Knowing what she could do to prepare for organizing day; 2) we took away items she wished to donate to charity and gave her an itemized tax receipt from the non-profit recipient; and 3) “They hung my child’s art!”

Closet Before

Closet After

We really enjoyed helping Nancy reclaim her craft room and learning about knitting (she has a yarn category called “Yummy”).

Nancy said her team was, “competent, courteous, thorough and smart about what they do. Hire Them!”


Last time you said, “Never Again!” Remember?

You took a week off from work; begged, borrowed and scavenged from the liquor store as many cardboard boxes as you could source, packed up all your cherished possessions and loaded them in the U-Haul van; goaded 2 of your strongest friends into helping you muscle the hide-a-bed down 2 flights of stairs (and then had to patch the ding they made in the wall); made 6 trips to your new home; cursed at those too-small those liquor store boxes that don’t stack worth beans; jammed your furniture and boxes into the garage; and barely made it back the rental office before midnight to avoid being charged an extra day’s truck rental.

But you saved money, right?

Three years later, you still have unpacked boxes in that same garage and it’s time to move again. Really?? Can your back take it? Is your wife pregnant with baby #2 and #1 is already a full-time job? Will the only other person left in your department after the recent layoffs cover your job for a week as well as theirs?

or This??

We invite you to picture this:

Monday morning: You go to work as usual. When you come home, everything is packed up and ready to move EXCEPT the coffee maker, your personal bathroom items, what you want to wear to work tomorrow and the TV and remote. Hmm, mildly annoying, but not too bad.

Tuesday morning: You go to work, but instead of going home to your old home, you go to your new home. The furniture has all been placed where you want it and your bed is made. The coffee maker, your personal bathroom items, what you want to wear to work tomorrow and the TV and remote are unpacked and in place. Your bedside alarm clock has been set 10 minutes fast, just the way you like it.

Wednesday morning: You go to work again, only tonight when you come back to your new home there are no boxes (no paper, no crates, no bubble wrap!). All of your belongings have been unpacked and put neatly away. Your paintings, artwork and decorative items are unpacked and ready for your decorator (or ours) to place in their new locations tomorrow.

Thursday: Decorating day. When you come home tonight, you feel like you’ve lived there for years. You change your clothes and go watch your child’s soccer game.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday: Relax and enjoy your Seamless Move! Have a housewarming party; invite friends over and brag about how you got it all done in less than a week (we won’t tell!). No back ache, no calling all over town several weeks before you move to source boxes, trucks, labor, etc. No wondering what is falling through the cracks at work or at home.

Relax! We’ve done this before. Hundreds of times. We would LOVE to help you and your family, too! Just tell us what you need, and we’ll do the rest.

Recently, folks in the Seattle area have brought to our attention something that has been disturbing them. Many people are distressed that the final bill for their move was quite a bit more than the original bid. Either it takes more time than projected, needs more people to accomplish, more boxes and supplies, etc.  Here is something you may not know:

According to the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission (which oversees moving companies registered to do business in this state):

“If charges are more than the written non-binding estimate, the mover must unload and release all of your goods if you pay 110 percent of the amount of the estimate and supplemental estimates. The mover is required to give you at least 30 days to pay the balance. Even if you receive only a nonbinding estimate, there is a limit to the amount you are required to pay. UTC rules ensure that in no instance are you required to pay more than 25 percent above the estimate and any supplemental estimate.Consumer Guide, Moving in Washington State (emphasis ours)

As you can see, it is important for you to know whether you have received a binding or a non-binding estimate from the moving company. We will go into further detail about estimates in a subsequent post, however a couple of things to note regarding cost and the estimate:

1) It is seriously important for you to show your estimator EVERYTHING in your home that you want to have moved during the estimate process. That includes things in the attic, garage, backyard, shed, crawlspace, basement, underneath and behind furniture and inside every closet and piece of storage furniture. If you point to several things and say, “that will be gone before the move” and they are not, your cost will be higher. If you suddenly remember a storage unit down the road with more items in it…well, you get the idea.

2) Times are tough for movers right now. Many have gone out of business in this ‘correction’ economy. The companies that remain are competing for a much smaller marketplace of folks who are moving than in the past.

So yes, SOME companies, knowing they can legally charge you 10-25% more at the end of the move, are bidding your move lower than they know it will actually cost in order to come in below other bids you may have received to get your business. Additionally, any mover you schedule through a third party referral service (through your realtor or relocation company) might be required to pay that service a commission, thereby cutting their net revenue on your move. Did this happen before the recession? Yes, of course, but not nearly as much as we are seeing now.

This is where it comes in handy to have a project manager such as Seamless Moves on your team. If we see a moving estimate that is obviously TOO low, we are going to call them on it. A moving company that cares about customer service and whether you have a good moving experience (the ones we work with and recommend) work very hard to estimate your move correctly. Their estimates sometimes look higher than other companies who have a more short-term view of their business.

If you are managing your move yourself, ask your friends and co-workers for recommendations. Check testimonials on Yelp , Angies List , etc.
And above all, remember this lesson we have all learned the hard way:

Going with the lowest bidder doesn’t always save you money.

I’m curious– how should a businesses handle the challenge of getting clients to trust you and/or trust the process before they are able to experience the results?

Recently, Seamless Moves had the opportunity to bid on helping “Sam” (approx. 90 yrs old) and “Jill” (approx. 80 years old) with their move into a lovely local retirement community. We came highly recommended by the Community Relations Director who has seen our work firsthand numerous times. Even though our bid for the same services was a bit lower, Sam chose to use a local moving company for packing and moving services due to their corporate structure, with which he felt more comfortable. We were very concerned and tried to explain to Sam that he was not “comparing apples to apples,” but his strong feelings about supporting a company with his preferred corporate structure won out.

A week after their move, we were in the building visiting another client when we happened upon Sam and Jill. They invited us in to their apartment, which was disorganized and still full of boxes. The first thing Sam said was, “I made a mistake not hiring your company for this move.” He told us the movers had arrived at their former home four hours later than originally scheduled, which meant the truck was stuck in rush hour traffic on the way to the new apartment. It also meant that their furniture and boxes were not inside their new place until quite a bit later that evening. Tiring for anyone–but for seniors, exponentially so.

The movers added costs for the additional time the move took to complete to Sam and Jill’s bill which, as you may imagine, did not please them at all. Sam has called the moving company several times trying to get his bill adjusted.

Jill, who is legally blind, had been doing a yeoman job of unpacking the boxes and had friends who removed the “empties” from their apartment. (Sam is immobile.) A week later, however, the only room that did not have unpacked boxes was their bedroom, two large bookcases still needed to be moved into a different room and their lovely artworks and family photos were piled in a corner.

“You know Sam,” I told him, “if we had done this move for you, you would have no boxes in your apartment now. In fact, the day after the movers left, the furniture would all be in place where you wanted it, everything would be put away; even your pictures would have been hung on the walls. We also would have ensured the movers arrived on time or they would have been replaced on the spot with another company.” I gently asked him if we could help them finish unpacking and setting up their apartment, but Sam said, “No thanks; we can handle it.” Jill sank in her chair visibly and shook her head. (I should mention that we are not talking about a large sum of money and that these folks have the ability to pay for the service should they decide to. We understand that not everyone has that option.)

Sam and Jill’s situation is not at all unique. In our business, we are sometimes in the unenviable position of trying to explain a relatively new type of service to clients who have never heard of it, or need to be shown its value. Our situation reminds me of my own recent visit to a Clinical Nutritionist. She reminds me of her years of experience helping people feel their best and that I came to see her on very high recommendations from two friends. “Trust me,” she says, “I know what I’m doing. This WILL work.” It strikes me that she’s saying the same thing to me that I say to our clients, “Trust us; we do this every day. You will have no stress—we will handle it all.” But how does any business convince someone who has not even been aware of this option before today? Even with glowing testimonials from previous clients?