Considering the history and emotional attachment that people have with their instruments, there’s no reason to attempt moving an upright, concert grand or even a baby grand without the help of professional piano movers. Houston, TX has no shortage of professionals ready to help, whether transferring the instrument to a neighboring room or moving it to a different area of the state.
Pianos are massive, and there are several good reasons why they shouldn’t be transported haphazardly without the proper safety precautions, tools, and skills. The two biggest considerations involved are the risks to the precious instrument and the risks to the people attempting to help.
Minimize the Risk of Damage
Scenes of concert grands smashing to the ground and splintering to a million pieces are a hallmark of children’s cartoon shows. The idea of it happening to one’s personal instrument is terrifying, and without the right equipment, the risk of something similar happening is rather high. It likely won’t be falling three stories from an open window, but damage can easily occur nonetheless.
Many of these beautiful instruments carry with them sentimental value, and they can weigh as much as 1500 lbs. Even baby grands generally weigh somewhere between 500 and 800 lbs. Any attempt at moving the instrument without the proper equipment can end badly, to say the least.
Hiring piano movers in Houston, TX is a much simpler solution and doesn’t come with the same risks. Not only are these professionals skilled and experienced, they have the right tools to ensure the safe transport of the piano from one location to the other. Plus, they have the know-how to disassemble and secure every piece of the instrument if needed to reduce the possibility of damage and the need for a tune-up following the move.
On top of the risk assumed for the instrument, there is the risk of personal injury to consider. Unless the move is to a new place in the same room, the maneuvers required to bring such a massive object through doorways and up and down stairs call for help from the experts.
The task calls for as many as eight trained professionals that all know the intricacies of navigating obstacles with care. If one tries to attempt the job without the knowledge and proper tools, one small mistake can lead to a serious injury. It’s a much safer idea to seek the help of professional piano movers. Houston, TX is home to dozens of companies that offer moving helpers. Whether transferring the entire home or just the instrument, employing a team that is familiar with the intricacies of transporting specialty items such as pianos is a must.
There are so many risks involved in employing friends and family to help move a beautifully constructed piano to a new home. By attempting to do so, one is risking the health of those who agree to help, as well as the instrument itself. It’s much smarter to hire the professionals and rest in the knowledge that the instrument will make it in one piece.
Figuring out a moving estimate can be tricky, and yet it’s something a homeowner will need to be capable of before committing to a moving company. Moving estimates are an essential part of the process, and include all of the relevant financial information regarding a client’s move. In addition to the total estimate itself, it should also include a fee breakdown and any special provisions that may affect the final price. For obvious reasons, a homeowner should seek out an estimate that is as detailed and precise as possible.
In the moving industry, two services can produce two estimates that vary by several hundred, or even thousands of dollars. Knowing what a reputable estimate looks like is therefore extremely important.
The Three Types of Moving Estimates
Moving companies will offer one of three types of moving estimates, including non-binding, binding and binding not-to-exceed estimates. Above all else, a client must know which type of estimate they are working with, because with some estimates, what a client sees isn’t necessarily what they will get. What does that mean, exactly? Consider the benefits and concerns with each estimate type:
Binding Not-To-Exceed Estimates
In general, binding not-to-exceed estimates are the best option for consumers, as they provide a chance to save money with no increase in risk. This is how a binding not-to-exceed estimate works:
The moving company will provide an estimate of the job’s cost, including a detailed fee breakdown and the expected weight of the client’s goods.
The moving company will weigh the client’s goods on the truck once everything is loaded. This is done at an approved facility and should be done while the client is present so they can verify the weigh-in results.
What makes a binding not-to-exceed estimate such a powerful option for clients is that the client always gets the lower price between the estimate and the weigh-in. Even when the client’s goods weigh more than the estimate, they will get the lower estimated price. It is effectively a no-lose situation for a homeowner.
With a binding not-to-exceed estimate, a homeowner knows what they will pay at the maximum, so they can plan ahead better and with less stress. And if the weigh-in comes in lower, then it’s a bonus for the client.
A binding not-to-exceed estimate is always given after a company representative has had a chance to survey the property prior to the move. It is always to the client’s benefit to have the company survey the property, as this will ensure the crew shows up prepared and with any equipment they need for the job. It also ensures the most accurate estimate possible.
After all, it is to the company’s benefit to be extremely accurate in this case, because if they are off, it’s the company that takes the hit, not the client.
The only problem with binding not-to-exceed estimates is that they are difficult to secure. The vast majority of moving services will not offer them, but if a client is insistent, they may be able to convince the company to agree to one.
For homeowners worried about being taken advantage of during the moving process, a binding not-to-exceed estimate offers the best peace of mind, and usually signals that the company is a reputable one. That being said, it is still important that a homeowner be present at the weigh-in and that they inquire about any fees they are unsure of that are listed on the estimate.
A binding estimate also offers stability during the moving process, as it guarantees a price beforehand. In short, the cost listed on a binding estimate is immovable, no matter what the goods actually weigh. Here are some things to keep in mind about a binding estimate:
Moving services will hold firm to what the estimate says, so clients that want to do some negotiating will have to do so early on, because they won’t have an opportunity to do so once the goods are weighed.
It is enormously important that a client only agree to a binding estimate if the company has actually visited the property and if the estimate details all fees. The weight of the client’s goods is not something that should be guessed at. When moving services guess at fees and pricing, it is almost always to the client’s disadvantage.
This means that homeowners should not accept phone or e-mail estimates. Moving services that rely on such estimates will charge fees that purposely overshoot the weight of the client’s goods. In short, the homeowner pays more for no reason.
The nature of binding estimates is such that a client may try to game the system. For example, a homeowner may hide items from the estimator while they are at the property, only to pack them up in boxes prior to the move. The idea is that the client overloads the truck without paying more. The problem with this approach is that items are insured by weight, so if a client sneaks in additional weight and items are damaged, there may be no insurance available for reimbursement purposes.
A binding estimate, like a binding not-to-exceed estimate, provides some certainty from a budgeting standpoint, allowing clients to organize their finances accordingly. Binding estimates are also easier to secure than binding not-to-exceed estimates, so they are a practical choice for many.
While binding estimates aren’t as favorable to the client, they can still be a perfectly acceptable option, as long as the estimate is provided following a thorough inspection of the client’s property.
Non-binding estimates are popular among moving services as they generally favor the company over the consumer. They are also organized in a way that makes them easy to deliver over the phone or over e-mail, so it’s less effort on the company’s part to put one together. This added convenience can be attractive to clients too, but it comes with a lot of uncertainty regarding fees. Here’s a rough look at non-binding estimates:
It’s best to think of a non-binding estimate as merely an approximation, and one that will almost definitely change once everything is weighed-in. No matter what a client is quoted at the time of the estimate, they will pay the cost associated with the actual weight of the goods.
Because the client doesn’t get an exact price until everything is loaded on a trailer and taken to the company’s facility, this is the type of estimate that is most associated with bait and switch scams. Once everything is loaded on the trailer, the moving service has all the leverage.
If a client is only moving a modest amount of goods and is moving on short notice, a non-binding estimate can work, as long as the homeowner is certain they are working with a reputable company.
Non-binding estimates are usually given over the phone or over e-mail, which means the estimate will naturally be inaccurate.
Non-binding estimates rarely feature detailed fee schedules, so if the client has any particularly heavy or bulky items, like a piano or large sculptures, they will likely have to pay much more than the estimate, as these items require additional equipment and additional fees.
If the actual cost is higher than the estimated cost, the moving service may collect 10 percent of the difference prior to the move. However, at this point, they are obligated to transport the client’s goods to their destination. The mover will be able to bill a client for the remaining amount within a month of completing the job.
Non-binding estimates should be a last resort option for most clients, especially if the estimate is not offered in person. In fact, most oversight agencies, like the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration and Better Business Bureau, recommend homeowners only consider moving services that offer in-person estimates. Such estimates allow homeowners to review all of the related paperwork, including inventories and contracts, and this will protect the client from any unscrupulous behavior on the mover’s part.
A Few Final Thoughts on Estimates
While it is of paramount importance that a homeowner know the type of estimate they are working with, there are additional things to look for. They include:
All estimates should be calculated using weight values, and not volume. This is especially true when the move involves interstate travel. Weight is strongly preferred because it’s an extremely difficult value to alter, and therefore it is harder to scam a client using weight. Volume, though, is easy to alter and moving companies can wring an extra few hundred dollars out of a client by just moving the goods around on the trailer.
Clients should not expect to pay a deposit on a move that involves interstate travel.
Motor carriers are only required to maintain 60 cents of insurance per pound of cargo, which is usually a paltry amount compared to the actual value of the goods. If purchasing additional insurance, make sure this is reflected on any fee schedule.
Moving estimates are an all-important reference document for clients during the moving process, and should be regarded with care. Clients should expect their estimates to be thorough, detailed and transparent. If there is any doubt present about an estimate’s accuracy, trust that doubt and avoid wasting hundreds of dollars needlessly.
As most of you know, we have been a moving company since 1969 here in Houston. And we have always helped in our community, to the point that people call us the movers that care.
Recent days have seen our city go through challenges many of us could never imagine.
Through the years we have moved thousands of families into their homes, many of which I am watching take on water on TV, and seeing the good families that we have come to know being displaced. We know our neighbors and their neighborhoods.
It has always been my hope that our clients know we care about them, and that the city of Houston knows we care about them. Since the start of Hurricane Harvey, we have been wondering how to put our fleet of movers to work for Houston.
In the early days, we have worked to get boxes in hands of those who were needing to pick their possessions out of the silt and mud in their houses. For some, the water got counter-high, so packing supplies were needed, and we have been helping those most vulnerable move their possessions into the safety of our warehouse.
Yesterday, though, we were able to make a real difference. The Northeast Baptist Church and our moving company partnered up to help take much-needed supplies to the 5th ward of Houston. For those of you that know the city, you know that these are some of the people with the greatest needs. I was so proud of my son Brandon and my crews as they helped unload trucks of supplies for Houstonians most in need.
At the same time, we donated a crew to go help a school teacher who, as a single mom, was having a hard time getting her son to safety. Although the second floor of an apartment complex was dry, her son had to be moved because of health conditions. We heard her story and were able to help move her son to safety, as well as help get her apartment packed up and moved to storage.
That is what being a Houstonian is all about. It is what owning a business in Houston is all about. We have marshalled our forces to help each family that needs help in our area.
I hope we never see anything like this again in our city. But what I do know is that this has made us all appreciate Houston and its commitment to our neighbors. As I think back over the last 50 years, this has been one of the best moments for our city, born out of the worst of circumstances. I am just glad that we could make something a little better for someone.
When it comes to moving things, there are a variety of factors on how you actually do that or who you call to do that. As a professional moving company, we have heard questions about everything from safes and pianos to car parts and the entire house. And then, of course, there are the hazardous materials and what to do with them.
#1 Pool Tables, Pianos and Safes, Oh My
The first thing to determine when dealing with large specialty items is the distance you are moving. If it’s just around the block you may not need to crate the pool table. But for longer distances, specialty wood crating needs be included.
Pianos are another household item that requires a special skill set so as not to drop the piano. After all, it is a musical instrument, and how the piano is moved can affect the instrument, upping the level of care needed to move a piano.
Moving a large heavy safe has its own set of challenges. Damaging it is typically not a concern, but lifting it surely can be. Depending on the location of the safe and how easy it is to access determines the level of skill needed to move the safe. Many movers will not even touch a safe, but we will. Please let us know if you need our help moving a safe.
Q. How do I move a piano or a safe? A. To avoid injury or damage, it is always best to call a professional moving service when faced with moving a piano or safe.
#2 Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Well, its really trains that move automobiles across the country, and maybe an occasional moving van. There are various ways to move a car. How often do you pass a UHaul on the road with a tow bar attached and a vehicle in tow behind it? This is one of the more common ways to move a car, other than to drive it to its new destination. And we’ve all seen it.
But what happens when you are moving a long distance? The common thought is that your vehicle can just go on the moving van, but that may or may not be the case. It boils down to cost. Most long distance movers do offer car carrier services and can arrange that in the move. But the common myth is that the car can go on the truck. Although that is true, it all boils down to cost and convenience. Moving van’s loads are done by weight. So combining the weight of your household goods and the vehicle weight can increase the cost by several thousand dollars a vehicle. Car transport services can move vehicles for usually under $1000, depending on the destination.
Sure you may choose to drive it as well. Many choose to pack the family in the cars and drive to their new home. If you’re moving to the other side of Houston, that’s great, but what happens when you’re moving across the country?
As far as loading your car on an auto transporter and worrying about the damage the road will cause, there really is no concern because in most cases cars are moved in a closed boxcar and sent by rail. The only time the car is on the auto transporter is when it’s moving to and from the rail yard.
Now, if you just need a tailpipe or quarter panel moved, UPS freight is probably the best way to approach that type of move.
Q. How do I Move a Car?
A. It comes down to objectives. Decide if cost is a factor. If it is, then choose the auto transport service. If cost is not a factor, you then have options based on convenience.
#3 Moving your House
Believe it or not there are people who actually want to move their entire house. Like pick it up, put it on the back of a truck and move it. And although it’s not as uncommon as you might think, there are also special considerations when trying to do this.
Modular homes can be easier to relocate, but a house mover, or someone who moves a house is different than a residential mover who moves the the household goods but leaves the rest of the house behind.
#4 Guns, Ammo and other Exploding Things
Another popular thing to move is guns and ammo. Moving companies are allowed to move an unloaded gun that is packed and moved with the rest of your household goods. However, ammo is not allowed to be transported on a moving van under law. Additionally, guns are not allowed to remain in a gun safe to move them.
Before you pack your guns it’s always a good idea to have the make, model and serial number in the event of an issue. A simple cell phone picture is a great way to make sure you have the proper information and proof of the gun, and its appearance.
If your shotgun or rifle has a padded case it’s always best to use that to move the gun. If you do not have a casing for the gun, getting soft padding or foam is a great way to protect the gun as it’s moved. If the gun is in a box or carton, you may not mark the gun household goods, where as the ATF requires boxes containing guns to be clearly marked as such.
#5 What, I have Hazmat in my Home, What?
Homeowners don’t have Hazmat, right? That’s the stuff in tankers you pass on a highway. Big scary trucks with a flammable sign on the side of it, right? Well this is far more relevant of a question than you would think.
There are many items in your home that fall under the definition of hazmat by the federal government. But what are these items lurking in our homes that should be disposed of prior to moving day?
The first thing that comes to mind is paint and paint thinners. Often it’s best to just leave them behind for the new homeowner. This will allow them to have the paint names for the rooms and such throughout the home. Often its cheaper to repurchase the paint than it is to find a moving company that is willing to move the paint cans. In fact, many movers will not even consider moving such highly flammable materials in their trucks.
If you decide to dispose of them, you will have to find out your city’s disposal policy
For the City of Houston, movers recommend using oil-based paint and painting a board so it is no longer flammable. Or if latex based, that can be disposed of by letting the paint harden and then placing it in your normal trash collection.
Flammable items such as gasoline should not be transported on the moving van and should be used prior to your move if possible. Gasoline is also considered Hazmat, so it cannot be placed on your moving van.
The bottom line is there are many odd items that can be moved. In many cases, your moving company would have a solution if you ask.
As anyone who ever has moved knows, moving day is stressful and wrought with unforeseen issues that arise. By the time you reach the end of the day all you’ll want to do is sit down on your hopefully unbroken sofa and put your feet up on your unscratched coffee table.
But as we all know, it doesn’t always work like that.
Before you sit, you hunt through the box, find a glass and head toward the water dispenser on the fridge. Although your glass is empty, you find yourself standing in a puddle in your kitchen because the water line wasn’t connected properly. This is a fairly common scenario and it’s easily avoided with a little pre-planning. Here are some tips to help check your moving company before you pay them and they leave you trying to figure out what’s next.
#1 Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink
It’s safe to say that Samuel Taylor Coleridge never imaged the many misuses of this simple line, but when you move, it is one of the most overlooked issues. Hooking up the water to the Refrigerator leads our list of things to check.
There are a few different ways this one makes for an issue. Of course, the obvious is no ice or water, but this is probably the least damaging. The tube that brings water to your refrigerator is often made of copper. It’s probably the best idea to pick up a new one. Amazon, Lowe’s and of course the local Ace Hardware have replacements.
In replacing the tubing, you get new hardware, washers, and fittings that will help ensure that the pipe does not leak. The slow drip is a common issue most people don’t see until long after the movers leave. Beyond that, copper can be a very soft metal and bending can kink it, puncturing the water line and making an even larger hazard.
But if you choose to go with the water line your new house comes with, make sure that the water line is hooked up to the refrigerator and it has been tested not to leak.
#2 The Leaky Washer
Washing machine mishaps are another common issue if the mover does not pay attention, and you can be left with a variety of problems. The most common issue is a missing washer for the water lines. Although it’s not your moving company’s responsibility to make sure the plumbing connections to the washer are good, it is their responsibility to hook up the machine after they set it into place.
Again, a recommended trip to Lowes to get a package of washers will be an important step to ensure a tight seal, although it doesn’t stop a few other issues that go beyond a slow drip.
One of the biggest issues we’ve seen with washer hookups is the reversals of the cold and hot water lines. The positioning of the taps on the house and on the washing machine can vary wildly. So, although it’s an honest mistake, a formerly white shirt that’s now turned red will be shocking to find out the hard way.
The way to test this is very simple, and also allows time to make sure the washer drain was attached properly. Start a wash cycle that will feature hot water only. By doing this, it confirms that not only are the water lines hooked up properly, but it also checks the hot water prior to you bumping your nose on a cold shower.
We understand that these things should be easy tasks, but at the end of a long day, it’s easy to forget the simplest of tasks.
#3 Open Your Doors Wide
Did you know the door on your refrigerator can swing in different directions? The first time we experienced this was many years ago when we hired a mover in Houston to help us move from our apartment in Humble to our new house. Our refrigerator doors opened the way they came from the factory, and as they slid it into its spot in our new house, it was painfully obvious it was completely unusable because of the direction the doors swung.
Thankfully, we had hired a professional mover. With a few tugs of a wrench and the tightening of a few bolts, the door opened from the other side. This was our first moving adventure so we learned to ask our moving company to change the way the door opens for us.
Ironically, we moved a few years later into our second new house, and we had to change the door back to the other direction. Our old trusted refrigerator was relegated to a backup in the utility room and it needed its doors changed around again. Our moving company helped again with changing the doors around.
#4Count the Bolts
Ever assemble something from IKEA only to have a pile of bolts and screws left over after the project? Well, the last thing you want when you move is a piece of furniture that isn’t re-assembled properly. Often this shows up in dressers with mirrors. These improper assemblies can actually pose a serious danger, especially if there are pets or small children in the home.
Additionally, confirm that all your beds, especially daybeds are assembled correctly as well. Daybeds can present a unique challenge to assemble. The frame of the daybed also act as a stabilizer for the mattress support system. Movers also see many different types of beds and bedframes to assemble, so it’s always best to give it a once over and make sure all the bolts are present and accounted for.
#5 Do You Have Gas?
Many people swear by gas dryers. But when it comes time to move one, there are some extra questions that should be asked of the moving company you select; namely, do they disconnect and reconnect the gas dryer?
Most movers would recommend calling a plumber to connect your dryer in its new home. This is primarily for safety reasons, in a sense because not to state the obvious, but a gas leak in a home can be serious. There are some moving companies that will tackle this. But it would be advisable to check and see if they are qualified to do this.
But suppose for a moment you do find a moving company that has a qualified plumber, it’s advisable to ask to observe the soapy water test. This is a common method used to confirm the gas connections are made properly.
Regardless of gas or electric dryers, its also advisable is to get a new dryer installation kit for your appropriate dryer model. If it’s a gas appliance, this step is far more important. The exhaust hoses can become clogged or not fit properly from attaching and detaching. According to FEMA statistics (https://www.usfa.fema.gov/prevention/outreach/clothes_dryers.html) , there are approximately 2,900 dryer fires each year caused by impacted dryer lint. So, it’s always good to start with new dryer connections. Although your mover will not provide this as part the moving service, it’s as easy as a few mouse clicks to order from retailers like Lowes or Amazon.
We understand that moving can be stressful, but following these few simple guidelines can save on added stress and stop further damage or aggravation.
Only seasoned professional local movers in Houston have what it takes to do the job properly in such a large city. But it is not just large, it is also quite diverse in regards to the landscape and traffic. A lot of people who attempt to move themselves find this out the hard way and don’t account for the many different elements that an experienced crew would. Continue reading “Local Movers In Houston Should Be Licensed Professionals”→
Many people may feel that they can handle transporting their own belongings in a relocation, but it may pay dividends to look into piano moving services first. Since these instruments are of great value, both monetary and sentimental, it becomes imperative in seeking only professionals to complete this type of relocation.
The size and unique shapes of these instruments are the reason why only the most knowledgeable and experienced professionals should be considered. Firstly, it may take up to a team of five people depending on how large the instrument is, while shape may cause for the removal of doors and other fixtures to properly transport the item. Professionals will utilize sliding pads in order to move an item so large, but if the instrument is too large, cranes may have to be used. All of this movement is done with the instrument’s safety and structural integrity in mind, and many more steps such as covering it in plastic and packing the truck with blankets are all used to accomplish this.
Piano moving services are not only concerned about manpower however. An extensive knowledge of the city and transit route is essential in transporting the instrument on the most even and smooth paths available. JT Melia, a family owned and operated business of over forty years, has the experience and tools necessary to transport these instruments. Not only do they offer a full fleet of insured and licensed vehicles to assist in the relocation, they also insure the instrument based on its weight. Only a professional job will eliminate the stress of transporting one of these priceless items, while also avoiding any potential damage that is sure to arise in an individual attempt.
Knowing the Texas mover requirements can vastly improve one’s chances of obtaining a reliable mover. Most people know how stressful a move can be, and when a rogue carrier is used, a nightmare is sure to ensue. So it becomes quite clear why a reputable company needs to be chosen when it’s time to pack up and move one’s belongings.
What are the Texas mover requirements?
The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) is the governing body over businesses that transport goods and people. Obtaining a USDOT license requires filling out some paperwork and is the first step in the carrier’s process to becoming a legalized business. Some of the information the carrier must release is their full operating name, any aliases, physical address, phone number, type of cargo, clientele it will service, and the number of employees and trucks in its fleet. This information is submitted with various supporting documents, as well as proof of insurance and an agreement to adhere to all federal safety guidelines.
Once the carrier has their USDOT registration, they can also apply with the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT). This will mean submitting the same documentation to the state as they did to the federal government. Additional documentation necessary with the application is a vehicle description and identification number for each vehicle in the fleet, completed safety affidavit, and compliance of federal government drug testing measures.
Other Texas mover requirements are insurance. There are three different insurances that they must have to operate within the state: automobile liability insurance, cargo insurance, and accident insurance, commonly called workers comp. Each vehicle that will function in the fleet and that will carry more than 26,000 lbs. must have a minimum of $500,000 coverage in automobile liability insurance. Trucks carrying less than 26,000 lbs. must have a minimum of $300,000 in coverage.
Cargo insurance protects everything inside the trucks, including all household goods. The minimum coverage on this insurance is $5,000.
Accident or workers comp insurance is for the employees protection. This coverage is in case an employee is injured while on the customer’s property. The minimum coverage is $300,000 to cover any medical expenses pertaining to the injury.
Reputable relocation companies generally offer a list of moving tips that can be helpful in preparing for the transition. Individuals who choose to package their belongings on their own while leaving a relocation company to handle the rest of the project, however, must give special attention to certain aspects of the move to ensure the safe transport of their property.
Some of the most important moving tips for self-packers include timely planning, an accurate inventory assessment, the procurement of suitable packaging materials, appropriate packing methods to ensure safe transport, and careful labeling of boxes.
As with any relocation, the timely hiring of a reputable company is crucial. Likewise, it is important to begin the packing process several weeks prior to the moving date. Customers need to have an estimate of approximately how many boxes and how much furniture will need to be transported. This allows the relocation company to plan effectively and prevents haulers to arrive with a truck that is too small for the amount of cargo produced by the household or business. Many relocation companies provide quality packaging materials, thus simplifying the client’s to-do list.
Once the customer is ready to begin packing, it is important to remember not to overstuff boxes and to limit their weight to about 50 pounds. Heavy items should go into the bottom of a box, while lighter items should be stored near the top. Blankets are a great, cost-free way to protect breakable goods such as mirrors. Glasses and other small fragile items should be individually wrapped with tissue paper.
Once all goods are packed properly, customers are asked to label each box with a sticker that indicates the contents of the box as well as its designated room at the destination.