The Move

We recently moved from Dayton, OH to Sterling, VA for my job and it was not a fun move.  The first stressor was finding a home.  As most people trying to find a home right now are aware the market is extremely hot and it difficult to buy a “starter” house or just a house in general. Basically, the homes go up on Thursday or Friday and are gone by Monday while going for above asking price.  We also had the added complication of searching for a home virtually, because of the way the market is, a house hunting trip would have been pointless.    Thankfully we had a good agent through Redfin, who really helped us through the process and worked with our timeline and restrictions.  Also, Redfin made it easy for us to tour the homes virtually, which I think let us see more homes then if we had to drive to each one individually.   Additionally, the First Federal Bank we went with for the loan, was great to work with. The loan officer really detailed our options and made sure we understood everything as we moved through the mortgage process.  So, in the end the house buying experience while difficult, went fairly well.   The actual move on the other hand, had some in issues.

We have moved long distance before so we new what the basics costs would be and about how long it would take to move our stuff from one location to the next. For our first long distance move (Virginia to Ohio) we went with Allied, who was prompt, professional, gave a good estimate, and kept in contact with us through the whole process.  It might have also helped that during that first move we weren’t in a pandemic, didn’t have labor shortages, and moved near the middle/end of December.  Nobody wants to move in December.   For this second move (Ohio to Virginia) we ended up going with Axis Van lines, and I will never use them again.   First off when they do the estimate, they do it over the phone and just ask you how much stuff you have, compared to having someone come out or do video tour of the home to assess how much stuff you have. It is difficult to convey to someone how much stuff you have, and estimate the number of boxes you are going to use if you don’t move all the time.   So, the estimate they gave us was extremely low, because we really do have a lot of stuff when you account for the number of books, boardgames, photography equipment/props, knickknacks, and other stuff we have.  So, I went them because the original quoted prices seemed good and they stated they could meet our dates. I will be upfront I had to change dates on them due to the timing of the house closing, but they assured me they could meet the dates.  

So, a week before the move is when things started to fall apart.  I send an e-mail on Monday asking if they have a date and time for our pick up. I get a message back stating that I should be getting an e-mail/call to go over the move and the content list to make sure everything is good.  This should happen about 24-hours before the move, and with our move scheduled for a Monday it should happen the Friday before.  So, Friday rolls around and no phone call, I end up calling their customer service line, and they assure me that the Quality Specialist will call me either late Friday or early Saturday.  I didn’t get an e-mail till after 4PM on Saturday saying who my quality specialist was and if we had any changes to the list to let him know.  So, I called him right away on Saturday, (we are now less then 48 hours away from my pickup date) and I go to voicemail and then start a string of text messages, with one saying they will call me, I’m the next customer, at 6PM I get a text saying can they call on Sunday at noon because the quality specialist needs to go to their son’s 5th birthday party.  So, Sunday comes (we are now less then 24 hours from my pick up), I did not receive a call at noon I had to text the quality specialist at 1:20PM and ask when am I getting a call.  I didn’t get a call till 5PM on Sunday to go over my list and confirm a pick-up time. We go through my list of stuff and the price of the move goes up substantially (almost double), and they now must work with dispatch to find a truck. I get told over the phone they will have the times to me within the hour. It is now 9:00PM on Sunday and still don’t have a time, I text them again and ask for a time, get a response back saying we will have one in 30 minutes. That never happens the best I get is Monday morning. Morning is a big window of opportunity; we end up getting up around 6:30AM since we don’t know exactly when the truck is going to arrive. So, it is now Monday, the day of pick up and I’m waiting for a truck and around 10AM I end up calling the main company headquarters and get a lovely person named Daisy, who works with me to find the truck and pick up time.  I find out the actual company managing the move out of Vegas, and I should be getting a call from the actual crew lead before noon as to when the truck will arrive.  She indicated if I don’t get a response by noon let her know and she will call the company.  I get a call around 11AM saying they will be there in 1-2 hours; they don’t show up till 4PM.  So, we went from a morning pickup time to late afternoon/early evening.  They finished loading our stuff around 8:00PM.   The other fun catch here is they didn’t have any of my paperwork ready due to technical issues with their iPads, thus I couldn’t pay the move deposit.   The crew lead indicated the company would call me on Tuesday to submit payment and set the drop off time.  That never happened, it wasn’t till Wednesday that I was able to get in touch with the company to get the drop off date and submit payment which I had to do via Zelle because they couldn’t accept credit cards or do an ACH. Which resulted in me only being able to pay a small amount of the balance because of Zelle’s limits and forcing me to get US Postal Service checks to pay the remainder.  The company also did not communicate with the crew lead to tell them how much I paid.  My stuff did arrive on the desired date of 27 May, so that was good.   

Overall, the communication with the company to the customer was atrocious, and I felt like I was being scammed.   While I understand that there are labor shortages right now and it is a busy time for moving the company just did not communicate and made a generally stressful process more so.  The only nice thing I can say is Daisy was great in the customer service department, listened and did her best to make sure things happened and the actual moving crew was very professional and treated our stuff with respect.  However, I will never use Axis Van Lines again nor recommend them, their communication with the customer is horrible, they don’t do a good job estimating load size, they change prices, aren’t very forth coming about processes, and they don’t put the customer first. 

The move is now done, we have our stuff and we are basically 85% unpacked.  This was a very stressful move for me, and I’m pretty sure my husband as well since I was stressed out.   Now we just need a nice vacation.


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