BOND Q and A: Lawrence Laby, A-1 First Class Moving and Storage
Moving ranks as one of the top five stresses a person can go through in life. Lawrence Laby, of A-1 First Class Moving and Storage insists it doesn’t have to be stressful and can even be fun. We sat down with him to get some tips on how to ensure your belongings make it to your next destination and that you don’t lose your mind trying to get them there. A-1 First Class Moving has been around since 1948 and provides a full suite of moving and storage services to residential and commercial clients in New York City, across the U.S., and around the world.
BOND NEW YORK: What was the most complicated move your company has had so far?
LAWRENCE LABY: Recently, we have performed numerous challenging moves, such as our annual move of the New York Jets to and from training camp and a recent household move to California with museum quality art. We excel at these types of special moves due to our planning and experienced moving teams and relocation coordinators.
BNY: What’s the craziest thing someone has ever requested your company move?
LL: We have had numerous crazy requests. One that comes to mind is a request to move someone’s items in the middle of the night because their significant other was not going to be home. We declined that request! Not every move is a good fit for us!
BNY: Is there anything you won’t move?
LL: We used to say we do not move anything that is living however we have partnered with a pet transport company and now arrange for pets to be relocated as well! There are other items which our movers do not transport (such as heavy machinery and items to be hoisted over 50 feet) however we have relationships with other specialized transport companies and coordinate those services so that we remain the single point of contact throughout the relocation process.
BNY: From your experience, what are the key components to ensuring that a move is successful?
LL: A successful move starts with hiring a licensed, experienced mover with a stellar reputation who is looking beyond the single transaction to form a relationship with the customer. Planning is important in determining the timing of the move and services that the mover will be performing. After that it’s ensuring that you have single point of contact within the moving company to handle all of your items such as date/time changes and confirmation of the move schedule the day before the move. On move day, the mover being on time is very important; especially in NYC where there are restrictions on elevators. And the most important thing to a successful move is having a nice, competent, and caring moving team who enjoy what they do and treat items like they are their own.
BNY: Can you walk us through the moving process from start to finish?
LL: The moving process starts with communication (phone call preferred) with a move or sales coordinator to get all of your information (addresses, phone numbers, email, etc.) and to set up an in home survey with a move consultant (MC). At the survey, the MC will take an inventory of the items in your residence that are being transported and ask you questions about your specific relocation. He or she will answer any questions you may have about the process. The MC will then present you with a proposal for relocation services and again answer any questions you may have. The MC will then introduce you to your relocation coordinator (RC); the RC will be your single point of contact at the company.
Once you are ready to schedule your move you will speak with the RC who will handle this along with all other requests (for certificates of insurance for your building, packing supplies, etc.). The RC will confirm your move time the day before your move along with payment method and any other details regarding your move.
Move day arrives! Your moving crew will have a foreman who will be “in charge” of the move team and your point of contact on move day. The move will be performed and your items will be placed in the locations in your new residence that you requested.
After the move, your RC and/or your MC will follow up to see how your move went and ask if there is anything else that you need done by us or others. We have relationships with different quality service providers such as cleaning and other services and are happy to make referrals upon request.
BNY: How far in advance does someone have to book their move?
LL: Each person’s individual situation is different and often move dates are not known until a closing date is determined. We recommend that move dates are scheduled two to four weeks in advance during the busier moving months (May thru August) and two weeks in advance during other times.
BNY: How is a move appraised? Is it by weight? Number of objects? Size of furniture?
LL: A move price is determined differently by different movers. Some move prices are calculated by weight and others are based on an hourly rate. On Interstate (Long Distance) moves it is by the weight of the shipment. Our MCs perform a survey of the residence (using a customized iPad app) and determine the weight of the shipment. On local moves, the same survey is performed and if the scope of the move is known, we will give a binding estimate based on the items surveyed. If the scope is not fixed (packing may be required and/or complete items to be moved are unknown) we will give an estimate based on an hourly rate.
BNY: Are more valuable items such as artwork, more costly to move?
LL: Valuable items aren’t inherently more expensive to move, however there will most likely need packing and/or crating that will need to be performed to prepare the items for transport. That special preparation will add cost to the move.
BNY: What about insurance? Is the customer responsible for getting their own insurance or is that covered?
LL: As a licensed mover, we are unable to offer insurance; what we do offer is Valuation which allows the shipper to set the mover’s maximum liability for loss or damage while your goods are in our possession.
On a local move, basic protection is at no additional charge. Reimbursement for claims of loss or damage is paid based on the weight of the item, multiplied by 30 cents per pound. For example, if a 100 pound item is lost or damaged, it would be reimbursed at $30.
We also offer Full Value Protection (FVP) in which items that are lost, damaged or destroyed during the move will be either repaired or replaced with articles of like kind and quality. This option is at an additional charge.
Under both options, items that are damaged while moving that are packed within a carton that has been packed by the shipper, are not covered.
BNY: What about an international move? Is the process different than a national move?
LL: We are able to perform moves from and to places around the world via our agents. Being an Atlas Van Lines agent, we have access to a network of agents globally which perform moving, packing, loading, unload and storage of shipments destined to and from the United States. The process always starts and finishes with one of our RCs who will be the single point of contact throughout the process. The RC will setup an in home survey with a local moving consultant and coordinate the different parties throughout the process.
BNY: How long does an international move generally take?
LL: An international move time frame is generally determined by the distance the items are travelling and the local import requirements. For example, a shipment to Australia could take eight weeks or more, while a shipment to London could be performed within two weeks. Most household good shipments that go abroad are via steam ship. However, air transport is available as well.
BNY: How can a customer help to get prepared for a move? What are some things they can do to ensure the move goes smoothly?
LL: Here are some tips: 1) Hire a great mover 2) Schedule your move date in advance – with your mover and your buildings 3) Label your cartons with the room they will be going to in the new residence 4) Pack in advance – few cartons a day so it doesn’t get overwhelming (or have your mover pack) 5) Smile throughout the process; moving should be fun!