Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Moving back to Philly... but how?

It's official. After three years in the wilderness (Princeton and Brooklyn), we're moving back to Philadelphia at the end of the month. The nice thing about being a freelancer reporter and blogger is that I can really work from anywhere, and the cost of living in Philly is much lower than in New York. Plus, we know the city, its institutions, and most importantly, where to get a good vegan cheesesteak.

But there's just one problem. We had been hoping to save a few bucks by paying movers to load a rental truck in NYC and paying a different set of movers to unload in Philly rather than paying one company to take us the whole way. But then I reserved my U-Haul truck and realized that you don't get to choose the location where you pick up your truck, they'll call you the night before (which is kind of a problem if you don't have a car and need the truck to be within walking distance of a subway stop). U-Haul also doesn't ask you want time you want to pick up the truck until 6pm the night before the move, which is a scheduling nightmare if you're trying to hire movers to meet you at a certain time.

Plus, there's no guarantee the truck will be there at all. The $195 reservation guarantees the price, not the availability of a truck.

So I called Budget truck rentals, and found that for $275, I could choose a pickup location, but again I wouldn't find out for certain that a truck was available until I attempt to go pick it up. Also not cool.

The only company that actually offers a guarantee that your truck will be available is Penske. But when I tried to book a truck from the company's web site, the quoted rate was $728. For a less than 100 mile move. I called Penske to find out what gives and was told that the rates are based on the availability of trucks. And right now they don't have very many trucks in the Northeast. They do try to match the rates of other companies, but after telling them that U-Haul was offering me a $195 deal, the best they could do was to bring the price down to $475.

So now we have to decide... do we gamble with U-Haul, is Budget likely to be any better, or do we just try to find movers who can handle the whole thing for us? Because it's unlikely that it will cost more to pay movers than it would cost to rent a $475 truck and pay two separate moving companies.

Thoughts? Advice? Anyone?

Update: We've decided to hire movers. It will cost a pretty penny, but at least now we don't have to decide what to do with our economic stiumulus check.

1 comment:

Paul McEvoy said...

I've only heard horrible, horrible things about U-Haul. Like grinding of teeth, plague of locusts bad. I don't think I have much personal expererience with them, mostly because of the horrible stories I've heard.

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