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Moving Expertise for Oklahoma City: An Interview with Affiliated Movers

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Affiliated Movers of OKC is a full service professional household relocation company. We take the 3rd most stressful event in a person's life (behind death in a family and divorce) and make it not so stressful by providing full service packing, professional loading, transportation and unloading. We also have over 22,000 square feet of warehouse space where we provide long term storage and logistics.

How did you get into this line of work?

Affiliated Movers is a veteran owned small business that my father has been running for over 30 years. I'm the middle child of 5 in my family and growing up we moved several times within Oklahoma. I never experienced the stress or anxiety of going to a new home because we always had our professional movers taking care of everything. With them doing the hard work, us kids could relax and enjoy the excitement of a new adventure in a new place. While they unloaded and set up in our new home, we were out meeting the kids in the neighborhood planning bike trips to the closest convenient store.

As teenagers, all of my siblings worked for the company in one way or another, except me. I wanted to work before I was a teenager, so at age 12 I helped a friend run his lawn mowing business. Later, I had several other jobs working through college as a delivery driver, video store clerk and then as a bank teller. It wasn't until my last year of college at the University of Oklahoma that dad and I discussed a sales position with the moving company. My degree was in business administration and marketing so we both thought I could contribute. I began as a commissioned sales rep and now manage sales for the company.

How does your affiliation work with Arpin Van Lines?

We represent Arpin in Oklahoma City and use their interstate authority to sell, book and haul our customers across the United States and internationally. We have a great relationship with Arpin and serve on their Agent Advisory and Marketing boards. They are the largest family owned and operated van line in the U.S. and I think this is why we share so many values and goals.

What are some responsibilities that you expect from the family moving in/out during the process?

We expect good communication and being prepared for us on move day. We sometimes haul 3 to 4 households on 1 large 53 foot truck and the schedules can be very tight. Many customers want to save money by doing their own packing and preparations before we arrive to load. So when our team shows up at the home to see pets running around and half of the house is still not packed, it not only causes a delay in their move, but the 3 after them. We do our best to educate our customers on how to be prepared by move day.

For example: Be present on move day and do not leave the crew unsupervised. Some customers want to run last minute errands on load day. Complete your errands prior to load day so that you are available to answer questions and do a final walk through the home to make sure all items were taken. If you cannot be there, leave someone you trust there to represent you.

Find a place for your children and pets to stay on load day. It can be stressful on them and dangerous with open doors and crews having to walk backwards with heavy furniture. If packing your own boxes, ensure the tops are flat and they are labeled on at least 2 sides. Take all important documents and keys so that they aren't mistakenly packed or loaded. Disconnect and drain all appliances as well as disconnecting electronics. Remove all items attached to walls like pictures and shelves. Drain mowers and tools of any gas and oil. Bring items down from your attic.

Do you believe that moving services are truly necessary for the average homeowner?

Absolutely! There are many ways to move yourself: rental trucks, portable containerized units, space reservation on a "you load" truck, etc. But when you factor in distance, fuel, hotel, food, time off work, etc. a full service professional mover will typically save you a little money and a lot of time. Like a mechanic, plumber, or electrician a professional relocation service provider has the right tools, equipment and experience because this is their livelihood. I could probably fix my own car or tile my own kitchen, but, the cost of the tools combined with the mistakes I make along the way would end up costing me much more than if I used someone who did that type of work every day.

What sets your moving services apart from competition in your area?

Our technology, training and people. We have an online training program with over 100 videos that our employees watch. They cannot proceed to the next video without passing a 5 question test, where they have to answer all questions correctly or watch the video again. Then, we place the rookies with the veterans so they get the hands on experience. As a military service provider for Tinker Air Force Base, we background check and drug test all our employees. All employees are in uniform and trained on "mover etiquette". Our sales and surveys are done on IPad's with an application that provides the kind of details our customers are looking for.

How early should a homeowner contacting a moving services company before the day of their move?

I suggest 2 months before the move. This way if the customer is looking to keep their move within a certain budget, they will have time to hold a garage sale, donate items or start collecting packing material. They can always have their estimate re-evaluated prior to the move.

What specific qualities should a customer look for in a qualified and reliable moving company?

With online reviews and rating websites it takes a very short time to check out a moving company. I suggest the free websites first- Yelp, Google Reviews, and the BBB. For more information you can pay for a membership on websites like Angie's List. Affiliated Movers will be listed on the Angie's List Honor Roll in October for having multiple "A" reviews in the same month. I also suggest asking friends, family or the company you work for and if they have a relationship with a relocation company.

What are some common mistakes that homeowners make when hiring certain moving companies?

When shopping for a mover, a homeowner typically does get 3 to 4 estimates and this is good. But, when they compare a phone estimate to an internet estimate and then to an in-home visual estimate they can get very confused and wonder why the price difference is so great.

First, I suggest working with a company that is local to your area and if there isn't one, then working with a company that is local to the destination you are moving to. If you are moving from Oklahoma to Florida, why would you want to use a Texas moving company? If there is a problem on load day or delivery day, who will be there to address the situation. These are questions to ask your mover.

Second, get an in-home visual. Phone and internet are not reliable and most reputable moving companies won't guarantee the price unless they are able to come see what you have. If there is no way to get someone to come out, take pictures and e-mail them to the estimator then do a phone survey so that you have references when trying to figure the weight of your shipment.

Third, when comparing your estimates, look at the weight and packing cost as well as the bottom line cost. If the weights vary too much then it could have to do with an estimator missing a room or just lack the experience of how to estimate weight.

When is the best time of year to move?

Summer time is considered peak season and you will pay more this time of year than when you move off-peak: Jan to May or September to December. Of course the catch 22 is that summer is the best time to sell your house, so you just have to weigh out the cost factors.

What is the best way for people to get in contact with you?

1-800-727-7447 or nhowell@affiliatedmovers.com

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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