Essential Moving Tips For A Winter Move

Snow covered bridge and river in Boston, MA

Fort Point Channel after a snow storm. Boston, MA.

Winter is finally showing its ugly head up here in Boston. We were lucky enough to dodge (most of) the white stuff through January, but it’s still winter in New England, and preparation is key. Winter weather can really throw a wrench into your moving plans. Forecasts change up to and during a storm, so you never really know what you’ll get until moving day. If you find yourself needing to move during winter time, these essential moving tips can help to keep you on the right track for success.

Stay up to date with the forecast

As evidenced with today’s storm, winter weather patterns are very difficult to predict. Just a few days ago, they were expecting very light snow totals in this area, and now they are certain that we will be hit with 8-12″ of fresh powder. If you are planning a move in New England during this time of year, you really need to follow the weather reports as your move approaches. Check in the day and even the night before your move to make sure that there are no major storms coming. If the city declares a state of emergency, you won’t be able to get the move done.

Be prepared to postpone

A heavy snowstorm can wipe out your moving plans. Parking bans, closed roads, and other traffic restrictions would make it impossible to get your move done. It is imperative that you keep backup options available. If you must be out of your place by the end of the month, try to do your move a week (or at least a few days) before that date.

Keep the paths open and clear

You’ll want to make sure that your movers have a clear path from the truck to your door. All snow, ice, and other debris should be fully cleared and treated before the movers arrive. You may need to clear parking for the truck as well. If you are unable to clear snow and ice on your own, you may want to contact your movers to see if they offer any snow or ice removal.

Protect your floors

Even with the snow and ice cleared out, the movers would most likely be walking through wet sand or salt. It is a good idea to set something on the floors to prevent tracking mud and debris through your home. You can set tarps or drop-cloths in a room close to the entry and have all furniture moved into one location. Once the furniture is all inside, you can then begin to move it from there to the other areas of the house. Staging it at the front like this can really help to reduce the dirt spread throughout the house.

 

Do you have any moving tips to help during the winter time? Please leave them in the comments section below!

Parking Permits Are Required When Moving In Boston

The City of Boston has been making sure that all moving trucks have legal parking permits.

The City of Boston has been making sure that all moving trucks have legal parking permits.

Whether you’re moving into Boston, moving out of the city, or going from one neighborhood to another, you need to make parking arrangements for your moving truck on moving day. For most people, that means obtaining Street Occupancy Permits from City Hall in Boston. This year in particular has been very tough to try to get by without a parking permit. Our moving crews have been shuffled away by Boston Police on every move that we’ve attempted without legal parking spots acquired in advance. If you are planning on moving within the City of Boston, these tips will help you make sure that you don’t run into any issues when it comes time to find a parking space for your moving truck.

Who Needs Parking Permits?

It’s actually a little easier to rule out the few people who don’t need to get parking permits. There are basically four exemptions to the rule.

1. Driveway – If your building has a large enough driveway, with plenty of room to turn in and out of, you might not need a permit. You may need to make arrangements with the other tenants or property manager who have access to the driveway as well.

2. Loading Dock – If your building has a loading dock, you will most likely need to schedule a time with your property manager for your moving truck.

3. Commercial Loading Zone – Some buildings will have a designated commercial loading zone. These are not always available for residents to move in or out of a building. Check with your property manager to see if you can have access to the loading zone, and schedule a time if necessary.

4. Parking Lot – If your building has a large parking lot, you may be able to utilize that for your move. Check with your property manager to see if any appointments need to be made.

If you do not have any of those four options available, you will need to get parking permits for your move.

How Do I Obtain Parking Permits?

Parking permits must be acquired in person at City Hall in Boston. Permits need to be obtained at least three business days before your move or they will refuse to issue them to you. If you are unable to obtain permits on your own, Big City Moving Company does offer permit acquisition and posting services. You can request permits now by clicking here.

What Is The Cost For Parking Permits?

Most moving trucks in Boston will require the smallest available parking permit – two consecutive parking spaces. The typical cost for this would be a total of $69 ($61 for the permits plus $8 for the two signs you will need to post). If your permits are for metered parking spaces, the cost would be +$40, or $109 total. Big City Moving Company can obtain and post your permit for you for an additional $75.

What If I Can’t Obtain Permits?

Any time you attempt to do a move in Boston without proper parking arrangements, you are taking a number of risks.

1. Parking violations – Parking without a parking permit leaves you vulnerable to getting hit with parking violations.

2. Wasted time – If you can’t find a parking spot, you may be forced to drive around in circles, waiting for something to open up. You may also not be able to park close, and the added distance between your location and your parking spot will make your move take longer than it needs to.

3. Forced cancellations – In extreme situations, we have been forced to leave a job by the Boston Police Department. They don’t want to have moving trucks double parking, clogging up the streets, potentially putting other motorists in danger. They have been taking this very seriously over the last couple months. As a moving company, if we are forced to cancel because proper parking permits haven’t been arranged, you are still responsible for the minimum charge.

In short – if you are unable to acquire a legal parking space for your truck, you’re taking some potentially costly risks. We strongly urge everybody to do things the right way by obtaining all legal parking spots needed in advance of the move.

Tips For Moving To Boston This April

April is here, and with it, the hope of some warmer, spring-like weather. After the record-shattering winter that we had here in Boston, we deserve a little warmth and sunshine. With the great thaw that we are experiencing, many people are finally getting to those home projects. Whether it is picking up new furniture, swapping winter gear for summer stuff in the toolshed or garage, or just planning a move – Big City Moving Company is here to help! If you are planning on moving to Boston this time of year, there are some things that you will need to consider. Don’t fret – we can help! Just read on for some great tips to help your move go as smoothly as possible.

Fenway Park Is Open For Business

The Red Sox will be kicking off home games at Fenway Park starting on Monday, April 13. When the Red Sox are playing at home, it can be difficult to get around that part of the city. There can be heavy traffic, and it can be very difficult to find any parking at all (you can expect to shell out roughly $30 to park in the Fenway neighborhood on game night, if you’re lucky enough to find a spot). If you are able to avoid moving during a home game, it would probably be in your best interest. We recommend taking a look at the 2015 Boston Red Sox schedule and trying to plan around their home games.

Obtaining Parking Permits

If you are planning on moving to Boston at all, you’ll need to consider whether you need parking permits or not. Basically – if you do not have a large enough driveway, or a loading dock, or a commercial loading zone for your building, you will most likely need to obtain a legal parking permit. Without one, you can risk the possibility of very expensive parking violations. You may also not be able to park close to your building, and forcing a longer walk will make your whole move take longer and cost more money.

Permits can be obtained in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, or Brookline. Each city has its own methods for obtaining and posting permits. If you are moving to any of those cities, we strongly urge you to secure a legal parking spot for your truck prior to your move.

Don’t Blame It On The Rain

We all know that April showers bring May flowers, and that the Mayflower brought pilgrims. April can be one of the wetter months, precipitation-wise, for the Boston area. If you are planning on moving to Boston during this time of year, you’ll want to prepare for some wet weather, just in case. (Personally, we hope that it is a beautiful and sunny April, but you can never be too sure!)

If possible, keep a backup plan handy – Our crews are used to moving in everything from blizzards to heat waves. If you have to do your move on a certain day/time, we can do it for you. However, if you can maintain a little flexibility with your move, you can avoid having to transport your items in the rain.

• Wrap everything – If you do have to do your move on a rainy day, you can help protect your items by wrapping them. Mattress covers and couch covers are great for those respective items. Stretch wrap can be used on pretty much everything to give a layer of plastic between your stuff and the elements.

 Set a ‘Staging Area’ – Setting a staging area in your home can help to prevent tracking mud and dirt throughout your home. Whoever is moving stuff for you is going to have to put items from the truck into your home. If you have space, you can stage your areas in the room nearest to your door, and that way the movers will not have to walk through your home with dirty feet. Once enough items are inside, they can then clean off their shoes or boots and bring everything where it needs to go. This can dramatically reduce the amount of dirt and debris that could get tracked through your home.  

Tips For Moving To Boston This January

Moving during the harsh New England winter can be tough. Luckily, we had a reasonably mild December, but there is snow and brutally cold weather on the horizon. If you are moving to Boston (or the surrounding area) this January, there are some things that you need to do! This handy guide will help get you on the right track to a successful move.

Keep Things Flexible

One of the most important rules to follow when planning a winter-time move to New England – you must be flexible! Trying to hold steadfast to deadlines and moving dates, faced with unpredictable weather, can be a recipe for disaster. You should always have a backup plan available just in case things get nasty on you.

Get Your Moving Permits

If you’re moving to Boston (or one of the other cities that requires permits: Cambridge, Brookline, or Somerville) – it is very important to obtain your parking permits. Once the snow starts to pile up, parking becomes a premium for everybody. Reserving your own spot is going to save a lot of stress and make things easier and faster for you during your move.

Prepare For The Worst

Our recent article, Cold Weather Moving Tips, has some great advice on how to properly prepare for a move during the winter. Make sure you’re wearing the right gear, and that you have properly cleared all of the necessary walkways.

 

Why Do Movers Charge Travel Time?

Many customers have questions about what travel time is, and how it is charged. Not every moving company charges this fee the same way that we do – in fact, most companies charge the actual travel time. Big City Moving’s method of applying a travel fee is designed to work in the customers’ favor. Let me explain how.

What is travel time?

Travel time generally covers the time and fuel expense incurred in getting to a job, and in returning from a job. That usually means that the closer you are to a moving company is the less that you will be charged for travel time. If you are moving out of town, it is usually best to pick a company that is somewhere between where your job will start from and where it will end.

Sometimes companies refer to this charge as travel/fuel surcharge. One thing to watch out for is that you are not being charged two separate fees for the travel and fuel. Most companies do choose to combine them into one fee. If a company has two different fields, just compare the sum total of the two to another company’s all-inclusive travel/fuel fee.

Flat Rate vs. Actual Travel Time

If you take the time to contact a few moving companies, you will discover that a majority of companies charge Actual Travel Time (sometimes referred to as Lot-to-Lot, Yard-to-Yard, or real travel time). Actual travel time is beneficial to the moving company much more than it is beneficial to the customers. The reason for this is that if the crew stops to refuel or grab coffee, if there is traffic or detours, if the crew gets lost, or for any other reason, the commute takes longer than it really should take to arrive, the charge for that time is passed onto the customer.

Big City Moving Co. charges a flat travel fee for almost every single job. What that means is that we will take the addresses that you are moving between and map them out with our mapping software. If our software says that it will be 15 minutes to get to you and 15 minutes to return, we simply charge for one half hour. If there is traffic, detours, or anything else that deters us from arriving in this time-frame, you are still only paying based on what it should have taken. That means that we eliminate the added expenses that most companies pass on to the customer.

How is the trip between my starting and ending destinations calculated?

For us, and most other companies, the trip between where we start the job and where we finish a job is simply on the clock. That means that when we arrive at your job, we will “start the clock” and have you sign off on the time for starting. When we complete the job at your new destination, we then have you sign off on the time once again, and we “stop the clock”. For us, we then add in the flat travel fee that we agreed upon when booking your job.

What Is Covered With Standard Movers Insurance?

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is “What is covered with standard movers insurance?” Today’s blog aims to let you know what is and what is not covered – and how much coverage you get. Standard movers insurance is what most moving companies offer if they include insurance in their rates.

Most Items Are Covered Up To $.60/Pound

Standard movers insurance will cover a majority of your items up to sixty cents per pound. It might not sound like much, but that is the standard, nation-wide coverage. That means that if the movers drop your new 3D TV, they would only be required to pay out .60/pound. That would mean only $30 for a 50lb television.

Items Not Covered

There is no legal requirement for movers insurance to cover many items. These include anything made of particle-board, lamps and lamp shades, any item that is not boxed by the moving company, and much more. The following excerpt is from a standard movers insurance policy, and would apply to any moving company offering standard movers insurance:

The following items are subject to exclusion from claims: (1) Items of extraordinary value over $1,000 that are not noted on our high value inventory. (2) Lamps, lamp shades, artwork, pictures, mirrors, statues which are not boxed by Carrier. (3) Any marble or glass, which is not crated or boxed by Carrier.(4) Items found broken in boxes that have not been packed and unpacked by Carrier. (5) Mechanical condition of audio/visual or electrical equipment, computers, and battery operated items in transit or storage. (6) Missing hardware for disassembled items, unless Carrier disassembles them. (7) Gold leaf plaster frames & chandeliers that are not crated by Carrier. (8) Pressboard or particleboard furniture. (9) Previously damaged and repaired items. (10) Previously damaged or loose veneer. (11) Furniture where original glue has dried out. (12) Any small, loose items such as keys, remote controls, etc., which are not in a box. (13) Plants (live, dried, or artificial). (14) If one item in a set is damaged, only that one item is covered by the insurance, not the entire set. 

How Can You Get More Coverage? 

For most people, there are at least a handful of items around the house that you’re going to value at significantly higher than sixty cents per pound. Some people even choose to have everything covered at actual value. To obtain this type of coverage, you would need to work directly with an insurance company. We recommend Baker International. Of course, any claims would need to be filed directly with the insurer at that point – but you would have the peace-of-mind knowing that your items are being covered for what they are actually worth.

 

Tips From Boston Movers – How To Move Your Stuff Up Stairs

Moving furniture up stairs (or even in an elevator) presents many challenges. Having a nice open stairway (as in our image) can help a lot, but in Boston, a lot of stairways are completely enclosed. Today’s blog will give you some helpful tips that will make moving your furniture up stairs a lot easier.

1. Split The Box-Spring! 

If you plan on moving to the Boston area, even if you haven’t found a place yet, we highly recommend splitting your box spring. You can split a box spring that is already made with a saw and some fasteners, or if you are getting a new bed – make sure to order the split box. The fact is, more than half of the stairways in Boston are too tight to fit a full or queen sized box spring up them. Having it split in advance could be the difference between keeping it and not keeping it.

2. Wrap Everything Up

Properly wrapping your furniture with moving pads, tape, and/or shrink wrap will not only serve to protect your furniture, but it will protect the walls, railings, stairs, doorways, and anything else that the furniture might rub up against. Properly using pads can literally save hundreds (even thousands) of dollars of potential damages.

3. Remove The Legs & Anything That Sticks Out

Taking the time to remove legs from sofas and tables can make a huge difference when moving up stairs. Often times, a sofa won’t even fit up the stairs or through the doorways with the legs attached. Removing the parts of furniture that stick out also makes wrapping it up a lot easier.

4. Position Your Furniture Properly

This step can be a little tough to visualize. If you are moving a sofa up a stairway that bends to the left, you want the open (seat) part of the sofa facing the bend. This will allow you to ‘cut the corner’ and get a few inches (or even feet) of wiggle room. If the long and straight portion of the sofa (like the bottom or the back) were to be facing the opening, you would not be able to maneuver it around the tight corners in the same way.

5. Remove Hand Railings If Necessary

Sometimes, removing a hand railing can give you a lot more room to work. Of course, it will make the stairway less safe, so make sure you only have the railing removed while moving furniture, and promptly put it back when finished.

Ask Us Anything – How Do I Move A Large Sofa?

Stephanie S. asked us “I think my sofa may be a problem to move, but it got into my apartment by removing the legs. Would you be able to do that if there is a problem? I am unable to take measurements because of people still in the new apartment.”

First of all, thanks for writing in! We’re always happy to be able to answer questions for customers right here on the blog. Now to answer your question…

Moving in the city, we are commonly faced with challenges of large pieces of furniture needing to fit through small doorways, or up tight stairs, etc. Our crews have had countless scenarios where it seemed like all hope was lost on fitting a piece in, but we somehow pulled it off in the end. (Actual results may vary! Every piece is different.)

In terms of removing the legs, cushions, and any other hardware that can come off – that’s usually the first step. We first will try to make the piece itself as small as possible by removing these items, and in some cases, that is enough to fit the piece in. Even simply removing cushions and finding the right angle can yield positive results in many cases.

In most cases, furniture will find its way into your house through these methods. We can’t guarantee that it will without seeing the piece or where it needs to get to, but our professionals have defied the odds many times in moving large pieces to small places.

As always, we appreciate your questions! Keep them coming – we’ll be happy to answer any questions right here on our blog.