Pros: Good customer service. Great price.
Cons: It's hard work. It's dirty work. Also, it's hard work.
We logged on to epinions when we were thinking of using this service and read the many opinions. It was very helpful in making our decision to use ABF. So I felt it was only right to come back and add my two cents worth.
We got exactly what we paid for. A commercial freight move. And unlike a MOVING COMPANY that can keep your stuff and have you pay a ransom for its delivery, these people want you to get your stuff off there trailer as soon as possible so they can load it back up with freight and get it back out on the road.
We moved at the beginning of October 2003 and choose the Terminal to Terminal option.
We had no real problems on our move. Everything happened as they described it to us. We packed it in the truck. They estimated it would take 4 days to get there. Four days later it was there. Nothing was damaged. Nothing was stolen. It cost us what they said it would cost us. And the only thing that got broke was our backs.
Oh and one mirror that I thoughtfully sandwiched between six linear feet (a ton or two) of Personal Stuff and a rigid Metal mesh bulkhead. A rocket scientist I am not.
So my first tip: It is a lot of work!
We went ultra cheap and decided to do the Terminal to Terminal option. Part of our thinking was that we would never be able to park a trailer in front of our old house for two days.
My second tip: Park the trailer in front of your house for two days!!! No matter what!
Don't get me wrong. The folks at the terminal were great. One of the drivers even parked a rig and shined the brights into the trailer to give me light to pack. Then he came back later to help me with the bulkhead. Here is the reason I would discourage the Terminal to Terminal. You have to pack three times and Unpack three times. Pack the U-haul to the brim. Take it to the Terminal. Unpack the U-haul. Pack the ABF Trailer to the ceiling...four days later with muscles still knotted and wounds unhealed...unpack the ABF Trailer and squeeze all that stuff back into another U-haul. Drive to your new home. Unpack the U-haul and squeeze all that stuff back into rooms. Scratch your head. Curse. And question why you brought so much crap.
Given it all to do over again. I would have spent the extra $200 dollars. Parked a trailer in front of the house. Angered the neighbors for taking up so much parking territory for so many days (what do I care? I'm leaving this place behind!) And taken two full days to slowly and methodically figure out, with diagrams, models, and physicists from the local university, how I am going to arrange all my boxes and furniture so that they take up the least amount of linear space.
If, after reading this review, you still decide to do Terminal-to-Terminal, you are a bullheaded, Macho, take-on-the-world kind of guy. Just like I used to be. So here are somethings to remember when you get to the ABF trailer and begin the first UNpacking and the second packing of the day:
Hound U-Haul every day up until you actually pick up the truck from them. Don't just think because you made a reservation and because you have a confirmation number from them and because the person said you can have the truck for 24 hours that they will actually have the size truck you need for the amount of time you need it for. We ended up at the Budget counter the VERY day of our move, wiping our tears with the print out of our U-Haul email confirmation. Begging for a Budget truck and glad to pay triple what we were going to pay U-haul.
Buy work gloves. When you are done today you can pack them behind the bulkhead and use them on the other end.
It is going to take much longer than you estimated. You are a man's man so you probably said to yourself. Pack a trailer? I can do that in a half-hour! I did, and a half hour later I had a lot of work left to do.
Take a flashlight or better yet a battery powered lantern. You will need light.
Take a ladder. If you are going to attempt to use the least amount of linear footage, you are going to have to pack to the ceiling. And when you think you are done and then discover you left the bikes leaning against the outside of the trailer, you will need a ladder to climb up and cram those bikes on top of everything else.
Pack the ladder. You will have to unpack from the top down on the other end.
Take tape. At least one box will split open from the bottom and need to be resealed. It will most likely be the box marked FRAGILE or the box with all the Feminine Hygiene Products.
Pack the mattress and box springs last.
And lastly, real men get massages and take long hot baths. You will need one. You have to do all this in reverse when you get to your new home.
One the other end, spring for the dolly at the U-Haul counter. You will not believe how tired you still are from the day you loaded the trailer.
For everyone, I offer these tips. The trailer is dirty and has holes that rain will get into. It has no real suspension. Pack accordingly.
We wrapped everything that we treasured in bags before we put them in boxes...clothes, computer equipment, linens, etc. Road Grime is real, it is sticky and it will get past your best tape job and into your boxes.
Buy plastic bags for your mattress and box springs (you can find them at a U-Haul center.) Consider double bagging them. You will try your best and yet the bag will find some place to snag and rip.
Don't buy the Space Saver bags. A vacuum with a hose attachment, black plastic garbage bags and rubber bands can help make 3 boxes of clothes become one. It is miraculous!
Get lots of Newspaper and use it liberally.
When you go to the grocery store to get boxes. Try to get all Big Ones in one size (such as all the Brawny Paper Towel boxes they have) and all Small Ones in one size. This will help when you are trying to assemble them in the trailer.
Pack the heavy stuff in the small boxes. Food and dishes are Heavy Stuff. You may be tempted to use the big box because you can get more in there, but when you have to lift that big box six feet up to put it just where you need it in the trailer, it won't seem like such a good idea then.
Put a piece of tape across the trailer, the linear distance you have rented from the wall. This way you know what you are shooting for.
When you unpack. The boxes have shifted a bit, be careful taking down the bulkhead. Our boxes had gone from a slight lean to a cresting wave. We did it in stages. Took down the top part of the bulkhead. Removed what boxes we could that looked like it might topple. Then removed the bottom piece of the bulkhead.
BEWARE THE BULKHEAD! The mesh that makes it up has sharp parts on it that will draw blood if you wear a short sleeve shirt and attempt to reach over it to pull out the ironing board or bed rails. I have the scars to prove it. Wear long sleeves until you have removed it completely.
Don't forget the bikes. You put them outside by the tires because you didn't have a place for them just yet.
PS...If you send your change of address paperwork in to the Post Office early, you will get back a packet with a coupon for $50 dollars off your ABF move. If you book online you only get $25.