Winter Storm – Icy slippery roads and localized flooding the headline blared. The evening before I had contacted our customer to explain that road conditions were poor and we would have to see what the morning brought. Fast forward 10 hours and we can’t get the truck off the curb into traffic owing to the slush and icy conditions. I called our customer to explain our predicament; ‘Not my problem!’ Indeed. Eventually we were able to get traction and begin driving toward Richmond only to get bogged down again a block from the customers’ house on his unplowed side street. He approached and I made clear there was nothing more I could do in light of the road conditions. ‘I didn’t realize your truck was so useless.’ Indeed. Eventually we managed to extricate ourselves and head back to base.
Two hours later receive a call from the customers’ real estate agent who asks me if I have anything more to say regarding the morning debaclé? Now, I don’t speak ‘realtor’ so I asked him to be less elliptical – obviously annoyed, this is what he barfed up:
Do you know who I am? Your business depends on people like me and I’m going to ruin your business. I’m going to to report you to the Better Business Bureau, blah, blah, blah.
Click. I’d heard enough.
The moving industry cops a lot of flack from the public and some of it is deserved. I can almost understand a customer talking to me like I was wearing a Kick Me sign, however when an asshat real estate agent with whom we’ve had Ø business dealings threatens us, he has fully crossed the line.
Congratulations Keith Liedtke, you are now officially The Blowhard Realtor – Re/Max Westcoast.
Imagine ordering a pizza and it arrives two slices short. This is what you get when you use a packing service instead of a professional mover to prepare for a move.
A typical packing service comes to your home and boxes up your kitchen, bedroom and study and that’s the extent of their service. However, there are more facets to genuine preparation than just putting things in boxes; furniture needs to be padded and shrink wrapped, beds disassembled, pictures blanket wrapped etc. The most appreciable difference between packing services and professional movers relates to organization. To move a household efficiently items go to the truck in a structured order. For example, boxes go first, then square items, a box spring, pictures, mirrors, glass, mattress, sofa etc. When a professional mover does the packing he puts things in boxes, preps all the furniture and centralizes it in the order it goes to the truck. This is essential when there are time constraints with elevator bookings.
Remember, preparing for a move requires a multifaceted approach to organization. To be thoroughly prepared you need more than stuff put in boxes, use a professional mover to get full value for your packing dollar.
In December of 2015 I wrote a blog post that suggested an attempt by a few Vancouver moving companies to hornswoggle the system on Yelp. Fast forward a year and wow have there been some dramatic developments, but first some background. 12 months ago I took a snapshot of the Yelp site search results for the keywords ‘movers vancouver’ and ‘moving company vancouver’ (via Google). Yelp provides their audience with 2 categories when it comes to reviews in a company profile. For example if you were to look at the Citymove page you will see ‘reviews’, and at the bottom of the page and you’ll see the notation ‘other reviews that are not currently recommended’. With this in mind let’s see where the 12 companies are today compared to 1 year ago.
The Curious Case Of Go Truck Go v. You Move Me
As mentioned Yelp reviews fall into 2 categories, recommended and not recommended; The latter category resultant when the Yelp filter doubts the veracity/credibility of the review. At this time last year Go Truck Go had almost 80 % of its reviews excluded and just over 20 % recommended, but what a difference a year makes. In a jaw droppingturnaround, this year 100% of all 61 GTG reviews were deemed legitimate with zero(!) reviews ending in the not recommended pigeonhole. This number is all the more extraordinary when you consider the average number of reviews added over the course of the year by 11 similar sized companies is < 9 each.
By contrast You Move Me had ± the same quantity of reviews as GTG, but with diametrically different results. Over the course of the past 12 months YMM added a net total of 64 reviews, however 61 of them were banished to the hinterland known as not recommended. In essence Yelp declared only 9% of YMM reviews to be legitimate compared to 100% for Go Truck. How is it that 2 companies with more or less the same number of trucks have such wildly different outcomes? I can think of a couple of reasons.
Reviews posted to movers’ accounts on Yelp seem to be manipulated, the direction depends upon what your company name is. If the average number of reviews over 12 companies is < 9 each per year, it is not a long bow to draw to suggest that companies racking up 700% more reviews are actively soliciting, contrary to Yelp’s stated policy. More troubling however is the perception that one company is being actively aided by Yelp to outdistance their competition, while another is being keelhauled for reasons unknown. Is this the invisible hand of a local Yelp representative and some quid pro quo? I don’t know and I hope it’s not the case because I still trust Yelp, but this why business owners have strong feelings.
Online reviews can be a powerful selling tool for movers in Vancouver, they can also be misleading, exaggerated and downright disengenuous. Every consumer has different expectations of their mover, by understanding your needs you can better interpret and compare reviews across a host of sites. Reviews can best be understood by categorizing them with the 3 P’s; Punctuality, Performance and Price.
You live in a condo with strict rules about the move out process. You’re allowed a 2 hour elevator booking at the move out location and the same at your new place, if you exceed your booking time you will be fined. And your mover is late, hours late. I can tell you from experience that being late is generally from poor preparation (i.e., understanding the requirements of a job) and not external variables, yes sh*t happens but by and large being late is not an act of God. So, when you are reading online reviews pay close attention to issues of punctuality, it may seem trivial but the impact on your move can be huge.
The biggest red flag you can garner from online reviews is wild fluctuations in performance. One review claims the company was the best in the business and the next gives them an incandescent 1 star. It’s expected there will be the occasional ordinary review but when you see a pattern of 5 star, 1 star etc. you should know this is a company to avoid. Why? Professionalism is consistency in all aspects of the service delivery.
Many people are price shoppers who want value for their money. When you are reading online reviews look to comments about hidden charges, fees and levies. All costs should be transparent and upfront, if you come across a reviewer who decries hidden fees or a final price that differs from the quoted price, move on.
Bad moving companies aren’t just bad in one area, they’re bad everywhere! Remember, consistency is the key: Your mover should be punctual with the necessary equipment and skills to transition your goods from one location to the next without issue at the quoted price. If you see inconsistent reviews you’ll get an inconsistent mover.