Friday, November 21, 2008

Brazen entry in the per-man, per-hour moving wars

This past summer, I -- exclusively -- was on the front lines covering the ugliest battle this neighborhood has seen since the 10 (or so) FroYo places opened within 50 yards of each other. Yes, of course I'm talking about the per-man, per-hour moving wars.

Just to freshen your memory:

And now! A new player has entered the market, brazenly slapping up these fliers along First Avenue:

Whoa. $22 an hour!? What, does Lindsay Lohan show up or something? These guys been working in, say, Dubai or someplace where they're not in a repression (recession-depression, you know)? Given that gas prices have plummeted and money is tight all around, you'd think people would be charging less, not more. Why wouldn't someone just go to the guy charging $16 an hour? What am I missing?


Anonymous said...

Back in the 80s and early 90s I was part of an moving/trucking/van outfit based in the EV. We charged $25-$35/hr for 1 guy and a van, $55-$65 for 2 guys and a van/truck. All other expenses such as flights of stairs, boxes, reasonable mileage around town, tape, blankets etc. were included in the price. We also did a huge number of band jobs--$50/round trip to and from your gig in the city.

We were always busy and had a great crew of people and a really good rep. We also advertised exactly as these companies still do-those flyers bring back memories *sniff*.

Back then we heard plenty of horror stories from people who had made use of these $16/hr outfits because first of all, there were extra charges for EVERYTHING. Even as 1 guy with a van, you make NO MONEY charging $16/hr in this town. That isn't even going to cover insurance for the van and all of the expenses incurred, like parking/moving tickets, supplies, gas, phone, advertising, and the aggravation factor.

[Examples of the aggravation factor--showing up to move someone and finding out they live on the top floor of a 6th floor walk-up and have packed all of their belongings, including their 3 full sets of encyclopedias, into Hefty bags. Or that the person you are trying to squeeze in between 2 other jobs lied about how much crap they have and there is no way you will make it to your next job remotely on time.]

I have a million stories of stuff you can't even imagine from those years.

If you consider that the people who come to move you will be handling all of your personal stuff, it's not always a good idea to go for the cheapest deal. And moving is usually a stressful adventure so unless you count a futon, a hotplate and an autographed poster of Zeppo Marx as your only belongings, set some dough aside and don't forget to tip if they do a good job. Over the course of my time in the biz, we moved some people repeatedly and a great way to develop a relationship is to show that safe transport of you and your most important belongings to a new location is worth more than a couple bucks.

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for sharing. I guess I never did the math on all this. Figured, though, there were hidden charges galore. I hired movers once to get us just a few blocks. We had too much shit. We were on Clinton Street. The crew showed up two hours late. They went to Clinton Street in Brooklyn for some reason. Then got caught on the bridge in an accident. Went downhill from here...

esquared™ said...

I'm still waiting for the rates to bottom out (much like the dow) -- hmmm... maybe around under $10.

Last time I rented a "man with a van" for a move, great guy, but when he arrived and opened the door of his van, smoke (from pot) came whiffing out. Needles to say, he was too stoned to do the job, since I lived in a four floor walk-up. He couldn't carry the heavy stuff nor maneuver the narrow stairwells. I paid him for his time and let him be on his way. I had to hire someone from the Yellow Pages --two guys with a truck -- expensive but did the job efficiently and in no time.

Anonymous said...

Ha! Classic.

Anonymous said...

esquared: thanks for not making me walk the stairs.

Anonymous said...

I despise these illegal postings. I tear them down and throw them out as I walk down the street, and frequently report such illegal advertising to the Department of Sanitation.

I have never seen a city with this problem. Even in Philadelphia, you can walk down the street and the light poles, mailboxes, etc. are clean and free of stickers, flyers, and posters. If you dare to post, you get fined per each posting, and it adds up quickly. This is the law here in NYC also, but apparently it is rarely enforced.

Anonymous said...

Fellow East Villagers:
Please do not support companies that advertise by littering our neighborhoods in this way. You can always find moving companies online.

Here is the form to report illegal poster violations for cleaning and enforcement:

- East Villager