Tipping Your Movers

At some point someone decided 15% of the final bill was the appropriate amount to tip a server when dining out. Seeing as we eat out quite a bit more frequently than we hire a moving service, it’s no surprise there isn’t a similar, commonly held belief like this when it comes to tipping movers.

As a rule of thumb, we suggest 5% of the total bill for movers that provide adequate service. With that as a reference point, you might tip 10-15%, if the service was exceptional, and you may decide to forego tipping, if you felt the service was subpar. It’s all pretty simple once you have 5% as a starting point.

 

TippingMovers

 

How To Tip

When you’re at a restaurant, you have the opportunity to calculate your tip on your own time. You then are able to walk away without interacting with your server again. With movers you are often times handing them cash directly, or writing in a gratuity amount while standing immediately next to them, which can make the exchange seem awkward.

While we can’t speak for all moving companies, our movers are trained to not make any assumptions when it comes to the tip. They may mention that you have the opportunity to write in a gratuity amount on the final paperwork, but you won’t see them lingering or holding a hand out after the paperwork is complete.

If you still feel uncomfortable, you can hand the movers your cash or check tip in an envelope. Our movers are able to accept monetary tips as checks, cash and via credit card.

 

Alternatives

Tipping is NOT a requirement, and money is not the only way to show your appreciation. Some of our movers favorite tips have been mid-service food, or odd, unwanted furniture pieces. Don’t be afraid to offer your movers the TV stand you no longer want.

Additionally, calling the company you booked the service with after your move and sharing positive feedback about the movers can act as a sort of tip. At College Muscle Movers, such a call can mean a Jimmy John’s gift card or similar reward for your movers.

 

If you’re curious how other’s handle tipping their moversApartment Guide conducted a survey among 1,000 adults in the U.S. in 2013 on this topic. Check out the infographic they made with the results below.

 

May_MovingEtiquette

Moving Day Survival Kit

There are many things to consider when you’re moving. It’s never as simple as getting your items from one location to another. And, whether you hire professional movers or plan to enlist the help of your friends and family, there’s always the chance that something doesn’t go according to plan.

On top of that, the process can be extremely tiring. You might not want to take the time to dig out your toiletries, you might find yourself easily frustrated when trying to locate your tools to reassemble your bed, and you will almost definitely find that you don’t want to sleep in the clothes you moved in.

To avoid all these troubles, we offer the sage advice of compiling a “Moving Survival Kit’ before your move.

 

TruckSide(MEDIUM)

 

What exactly is a Moving Survival Kit?

It’s all the essential items you might need during or immediately after your move, packed into one box. In most cases, you’ll want to transport it yourself between your old and your new location.

 

What all should I include in my Moving Survival Kit?

 

First Aid

Whenever there are people moving heavy items it’s a good idea to have some first aid readily available. Don’t let an injury turn into a mad dash to find the box with the bandages.

 

Nourishment

During the move, you’re probably going to need a little pick me up. Make some homemade trail mix in some tupperware. We suggest a simple mixture of M&M’s, peanuts and raisins. If you have time, you could also make up some PB&J sandwiches for a mid-move meal.

For your most cost effective beverage option, we suggest packing water bottles. There’s a good chance your new residence has running water. So, why not save the planet from extra plastic in a landfill and save your self a few bucks.

 

Paper Towels

Let’s be honest, no one wants to cook after a long day of moving. You also probably don’t want to go out to eat, which leaves two options: running out to grab fast food or delivery. In the case that you opt for delivery, you’re going to want at least some paper towels.

 

Toilet Paper

You don’t want to be digging through boxes when nature calls, make sure you include a few rolls of toilet paper in your kit.

 

Tools

It can be as simple as a multi-tool or as comprehensive as a portable tool kit. Either way, you’re going to need to get through the packing tape you used on your boxes and you’re going to need someway to reassemble your furniture.

If you don’t want to deal with any disassembly or reassembly, keep College Muscle Movers in mind. We’re willing to help with disassembly and reassembly at no extra cost.

 

Pillows, Blankets & Clothing

At the very least, pack a blanket and pillow for each family member and some comfortable sleeping clothes. The last thing you want to deal with is sleeping in uncomfortable, potentially sweaty clothes with no blanket or pillow. Getting some good rest will make all the difference after a long day.

 

Important Documents

You may not need immediate access to things like your birth certificates or social security cards, but you also probably don’t want to have to go through the process of replacing them. Knowing exactly where they are during the entirety of your move will save you from any potential stress.

Getting Your Security Deposit Back!

Here at College Muscle Movers, we’ve helped folks through a lot of different moving situations. One of the biggest opportunities for a scare comes when you’re trying to get your security deposit back. Anxiety about security deposits can loom large for many renters, and we’ve gathered some tips to help ensure that you get yours back.

 

Read Your Lease!

The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with your lease. This is a given, even though lots of people don’t know the details. Do yourself a favor and read through it. Your lease will give you all of the information you need to keep your security deposit. It will explain your responsibilities in clear, legally binding language. Most of the time, the renter isn’t responsible for everyday wear and tear on a property. Outside of that, however, you’re expected to leave the apartment the way it was when you moved in.

 

Clean Up Properly

It probably won't be this fun.
It probably won’t be this fun.

The most important thing you can do is clean everything. If you’ve been taking reasonable care of your apartment, leaving it clean should be the only step you need to take to get your security deposit back. Get behind the refrigerator, and dig deep into the cabinets. Grind down through the layers of gunk on the stovetop. If you’re having trouble getting rid of all this stuff, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will help. There are lots of hard to reach places that have probably escaped your cleaning while you lived in your apartment. If you get them only once, make sure that it’s right before you move out. Don’t leave behind any boxes, or papers, or bags of old clothes. Make sure everything goes! Don’t give your landlord a reason to hold part of your security deposit.

 

Make Repairs

If you’ve hung any paintings or posters in your apartment, chances are pretty good that you’ve put some little holes in the wall. Most places are used to this, and they won’t give you any grief about it. On the other hand, if you patch them up yourself, you negate any chance for landlords or property managers to trouble you.

You can pick up a small tube of spackle, some small-grit sandpaper and a putty knife at any hardware store or large department store. Just fill up the hole with goop, scrape away any extra, and then sand the top to even it out with the wall. In a pinch, you can do the same thing with toothpaste.

Document!

Your final step after making sure everything is cleaned and repaired is to take pictures. Document the state of the apartment so that if something happens (i.e., the new residents trash the place and blame it on you), you have evidence to show the condition that you left in the apartment.

Remember, unless you’ve really done something egregious, you should be getting at least part of your security deposit back. If your landlord or property manager says they’re keeping it, make sure that they provide you with an itemized list of all the costs they’re incurring. As a last resort, you can always take it to small-claims court. Judges usually rule quickly, and the costs of small claims are quite low.

If you have any other questions about moving, or security deposits, feel free to get in touch with College Muscle Movers!

Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling Moving Boxes

Here at College Muscle Movers, we know a thing or two about boxes. We work with boxes of all shapes and sizes, and we’re familiar with the huge mountain of cardboard lots of people discover in their new homes after they’ve finished moving. Below we’ll list some tips to help you manage the waste from all the cardboard you end using over the course of your move.

 

Save Your Boxes For The Next Move

First of all, consider using durable reusable plastic tote boxes. College Muscle Movers offers great deals on our Muscle Boxes. They are specifically designed with moving in mind. Even if you want to do the packing yourself, we can help keep your items safe for the upcoming move.  Our Muscle Boxes stack neatly, and offer high durability. Plus, they can be reused, offering the benefit of a low carbon footprint. Additionally, you can avoid the mountain range of cardboard that also seems to rise up in the living room at the tail end of the move.

If you’ve already got boxes piling up, read on.

 

Recycle ‘Em

You can always recycle clean corrugated cardboard. Once it’s all been processed, it can be reused as paper bags, paperboard, and much more. To process the materials, recycling centers first saturate the cardboard with water and break it up to create a pulp. Then the pulp is filtered and screened to get rid of any undesirable materials (staples, glue, nails, paperclips, etc.) During this process, the pulp is also washed to clean out any ink or staining. After the cardboard has been pulped and cleaned, it’s ready to be turned into something new!

If you’re in St. Paul or Minneapolis, consider using the services of a business like Eureka or Rethink. A quick Google search should help you find other local recycling centers in your area. Just remember that there’s a difference between waxed and unwaxed cardboard!

 

Turn It Into Mulch

If you’re the gardening or landscaping type, one of the best uses for old cardboard is to convert it into mulch. This will help you keep down weeds, moderate soil temperature, and generally improve the quality of your soil.As with recycling, there’s a difference between waxed and unwaxed cardboard— don’t use waxed cardboard for mulch!

If you think that cardboard mulch looks tacky, you can always cover it in a thin layer of more expensive conventional mulch. You can also use bark or wood chips to cover your cardboard mulch. These are more traditional, especially if you live in a suburb with neighborhood requirements for lawns.

Relive Your Childhood With A Rad Box Fort

totally rad

This one’s pretty self explanatory. Have some fun with your boxes. Maybe you want to to dress up as a robot? Get some tape and scissors and go to town! If you’re making box forts with children, make sure to keep an eye on them, and make sure there isn’t anything dangerous left in the boxes.

 

Hopefully some of these tips have been helpful! Remember, if you have any questions about an upcoming move, feel free to contact College Muscle Movers at 1(800) 818-8449

Cleaning Up After Your Pets

Moving to a new home can be a lot of work. Adding pets into the mix only complicates matters. Pets don’t understand the reasons humans have for moving. Dogs and cats will often be upset by a change in their lifestyle or habits. Your pet’s emotional turmoil doesn’t even take into account the steps you’ll have to go through when cleaning up after pets. Usually, the more animals you have, the less clean your home becomes. This is true of cats, dogs, and small children.

Even cute ones.
Even cute ones.

That doesn’t mean you need to let your home turn into some sort of old-fashioned zoo, however. You can keep your house free of stinky litter, messes, and allergens (mostly) by simply following a few simple tips to clean up after your pet. A lot of these tips are especially relevant if you’re ever planning on moving out, and want to shape up before new tenants or owners arrive. Here are some some tips we’ve collected over the years that can help you when you’re cleaning up after your pets.

1. Keep Pet Supplies Centralized

Do your best to keep all of your pet supplies in one room or section of your home. A bedroom, a closet, a porch: whatever makes the most sense for you. Keeping food, water and litter (for cats) in one location makes it a lot easier to keep everything clean. Messes are harder to deal with when you need to hunt them down.

If you live in a small house or apartment (or it’s just crowded), this might not be an option. Still, do your best to make cleaning up after your pet convenient. Try to keep litter boxes and water bowls away from doors and frequently traveled paths so that messes don’t get tracked around.

2. Don’t Wait to Clean Up Messes

Cleaning up messes while they’re still wet is your best bet. Feces, urine, vomit, hairballs: all of these get more difficult and time-consuming if you wait to let them dry and stick to whatever surface they’re on. It’ll also prevent stains and keep your home smelling cleaner.

Beyond this, animals (especially cats and dogs) have very keen noses. Cleaning immediately and cleaning well can help dissuade an animal from thinking it’s found the perfect new location to leave you a present.

3. Get Rid of Rugs and Carpets

If you have dogs or cats, your carpet is going to get nasty. It’ll naturally collect pet hair and dander, not to mention how difficult it is to really clean it well. Even if you steam and shampoo your rugs or carpets after a mess, they’ll likely still hold onto odors.

4. Clean Regularly

One of the biggest steps you can take is to clean regularly. Even if it doesn’t seem like there’s a mess, sweeping and mopping and generally cleaning up will work wonders for prevention of odors, stains, and other undesirables.

5. Lots of Trips and Litter Boxes

If you have dogs or cats, don’t give them a good reason to let loose in the house. Dogs should be walked often, and cats should have at least one litter box for each feline. This can be a lot of trouble, especially if you work a lot and already have trouble cleaning up after your pets, but it will save you time in the long run. Plus, your pets will be happier!

Hopefully some of these tips will help you keep your new home clean, or make your current home cleaner. If you have any other questions related to moving, don’t forget to contact College Muscle Movers!

 

Obligatory cat tax
Obligatory cat picture

 

The Story of The Vengeful Tow Truck

College Muscle Movers is one of the premier moving companies in the Twin Cities area. We’ve got years of experience under our belt, and that means we’ve got the corresponding knowledge to help you complete your move as smoothly and efficiently as possible. We’ve moved during the dead of winter, and during the dog days of summer. We’ve moved in marshy swamplands and tight apartment complexes.

We move a lot, and we’d like to share some of that experience with you! Today we’ll share a short story about parking in Minnesota. One of the things people often forget to think about when they’re planning their move is logistics. Vehicle rental, parking, transportation: it’s easy to forget about these things when you’re trying to move. Parking is a particularly big one. It’s easy to forget how hard it is to find parking, especially if you’re driving around a 26-foot truck.

This is the story of the Vengeful Tow Truck.

Avoid this.
Avoid this.

It was a cold day in early spring, with chill winds and cloudy skies. The unload for the move was scheduled in Uptown, where parking is tight. The customer had borrowed a friends 4WD Subaru to use in addition to hiring CMM for the majority of the larger furniture. They’d just finished parking the Subaru with all of their necessities when the movers arrived. Lease, driver’s license, change of clothes, phone, computer: everything was neatly packed away for their first day in a new home. The movers went inside with the customer and went through the game plan: what was getting moved, where it was getting moved to, how it would be packed, etc. Standard practice.

When they went back outside, the Subaru was gone. Just missing. Turns out there was no parking on the street outside the apartment, thanks to the ever-complex rules of seasonal parking in Minneapolis. The movers finished up the unload just in time for the customer to go and retrieve their car from the impound lot. Everything turned out fine, but it was definitely a bit of a headache.

Off-street parking is a huge luxury in the Twin Cities. No one wants to deal with the snowy roads or sidewalks during the winter, and your car will fare considerably better if it’s not kept outside. Unfortunately, most people in Minneapolis will be parking on the street.

If you’re moving and planning on parking on the street for any length of time, your best bet is to contact the city (Minneapolis and St. Paul, respectively). They should be able to provide you with a reserved space. This will ensure that you don’t waste time trying to find parking, and also that you have enough room if you need to fit a huge truck into a space. The same advice holds true for apartment complexes. Try to let your apartment complex know in advance if you’ll be moving so that they can secure parking for you. This will always save you time (and sometimes money!)

Most of all, remember to stay calm while moving! It can be stressful, and you’re likely to run into the unexpected. Just do your best to prepare, and take life in stride. If the move starts becoming too much to handle, contact College Muscle Movers. We’re here to help!

Moving Your Hot Tub

There are a number of items that can make moving a real headache. Usually it’s because they’re just too big. Overstuffed couches, pianos, dining room tables, hot tubs: this stuff isn’t going to fit in your car. That’s where moving companies like CMM come in. We can help you plan out your whole moving process. There’s no good substitute for experience.

Still, if it’s just one item bogging you down, maybe we can help. Today we’ll talk about how best to move a hot tub yourself. Hot tubs are pricey, and notoriously difficult to move around. Step-by-step, we’ll run through the smartest and safest way to get your tub from point A to point B.

tub
What You’ll Need

First of all, make sure you’ve got help. You’ll want extra help when you’re moving around a hot tub, if only to make sure it’s safe. Hot tubs come in different shapes and sizes, so make sure you’ve got enough muscle to back you up when it’s time to move. Also make sure you have straps. You’ll also want appliance/furniture dollies on hand so that you can roll your tub. They’ll come in handy if you have to carry it very far.

Step One

To begin with, make sure that the tub is completely drained and disconnected. No electrical, gas, or water lines should be hooked up when you try to move it. This is one of the easiest ways to damage your hot tub. After you disconnect everything, make sure all of the cables and lines are stowed away securely. You may need to tape them down.

Your job will be much easier if you let the tub dry completely. Water is heavy, and you don’t want to move around any more weight than you have to.

Step Two

Once everything is dry and disconnect, you can enlist your muscle. Be sure that everyone has enough room to help lift. If your hot tub is a small, single piece, you can lift it up and get it to where it needs to go. If you are just moving the lining, you’ll want to support the structure while you carry it so that it doesn’t bend or break.  One by one, slide straps or two-by-fours under each corner of the tub. This will keep it stable.

Step Three

Now it’s simply a matter of carrying your tub to where it needs to go. Make sure your path and destination are clear before you pick up the tub. If you’re moving a long way, use the dolly to help save effort. Rolling is always easier than lifting.

You’ll also want to be sure your tub is strapped down inside the truck, if that’s where it’s going. Any heavy objects like that need to be carefully secured to make sure that the truck and tub don’t get damaged.

Step Four

When you reach the final destination for your hot tub, make sure you know exactly where you want the tub. If there is anything in the way, move it before you start. Set the tub down carefully: if you let it drop, there’s a high chance you can damage it, and no one likes a leaky hot tub. After you’ve set it down, just pull your straps, dollies or two-by-fours free.

Step Five

The final step? Reconnect everything. Now is when you make sure all of the lines and cables are intact, and everything is working properly. If you’ve done everything right, you could be soaking in that hot tub right after you move it!

Above all, remember that a professional moving company is your best bet. While College Muscle Movers no longer moves hot tubs, there are speciality moving companies that can take care of all of this for you.

Twin Cities Moves: The Musical Credenzas

As one of the top moving companies in the Twin Cities and surrounding area, we’ve conducted a lot of different moves. These range from the usual apartments and houses to storage units chock full of Halloween props. We’ve moved towering statues, and custom aquariums. We’ve seen it all, and we like to share some of our experience with you. Who knows? Maybe it’ll help you out on your next move, or give you a couple ideas on how to get out of a pickle. There are always hiccups in the moving process, and here at College Muscle Movers, we want to help you make the most of your Twin Cities move.

This is the story of the Musical Credenzas.

College Muscle Movers had been brought in for a fairly simple office job just outside of the Twin Cities. There was a little bit of remodeling, a little bit of rehiring and a little bit of promotion. That meant some offices and cubicles were getting moved around. CMM brought the muscle.

Upon arrival, the movers discovered they were moving furniture exclusively. Some desks, but mostly big metal credenzas. If you’re unfamiliar with office furniture, the credenza has a tendency to be extremely heavy. Often made out of metal, with a big wood slab slapped on top. Real monsters.

Really heavy.
Heavy.

Anyway, after a few hours of moving these giant credenzas from office-to-office, the HR coordinator directing the move discovered that a few employees had actually arranged to trade furniture with others. Some credenzas and desks were being split up from each other. One office worker had decided to stack two credenzas atop one another (he really needed the extra storage.)

The movers just smiled and kept moving.

At the end of the day, however, some of the credenzas had been moved to 2 or 3 different rooms before reaching their final location. There was a lull in the middle of the move when a desk had to be temporarily removed so that a rug could be taken out and put in another office. All of this after the initial credenzas and desks had been moved.

The confusion, while reasonable, caused the move to take significantly longer than it might if it had been more meticulously organized. The most important thing was to make sure everyone’s office was set up the way they needed, of course, but the whole process could have been made more efficient. Here at CMM, we do our best to plan with you or your organization. We want your move to run as smoothly and efficiently as possible, especially in a busy office setting.

It’s important to remember that sometimes you’ll be thrown a curveball when you’re planning on moving (trying to orchestrate a whole intra-office move can’t be so far off from herding cats). Also remember that your moving company is there to help you! We’ll do our best to help you prepare for your Twin Cities move, whether it’s an office, an old garage, or a new three bedroom house. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!

Moving Across The Country

Moving somewhere new is exciting. That’s especially true when you’re moving long-distance. Starting fresh can sometimes be a little daunting, a little scary, but it’s practically guaranteed to be exciting. Below we’ll offer some tips if you’ve been considering a cross country move.

 

Decide What To Move

Sometimes on a long-distance move, the first step is deciding you don’t need quite so much stuff. You can save yourself a lot of time if you don’t take every single possession you own across the country. Scaling back can also help ensure you don’t overcrowd your new home with boxes and extra furniture before you’ve even had a chance to live there!

 

Start Early

When it comes to moving across the country, start planning early. Try to contact moving companies at least a month in advance, if possible.  It will help ensure you get exactly the timeframe you want for your move, as well as giving you more time if something comes up. Regardless of how much you decide to take with you, you’ll have plenty to occupy your mind. Where to live? Where to work? Where to bring the kids to school? Where to find the nearest micro-brewery?

seriously there are so many breweries
We’re looking at you, Minneapolis.

Truck, Trailer, POD, or Many Trips?

Renting a truck is the most common choice for people moving across the country, either Penske or U-haul. And even if you’re not using a truck, don’t forget that you can still hire a moving service to do all the heavy lifting. Driving yourself always helps to ensure that you know where your stuff is at all times. CMM’s labor-only service specializes in heavy lifting.

You can also rent out space aboard a freight line like ABF U-Pack. Semi-trucks like this carry large cargo containers all across the country. The cost of the space is usually determined by square footage or weight. PODS and small cargo containers can also be rented out, another common choice for long moves. There’s usually a higher chance your belongings will get jarred around in containers, so make sure it’s especially well packed. A packing service is always a good way to make sure. There’s no substitute for experience.

 

Essentials

Don’t pack up everything! There are some things you’re probably going to need sooner rather than later. Chargers for electronic devices, computers, hygiene products. You use these things everyday. Keep them handy.

You’ll also want to hold on to leases, debit cards, new driver’s licenses; anything that you’re likely to need right away when you move. Finding yourself suddenly without funds when you need to pay your first month’s rent or mortgage installment isn’t terribly fun, especially when you’ve just moved across the country.

Keep Track

Labelling the boxes and bins of stuff you’re moving will save you a lot of time in the long run. Additionally, it will help offer you peace of mind. If you really feel like a cake is the first thing you need on your first night in a new place, just check your list and you’ll know just where to find the pan.

 

Hopefully some of these tips come in handy. If you have any questions about an upcoming move, though, feel free to contact College Muscle Movers. If you’re moving, we’re here to help!

Selling Furniture 101

Sometimes part of moving is reassessing your furniture. Do you have too much furniture for your fancier, smaller apartment? Is some of your furniture old, delicate, or difficult to move? There are a number of different factors that can figure into your decision to unload furniture, but here at College Muscle Movers, we’d like to help make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

 

How Much is it Worth?

Furniture varies greatly in terms of cost and quality. Compare the two pieces below, for example.

By three years of wet basement.
By three years of wet basement.
By Frank Lloyd Wright
By Frank Lloyd Wright

If you think you have an antique or collectible furniture item, consider taking it in and having it appraised by an expert. Even if your furniture isn’t anything extra special, good wood furniture can still be worth quite a bit. Furniture is one of those areas where they really “don’t make ‘em like they used to.”

Once you’ve figured out roughly how much your furniture is worth, you have to decide how much to sell it for. Remember to try and stay as objective as possible: sentimental value means almost nothing to most customers. If you find that you’re having trouble selling your furniture, try to be flexible about lowering the price.

 

Find Your Market

There are a lot of different ways for you to unload your furniture. Many people have success with garage or yard sales. The internet also offers a wide variety of websites for you to hawk your wares. Some of the most common include eBay, Craiglist, and Etsy. You can also try to sell your items to a vintage or used furniture store, especially if it’s nice stuff.

Finally, if you can’t seem to sell your furniture, but you need to get it off your hands, you can always consider donating it to a charity or nonprofit shop! Options here include Goodwill or Bridging.

 

Don’t Undersell Yourself!

Remember that you need to put your best foot forward when you’re trying to sell your stuff. You need to make it look and sound like something that someone would want. Take the time to craft a well-written description of your furniture, and more than anything else, make sure you take a good picture. If you don’t have a camera, see if any friends or family might have one that you could borrow.

Post your little advertisement in local papers, or consider putting up flyers in the neighborhood if you’re having a garage sale.

Now, none of this means you should lie. If you’re selling junk, don’t pretend it’s that desk designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Eventually, if you follow all of these steps, you should be able to find some interested buyers. Many people may try to haggle about the price of the furniture you’re selling. When haggling, think about why you’re selling the furniture. If your primary goal is to get rid of it before moving to a new place, you might be better off settling for a lower price than you’d originally set. That part is up to you!

If you have any questions or concerns about an upcoming move in the Twin Cities, feel free to contact College Muscle Movers. We’re always happy to help!