1 Very Full Truck or 2 Half-Full Trucks?

Recently, we here at College Muscle Movers have come across a variety of estimation situations where a customer has so many items that it might require a second truck. If you have spoken with us before, you know we favor a “better safe than sorry” approach, and subsequently always suggest a second truck in these situations.

And so, we often get asked, “If you think that everything might fit into the one truck, why not just try for that?”  To which we have a few answers.

First and foremost, efficiency.  With two trucks, the movers are able to waste less time trying to make absolutely everything fit and put more focus on the overall move. We’d rather get your move done as quickly as possible than waste time puzzle-piecing your items into the truck.

Secondly, there is a lowered risk of higher costs.  With two trucks, the chance of needing to make a second trip is virtually eliminated.  With one truck if not everything fit and a second trip is required, the time increases greatly and the cost along with it. This is especially likely to happen if there are additional items that were not on the original inventory given. With two trucks, there is plenty of extra space.

Finally, and possibly most important there is an increased amount of item safety.  With more space we can pack your items into our truck with their safety in mind, rather than use of space.  In other words, we always pack your items as safely as possible, but with limited space we may need to prioritize getting it all in one load over the safety of certain items.

So what does this mean for price?

1truckv2truck

We hope that this helps in your decision making process when not only considering the logistics of your move, but also the professional moving company you decide to hire.

How to Make Moving Fun!

Make a Playlist

Music makes everything better. Even something that can be as stressful and time-consuming as moving.

Before you start packing, put together a playlist of songs that make you want to move or sing along. When I was young, we’d always pull the boom box out when it was time to clean. There’s nothing quite like vacuuming to Gloria Estefan and Shania Twain. Don’t be afraid to include your guilty pleasures.

Be sure to include everyone in the playlist making process and when you’re running low on ideas, turn to old standards like The Bealtes, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder.

Don’t own enough music to make a playlist? If you’ve got a smart phone, you can download the Spotify app and sign up for a free account. With a free account, you can create playlists. You may not be able to listen to the songs in a particular order, and there may be advertisements every so often, but it gives you access to millions of songs.

 

Reminisce While You Pack

Packing can be a daunting, stressful experience. Start early to give yourself plenty of time to not only go through all your items and throw out the things you no longer need, but so you can also reminisce with friends and family. When you come across old photos, don’t just throw them in a box and move on, take a few minutes to flip through them.

 

Promise Yourself a Reward

We know moving is expensive, but it’s nice to have a little something extra waiting for you at the end (or your children, if you’ve got them). Promise yourself a meal at your favorite restaurant, buy a book to enjoy once you’ve settled in to your new place, or a DVD to watch while you enjoy pizza delivery on your first night.

Give yourself reward to look forward to beyond the relief of being done with the move.

 

Build a Box Fort

Done unpacking? Got kids? Then let them fulfil their dreams of a cardboard castle. Don’t have kids? Who cares! It’ll probably be years before you’ll have so many cardboard boxes at your disposal and you aren’t getting any younger. Maybe it’s a temporary fortress for your cat or dog. Either way, have fun. I know the kid in the picture below did.

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To Rent or Not to Rent

Our services fit into three categories: full service, labor only, and packing.

Of those three options our labor only services are the most versatile. Whether it’s moving items within in your home, loading a truck for a cross-country move or moving locally, our labor only services can work for you. Without the truck, the hourly rate is a bit lower and subsequently, it tends to seem like the more economical option.

That said, the cost difference between labor only and full service may not be as large as you’d expect and when you consider all of the factors associated with the two options. You may even find yourself convinced that the little bit extra in cost is well worth the peace of mind and convenience.

Cost

When comparing full service to labor only, there is the potential to save 10 – 20% in overall cost depending on the size and type of moving vehicle, length of rental, and the need for additional equipment. With our full-service option, all equipment to move your items safely and efficiently is included (dollies, basket trucks and bungee cords). With most truck rentals, no moving equipment is included free of cost.

Winner: Labor Only. Unless you’re needing to keep the truck overnight for some reason. Renting your own truck will almost always be cheaper.

Risk

With decreased cost, comes increased risk. You become responsible for the vehicle and safely driving your items from one location to another to be loaded and unloaded.

Additionally, when renting from U-Haul or Budget a reservation is only an acknowledgement of preference. If they no longer have your requested vehicle type and size when you arrive to pick up your rental, you may end up with a larger truck. This can lead to parking issues, a more stressful driving experience, and, without the proper tie-down materials, can mean a more dangerous situation for your items in transit.

Winner: Full Service. Without any real guarantee, labor only has several risks when compared to a full-service option.

Convenience

With the full-service option, there’s less to keep track of. You place a deposit, reserve time on our calendar and your time is guaranteed. Having that time set aside will give you the peace of mind needed to focus on the other aspects of moving. You no longer need to worry about driving and taking care of the vehicle or your items because our drivers have done tens of thousands of moves with our standard 26’ box trucks.

Winner: Full Service. As you might expect, the slightly more expensive option is the most convenient.

For the sake of understanding, we’ve laid out a price comparison for a move from Richfield to Eagan, based on our average service length of 3.25 hours:

fullvpartial-comparison

In the end, both options have their pros and cons. One is not necessarily better than the other. The best option will vary depending on preference and situation. Our only hope is that with this information you can better evaluate your moving needs and make the decision process as simple and stress free as possible.

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.

 

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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.

Common New Home Repairs

 

Here at College Muscle Movers, we’ve helped a lot of new home-owners move in. We have a fair amount of experience with new homes. It’s not unusual to find a whole plethora of things that need to be tweaked and fixed, and we’ve gathered up some of the more common issues you’ll find when moving into a new home. Below you’ll find 5 tips to help you learn what to expect.

or someone you hire.
This could be you.

Dripping Faucets and Toilet Fill Valves

After a long day of moving, you’ll be thrilled to crawl into bed and fall asleep. That might be when you first notice the incessant sound of water running from somewhere in the house, usually the kitchen or bathroom. Dripping faucets sometimes require a plumber to fix properly, as you might end up making it worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. On the other hands, if water is running in the toilet, you likely have a leaking fill valve.

A leaky fill valve is quite easy to fix on your own. You just have to take the top off of the reservoir and find out what kind of rubber cap you have. Then run down to the nearest hardware store and pick one up. Installation is easy, too. If this doesn’t solve the problem, you’ll likely want to call a plumber.

Patching and Painting Drywall

Damaged drywall is one of the most common new home repairs. Especially around stairs and corners, you’ll find spots that have been scratched or dented by people moving furniture in or out, or kids, or people just going about their life. In fact, you’re likely to cause some damage yourself while moving. Don’t worry!

Hiring a painter to come and fix the drywall and paint it is pretty affordable. Some offer labor by the hour, or by square foot. It takes some time to complete (paint has to dry, after all), but drywall is easy to patch, sand, and paint over.

Again, you can do it yourself by simply picking up paint (bring a paint chip along for reference), drywall patching compound, roller brushes, and medium-grit sandpaper. Don’t forget to lay down cloth or newspaper to prevent getting paint on your floors!

Re-caulking Tubs, Sinks, and Showers

Caulk is vital for preventing rot and mold from creeping into the structure of your house. All sinks, tubs and showers should be caulked around the edges so that moisture can’t seep in. Check the caulk in your new home right away and replace any that is peeling or damaged. All you need is to dig out the old stuff, and use a caulk gun to shoot in more. If you aren’t comfortable doing this on your own, find a friend or a handyman to help you.

Cleaning and Replacing Gutters

Gutters are key in protecting your house from rain and snow. In Minnesota, that’s pretty important. Snow and leaf accumulation can cause them to pull free from the house or get twisted.

Sometimes you can just bend gutters back into the proper position. If not, you’ll need to replace the gutters, or install some metal support structures underneath. Once you have all the gutters on your new home in working order, do your best to keep them clean! Make sure to get leaves out every fall, and try not to let too much snow collect in them.

Preventing Ice Damming

This one is especially relevant in Minnesota. Ice build-up on the roof occurs frequently during our winters, especially around the edges of the roof. Melting water can get trapped and accumulate, creating a heavy ice dam that can damage shingles, roofing, and eventually force water into your house from above.

A good long-term solution is to have thermal cable along the edges of the roof. This can be warmed up during the winter to prevent freezing at the source. It’s a complex job, however, and you’ll want an experienced contractor to take care of it (assuming you’re not a master electrician)

A cheap and easy fix is just to make sure that you have channels running through the ice dams. You can do this by filling old knee-high socks or pantyhose with calcium chloride (snow melter). Lay the socks or hose along the roof so that they run down and drape just over the edge. This means that even if ice accumulates, melting water will have a path to escape.

Hopefully some of our tips will help you work through your new home repairs, or least shed some light on what to expect. Remember, if you have any questions about moving to a new home, contact us!

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!