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Smooth Move: Q&A with Olympia Moving and Storage

Do you remember the one where Ross, Chandler and Rachel are trying to get the couch up the stairs? Sometimes no matter how hard you try, 'the pivot' just doesn't work - and that's when you need to call in the big dogs.
Olympia Moving & Storage has been saving friendships (and backs) in the greater Boston area for almost 20 years. Keven Doherty, Sales Manager for Olympia Moving & Storage, took a few moments to fill us in on some of the behind-the-scenes activity that keeps people moving, including:

·         The number one rule for a smooth move


·         The most common item left behind by clients


·         The importance of onsite estimates


·         Why they moved a piano up 50 flights of stairs in the Prudential Center



Tell us a little bit about your role at Olympia Moving & Storage.


My role at Olympia is in the residential sales division.  I work with realtors and home owners on all aspects of their upcoming move; from staging, to packing, to moving, to unpacking and everything in between.  Moving can be overwhelming and it's my job to alleviate as much stress as possible, as well as getting you settled into your new home as quickly and efficiently as possible.


What sets Olympia Moving apart from other moving companies in the area?


Our people.  All of our crew members are full time employees of Olympia Moving and that is rare in the moving industry.  We have dedicated fulltime staff members across our sales, operations, customer service and accounting departments. We have been in business for almost 20 years and currently more than 80% of our business is referral based.  Those referrals come directly from those who have used us in the past, and industry professionals who - while putting their reputation on the line - are entrusting their client to our care.


Roughly speaking, how many moves do you and your teams handle in a year?


Last year we conducted close to 4,000 moves between our two locations in MA and Washington DC.


Anyone who has moved knows that it can be a complicated process. How do you handle all of the last minute changes, i.e., change in moving dates, storage required, truck size needed, number of movers available?


Communication! Communication is one of our top priorities and we stay in constant contact with each other and our clients.  We have made significant investments in technology that allows everyone involved in the clients' move to communicate and share information.  For example, the estimate is printed onsite and downloaded into our main system.  Customer Service contacts the customer upon the job booking. Customer Service then communicates with the client seven days prior to the move and also two days prior to the move.  Notes about access and other issues are downloaded and updated throughout the process.  The Operations team prints all materials the night before the move and these are given to the crew the morning of. Things change constantly and quickly when moving, but we have the right people in place to make sure no matter what is needed the job gets done quickly and efficiently.


What do people most underestimate about the moving process?


How long it takes and how difficult it can be!  Moving the entire contents of a home from one location to another is a time consuming process.  All furniture needs to be protected, loaded onto a truck, unloaded then set up in your new home.  Disassembly is sometimes required due to access issues which in turn require reassembly.  Often times a piece or pieces will need to be hoisted out, or hoisted in through a window or over a balcony because it won't fit through the door or up a staircase.  Long carries to and from a truck due to parking availability or truck access can add to the time needed as well. 


All of these things can change an estimate dramatically, which is why we like to go out and provide our estimates onsite.  It allows us to accurately prepare our estimates and alert our crews to anything out of the ordinary that will be required.  Most importantly, it allows us to provide the customer with a realistic expectation on time and money for the move.


You handle major corporate moves to college kids moving across town. Is there any move too big or too small to handle?


There literally is no move too big or too small.  We take pride in the fact that we are large enough to handle a move from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world, but have kept our rates competitive enough to handle a move from one floor of a house to another. 


What do you consider the top 3 most important tips when preparing to move?


1) Only call on a company that was referred directly to you by someone who they have used or worked with. 


2) If packing yourself, do not wait until the last minute.  People always under estimate how time-consuming packing can be.  The biggest reason for a move going over estimate is because a home is not completely packed up and ready to go. 


3) Have a plan in place for your new location.  Know where you want things to go so they are only moved once.  Have all boxes labeled as to what room you want them placed in.  Measure rooms to ensure that all the furniture will fit where you would like us to put it. 


If you could tell people, "Before you lock the door behind you, double check that you....." What would it be?


We do a walk through with the client after the truck is loaded to ensure nothing is left behind.  Surprisingly, one of the most common items left are the keys to the new place!  So I would say "to always make sure you have the keys to your new home before locking up."


What are the benefits of using storage before/during/after a move?


Storage is beneficial for staging your home.  We offer a "de-clutter" service to customers who need to clear out some items so their home shows how the realtor/stager has suggested.  Storage after a move has been beneficial to those downsizing that have less room then before, but want to hold onto certain items for loved ones or friends. 


What's the most unique item you've ever had to move?


Well, maybe not the most unique item, but we did move a piano up 50 flights of stairs in the Prudential Center to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis.  That was a pretty unique day!

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