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Mar 15, 23:04
Question by meydele (Susan Lerner)

Using a U-Pack-We-Drive service for books and unbreakables

I got the 1st of the 3 estimates I am seeking for my LA to Brooklyn move. It was so much more than I expected, it made my hair stand on end. About $5,000 more than I have,actually. An estimator from Flat Rate showed up, didn't have the inventory I had sent, went through very quickly and then said that he couldn't give the quote unless I was present - which, since I'm in NYC is a little tough (and I told the person whom I made the appointment with that I would not be there personally). So, I am staring at a huge amount. My question is this: I am moving a large quantity of books (we've got a really big library). The estimator from Atlas Van Lines' agent estimates that we have 173 boxes of books and 20 file boxes, in additional to 4 wardrobe boxes and 4 file cabinets. I list these because they are the heaviest things we're moving,all of these things are regular in size and they are pretty much unbreakable. Would it substantially reduce my cost if I were to send the boxes of books, papers and file cabinets by a freight mover, such as ABF's UPack? I'd use the van line for the things that need a van line: furniture, dishes, artwork, etc. Thanks for your help. This is a great site.

Mar 16, 13:58
Answer by alexzehn (Alex Z.)


First of all I am not surprised with the estimated number of the book boxes (last time I moved my small bookcase produced 8 (!) book boxes...).

Your idea to use U-pack-We-Drive service for your books and non-breakable stuff is a very good one. First of all, books are very heavy items taking minimal space. It means that when you are charged by weight (as required by law) you pay a lot more then when you are charged by cubic feet. In contrast, self moving companies will charge you by linear feet.

What it really means is that your payment will be based on how much you will be able to compact your items in the designated space of the truck/trailer/container. Book boxes are square and very easy to stack inside square space with unused space less then 1% (usually well compacted typical household goods would have around 5%-4% unused space). This way you will be able to maximum utilize the space.

To calculate how much exactly your shipment of books will cost to move with self moving company you can get few quotes and ask for the measurements of the container. Then after you count your book boxes and multiply by the volume of one box you will get the total volume of your book shipment. Then divide this number by the height and width of the container, and round the number you get up to the first integer. This will give you an estimate of how many linear feet your books will take, and by multiplying this number by the cost per linear foot you can get your $$$ estimate. I am pretty much sure it will be significantly less then the weight-based estimates you get for the same items.

Few quick book packing tips - I would not recommend you to fill each of the boxes too tight with books only, its going to break your back when you move so many boxes. What you should do is use all your blankets, pillows, linen, an clothes you don't mind rumpling and pad your book boxes with those to fill up the space. Also make sure you evenly distribute the weight in the boxes (don't put all the heavy books on one side of the box.

To save, you could buy book boxes in bundles (start from buying one to get your own feeling of the number of boxes you will need, and don't forget to buy tape).



Good luck with your move,

Alex Z. @

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