Avoid moving scams in 3 easy steps

It’s easy to avoid moving scams, and we’ll show you how to do it in just 3 steps that will take less than 5 minutes to do.  The key is knowing that the internet is both your worst enemy and your best friend.  Many moving scams rely on the internet to contact their victims.  In today’s world, anyone can set up a cheap website and have it look good, and then with a couple well-placed search engine ads, customers come to them – the internet here is your worst enemy. But it’s also your best friend.  You can find reputable moving companies by searching Google just like you can find disreputable moving companies.  There are also loads of websites that share customer experiences and even list moving companies to avoid.  We wanted to share 3 websites that we admire and that you can check in under 5 minutes to find out if your moving company is legit and to make sure you avoid moving scams.  Just 5 minutes to be sure you have the best moving company for your needs and price range. 1. Moving Scams.com Blacklist – If you have the name of a company that interests you, take a minute to run it by the list on this site.  Moving Scams was started by Tim Walker when he got scammed by a company known as “America’s Best Movers.”  He tells the full story here.  He turned that awful experience into a positive one for the rest of us, compiling a blacklist of disreputable moving companies based on his readers’ reviews so that others can avoid moving scams too.  It takes a minute to make sure your moving company isn’t on that list – why not do it? 2.  Department of Transportation – Walker’s site can’t include everything, so the next step should be to confirm that your company is licensed.  Any reputable moving company is licensed by the US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  Many states have additional certification requirements as well.  Ask the company what their license number is, and then you can use the USDoT website search to easily verify their license number and record – again, it just takes a minute, why not do it?  (If you’re curious, our license numbers are: DOT# 2005212 and MC# 707471).  If they’re not licensed, BEWARE, of moving scams. 3.  Yelp – If they’re not on the blacklist and they have a valid license, then it’s time to check out Yelp.  We mention Yelp a lot because we think it’s great. Many moving companies are on there and people don’t pull any punches in the reviews.  A company can easily be licensed and reputable and still not be very good at what they do, so read the reviews carefully – and before contacting a company, at least check if it’s listed – if it’s not on there, think twice! Our hearts go out to victims of moving scams.  Worse than realizing that you have lost your belongings or your hard earned cash though would be realizing that it’s easy to avoid moving scams.  Just remember those sites above, and take 5 minutes to make sure that your move is in good hands.

Best of 2012

In our humble opinion, the best thing about the new year are the endless “Best of” lists that start popping up in mid-December.  Best movies! Best photos! Best sports moments! How about Best Moments in Moving?  2012 was a great year for us, we were busier than ever and met a ton of interesting and wonderful people through our work.  Here is our own little highlight reel of quotes from our favorite reviews of 2012. If you want to see more, go and check out our page on Yelp!   “These guys arrived early and finished just in time!  They have all the tools necessary to move you.  Anything fragile they’ll wrap up and strap down.  Also,  they are very knowledgeable about spacing issues.  […]  I would definitely recommend this service and shall be using them in the future!” – Jack T.   “I’m glad that my desired move-in date didn’t fit the schedule of another top-rated moving company on Yelp, because I can’t imagine how they could’ve surpassed the service that Chris and Rashim provided. […]   I’m writing this review after having had a chance to unpack everything – not a scratch or ding to be found anywhere. I will recommend Bookstore Movers to anyone who asks for my recommendation.” -Jonny V. “In the words of the immortal Jeff Spicoli: “Awesome! Totally AWESOME!” […]  Normally moving into a place is an exhausting and frustrating process, but these guys actually made it fun! If you need moving help of any kind, don’t go with anyone but Bookstore Movers!!!!!!” -Stephanie K.   “The price they quoted me was way less than any other place I contacted. The guys were quick, careful, and were awesome people in general. […]  I’m moving again, and I’m hoping they’ll be available! From start to finish, they provided the most stress-free moving experience I’ve ever had.” -Abbey B.   “I cannot say enough good things about Benny and the team that moved me into my new condo today! Despite some challenges with the staff at my old building, they were totally cool about everything and made my move quick and painless. “ -K. M.   “Absolutely five star. Matt, Craig, and Aaron turned a day I was dreading into a stress-free experience.  […] Craig and Aaron arrived at my apartment at 7:51am for an 8am move. […] The guys worked hard and fast – they broke down beds and one piece of weird furniture, moved a mountain of boxes, and wrapped dressers and other pieces for transport in just over an hour. They were creative at my new apartment when the alley wasn’t conducive to an efficient move. They set up our beds and arranged the boxes neatly. I’m extremely satisfied with my moving experience. Hopefully, I’m going to stay in my new apartment for a while, but if my friends move, I’ll know who to refer!” – Lexie D.   —   Thanks to everyone who took the time to leave a review or let us know what you think – it means a lot to us to get feedback like this, it’s nice to feel like we’re doing a good job. Thank you all, and happy new year!

Owner of Capitol Hill Books featured in People’s District

“I hope that the store will stay around, but I am in the buggy whip era. Know what that means? For a while, they made buggy whips because not everyone had a car. With buggies, you needed a whip to get the horse to trot. With the car, the buggy whip people went out of business slowly. So, that is me, slowly going out of business. Big book shops are closing down, and those two-faced bureaucratic Johnny Onenotes in the D.C. government scream out the window that they want to help small businesses, and then close the window. So, I have property taxes, Kindle, and Amazon working against me.” “I know it is just a matter of time before they push me out and make this another Starbucks, so that we can have more crap on every corner of this city.” Jim Toole is the owner of Capitol Hill Books at 657 C Street Southeast, Washington, DC

Full piece here.

Featured in Local DC Paper, Roll Call

We’ve pasted the article here because Roll Call is a subscription site. Hopefully we won’t get in trouble for this…  

A Literary Crew to Lug Your Life Treasures

                    In the realm of Craigslist ads for moving companies, the word  “erudite” sticks out like a leather-bound volume of Camus on a Walmart shelf. As does “bibliophilic.” Many movers’ online advertisements boast of their brawn and speed (frequently employing poor grammar and an excess of exclamation points!!!!), but Bookstore Movers, based on Capitol Hill, sells a more literary brand. Its owner, Matt Wixon, is a part-time employee of Capitol Hill Books, the creaky row-house shop near Eastern Market known for its floor-to-ceiling towers of secondhand tomes. Wixon hopes to someday buy the store from its current owner when he retires, and he started the moving company, with help from fellow bookstore employees Aaron Beckwith and Kyle Burk, as a way to raise the funds he’ll need. Wixon is a former philosophy and English major whose shaved head and goatee give him the look of a nightclub bouncer. Still, on a recent morning, he has a bit of down time in between moving jobs, and he seems perfectly at home among the bookstore’s sagging shelves. As he scales the store’s narrow stairs — lined, of course, with teetering stacks — he has to shift his broad shoulders sideways to avoid knocking down a paperback or two. The moving company is a means to an end, and the goal is to preserve Capitol Hill Books, a quirky outpost in a world dominated by iPads and Amazon.com. “You’re really engaged in a labor of love,” Wixon says. “You feel like you’re battling forces of inevitability.” Jim Toole, the bookstore’s current owner, approached his young employees several years ago with the idea that they might take over the store someday. “I’m not going to live forever, and I thought maybe they will bring some verve and new ideas,” says Toole. He declines to give his age but admits, “I’m just a stale old fart.” Toole, a former Navy officer, is one of Capitol Hill’s characters, known for a gruff demeanor and ultra-dry humor that serves as a kind of litmus test: Either you get it and you become a loyal customer, or you don’t. Toole, who bought the bookstore in 1994, has taught his potential successors the essentials of running the bookstore, which he says mostly comes down to finding more books. Most other kinds of stores sell products that can be ordered wholesale. A used-bookstore owner, though, must constantly shuck and jive to stock his shelves, scouring estate sales, auctions and charity book sales. Wixon doesn’t know just how much money he’ll need to raise. He might just buy the store’s stock and the name, or he might try a trickier feat in Washington’s hot real-estate market and purchase the building from Toole. He’s also unsure when he’ll need the money. Toole isn’t ready to give up the used-book game just yet, Wixon says. But Toole himself has a contradictory story. He says he’s ready to retire once Wixon can slap a big enough check on the table. But then his eyes twinkle. Was that one of his inscrutable jokes? Wixon is pondering changes he might make to the store, possibly keeping later hours and opening a cafe in the back. Its eccentricity, though, will remain. “I don’t want to change it too much,” he says. “I like the way it is — a suspended tidal wave of books that, at any moment, might engulf you.” After graduating in 2000 from the College of William and Mary and kicking around for a few years doing social work, Wixon, an Arlington, Va., native, came back to Washington and found a job at Capitol Hill Books. He started picking up manual labor jobs on then-nascent Craigslist, and he eventually placed his own ads. Now, he owns two trucks and plans to buy a third next month. The story of a scrappy gang of overeducated guys with the dream of owning an indie used bookstore is a marketing gold mine. Imagine the characters in “High Fidelity” on an underdog mission a la the “Bad News Bears.” Bookstore Movers’ Craigslist ads play up the pathos: “Employees of a local independent used bookstore on Capitol Hill do moves to save up to purchase it upon the owner’s retirement,” they read. The pitch often attracts clients with big book collections; they are Hill staffers and labor activists, Republican National Committee employees and teachers. “They’re just people who love books and like the idea of being moved by people who love books,” Wixon says. The company’s six employees are all connected to the bookstore in some way. Either like Wixon, Beckwith and Burk, they have worked at the shop, or they know employees. “One guy is the younger brother of a girl who works at the front desk, and another is the ex-boyfriend of another girl who works there,” he says. Only one employee came from outside the Capitol Hill Books orbit: When the Washington City Paper named the company D.C.’s “Best Mover,” the mention prompted a call from a kindred spirit seeking work — a philosophy graduate student from Georgetown University. Still, Wixon allows that a college degree — and the “erudition” they boast of in their ads — has limited practical benefits during a move. “It might help us to have more interesting conversations with each other in the truck,” he says.