Moving Experience – Kallie’s Move with Colonial Van Lines

In late June of 2022, Kallie made a work-related move from Winston-Salem, North Carolina to Houston, Texas. 

After comparing full-service movers online, Kallie hired Colonial Van Lines to handle her 1,100-mile relocation.

Colonial claims to have more than 200 agents and five decades of moving experience.

So did Colonial deliver, or was Kallie underwhelmed with the company’s performance?

To help others considering a move like hers, Kallie participated in our Better Moves Project by documenting her experiences with Colonial Van Lines.

In this post, we’ll look at what went well, where improvements could have been made, and whether Kallie would use Colonial again.

Move day takeaways for Colonial Van Lines customers

  • Communication: Kallie was disappointed with Colonial Van Lines’ communication and attention to detail
  • Pricing accuracy and transparency: Colonial’s quote was accurate, but Kallie paid nearly $500 extra for an unexpected long-carry in Houston
  • Timeliness: Colonial delivered Kallie’s household goods later than expected (she moved over the 4th of July weekend, one of the busiest days of the year in the moving industry)
  • Professionalism: Kallie was impressed with the movers’ hard work and professionalism
  • Loss and damage: Nothing got lost or damaged on Kallie’s move
  • Would Kallie use Colonial Van Lines again? Kallie will probably use a different moving company next time she moves

Kallie’s move in a nutshell

Moved from Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Moved to Houston, Texas
Distance 1,100 miles
Moving company Colonial Van Lines
Moving quote $3,898.02
Actual cost About $4,500 

Kallie needed help moving from North Carolina to Texas

Kallie was “only” moving the contents of an 850-square foot apartment, but hiring a full-service moving company made more sense than doing a DIY move.

Kallie’s move priorities included keeping costs low, avoiding loss and damage, and finding a mover that could work around her tight schedule.

Her shipment included about 35 boxes and standard household furniture that weighed approximately 3,700 pounds.

Though Kallie wasn’t moving any high-value items, she was concerned about her television, a Papasan chair, and a few large pictures and mirrors.

How Kallie researched potential movers

She began doing Google searches, checking online review sites, and comparing prospective movers on moveBuddha about a month in advance. 

After doing a phone survey, Kallie’s Colonial representative emailed a $3,898 estimate that was significantly lower than her other quote.

Colonial’s estimate included:

  • Loading and unloading labor
  • A fuel surcharge
  • Packing material and labor for a mirror and a few large paintings
  • Basic released-value moving insurance (valuation)

Kallie was confident she’d have a smooth move because she’d used Colonial before.

After paying a $1,600 deposit, Colonial confirmed Kallie’s move details via email and sent links to helpful moving tips and hacks.

Kallie prepared by packing (her mother helped, too), changing her address with the USPS, dealing with utility and internet providers, and planning her cross-country road trip.

Everything was falling into place, but Colonial’s poor communication was a persistent issue.

There were a few minor issues on moving day

Kallie expected the movers to arrive between noon and 4 PM on move day.

After struggling through a traffic jam, the crew showed up at 4:30.

Kallie wasn’t sure why they came in the afternoon since she was the only customer on their schedule that day.

Thankfully, the crew’s hard work and professionalism immediately put her at ease.

While they packed, wrapped, and moved everything onto the truck, Kallie:

  • Answered their questions
  • Cleaned the rooms they’d emptied
  • Tried to stay out of the way

Everything was out of her apartment by 7:30.

Delivery was slightly later than expected

Kallie wanted to know exactly when to expect delivery in Houston, but nobody could give her an exact date.

In the end, her household goods were delivered 13 days later.

Though this was longer than Kallie would have liked, it was reasonable for a long-distance move at the end of June.

The crew handled unloading quickly and efficiently.

In addition:

  • Nothing was lost or damaged
  • Everything ended up exactly where Kallie wanted it
  • The movers reassembled her table, desk, and bed

On the downside, Kallie was charged $480 for the 500-foot carry between her apartment and the loading dock.

She wasn’t thrilled about the unexpected charge, but she thought it was reasonable under the circumstances.

What could have gone better on Kallie’s move

Kallie was able to communicate with Colonial Van Lines’ staff when she called during business hours, but they weren’t as proactive as they could have been.

Likewise, Kallie felt that:

  • She spent way too much time relaying information between the driver and office staff (they could have done it themselves)
  • Colonial could have delivered her items a few days earlier
  • Her schedule never aligned with Colonial’s
  • Her move was more tedious and stressful than it needed to be

The verdict

Colonial Van Lines delivered Kallie’s items without loss or damage.

That said, she didn’t feel like she got her money’s worth, and Colonial’s poor communication and inflexible scheduling made her move a bigger headache than it should have been.

In Kallie’s own words, she’d probably “start from scratch” instead of using Colonial again on a future move.

Lessons from Kallie’s move

  • Be prepared for extended delivery if you’re moving over a holiday – Kallie moved over the 4th of July weekend
  • Additional charges are common on long distance moves – Kallie paid $114 for the crew to pack a few large items and nearly $500 for a long-carry at her new apartment
  • Know whether you’re dealing with a mover or a broker – Colonial brokered Kallie’s move to another company

Before you go, check out these helpful moving resources:

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