Moving Experiences: Kelsey’s Move with Compass Van Lines

In March of 2022, Kelsey, her partner, and their two dogs moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Marina del Rey, California to be closer to family. 

Because they were only moving the contents of a two-bedroom apartment and weren’t sure how quickly they’d find a new place, PODS moving containers¬†seemed like the way to go.

However, after researching alternatives for nearly a week, they decided to hire Compass Van Lines.

Their reasons for choosing Compass included a reasonable quote, professional communication, and a surprisingly quick turnaround time for such a long-distance move.

So did Compass Van Lines deliver?

The short answer is yes, they did.

Kelsey participated in our Better Moves Project where we offer a $500 grant for moving expenses in exchange for a detailed account of her experience with Compass Van Lines.

In this post, we’ll look at what went well, where improvements could have been made, and what you should know if you’re considering working with Compass Van Lines.

For even more long-distance moving companies, check out our list of the top interstate moving companies of 2022

Kelsey’s move at a glance

Moving From Atlanta, Georgia
Moving to Marina del Rey, California
Distance 2,200 miles
Moving Company Compass Van Lines
Moving quote $3,795
Actual cost $4,185*

*The $390 cost discrepancy was due to long carry, elevator, and “early reservation” fees at delivery, none of which Kelsey knew about beforehand.

Takeaways Compass Van Lines customers should know on moving day

  • Communication: Kelsey was initially impressed with Compass Van Lines’ communication, but interaction became tedious and confusing during the move because too many people were involved
  • Pricing transparency: Getting a moving quote with Compass Van Lines was easy, but Kelsey’s actual costs were about $390 more than estimated due to several last-minute fees
  • Efficiency and professionalism: Minor hiccups aside, Kelsey was pleased with her crew’s professionalism and attention to detail
  • Timeliness: Kelsey’s movers arrived within 5 minutes of the agreed-upon time at origin and delivered her items in California as promised
  • Would Kelsey use this company again? Yes, Kelsey would use Compass Van Lines again

Kelsey wanted top-notch service without breaking the bank

With so many variables on long-distance moves, Kelsey knew that bumps in the road were likely.

Her biggest concerns were unexpected delays in Atlanta and having her items moved safely and efficiently. 

During the pre-move screening process, Kelsey and her partner filled out a number of online contact forms and called a few movers that friends had recommended.

For the next three weeks they were bombarded by annoying emails, text messages, and phone calls.

Subsequent Google searches weren’t particularly helpful either, but the screening process became easier when Kelsey found moveBuddha.com.

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Getting a quote from Compass Van Lines was quick and easy

To save money, Kelsey and her partner planned on selling much of their furniture.

However, they changed their minds after calculating the cost of replacing everything and talking with their Compass representative Josh.

Since Compass Van Lines had a 600 cubic foot minimum, it made sense to take everything.

Once they’d made a new inventory and resubmitted it, Josh prepared a revised estimate that included loading and unloading, furniture assembly and disassembly, and transportation.

Instead of purchasing additional valuation (moving insurance), Kelsey opted to go with the free released-value protection.

Before the move, Kelsey made the following deposits to Compass Van Lines:

  • $1,518 – after getting the initial estimate
  • $150 – after adding a few items and reserving additional truck space

Kesley was informed that on move day she’d need to have a check or money order for $1,603.50 – 50% of the new total according to the moving company.

Kelsey took move preparation seriously

Kelsey and her partner got down to brass tacks in early January.

They began the decluttering process by going through closets, boxes, and furniture and setting aside items they didn’t want to take with them.

Since saving money was a priority they decided to do the packing themselves. Early on they focused on non-essentials like photos, decorations, and seasonal clothing.

They also instituted a “no-buy” rule that pertained to everything except necessities.

When they weren’t packing and downsizing they planned their cross-country road trip. All told, downsizing, packing, and planning took about two months.

Communication became tedious as moving day approached

After finalizing her move details, Kelsey was informed that she’d receive multiple check-up calls in the days leading up to the move.

Eight days before the movers were scheduled to arrive, she was contacted and asked if the driver could pick up her shipment four days early.

Kelsey stuck to her guns and let dispatch know that this wasn’t possible, and they agreed to load on March 18 as scheduled.

After that, Kelsey began getting calls from multiple departments at Compass Van Lines and staff from the moving company, Best For You Moving, LLC.

This made communication tedious and confusing, but after receiving another confirmation call from Compass Van Lines on March 15 everything went back to normal.

Moving day was relatively smooth

Kelsey eventually agreed to let the movers come two days early on March 16.

Se had to contact dispatch multiple times in the morning to confirm everything, but the driver did call when he and the crew were on their way.

However, when he arrived he presented Kelsey with a new contract and additional insurance information. But though she tried to contact Josh for clarification he wasn’t available. Over the next 45 minutes, she received texts and telephone calls from six different people.

Ultimately everything got worked out, but there were still some concerns about how fragile items like TVs and picture frames would be packed and protected.

Thankfully the crew packed and loaded these items carefully.

While the crew was working, Kelsey and her partner took turns taking work calls and overseeing the move.

They also bought the crew lunch. The last item was loaded at 6:50 PM, about seven hours after the crew arrived.

Other than a few minor issues, delivery was quick and painless

Kelsey’s movers made multiple requests to deliver her household goods early, but since this wasn’t an option they stuck with the initial date.

On arrival, there were a few more issues with the contract, and one of her deposits hadn’t been included on the final bill.

It took about 45 minutes of back and forth with the broker and the moving company to get everything sorted out, after which the crew staged everything near the elevator and moved in into Kelsey’s apartment.

Kelsey and her partner took turns directing the movers and unpacking boxes.

Besides a damaged drinking glass and floor lamp, Kelsey’s move-in was smooth and efficient.

A few things could have gone differently

Kelsey’s biggest issues centered around poor communication and billing.

In many instances, the broker and moving company didn’t communicate effectively with her or each other. Having one point of contact throughout the move process definitely would have made things easier.

There was also the matter of the extra fees at destination. Though these charges bothered Kelsey, she had little choice but to agree to them.

Looking back, she felt that Compass’ role as a broker could have been clearer.

Nonetheless, Kelsey was happy with Compass Van Lines and Best For You Moving, LLC.

Kelsey’s advice to those planning a similar move

All things considered, Kelsey’s move was a resounding success. However, if she moved again she’d definitely consider cutting out the middleman and dealing directly with a moving company.

Though it might take more effort on the front end, the payoffs could include better communication and cost savings.

To share your moving experience and qualify for a $500 moving stipend, check out our Better Moves Project.

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