Moving Experience: Melissa’s Move with Safeway

Project manager Melissa has seen some crazy projects in her time, but her interstate move from Wellington, Florida, to Chattanooga, Tennessee, definitely tested her planning chops. She needed to relocate so her daughter could live with her while attending grad school — plus, Melissa liked the idea of making a fresh start in a new city.

Melissa, a Safeway Moving customer

Melissa is grateful she stumbled upon moveBuddha early in her search. The moveBuddha moving cost calculator was the best tool she found for ballpark move pricing. After a week of research, Melissa trusted her gut and booked Safeway Moving for the job. We believe her gut was right, since we recommend Safeway as one of the top long-distance movers and think it is generally one of the best moving companies out there.

Curious how they did? Melissa took advantage of the moveBuddha Better Moves Project $500 stipend to share the pros and cons of working with Safeway. Check out this guide to see how Melissa’s move went, from booking to delivery. =

Move day takeaways for Safeway customers

  • Communication: Safeway answered all of Melissa’s questions and kept in touch during the process. Her rep was 45 minutes late for one of their calls because of technical issues, which she understood but still found a little annoying.
  • Pricing accuracy and transparency: Melissa had a previous moving experience where her quote increased because of surprise fees, so Safeway’s transparency was a pleasant surprise. They cared about accuracy, and her final payment was actually cheaper than her quote!
  • Professionalism: Safeway’s crew was perfectly professional from start to finish.
  • Timeliness: Safeway always arrived on time. Melissa’s belongings arrived just four days after pickup, which is incredibly fast.
  • Loss and damage: The move cracked three plastic bins and damaged two cabinets. Overall, everything arrived in one piece, and Melissa doesn’t plan on submitting a damage claim.
  • Would Melissa use Safeway again? Yes. There were a few communication issues and some minor damage to her belongings, but Melissa still recommends Safeway. She believes the white-glove service was worth the extra cost — and the accurate quote didn’t hurt, either.
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Melissa needed help moving from Wellington, FL, to Chattanooga, TN

Safeway moving truck

Melissa wanted to relocate from her two-bedroom home in Florida to a four-bedroom house in Chattanooga to be closer to her daughter.

Melissa wasn’t new to moving, so she had an idea of what to expect. However, Melissa didn’t have local friends she could bribe with pizza to load everything, so she knew she needed a full-service mover for pickup and delivery.

In the past, movers pulled a switcheroo and tacked on additional charges to her quote, so Melissa wanted to find a moving company with transparent pricing. Aside from cost accuracy, Melissa also felt anxious about loss and damage. She wanted to take her time planning the move and find a company that would take care of her belongings.

Melissa’s move at a glance

Move date March 18, 2024
Moved from Wellington, FL
Moved to Chattanooga, TN
Distance 723 miles
Move size Two-bedroom home (1,006 cubic feet)
Moving company Safeway Moving
Moving quote $5,200
Actual cost $5,060

Melissa got quotes from two full-service moving companies

Ever the pragmatist, Melissa needed a tool to help her get a ballpark estimate for her move. But everywhere she turned, moving cost estimators wanted her personal information.

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Fortunately, she stumbled across moveBuddha and loved the moving cost calculator. There was no need for her to enter her personal info — Melissa could simply play with the numbers and figure out how much this move would cost her.

Soon enough, Melissa consulted moveBuddha’s other guides — including our list of best moving companies and decluttering for a move — to plan the most efficient move. Ultimately, Melissa requested quotes from Safeway and American Van Lines.

She requested a phone quote from Safeway and mentioned she was shopping around for quotes. Then Safeway surprised her: they offered $400 off her quote if she signed up right then and there. We don’t normally recommend this kind of thing, but it worked out well for Melissa, who took advantage of Safeway’s impromptu discount.

Company Estimated volume/weight Estimated cost
Safeway Moving 1,006 cubic feet (7,042 pounds) $5,200
American Van Lines 6,055 pounds $4,200

Melissa chose Safeway for their pricing

American Van Lines was $1,000 cheaper than Safeway, but her gut told her Safeway was the better choice. She loved that the company is military-owned, but their transparent pricing by cubic foot, not weight, was the deciding factor. Melissa felt this would give her more control over her costs, so she signed on the dotted line.

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  • GPS tracked trucks and tractors
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Safeway bundled multiple services into her full-service move, including:

  • Furniture disassembly and reassembly
  • Moving blankets and shrink-wrap
  • Loading and unloading
  • Transportation
  • Specialized boxes for fragile items, including a TV, large mirror, and floor lamp
  • Basic moving insurance (coverage of $0.60 per pound per item)

Safeway also offered extra services like packing, moving supplies, and expedited delivery, but Melissa declined these add-ons.

Safeway gave Melissa an in-depth packet with tips on packing, moving supplies, and more. They also told her to pack her boxes so they wouldn’t collapse or crack in transit. Since they charged by the cubic foot, Safeway encouraged Melissa to fill her boxes to the brim instead of worrying about their weight.

Fortunately, Melissa gave herself three months to prepare for this move, so she spent the first two months purging a garage’s worth of stuff. She bought sturdy bins from Home Depot and nabbed some free moving boxes from the shopping center behind her home.

To streamline the moving process, Melissa also used a notebook to create her own pre- and post-move checklists, which included to-dos like insurance updates, address changes, finding new doctors, and setting up utilities.

Moving day was hassle-free

Loaded Safeway moving truck

Safeway assigned Melissa a moving coordinator, who contacted her a few weeks before moving day to check in and answer questions. She also sent Safeway a finalized inventory list with box counts and even box dimensions — yes, she measured every single box!

For technical reasons, the Safeway coordinator was 45 minutes late to one of their scheduled meetings, but they didn’t tell Melissa anything until she reached out to them 20 minutes after the scheduled time. Safeway gave Melissa nothing but white-glove treatment, but this oversight left a bad taste in her mouth.

On the upside, the Safeway Quality Assurance team updated Melissa’s quote to be a little lower than originally estimated. She was thrilled the quote actually went down, which has never happened to her before.

She did have concerns about Safeway’s 18-wheeler getting into her neighborhood. Melissa sent Safeway photos of the roads just in case. They assured her that they would have a shuttle truck on standby just in case. This is normally an extra cost, but Safeway promised to waive the fee for Melissa.

On moving day, Safeway gave Melissa an arrival window of 9 to 11 a.m. The crew arrived at 10:30 a.m. and gave Melissa a call when they got to the gate. That was well and good, but Melissa would have appreciated a call ahead of their arrival to move her car out of the way.

The movers soon realized they couldn’t fit an 18-wheeler in the neighborhood after all, so they used the shuttle truck to move Melissa’s items to the hauler. Safeway took great care of Melissa’s items, wrapping anything that wasn’t in a box or bin. They wrapped everything thoroughly with moving blankets, plastic wrap, and tape.

While they loaded, Melissa answered the movers’ questions, walked around with her dog, and read a book. She paid a third of her bill (with the final amount due before delivery) and signed the bill of lading.

The loading process took four hours. After loading, Melissa’s Safeway rep called to check in with her and explain the next steps.

Delivery was fast, but there was some damage

Moving truck outside a home

Safeway estimated that Melissa’s belongings would arrive within two to 10 business days. Keep in mind that these estimates are unofficial. Always check your contract to see what the turnaround time actually is. Many movers can legally take as long as 30 days to transport your belongings, so plan accordingly.

Safeway’s logistics coordinator called Melissa on March 22, the day before delivery, to give her an estimated arrival time. It took just four days for Melissa’s things to arrive in Tennessee, and she was thrilled at the speed! It was much quicker than expected, and Melissa was happy to sleep on something other than a wobbly air mattress.

Safeway’s delivery team arrived on March 23 at 9 a.m., right on time. There were only two people on this team, while the loading team had three people. This surprised Melissa, but having a smaller team for unloading isn’t unusual.

There was an unexpected speed bump, though — the driver only spoke German, so Melissa used a translation app to communicate with him. Melissa paid the remaining third of her invoice, and Safeway got to work unloading.

Safeway laid moving blankets throughout the house before entering to keep her floors clean. One employee focused on unloading, while the second focused on reassembling furniture.

As they unloaded items from the truck, they used a mobile barcode scanner to scan the label on each piece to verify all 132 items were present and accounted for. The process took just under five hours.

Unfortunately, there was some damage. Three of Melissa’s Home Depot plastic bins were cracked. A small leg broke off a cabinet, but Safeway managed to repair that for Melissa while onsite. Her couch also had a small tear, and the door on the dresser fell off. However, the damage wasn’t enough for her to want to file a damage claim.

The Safeway moving coordinator called and texted Melissa later on the day of delivery to check in with her and close out the move.

Our take on the move

items packed to move

Melissa’s natural knack for planning made her move as smooth as possible. She measured her boxes and furniture with surgical precision, which few customers do. This is crucial if you didn’t get an in-person or AI-powered virtual quote. Measuring your items gives the moving company something more tangible for generating a quote, giving you a more accurate estimate.

Melissa also kept her ducks in a row by making her own moving checklist. Some folks are paper people, but we recommend creating a digital list in an app like Google Keep so you have access to it at all times — especially since it’s easy to lose a checklist in the shuffle of moving. You can also use our printable moving checklist instead of making your own!

Melissa took advantage of a $400 discount by booking with Safeway while on the phone with them. This worked out for her move, but we recommend getting at least three moving quotes and taking your time comparing providers. Sometimes you can cut costs by way more than $400, especially if you get a quote from a mover that offers price matching.

By the way, it was very kind of Safeway not to charge Melissa for the shuttle. Shuttling creates a lot of extra work for the Safeway crew, so Melissa truly benefited from the Safeway rep’s generosity there.

It is odd that Melissa’s delivery driver only spoke German, but, hey, language barriers can happen. We love that Melissa just rolled with it and whipped out a translation app to keep things moving.

It surprised Melissa that only two people showed up for delivery, but it’s very normal for two-person crews to handle less complex unloading jobs.

The verdict

Melissa’s move had only a few very small hiccups. She believes she got great value for the money and would work with Safeway again in a heartbeat.

She loved that her final cost was lower than her quote and appreciated that there were no surprise charges. She does wish there hadn’t been so much damage to her stuff, but that can happen with shuttling because of the extra handling.

Melissa’s number-one piece of advice for anyone planning to move is to get an excellent moving company. Moving is stressful, but having the right company in your corner will help you manage a lot of the unknowns.

A few of Melissa’s plastic bins did crack in transit, so she suggests filling your boxes to the brim or at least packing them with paper or towels so they don’t crack.

She also recommends getting multiple quotes, but not so many that you get overwhelmed by the options. The lowest quote isn’t always the best choice because some companies will throw in “gotcha” fees. She loved Safeway’s cubic-foot rates, pricing transparency, and white-glove service, which made a stressful time in her life much more manageable.

Here’s how Melissa rated Safeway’s performance on a scale of 1 to 5:

  • Communication: 4
  • Timeliness: 5
  • Quote accuracy: 5
  • Overall experience: 5

Do you have an upcoming move? Share your moving story with the Better Moves Project to earn a $500 stipend. Sign up now.

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