Finding the Right Neighborhood

When you undertake a move to a different city or town, you’ll be settling into a new neighborhood. Every neighborhood has its own character, a unique mix of homes and businesses, green spaces and recreational facilities, churches, and schools. Neighborhoods are as different as the people who comprise them. So how do you find a neighborhood you will be comfortable in? A place where you will feel more than a passing kinship with your neighbors?

Here are a few resources you may find useful as you go about finding your perfect fit.

Finding the right neighborhood with Weleski

Your real estate agent. In general, realtors who have earned the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) designation are more knowledgeable than agents who have not. Talk to your agent about your expectations for property values, schools, walkability, noise and light pollution, safety—any and all quality-of-living aspects that are important to you.

Online resources. Several websites compile information on neighborhoods precisely to let people know whether they might want to locate there.

  • Area Vibes lists statistics on livability, amenities, cost of living, crime, education, employment, and housing.
  • You can talk to residents and those with firsthand knowledge of a city’s neighborhoods via the discussion boards at www.city-data.com.
  • Neighborhood Scout offers a subscription service that lets you explore neighborhoods by zip code.
  • You can see how amenable an area is for walking, biking, and public transit via a score (0: worst to 100: best). For a map and table of cities (pop. 200,000 and above) where these scores are published, go here.
  • Where are the best schools located?Just enter a zip code and see for yourself at GreatSchools.org.
  • Atlas Van Lines provides quality-of-life research on many cities in the U.S. and Canada with city guides. You can view these here  (U.S. City Guides) and here (Canada City Guides).
  • You can see a fairly extensive set of data for areas by zip code at bestplaces.net. In addition to typical census-type information, the site also aggregates data on the cost of living, healthcare, and climate.
  • Google Maps provides photo views by address as well as a tool for locating nearby dining, lodging, and transportation resources.
  • Personal Visit. The best way to see what a neighborhood is like is to drive or walk around in it.

If you are planning a visit to the Pittsburgh or Cleveland areas, let us know. There are lots of great neighborhoods in both cities. Our Weleski storage and warehouse movers have been in and out of every local neighborhood many times. Tell us about your expectations and our furniture movers will recommend some areas you may like to consider.

Why Book a Summer Move Now?

Get a Jump on Summer: Schedule Your Move Now.

As you might guess, more people move during the summer than any other season of the year. In fact, Atlas handles almost twice as many moves during the busiest moving month (July) compared to the slowest (February). There’s a good reason—families prefer to move when school is not in session so the kids won’t be disrupted in their studies. Too, the weather tends to be more agreeable for moving during warmer months. In much of the country, including Pittsburgh, long-distance movers must often battle the elements. Winter storms can make handling and transporting goods more labor-intensive, especially when ice or snow plays havoc with streets or impedes access to residences.

So, if you landed here after searching for “moving companies near me” or “cheap movers near me,” you are probably thinking about moving sometime in the next several weeks.Spring Movers are Ready Now If you want to move during the summer, don’t wait to get started. Get a free quote today and  do yourself a big favor by securing the help you need and knowing it will be available when you need it.

We emphasize planning because moving is a process that unfolds over several weeks. A lot has to happen before you can simply empty one home and occupy another.  Here are a few tips to help you get a head start on a successful move.

Shed the Excess. If you have lived in a residence for thirty, twenty, or even ten years, you’ve likely accumulated quite a few things. You may no longer need some of them—especially since the cost of moving correlates to weight. Lighten your load by selling, donating, or tossing things you no longer need. Hold a moving sale in late March or early April—before yard sales start popping up all over town like dandelions.

Sell Your Home. Real estate professionals agree that spring is the best time of year to sell a property. De-cluttering is essential to staging a home for sale. Pack up the bric-a-brac, the refrigerator magnets, and family photos. Go to school on staging a home for sale by looking at homes for sale online. Bottom line: make it possible for prospective buyers to stand in the vision of the house as theirs, not yours.

Start Packing. You can start boxing up things you know can live without until you get to your new home. These may include books, extra bedding, tableware, and other household items. Time is a luxury, and if you use it now to get as much of the packing done as you can, the final days leading up to moving day will feel much smoother.

Know Your New Neighborhood. If you know which neighborhood you will be moving into, use this time to become acquainted with its character and amenities. Scout the locations of grocery stores, schools, churches, libraries, post offices, pharmacies, parks, and public transportation. Visit the city’s website and familiarize yourself with local ordinances and policies. Will you need a permit to hold an after-moving sale? When are trash pickups scheduled for your street?

Get a Healthy Head Start. Now is a good time to ascertain referrals or recommendations and set appointments with health care providers—family doctor, dentist, eye doctor, etc. It’s also a good time for pet prep. Make sure your pet’s shots are current and you have the documentation your new vet will need.

Like I mentioned earlier, moving is a process. Planning now gives you the luxury of more time to handle all the details. We’ve helped thousands of families with the process. When you know you are going to move, get in touch and we’ll help you get a timely advantage.

Finding a Mover “Near Me”

Every move begins with the decision to move. Once you’ve crossed that threshold, you have to formulate a plan. Will you move yourself—or enlist the help of a local professional mover?  If you decide on the latter course, how can you locate the right mover near you?

It’s an important decision. There are many movers out there. I recommend a process I call REST to find capable local movers and storage professionals. (I always love using acronyms for finding local businesses & deals near me.)

Research local movers.Two local movers I found near me that helped move my family.

Start by doing an internet search for “local moving companies” or “moving companies near me” or “local storage facilities near me.” If you are researching movers in another market, such as one you will be moving to, search for “movers in Cleveland” or “moving companies in Pittsburgh,” for example. Spend a little time sifting through the search results. Based on your preliminary findings, do a search for moving companies by name and see what pops up.  Check to see if a company carries the ProMover designation, is rated by the Better Business Bureau, and is active in the community, such as supporting local charitable causes. (For example, Weleski helps local food banks through participation in Move for Hunger and they volunteered with a toy donation for Mount Saint Peter Parish.)

Get moving quotes.

Many movers offer the convenience of a free online quote. You can start with an estimate to get an idea of cost, but be advised that you will need an in-person visit from a representative or a video walk-through in order to provide an accurate assessment of cost. If a local mover does not offer this, you should scratch the company off your list. Beware of low-ball prices—often a signal that the mover will cut corners or operate unethically. The in-home estimate is a chance to form an impression about the mover’s professionalism. Go over every detail of the mover’s proposal and ask any questions you have about the service, especially your scheduling expectations.

Find customer reviews.

If you like what you see, ask the mover for the names of three customers they have moved within the last 60 days. Then, search for reviews online about their experience – sometimes you can even message them to get more details. Did the mover meet their expectations? Would they use the mover again? Would they recommend the mover to family members and friends? Were they pleased with the value they received based on the cost of service? Would they do anything differently the next time they move?

Move with the best.

Once you’ve assessed your local moving and storage companies to your satisfaction, you’re ready to flip the switch and sign the agreement. Then, follow the advice of your professional mover to proceed on schedule and make sure you are completely ready when moving day arrives. You can REST easy knowing you have chosen a professional local mover who will see the job through to your satisfaction.

If you want to know what our Weleski movers can do for you, give us a call. We’ll be happy to explain our moving process & walk you through the steps of REST!

If Santa were a Cleveland Mover

Santa transporting goods in his sleigh like a Cleveland mover

It’s the season of jingle bells and mistletoe, candy canes and tinsel. And, of course, the jolly old dude with a white beard in a red suit. I’ve often thought if moving companies had a mascot, Santa would certainly be Weleski movers’. I mean, if you could take all the moving companies in Cleveland, add all the moving companies in Ohio, then add all the local moving companies in every city, hamlet, and village across the country, they couldn’t begin to accomplish what good old Kris Kringle can in one night every year.

For starters, just take Cleveland, Ohio movers like those from Weleski Transfer Cleveland. They would need an army of elves to deliver toys to every child in the city. There are about 388,000 people (based on the most recent U.S. Census) in the Cleveland city limits. Of these, about seven percent are under five years old. If we consider just half of these (the older half), it equates to about 13,580 kiddos. Add those who are five to ten years old, that’s another 25,000 or so. Conservatively, the guy with the belly that shakes like jelly has to hand deliver gifts for close to 40,000 children in this one city alone.

Santa flying his sleigh over Ohio before delivering like a Cleveland moverNow, if Santa were one of our Cleveland movers, a few of our requirements might cramp his magical style. He couldn’t go breaking and entering into homes through the chimneys.  He would have to use the doors, like any sane professional does. Nor would he transport his goods with reindeer and sleigh. He would employ a variety of moving vans and trailers and dollies. And he wouldn’t be parking his equipment on people’s roofs.

Instead of wrapping paper, goods would be cushioned with bubble wrap and packed safely in cardboard cartons. Children would never receive damaged toys! As for the milk and cookies, he can take them to-go; no stopping and dawdling. Dispatch is on the phone, and little Tommy is about to wake up early. Better get a move on to get those presents in place before he gets up. If not, mom and dad have a lot of explaining to do!

Of course, Santa could never be a Cleveland mover, any more than Weleski and other Cleveland movers could ever be Santa. But, for one night a year, it sure would be fun to have Santa’s delivery abilities as a PSO (Professional Sleigh Operator). Think of the fuel it would save!

I wonder what reindeer run on?

Join the Weleski Team – Work with Moving Companies!

Are you a veteran in the moving industry? Or, are you looking for chance to start working while learning valuable moving tips — but unsure how to get started?

Part of the team from Weleski's Pittsburgh moving company

Ladies from Weleski’s Pittsburgh Office

Weleski Transfer, one of the most respected Pittsburgh moving companies, may have a career opportunity for you. Right now we’re looking to fill several positions at our Tarentum, Johnstown, and Cleveland locations.

Household Moving Team

If you are at least 18 and can lift and carry 100 pounds independently, you may be able to join us as a moving team member.  Responsibilities include packing, loading, transporting and unloading household goods. If you are substance-free with a good background, we invite you to apply. We are filling these positions at all three locations.

Sales Professional

If you are enthusiastic with a professional appearance and positive attitude, you may find fulfillment in sales with Weleski.  Primary responsibilities are meeting with customers and providing estimates for moving services. You’ll need a valid driver’s license. Experience in the moving industry is helpful, but not essential. If you have the right professional demeanor and willingness to learn, we will help you succeed. We currently have sales openings in both Tarentum and Cleveland.

Mechanical Technician

If you are an experienced mechanical technician, we’d like to talk to you about an opportunity in our Tarentum operations. We are looking for someone skilled in heavy duty diesel, light truck and automotive mechanical systems. We offer daylight hours and a competitive hourly wage. If you have a CDL “A”, Emissions & State Inspection License, or you are willing to obtain these credentials upon hiring, we urge you to apply.

Driver

If you have at least one year of experience as a CDL Driver (Class A or Class B) and a clean driving record,

Moving company team volunteering

Weleski Teammates Volunteering

we would like to talk to you about local driving opportunities at all three of our locations (Tarentum, Johnstown, and Cleveland). We have full-time and part-time openings for local and long-distance household goods drivers. Click here to apply.
Weleski Transfer has been a Pittsburgh moving company since 1909. Our team moves families, not furniture. As an Agent of Atlas Van Lines, we are part of a network of professional moving companies across the U.S. and Canada with global connections to help people go new places® anywhere in the world. Join our team to learn valuable moving tips that you can share and to work with a trusted moving company!

Pennsylvania Moving Migration

map of North America showing moving migration patternsIt’s not quite on the scale of the Israelites fleeing Egypt. But an Exodus is taking place. Movers in Pennsylvania (and moving companies in Pittsburgh, such as Weleski) are seeing it firsthand. More people are moving out of the Keystone State than moving in.

Last year, Atlas Van Lines customers made 77,705 moves between states and provinces. To help us wrap our heads around the question of “where are people going?” Atlas annually organizes the migration numbers, illustrates them, and publishes an analysis. It tells an interesting story about people’s wanderings across the U.S. and Canada.

As for 2015, Atlas counted 3,196 household goods moves out of Pennsylvania. But the van line handled only 2,256 moves into the state.

This marks three straight years for Pennsylvania as an outbound state. That is, more than 55% of moves (either originating in or destined for Pennsylvania) went out of the state. What’s more, each year of the last ten shows more people going than coming. Generally, the relative difference has been moderate; our status was considered “balanced” from 2006 to 2012.  history of Pennsylvania moves

If you study the map, you’ll see some interesting patterns. It appears our outbound status is part of a larger outbound swath that stretches across most of Canada and our nation’s midsection. There are pockets of inbound activity, namely in the northwest, northeast, and south central regions.  As you would expect, migration across much of the U.S. is considered “balanced.”

It’s tempting to speculate about the reasons people have for moving out of a region or into a region. Occasionally, an event will assert itself on human migration (natural disasters, such as Katrina, can be big enough to skew the data).  However, most movements of people are the result of ebbs and flows we movers are all too familiar with. People wish to pursue economic opportunity, such as a new job or promotion. They want to be closer to family and loved ones. Or they seek a more agreeable climate.

The Moving Migration Patterns infographic can be found here, and the full case analysis here.

If you are moving to or from Pennsylvania or the Pittsburgh area, your reasons are your own. If you are looking for a Pennsylvania moving company to help you, consider Weleski. We help families move, regardless of their reasons. Our Pittsburgh movers have been helping folks make their best moves for over 50 years. Give us a call at 1-888-224-3330 or click here for a free moving quote.

We earned “it” again. (And for the first time).

“It” is the “award of awards” in our business—the Milt Hill Quality Award. In November, Atlas recognized our Pittsburgh movers again (fourteen years straight) for an outstanding commitment to quality.  It was also the first time our Cleveland moving company location received the award. (Were it not for the volume threshold, which applies to each Atlas location individually, our Cleveland movers would already be multiple award winners).

The Milt Hill Award examines our business performance from every angle. It looks at how well we use technology. Whether our people wear uniforms. The certifications and background checks of employees.

Both Weleski locations exceeded the standard for every measure. But our scores in four areas are most telling:Milt-Hill-Award

1. Customer Satisfaction. Upon the completion of each move, the customer is asked to rate their satisfaction (from 1 to 5) with the services they received from the Atlas agents involved in booking, packing, and hauling. The Atlas standard is 4.10. We earned 4.57 (Pittsburgh) and 4.40 (Cleveland).

2. Hauling Claims Ratio. This number represents the amount of dollars paid in claims as a percent of revenue. (The lower the number, the better.) The Atlas standard is 3.50. We scored 1.31 (Pittsburgh) and 2.46 (Cleveland). These figures attest to our extraordinary care in handling customers’ goods. They also support the strong financial performance for our company.

3. Professional Van Operator Rating. This may be the single most difficult metric to achieve, simply because customers are much more likely to send in a survey when they have a complaint. (Completing and returning surveys is strictly voluntary.)  The Atlas standard is 4.50. We earned a 4.61 (Pittsburgh) and a perfect 5.00 (Cleveland).

4. Would You Use Weleski Again?  This is perhaps the most telling statistic of all. The standard is 90 percent “yes.” We scored 90.78 in Pittsburgh and 100 in Cleveland—another perfect score!

As mentioned in a 2014 post, we see this award as a priority because it measures all the things that go into creating a great customer experience. Now that we’ve broken the ice with the first win for our Cleveland operations, we fully intend to keep our string of Milt Hill Quality awards uninterrupted at both locations. It’s a reason to believe that wherever you’re coming from or going to, you’ll get excellent service with Weleski on your next move.

When you’re ready to move with an award-winning group of dedicated professionals, contact us or get a free moving quote today!

Thoughts on Migration Patterns

One of my favorite Seinfeld lines came when Jerry explained why his parents moved to Florida. “They turned sixty, and that’s the law.”

Every year, Atlas Van Lines analyzes the origins and destinations of interstate moves it handles. The idea is to get a 20,000 foot view of people’s moving patterns. Which states see an influx? Which ones see an exodus?

PA Last 10 Years Migration PatternsLooking at the numbers for Pennsylvania, for the last two years we have been classified as “outbound.” Which means more than 55 percent of Atlas moves in or out of Pennsylvania have been outbound. This movement reverses a 12-year trend in which Pennsylvania was considered “balanced.” That is, neither inbound nor outbound moves accounted for 55 percent or more of moves to and from the state. If we turn the calendar back a little further, we notice Pennsylvania was considered outbound from 1995 to 2000.

Statisticians have fun trying to guess what causes these kinds of shifts in moving patterns. I think the biggest influencers are opportunity and climate. As for the first, the 2014 numbers may well reflect a loss of opportunity in recent years. In August, the Keystone Research Center released a report on the commonwealth’s lackluster economic performance since 2010. Pennsylvania scored below average in job growth, joblessness, wages and income, and economic growth. The commonwealth’s overall grade was a C-minus. Clearly, such factors indicate people are likely to find greener career pastures elsewhere.

As for climate, a southerly draw is always likely. Perhaps the harsh weather events of recent memory influenced some to leave seek more temperate surroundings. You may recall in October of 2012, Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on the mid-Atlantic region. Although New Jersey took the worst of it, Pennsylvania saw significant power outages, evacuations, and storm-related fatalities. However, adverse weather events can take place anywhere, anytime. So I don’t attach too much significance to one storm. (But Sandy was one heckuva storm.)

While it may be tempting to look at outbound numbers and see the hole instead of the donut, there’s a good case to make for Pennsylvania as a destination. Honest, hardworking, and educated people live here. The topography varies from beautiful to breathtaking. And this area is a prime location for doing business. Did you know that 60% of the U.S. and Canada are within one day’s drive of our commonwealth?

Those of us who live in Pennsylvania know it to be a great place to live and work. Our business, Weleski Transfer, has had roots in Pennsylvania since 1909. We’re proud to be here, and the climate has been good for us all the way around.

Check out the full 2014 Migration Patterns Report from Atlas, and the Migration Patterns Infographic, which provides a snapshot of the 2014 patterns as well as past 10 years data.

The Cost of Running a Big Rig

How much does it cost?

This may be the most popular question in the English language (or a close second to “What’s for supper?”) Everything, it seems, has a cost. Human nature wants to know the precise impact on the pocketbook.

For instance, take the cost of moving. No two families are exactly alike, and no two household moves are exactly alike. Every move, theoretically, has its own unique cost.

To get an understanding of what goes into this cost, consider for a moment that big rig rolling down the highway. Each power unit (industry-speak for truck), represents the primary workhorse for transporting goods. There are other expenses, of course: rents for warehouses and offices, computers, payroll for supportive services, insurance, etc. But the tractor trailer and its Professional Van Operator represent the heart of the moving service—and the most significant portion of every move’s cost.

Motor Carrier Costs Table

From “An Analysis of the Operational Costs of Trucking: 2014 Update.” American Transportation Research Institute. September 2014.

When you look at motor carrier costs in the industry, you see nine different components. Seven of these are vehicle-based. The largest single cost component is fuel, which accounted for 38 percent of the total. It takes a lot of energy to move a big rig down the road—and the more weight it pulls, the more energy it consumes. Fuel cost is followed by driver wages (this includes helper wages for moving companies). Together, the two account for 64 percent—almost two-thirds—of total motor carrier cost.

Diesel fuel prices peaked earlier this year, but have since moderated. This is due to a softening global demand for crude oil and an increase in domestic production of energy. However, the cost of crude oil accounts for just 58 percent of total diesel cost (based on $3.79/gallon). Taxes (13 percent), distribution and marketing (17 percent) and refining costs (12 percent) make up the rest. So, dramatic price drops in crude oil don’t correlate to equally dramatic price drops at the pump.

While market forces may allow energy costs to occasionally recede, the cost of putting a professional behind the wheel shows no sign of abating. For starters, top professional van operators are in high demand. But the pipeline for new drivers is far from full. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. But the solution will be anything but simple.

In a report recently conducted by Atlas World Group the average cost of operation for a moving company has increased over 35% since 2009. The total tariff increase (the amount moving companies are legally permitted to charge) has risen about 5% during this same period.

Check out The Cost of Running a Big Rig infographic from Atlas Van Lines.