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.

Moving Q&A

Our furniture movers get a lot of questions from customers about what to expect with Atlas moving them. These usually come from families who are about to move for the first time. Here are answers to a few of the more common questions we hear.

How much does it cost to move?Questions and answers for moving

The answer depends on how much your shipment weighs and how far it travels. To give a detailed price quote, we visit your home and see exactly what items you will be moving. We’ll also talk about preparing and packing your things for shipment, what the cost would be for us to do it and what you can do yourself to save money. Weleski has been helping families move for over 100 years. We use our experience to not only make moving easy for you but to help you make it less expensive for yourself. By the way, we also provide quick, ballpark moving estimates here.

How long does it take to move?

Generally, smaller shipments move more quickly than big shipments do. Our warehouse movers at Weleski storage can usually move smaller shipments, those weighing less than 5,000 pounds (such as 2-bedroom apartments or small houses), across the country in ten days or less. Larger moves can take longer, simply because there are more preparation and handling involved. Equipment availability can also be a factor during the busiest moving months (when school is out of session). Moving also requires planning; four weeks typically provides ample time. Here’s a four-week checklist you may find helpful.

Are there things I shouldn’t move? Things I can’t move?

Yes. Now is the best time to let them go of items you no longer need, so they can be of use to someone else. Consider selling them and using the money to offset other expenses. You might like to donate things to charity or give them away to friends. Or, you may simply recycle them. (Nobody really wants that broken wall clock or that collection of empty wine bottles—you could make them vanish at the curb with a post under “free stuff” on Craigslist.)

As for things you can’t move, our furniture movers have a list of “non-allowables,” things they are unable to move or can move only under special circumstances. And there are certain things, like valuables and personal items, that should be moved. Here’s a page that explains all of this in detail.

What happens if something becomes damaged during moving?

Our warehouse movers take extreme care in preparing, handling, and transporting household goods. Still, we encourage every customer to take advantage of Full Value Protection. It’s affordable coverage that provides repair or replacement (market value) of any item that is lost or damaged while in our care. Such events are the exception, rather than the rule; in any case, Full Value Protection provides peace of mind that is relatively inexpensive.

Do you have a question about moving? Just ask us—we’ll get you the answer.

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!

Moving Internationally Can Be a Beautiful Thing

Watching the Olympic games unfold in Rio, I’m reminded of what a beautiful world ours is and what wonderful people inhabit it. Moving internationally enables people to explore the world while learning about themselves. When Weleski’s international movers help people relocate, I like to think we’re helping them to personally experience that beauty and wonder.

In one way, an overseas move can be like going to another world. Different language, unfamiliar customs, strange food. In another way, it can be like moving to another state. At least we try to make it seem that easy.

Amsterdam at Sunrise

It’s not the distance per se that makes an international relocation different. (Did you know it’s twice as far from New York to Los Angeles as it is from Miami to Panama City, Panama?) Rather, the red tape of differing legalities between countries is the primary differentiator.  Here are a few of the things to be mindful of.

Downsize your move. The extent of your downsizing can depend on how long you intend to be overseas. In general, the fewer things you take, the easier and more affordable your move will be. Establishing a furnished residence in your new country could end up saving you money.

Keep things separate. Don’t include these items when you pack your household goods:  passport or I.D., currency, important papers, jewelry, photos and keepsakes. For a more specific list of items you should transport yourself, check out Atlas’s list of personal belongings.

Important papers. You need ready access to several documents: such as your passport, work visa, birth certificate, marriage certificate, academic record, medical record, health insurance information, life insurance policy numbers, social security card, list of important contacts (personal and professional) and phone numbers. You might also snap a photo of each document to keep on your mobile device — and back the document images up with “cloud storage,” e.g., Google Drive.

Driving. What are the requirements for driving in your new country? Do you have to take a test before you can obtain a license? Be sure you are legally authorized and insured before you get behind the wheel.

London at nightMoney. How much will you need for miscellaneous expenses as you travel? If your bank doesn’t have international reach, you’ll often need your new address and your passport to open a bank account in a foreign country. Try looking into banking options before you leave so you can focus more on your international adventure.

Immunizations. Check the requirements for the country you are going to and make sure you are up to date on required vaccinations. The same goes for pets. Do they meet requirements for entry in the country? In the locale and housing unit?

Getting started. It’s a good idea to get estimates from at least two, if not three, moving companies with international capabilities. Ask questions, such as which insurance option is best for your circumstances. And ask for references, then contact those customers and ask if they would use the mover again.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of everything you will need to consider when moving internationally, but it’s a good start. You can read more about our international relocation services here. Or, send us a message with your question.  We’re glad to show you how moving internationally can be a beautiful thing.

Professional Movers vs. Renting a Moving Truck

Professional Moving Truck in front of a House

We all want to be wise consumers, try to save a dollar when we can. For this reason, it’s tempting to rent a moving truck rather than hire professional movers. I understand that—I’ve even helped people in such situations with professional packing supplies and services. (I don’t begrudge anyone trying to save money. In this day and age, every dollar counts!)

If you are thinking about doing your own hauling, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Availability. When moving day gets here, will the truck rental place have a truck available for you? Especially during the summer months, when moving is at its peak, truck rental companies cannot keep up with the demand. Even a “guaranteed” reservation is often no guarantee that a truck will be available when you need it. True, Weleski is subject to the same seasonal demands for equipment. However, when we commit to your move, we serve you as promised. We’ve built our reputation on being reliable and responsive.

Hidden Costs. As someone once said, “the large type giveth and the small type taketh away.” That boldly advertised truck price is a grabber. Be sure to factor in all the related expenses for mileage, seasonal price fluctuations, long-distance and one-way premiums. Then add in an unknown amount for the unexpected, such as a tire blowout or radiator leak. On the other hand, with Weleski professional movers the guaranteed price for service covers everything, with no surprises. If something unexpected happens in transit, we take care of it.

Damaged Goods. When you pack and load your own shipment, you are responsible for the safety of your goods. If items break or are damaged, you’re on the hook. With professional movers, you get experience and best practices for packing and loading. Plus, every shipment Weleski handles is covered by full value protection (unless you say otherwise). FVP guarantees you receive the replacement value of any item in the event of loss or damage.

Your Safety. I was once driving through Florida on I-75 behind a car pulling a popular brand of rented trailer.  Apparently the load inside was unsecured, causing the trailer and car to swerve wildly. Traffic behind slowed in anticipation of a jack-knife and rollover. Fortunately, the driver slowed down and pulled over before a catastrophe occurred. This is but one example of the dangers you can avoid with a professional mover in charge.

Faulty Equipment. Vicious price competition in the truck rental space encourages less-than-ethical operators to cut costs, even on essential vehicle maintenance. Be aware the truck you rent is driven by a different driver on every move—and is only as reliable as the company you get it from. Speaking for Weleski, we are diligent in maintaining our equipment for reliability and safety. The lives of our people and the motoring public depend on it.

I remember seeing a cartoon that illustrated a backhoe beside a roadside stand with a sign: “Fred’s Croissants and Fill Dirt.” In an attempt to be everywhere, truck rental places are often an appendage to some other concern, such as a convenience store or self-storage business. Weleski Transfer, on the other hand, is a full-service moving and storage company with a single focus on helping customers go new places.

True, a professional move on paper is typically more than the cost of a rental truck. But add everything up, and I think you’ll see the many advantages of our professional moving service give you an undeniable value. You can save yourself a lot of hassle and uncertainty—and even come out dollars ahead. Get a free moving quote to see what we can offer you.

How to Get a Moving Quote

getting a moving quote from an in-home estimateSomething we routinely offer customers is a free quote for moving services. This is pretty common in the moving industry—and it should be. Making a move isn’t an easy, one-size-fits-all purchase. Your move is uniquely yours; it may be similar to others, but it’s not identical. So you, and every customer, should get a detailed quote for services before you decide on a mover. You should know exactly what to expect and how much it will cost.

The cost for moving depends mainly on the weight of a shipment and the distance it travels. So, we need to know what items you will be moving, where you are moving from (origin), and where you are moving to (destination).  We also need to know when you plan to move, since moving costs normally fluctuate with seasonal demand. For example, resources (trucks and crews) are in greater demand during the summer and costs are generally higher as a result.

To prepare an accurate moving quote, movers needs accurate information. Weleski helps you get an idea of cost with an online form that captures the essential information. We use this to provide a “nonbinding” estimate. This is what we think the move will cost, but it is not a guarantee. In order to give you a guaranteed, or “binding” estimate, we will need to walk through your home and see everything you wish to move.

Insist on getting a written, in-home estimate from three different movers. If you are moving out of Pittsburgh or the surrounding area, we are glad to provide this service and to have the opportunity for you to ask us any questions you may have about your move. If you are moving from another state into Pennsylvania, we can also arrange to provide an in-home estimate through our Atlas agency network.

If a mover insists they can give you an accurate estimate without performing the in-home walk-through, run! Chances are you will get an inflated estimate, way more than you should have to pay.  By the same token, beware of any mover who provides a “low-ball” estimate.  It’s a sad fact our industry has more than its share of unscrupulous operators. Some will use the low, low price ruse to hook a customer, then pile on additional charges and hold goods for ransom until paid.  Don’t let yourself become a victim.

Whether Weleski is ultimately your choice for moving, we are glad to have the chance to give you a moving quote. We consider it a cost of doing business, well worth it for the chance to serve you as our customer. Please call us (1-888-224-3330) or use our online form to request a free moving quote today.

Is your mover a pro? How do you know?

Like every industry, moving employs a lot of different people with varying skills and capabilities. By some accounts, anyone who earns money from their work is deemed a “professional.”

Here at Weleski, we believe professionalism is much more than the ability to draw a paycheck. For us, it entails insistence on best practices, systems for efficient operations and communications, significant investments in equipment and maintenance, ongoing training for employees, and an emphasis on continual improvements in service for customers.

Women with Van Operator - Avoid Moving Mistakes

As you might imagine, such professionalism takes commitment. Our family-owned business has been serving customers for four generations. Professionalism is important to us because it’s important to them. So, what can you expect to get from Weleski’s professional movers—as opposed to some other fellow with a smile and a truck?

Skilled hands. Our professionals are trained in the best practices for handling household goods. This means we know how to pack and prepare delicate items for shipping. It also means we know how to handle big, heavy, and bulky items safely. We have the right tools and use the best techniques to get your things into your new home.

Protection. Our professionals not only care for your belongings, they take precautions to keep your house from getting damaged in the process of moving out or moving in. We use pads and cardboard to protect floors, doorways, walls, and stairways. It takes extra effort, but we couldn’t call ourselves professional unless we did.

Communication. When you move with us, we keep you in the loop from start to finish. You’ll know the planned schedule, specific actions you are responsible for, and deadlines for moving milestones. You’ll also know immediately if unforeseen events force us to modify any aspect of the move.

Dedicated people. We hire qualified people and we support them with ongoing training to enable their success. They share our company’s commitment to service and help us continually look for ways to improve the customer experience.

First class equipment. We equip our professionals with the best equipment and facilities. Our trucks, accessories, and warehouses are clean and well-maintained. Your goods are always secure in our possession.

Professional certification. As a certified ProMover™, Weleski carries the industry’s official designation of professionalism. It tells you we operate in compliance with federal standards regulating our industry, and that we subscribe to the AMSA Code of Ethics.

These are some of the main factors that distinguish our people. We take the word “professional” seriously because we value you—and we hope to be your professional mover. Contact us when you’re ready to make your best move with Weleski Transfer!

Is it cool to move sometime other than summer?

Everyone knows some things naturally go hand in hand. Thanksgiving and parades. Baseball and hot dogs. Coffee and donuts. But you may not realize that “moving” and “summer” have been joined at the hip for as long as anyone can remember. The main reason: Families prefer moving when the kids are out of school to avoid a disruption in their studies.

So, come late May and early June, it’s “Katy, bar the door!” In fact, the summer recess from school pretty accurately defines what our industry calls the “moving season.” Most household moves occur during this time. As a result, the key resources used for moving (namely skilled workers and moving vans) are stretched a little thin. Which translates to longer waits for service and/or restrictions on scheduling. Plus, that old law of supply-and-demand places a premium on the cost of services.

Moving During Fall

All of this means you can come out dollars and days ahead if you plan to make your move sometime other than during the summer season. There are other advantages, too. Consider the difference between moving in the dog days of summer when the thermometer is breaking into the 90s and the relative humidity is causing every creature that breathes to break into a sweat. No fun! Now, imagine the cool, crisp days of October and November or March and April. Sure, your moving crew may have to deal with a chill in the air. But they are a hardy bunch and they know how to dress for the weather. They actually work much more efficiently (and comfortably) in cooler air than they do in sweltering air.

But it’s not just moving companies that experience summer congestion. You may find more housing choices available to you during the off season. And roads are less crowded during days when school is in session — and mom or dad isn’t driving all over creation to shuttle the kids between softball practice, dance lessons, and swimming.

It may not be possible for you to dictate when you can move. If an opportunity for a job promotion arises, for example, you may be at the mercy of forces beyond your control. But if you have the latitude to choose which month you will move, consider going before or after the summer season. You may find those months to be the coolest times of all.

We handle moves all year long but if this has inspired you to move during the cooler months, go ahead and contact us to schedule your move this Fall!

Playing it Smart on Your First Day in Your New Home

The last carton is finally inside, the movers are pulling away from the curb, and you’re officially in your new home. Whew! Now comes the work of settling in. Yes, more work lies ahead over the next several days as you get everything put away, arranged, and organized—all while you juggle the day-to-day demands of everyday living.

No sweat. You were smart. As the old song goes, you planned to “make it easy on yourself.”

For one thing, you thought of each family member and put their essentials—pajamas and change of clothes, toothbrush and grooming items—in their own carton (suitcases work great, too). You even remembered to put together a carton of linens and towels and mark it “day one.” There it is, sitting conveniently in the master bedroom. No fumbling around to get the beds and baths in order.

shutterstock_15770005 (2)

Eventually, you’ll get the kitchen set up for cooking. But what’s the hurry? No one will starve because you had the foresight to pack some healthful, easy-to-serve snacks. Energy bars, peanut butter crackers, Apples and oranges, bite-sized Snickers. (Okay, so nobody is perfect.) And, with paper plates, napkins, and plastic ware in your kit, you can handle a carryout dinner with no hassle. What shall it be tonight? Mexican? Chinese? Maybe you’ll decide to eat out. That cool-looking pub a half-mile up the road is said to have the best pizza in town.

And isn’t it nice that your boss gave you a little time to get settled in before you climb back into the saddle? Of course, you were wise to request a few days off. If everything goes smoothly, you should get through most of this unpacking and settling-in rigmarole before the weekend rolls by. You may even have time to go around the block and meet some of your new neighbors. Or check out the “lay of the land” and get a feel for where you might shop for groceries and other supplies.

Plus, the first few days around the house let you make sure all services are in place and in order: gas and electric, water and sewer, trash pickup, Internet. Get that glitch worked out of the wireless network now, so brother and sister can keep tabs on their social networks. They get a little cranky when they can’t access Instagram.

It seems the first day in your new home sort of melts into the second, then the third. Before you know it, you’re settled in. Moving sure was easy in the final stretch. You played it smart.

The sooner you start planning your move, the smoother it will go. Contact us or request a free moving quote and get started today!