I know about the scam van lines, and this is not about those. Sterling, Stevens, Wheaton, Bekins, and a few others, are the real deal. The problem is that your boss does not know the difference when telling you how much it should cost to move. Another problem is that moving is still difficult, and even two companies that won’t rip you off WILL disappoint.

Two years after our move with Sterling, I keep getting these emails looking for my feedback. Those annoyances have inspired me to write this review rather than waste my time filling out a survey. Surveys don’t allow me to share my experience, and they are really just a tool to help the business without seeing the Google review tank. Google reviews are usually reserved for those who really hate a service and those who are family members or really love it. Neither of these moving van lines elicit real emotion from me.

 

Sterling

Sterling had a fairly small move for us. That’s what they do, generally. I did most of the move myself, but we had some items that I preferred going on a truck with pro movers. This included a piano, which was banged around a bit by the crew, resulting in a few areas of slight wood damage. Nothing big. The worst parts of the Sterling move were scratches to the hardwood floors in the old house and several items left on their sides for my wife in Kansas without me to help put them upright. Monetarily, I’d say the floor scratches were the only real loss, since those affected the ability to sell the house in Wisconsin.

 

Wheaton

I should have known it wouldn’t go smoothly with Wheaton when I received a message the night before the move from the truck driver/head mover. He was really calling his boss, but he accidentally dialed my number and told me that he had not acquired a moving crew as of 10pm. I started to wonder if he’d get a crew to even show up. They did, unfortunately. I’m still missing my watch. It was a Skagen with a cracked face, but it must have looked nicer to one of the guys. These clowns were also rude, and they disrespected my wife a few times, telling her to get stuff out of the way for them so they could do their jobs. They also packed up the staircase railing hardware, claiming they had done nothing of the sort, which led me to having to buy new hardware before the final walkthrough later that evening. They left drinks and garbage wherever, and one even jump-scared me from behind a wall, thinking I was one of his beddies. That’s just sad, since either he or one of his friends also stole my watch.

 

The crew in Florida was a bit better, but they were similarly in a blaming mood. They seemed to want us to somehow move items they’d set down in the destined rooms out of their way. And they got all sassy about moving the old washer and dryer into the garage to make way for our new ones. Petty. One guy complained about the staircase, and another said he wasn’t willing to hurt himself in our house because his body is needed for his job as a mover. And I was thinking, “Then don’t set crap in the middle of the room in your own way, pro mover guy.” My wife and I also overheard them talking trash about working our move was somehow akin to slavery. That’s a real slap in the face to someone who had just seen a $6,000+ charge get added to the credit card. I basically had to remove myself from their jibber jabber and hide out as much as I could, which left my wife to deal with their antics. At least I figured they wouldn’t ask her to do their jobs for them like they seemed to start doing with me. Honestly, if Wheaton had wanted my help, then I could have been added to the payroll...my payroll.

 

Moving is awful. Even if you hire the quality companies, the workers don’t show up with white gloves and smiles. Whether you get help from friends or pay for “pros,” you’ll end up with mystery dents in walls and floors. One thing I can say for these movers is that they did not hold our items hostage or steal more than the watch (that I’m aware of). That’s better than some of the reviews I’d seen for lesser companies. I can’t tell you that I was happy with either of these movers, but I also can’t say I was totally ripped off. I know some of the top movers use the same estimators and would also employ similar subcontractors, so good luck finding anything better. And if one of your crew near KC is wearing a cracked Skagen watch, keep an eye on him.

[UPDATE]

A previous version of this article said that Stevens was our second mover, not Wheaton. While I had contacted Stevens both years, we went with Wheaton because of the timing. In fact, a customer service rep from Stevens contacted me shortly after this article being published, which leads me to believe that it's company that takes customer service seriously. While THERE WILL NOT BE ANOTHER MOVE for us, if my parents move down to Florida, I will suggest trying Stevens.

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