Finding Shop Movers


TomInNC

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 It looks like I will likely be moving from north of Charlotte to Blacksburg, VA this summer (about 150 miles). My employer is providing relocation funds, but it's up to me to find the movers. If possible, I'd really like to use someone that has moved shop equipment before. I started calling around, and most of the residential movers just said "sure, we can handle that" without even knowing what the machines were. For those of you that have moved shop, how did you find someone that knew what they were doing when it came to the large machines?

I will move all of the small tools myself, so I really just need help with: a Sawstop PCS, an 8 inch jointer, a 15 inch planer, a 14 inch bandsaw, a floor standing 20 inch drill press. Everything has been purchased in the past 3 years, so I would be reluctant to sell anything at this point.

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A timely thread for me as I expect to face the same problem this summer.  In my case it's compounded by the fact that some machines like the DC and TS have to be partially disassembled.  

Tom King's point is a good one.  I'll have to check if full replacement insurance is an available option.  Otherwise the mover's liability is minimal.

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On 2/20/2023 at 8:07 AM, Tom King said:

If it's all going to be insured for replacement value, I'd let them move it

Very good point.  Of course no one wants to deal with the hassle of filing a claim, but it's always good to stack the cards in your favor.

 

On 2/20/2023 at 8:37 AM, Mark J said:

some machines like the DC and TS have to be partially disassembled.

This is probably something you would want to do yourself.  Bubble wrap is your friend.  

I'd suggest taking "before" photos of everything, and even send the movers a list of all the items including the photos, size, and weight.  I recently had to move my machines down into the basement and I hired a local place.  They found it helpful to get that list so they knew what they were in for.

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Pay for the better, full replacement cost insurance.

Take pictures before/after and pay close attention to the condition the list for the tools on the loading day paperwork. They have to list every item they load and what condition it’s in. They often have condition codes that they use to describe the condition and any location of wear/damage. Some movers fill this out at the end and just list scratches/wear/tear on everything. If you don’t ensure this is accurate, they can deny claims. Not all will try to cheat you, but there are some out there that definitely will.

Watch them as they load the machines, and depending on how your interaction has been with them, either give them input if they start to move the machines improperly and/or take a pic of their methods to support your future claim.

When we moved, we had a few items damaged. Luckily they really didn’t push back at all, even though the claim close to $2k out of the $5k moving bill. I didn’t have any large machines at the time. 

SOMETHING will be broken or damaged. Just hope that it’s something easily replaced like a SawStop rather than something sentimental or unique that can’t easily be replaced. 

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If anyone gives you a quote without walking through the house and looking at everything they will be moving, it won’t be a binding quote and you’ll be in for a bad surprise when you get the final bill. Most national firms will give a binding “not to exceed” quote, where the actual price can go lower but not higher (based on assumed weight vs actual weight). 

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On 2/20/2023 at 8:59 AM, Mark J said:

is it to document invevtory, condition, or assembly

Yes.  Yes.  And Yes.   :)

I don't know about inventory - maybe not for the larger machines ("How many tables saws did I have....?"), but for smaller stuff, sure.  Be sure to label all the boxes so you know what's where. 

Photos definitely help with condition - this way you know whether or not you had a scrape/dent/scratch/bend/blemish before the move.

For your own benefit, photos during any disassembly can be a lifesaver when it comes to assembly. Also organize all the parts/bolts into smaller containers or baggies if possible, and either label them or just attach them to the machine itself.

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On 2/20/2023 at 8:59 AM, Mark J said:

I'm not looking forward to disassembling and reassembling the machines.  I'm going to need help (guess I better start making some friends :lol:).

When you guys talk about pictures, is it to document invevtory, condition, or assembly? 

I’m going to say condition. If you have a few scratches on the left wing of your TS surface, they are going to list it in the condition as something like “scratches top/left”. But if they deliver it with a big gouge on the left wing of your TS surface, you’ll need to back up your claim that it wasn’t already there. 
Might have to check with the moving company how/when you have to take the photos for them to accept them, but they should allow it within reason, particularly if you question their condition listing. Often it will be the same crew that loads, drives, and then unloads your items so they should be willing to work with you.

PODS have a max weight limit, and quickly exceed the cost of movers. Same with the Uhaul equivalent. As I recall they also don’t guarantee weather resistance.

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MarkJ how much disassembly are you going to do? I currently have the router table attached to the saw stop. I was hoping that I would just need to take that and the fence off and let them wheel it onto the truck. Are you going to take the extension wings off as well? 

Everything in my shop is on a mobile base, so hopefully that will help. 

I literally just bought the PM2820 drill press. It's on wheels, but it is super top heavy. Would strapping something that top heavy to the side of the truck be sufficient, or should I be thinking about taking the head off before transport?

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On 2/20/2023 at 9:35 AM, TomInNC said:

Everything in my shop is on a mobile base, so hopefully that will help

Mobile bases are great for moving things around a shop, but not so much for across terrain or onto/off of loading ramps.  I'd hazard a guess that they would still load them up onto "their" moving devices.

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1 hour ago, TomInNC said:

MarkJ how much disassembly are you going to do? I currently have the router table attached to the saw stop. I was hoping that I would just need to take that and the fence off and let them wheel it onto the truck. Are you going to take the extension wings off as well? 

Everything in my shop is on a mobile base, so hopefully that will help. 

I literally just bought the PM2820 drill press. It's on wheels, but it is super top heavy. Would strapping something that top heavy to the side of the truck be sufficient, or should I be thinking about taking the head off before transport?

I don't have all the answers figured out; not even sure I've found all the questions, yet :).  So first off, my shop is in my current basement, and the new shop is going to be in a basement, as well. So not a grade level transit for me, and as pointed out, mobile bases are most useful on flat floors. 

Just thinking out loud: 
I know with certainty that the DC and TS will not fit through "the door" unless disassembled. As to the SawStop, I have an ICS model that I bought used and had movers bring to my current shop.  Before the movers came to the seller's house I took off everything that was removable, including the wings, top, handles.  Everything except the saw itself I moved myself, but the 400lbs saw itself was too much.  The movers put it on a two wheel hand truck, wrapping it to the truck with a wide roll of plastic wrap, then 3 of them carried it up the seller's basement steps and subsequently down my basement steps.  So probably a similar operation this time around.  The possible exception is I may not remove the cast iron top (center section).  Although it's 500lbs with the top, the center of gravity is more favorable, on the other hand the top is less likely to be damaged if separate, and I don't think the saw should be lifted by the top.  I hope to be able to discuss the options with the mover beforehand and come up with a plan.

My router table is free standing.  I will definitely remove the router, and maybe the lift, but maybe not the cast iron top.  I may end up selling the router table, but it still has to be moved.  The Voyager drill press, like your PM, is very top heavy.  But having seen these guys "wisk" 400lbs of saw up and down stairs before, I don't think I would try to remove the power head.  I don't remember clearly how I got the power head mounted in the first place, but I remember that it took all day, and I was on plan C or D when I finally succeed, but then had to figure out how to stand the thing up.  As to securing the DP in the truck, they're movers, I think I can and have to trust them on that.  I might remove the cast iron table, though, or at least drop it to the bottom of the pillar.  Same with the bandsaw, I would remove the table (and the blade), then let them move it.  

The Laguna P-Flux 3 HP DC is a bigger worry. It was shipped in pieces (sub assemblies) that I had to further disassemble just to get it into the shop, and I just don't remember how I did that (no pictures :().  And the 3 HP motor is quite heavy and incidentally the highest piece of machinery in the workshop.  

Kinda been talking to myself here, but I think that was helpful, to me at least.  

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I think it also depends on where you are moving out of. I highly doubt that a mover will charge the same to load my 8" jointer from my garage on to a truck vs moving it from it's location in my basement on to a truck.

Additionally while the insurance is all fine and great to cover replacement. Ruining calibration of a machine like a jointer could be a bigger PITA that is unlikely to be covered.

Other tools are more easily calibrated so i wouldn't worry there. I'd assume your going to need to re-calibrate everything once moved.

Mark, my only advice is to disassemble everything you can. If you can find a willing younger person in your neighborhood that you trust it may be worth paying them to help. Having friends help is great but sometimes i just want to pay someone to get it done with. Or renting equipment like the lift Marc has used to move from his denver shop and set up his Missouri shop.

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On 2/21/2023 at 4:48 PM, Chestnut said:

I think it also depends on where you are moving out of. I highly doubt that a mover will charge the same to load my 8" jointer from my garage on to a truck vs moving it from it's location in my basement on to a truck.

Additionally while the insurance is all fine and great to cover replacement. Ruining calibration of a machine like a jointer could be a bigger PITA that is unlikely to be covered.

Other tools are more easily calibrated so i wouldn't worry there. I'd assume your going to need to re-calibrate everything once moved.

Mark, my only advice is to disassemble everything you can. If you can find a willing younger person in your neighborhood that you trust it may be worth paying them to help. Having friends help is great but sometimes i just want to pay someone to get it done with. Or renting equipment like the lift Marc has used to move from his denver shop and set up his Missouri shop.

Ya, I was assuming that I would need to recalibrate everything after the move. 

At least for my setup, all the machines are in my garage. There's a slight slope to the driveway, but if they have a liftgate, I really don't see it being all that difficult to load. I would be more secured about the machines moving in transit, but that's what they get paid to figure out. 

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7 hours ago, Mark J said:

is this the video (and lift) which you are referring to?

Yes, he also bought one and used it in his current shop.

4 minutes ago, TomInNC said:

I would be more secured about the machines moving in transit, but that's what they get paid to figure out. 

Yeah i hear that. My thought process is that they better strap a heavy machine down pertty well because if they don't it'll do a lot of damage to their truck which isn't covered by your insurance. I guess common sense isn't that common any more though.

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I had such an experience once, and here's my advice. One option is to reach out to woodworking or metalworking associations in your area to see if they have any recommendations for local movers with experience in moving heavy equipment. You could also contact industrial moving companies or specialty equipment movers, who often have experience moving large machinery. I used threemovers service, and I was satisfied. So check if they're in your region and choose then.

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