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Thread: Calling all experienced relocaters

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    Default Calling all experienced relocaters

    Hello all. I've been perusing the forums here for quite some time and it looks like my opportunity to make it up to Anchorage might have finally arrived. However, I want to move for all the right reasons and see whether the deal before me is "fair". For those of you that moved from the lower 48 to Alaska, I'd like to know what the expectations should be for relocation assistance money. The company offering to hire me is telling me $5000. I'm not a greedy person by any stretch, but this seems a bit low.

    Also, did most of you decide to just sell most of your belongings or did you have quite a bit shipped? If you shipped it, what company did you go with, what did they end up charging you and what was your place of origin? I'm getting a few quotes from movers and they all seem fairly steep. The average seems to be around $10k. Does that sound right?

    I want to move up to Anchorage so bad I can literally almost taste it and am willing to go the extra mile to get up that way, but I need to make sure I'm not going to be sacrificing anything too major. Any/all feedback is welcome and thanks for this awesome forum. It really helps to see how folks think and how they talk it all out.

    Regards.

  2. #2

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    You seem to be obsessed with money and getting ahead, you will fit well into the current Alaska mentality. And I hope you don't sacrifice any thing to major, like being blinded by the pursuit of wealth, and missing the majesty of Alaska.

  3. #3

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    I don't live in Alaska but I have been in the moving industry for almost 20 years now. There has been a drastic decline in corporate relocations and assistance. It seems that most companies figure that if you want the job, you will find a way to make the move. Granted, the move to Alaska will take a bit more as you will most likely have to move via a container as it isn't efficient to run a truck all the way up there unless it was full both ways. I am not sure where you are coming from but I would say that any assistance from a future employer is a nice gesture and $5000 isn't too shabby. $10,000 for the move seems legit depending on the services included (packing is expensive so do that yourself) but just logistical costs are not cheap.

    I don't know what field you are working in or how competitive it is but remember a couple things. First, the company is taking a risk offering up the assistance money before you even work for them. There is no guarantee that things will work out in the long term. Second, additional relocation expenses should be tax deductible to some extent at least. Also, you are taking a step to live the dream that many of us have and if that comes at a cost then so be it. In a couple years there is a chance that I might be in the same boat. Should that boat set sail and I get the opportunity to move up there, I will gladly pay whatever reasonable fee is necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mrkayakr View Post
    Also, did most of you decide to just sell most of your belongings or did you have quite a bit shipped? If you shipped it, what company did you go with, what did they end up charging you and what was your place of origin? I'm getting a few quotes from movers and they all seem fairly steep. The average seems to be around $10k. Does that sound right?
    Regards.
    I got rid about 2/3 of what I owned and the relocation (with movers) cost in excess of $10,000. Moving yourself is an option (you can hire someone to load the truck, if that's an issue) and cheaper. It was not an option for me, as I was bringing my dog team up by myself. Alaska employers are kind of cheapskates compared to the lower 48 on a number of issues and this is one. (I would not move to Anchorage on a bet but at least it will get you a lot closer to Alaska.)

    Anyway, I don't remember what van line I used but they did okay. The drive up was the trip of a lifetime and I wish I'd been able to dawdle a little along the way.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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    There is several threads on this but I will add a couple notes here. Again most companies up here will not hire anyone outside because they have been burned. If they are offering you money to move then that is a blessing. Make sure they send that to you before the move or put it in writing. When we moved up I got rid of everything I could not fit in a 20ft stock trailer and I did two trips. I had 10k in my pocket and had plenty of time to make the trip. Not knowing what you do or what you are being hired for would tell a bit more on what you can leave. Most will get rid of most if not all of there stuff if they are smart and move up. The cost to ship it is retarded and in most cases more than what you can replace it with. Good luck

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    Thank you all for your replies. Even the one that thinks somehow all I think about is money - which couldn't be further from the truth. My wife and I have already decided that we're going to have to tighten our belts and live much more frugally to be able to make it up there, but we didn't want it to be so extreme that we'd have to eat Ramen for the next few years. I'm already looking at taking a yearly pay cut when leaving the lower 48 - it's just a matter of how much. And with the huge question mark of whether we'll be able to afford a house, it adds another layer of worry.

    We really aren't greedy folks and have already planned to sell 80% of our stuff. I can't sell the last bit because of the nature of my job.

    If anyone can please recommend a good moving company, I'd be very appreciative. We're probably only going to move one bedroom set, 2 large dogs, a cat and IT equipment. I'm thinking a medium-sized U-Haul's worth of stuff.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=mrkayakr

    We really aren't greedy folks and have already planned to sell 80% of our stuff. I can't sell the last bit because of the nature of my job.

    If anyone can please recommend a good moving company, I'd be very appreciative. We're probably only going to move one bedroom set, 2 large dogs, a cat and IT equipment. I'm thinking a medium-sized U-Haul's worth of stuff.[/QUOTE]

    Well there you go... if what your going to keep and bring up would fit in a medium sized U-haul, what do you need a moving company for?.. There was a young woman who did that very thing last spring, just her and her dog... I don't recall if she quoted any total costs when she got here or not...

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    You still haven't mentioned where you are coming from. As Old John points out, a U-haul could save you some money and provide a fun adventure of driving up. Now, that would be the case unless you were in Florida or somewhere where half the trip is crossing the country before you even get to Canada. I work for United Van Lines and I know they have an agency in Anchorage so that would be one option. Also, look into Pods or other moving containers that you load yourself. You can also get space on freight trailers but that can be hard to estimate. Also, unless you get lucky or pay for special service, I would imagine that most moving companies will ship your goods via an overseas container. This will not be a speedy process as it will travel by rail and boat on its journey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
    You still haven't mentioned where you are coming from. As Old John points out, a U-haul could save you some money and provide a fun adventure of driving up. Now, that would be the case unless you were in Florida or somewhere where half the trip is crossing the country before you even get to Canada. I work for United Van Lines and I know they have an agency in Anchorage so that would be one option. Also, look into Pods or other moving containers that you load yourself. You can also get space on freight trailers but that can be hard to estimate. Also, unless you get lucky or pay for special service, I would imagine that most moving companies will ship your goods via an overseas container. This will not be a speedy process as it will travel by rail and boat on its journey.
    Also, there's a lot of variability among different offices (franchises?) of the same moving company. Your United people may be great but one in a different city might not be. The best thing to do is ask around locally. I have to say that I'm a little baffled that you're not driving your stuff up yourself if you've got two people - that's not much stuff at all.

    When I came up the moving company drove it all up. I had a car shipped (a Land Cruiser - I'll never be able to afford another one) and it came up by ship.

    I did check into a Pod at that time and they weren't available in Fairbanks, but that was a bunch of years ago and I didn't look into Anchorage, anyway.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

  10. #10

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    Fair points as the different agencies (franchises) will vary with size, location, revenue base, etc. Personally, I would check all options possible and take into consideration weather, time, fuel cost, likelihood that I sell and buy an house in the time it takes to get the stuff up there, along with any other contributing factor.

    A couple more out of the box ideas to suggest. I know there at least used to be a guy that would run meat down to the L48 for hunters that need to ship it out of Alaska. I think he would do one or two runs with a reefer trailer and deliver the palletized meat. I have no idea if he lined up his own backhaul back to Alaska but if he was running back half full then that might be worth looking into.

    Also, every spring there are plenty of people who migrate up there with their motorhomes. With a bit of luck you might find someone that could pull a trailer full of your stuff or even a vehicle. That would save you some costs.

    As others mentioned, moving is the best time to purge all the "crap" that you have been keeping in your basement and all the furniture that you probably don't have room for anyway. I used to be amazed at what people would pay my company to move when we were charging by weight. All those concrete pots and lawn ornaments and such that cost more to move than to just sell and buy new.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colonel00 View Post
    As others mentioned, moving is the best time to purge all the "crap" that you have been keeping in your basement and all the furniture that you probably don't have room for anyway. I used to be amazed at what people would pay my company to move when we were charging by weight. All those concrete pots and lawn ornaments and such that cost more to move than to just sell and buy new.
    I think that's probably the result of companies paying to move employees - the employees don't have incentive to get rid of what my mom calls "chicky chucky." The folks I came to work for only paid a slice of the move cost and I have to say that it was really satisfying to fill up that Dumpster I rented to get rid of several decades worth of crap.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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    Would not move to Anchorage even if it was a million dollars.JMOFO
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    I moved up a few months ago and went through Alaska Terminals. They did a good job with no issues from having everything picked-up to delivery. It was about $2.18 per pound including insurance, which is competitive. I shipped only 1400 #'s. Depending on where you're moving from they box up your stuff into a "van" (big wood box) and truck it to Seattle and then ship it to Anchorage by sea. Then from there it depends where you're moving. That way it bypasses Canada and any taxes, weight checks and border checks. Regardless make sure whoever you use is reputable with the BBB. I highly recommend to get rid of 80% of your stuff. When packing and deciding what you'll bring you will become very conscious of weight, i.e. tools, books, documents. There's always garage sales that you can pick up stuff you shed. The pods didn't go to Alaska. And a U-Haul cost the same as having everything shipped up so why drive with the road risk's and besides your stuff is all insured.

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    You may want to look into this option; http://www.upack.com/

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    I'm in the process of moving myself. Took a job up in Anchorage and I'm here for a month to look for a place to rent while the rest of the family is finishing up the packing down in Denver. We are going the U-Haul route. Family of 6 total, it would cost too much to replace all our furniture. I'm getting the largest U-haul (26') and towing one car on a trailer. Total cost for the rig is $3200. That doesn't include fuel or lodging for the trip. I calculated that I'll be spending an additional $1500 on fuel for the trip for the truck. Adding in my wife's van to the drive and we're looking at another $600 in fuel. Then add the cost of hotels and food for a week and we're close to $6500 for the trip. So $5000 if you're planning to unload a bunch is not a bad deal I guess.

    I drove the AlCan just a week ago. It's rough in spots, but not bad enough to make me not do it again. Destruction Bay to the US border is the worst section for a moving van. Make sure you pack it up tight and tie down every thing you can.

    BTW, I've been married for 19 years and moved 18 times. Longest we ever spent in one house was 3 years. So yeah, we've moved a lot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
    I'm in the process of moving myself. Took a job up in Anchorage and I'm here for a month to look for a place to rent while the rest of the family is finishing up the packing down in Denver. We are going the U-Haul route. Family of 6 total, it would cost too much to replace all our furniture. I'm getting the largest U-haul (26') and towing one car on a trailer. Total cost for the rig is $3200. That doesn't include fuel or lodging for the trip. I calculated that I'll be spending an additional $1500 on fuel for the trip for the truck. Adding in my wife's van to the drive and we're looking at another $600 in fuel. Then add the cost of hotels and food for a week and we're close to $6500 for the trip. So $5000 if you're planning to unload a bunch is not a bad deal I guess.

    I drove the AlCan just a week ago. It's rough in spots, but not bad enough to make me not do it again. Destruction Bay to the US border is the worst section for a moving van. Make sure you pack it up tight and tie down every thing you can.

    BTW, I've been married for 19 years and moved 18 times. Longest we ever spent in one house was 3 years. So yeah, we've moved a lot.

    When we moved out of Alaska about 7 years ago I priced a U-haul from Fairbanks to Saint Maries, Idaho (our new hometown.) The cost was $3400 just for the U-haul--their biggest the 26 footer.

    I shopped around and found that if I rented one from Delta Junction, Alaska to Colville, Washington (about 100 miles from Saint Maries, Idaho) it was $1700--exactly half price.
    Obviously we opted for the out-of-town uhaul dealers. It was an extra 200 miles overall but a no-brainer. Hope this helps.
    Proud to be an American!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fullkurl View Post
    When we moved out of Alaska about 7 years ago I priced a U-haul from Fairbanks to Saint Maries, Idaho (our new hometown.) The cost was $3400 just for the U-haul--their biggest the 26 footer.

    I shopped around and found that if I rented one from Delta Junction, Alaska to Colville, Washington (about 100 miles from Saint Maries, Idaho) it was $1700--exactly half price.
    Obviously we opted for the out-of-town uhaul dealers. It was an extra 200 miles overall but a no-brainer. Hope this helps.
    I played with the locations and while I couldn't get that drastic a drop, I did drop $200 off by changing to Palmer instead of anchorage. We're moving closer to palmer anyway, so that works better. The cheapest I could get was dropping about $400 total if I drop off in Tok, but that's another $200 in gas to go back and drop it off. So it's a wash there.

    BUT, and this is the big point, THANK YOU FOR THE TIP!!!! Seriously, I assumed it was a "price is the price" deal and searching the area would not have helped. Thanks to you, I saved $200 on the trip. Not a lot compared to $6000, but that pays for some hotel and food or some souvenirs for the kids. Thanks again!

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    You may look into Hiline moving services, they move everything over the road. You can have the trailor dropped in your driveway and you can save by packing and loading everything yourself, or they can hire a team of professionals to assist you. The trailers come equipped with moving pads load bars and decking which is perfect for those antique pieces. You will be charged per pound and I do believe it would range anywhere from a dollar to $1.30 a pound depending on the quantity and distance of travel. Free quote, I believe a number is 9078684756.

    If you want to go a much cheaper route you could contact horizon van lines and have a bare can dropped in your driveway whichever size you need, 20', 40', 45'. Only down side would be is you would have to find all your own packing materials. Used paper pads and boxes can be purchased very cheap at most moving companies. You may be able to make the move for under 5k if you go this route.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mobius View Post
    I played with the locations and while I couldn't get that drastic a drop, I did drop $200 off by changing to Palmer instead of anchorage. We're moving closer to palmer anyway, so that works better. The cheapest I could get was dropping about $400 total if I drop off in Tok, but that's another $200 in gas to go back and drop it off. So it's a wash there.

    BUT, and this is the big point, THANK YOU FOR THE TIP!!!! Seriously, I assumed it was a "price is the price" deal and searching the area would not have helped. Thanks to you, I saved $200 on the trip. Not a lot compared to $6000, but that pays for some hotel and food or some souvenirs for the kids. Thanks again!
    My pleasure....
    Proud to be an American!

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    Quote Originally Posted by .338WM View Post
    You may want to look into this option; http://www.upack.com/
    That's the company I used four years ago. They give you a semi trailer, charging you by the linear foot. You can stack stuff really high in those trailers. You can save about a grand by using their terminals instead of having it dropped in your driveway.

    From what I hear, Uhaul is a lot cheaper leaving the state because there are usually more trucks headed to Alaska than there are leaving.
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