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The Eagle Lines Moving Blog

Understanding First Available Delivery Dates

Posted by Mark Machesky on Mar 10, 2015 4:31:00 PM


When moving to a different state (Moving Long-Distance), it is important that you understand how moving services ship your items. By understanding how they plan and operate, it will help you not only choose the best mover that suits your needs, but it will also help your moving consultant because you will be knowledgeable enough to ask the right questions so you can receive the right answers. 

Your first available delivery date is the day when, at your delivery location, you are both able and willing to receive your items. This means that you have a place to store your items, whether it be your new home or a temporary storage, and that you or someone you trust is at the delivery location to accept your items. 

A common misconception in the moving industry, is that your first available delivery day is your actual delivery day. While this may be the case from time to time, usually you will receive your items AFTER your first available delivery day. The reason for this is the same reason why moving companies use the first available delivery day system in the first place. 

Moving companies move hundreds, if not thousands of people a year. Because of this, your items will be placed with other items that belong to someone else while in transport. This makes sense for both the customer and the moving company. The customer saves money because they are sharing the fuel and transportation costs with other individuals who are moving near or on the way to your new home. The moving company is also able to charge a lower price for your move, therefore they are actually obtaining customers rather than having them walk out the door once they hear the price if they were to assume the fuel and transportation costs themselves. 

The challenge with first available delivery dates comes when a moving company has to organize and fill up a truck in order to honor everybody's agreed delivery windows per each contract. A moving company wants to deliver everybody's items as close to the customer's first available delivery date as possible, however with the sheer volume of moves conducted per year and different customer needs, this means that some individuals will wait longer than others. 

For this reason, it is also not possible for a moving consultant to give you an exact delivery day until your items arrive closer to your delivery destination. A mover has to take everyone's first available delivery date into consideration when planning for a truck's departure. Keep in mind that sometimes first available delivery dates change as well. 

So what if I want/need a guaranteed delivery date?

Guaranteed delivery dates are available, but are generally not recommended. The reason they are not recommended is price. You can expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $1200 more for your move if you elect to have a guaranteed delivery date. The reasons are the same as mentioned above; you assume all fuel and transportation costs for the shipment. Because of the price difference, it only makes sense to pay for a guaranteed delivery date if you can absolutely afford to do so. Sometimes you can ask your mover when their next truck is leaving for the state at which you're moving to. Depending on how far out the next truck is scheduled to leave, the mover may be able to work out a very short window(2-3 days) to deliver your items. This of course cannot always be done but if the stars align and your move coincides with a truck already set and ready to leave on a certain day it may work for both you and the mover. Always ask your moving consultant if this is a possibility. 

What is my delivery window?

Delivery windows vary based on how far your items are traveling and what month in the year you are moving. If your mover uses other agents to deliver items(If you are not sure, ask) it may take longer during the winter months to deliver your items. The winter is relatively slow compared to the summer months because demand for moving services is not as high. This means there is not as much volume moving around the country, reducing the amount of trucks on the road, and reducing the amount of possible trucks that can take your items. Regardless of the time of year, a reputable moving consultant will always give you a delivery window beginning from your first available day to receive your items at your delivery location. Make sure you ask whether or not the window is in terms of "business days" or just regular days. Business days do not include weekends(although your mover will probably still deliver on the weekends) or holidays. Most movers use the "business day" delivery window system.  


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