This question comes up from time to time. The consensus, as millercarbon notes, is to never trust movers. However, your lady friend could direct them to place the boxes in the right room. Then, she could also direct a hi-fi audio dealer to uncrate and install, assuming you cannot when you get there. No one else understands this stuff. Especially if you've a turntable. Hint, bring the arm and cartridge with you in your carry-on.
My big move was fraught with paranoia over my various precious components. I packed the components myself, lavishing enough care to drive my wife to distraction. The SOTA turntable, of course, was by far the trickiest. It weighs a ton. Lots of springs to damp and immobilize. I used zip-ties to make sure the tonearm would never stray from its rest. Because the turntable needs lead shot to properly balance the tonearm, I festooned the moving carton with "This Side Up" arrows to keep the shot from spilling out into the carton if the carton wasn’t upright. The original SOTA carton, of course, was long time gone. The move demanded a fairly long ocean voyage to a tropical port, so I endlessly fretted over how much heat warpage my thousands of vinyl records might sustain. It didn’t help that the LPs and the stereo had to be stored at a non-air-conditioned storage facility for several months before they had a new place to live. I made sure they were tightly packed within their boxes.
Anyway, the stereo steamed its way into port and baked at the storage facility. Yes, the turntable box wound up sitting on its edge. When I eventually opened the box, a good amount of lead shot was rattling around loose. I filed a claim with the company that handled the big move and arm-twisted a pretty good settlement out of them. Bottom line, all’s well that ends well. The stereo works and sounds wonderfully. Only a few LPs sport new warps.
Trust is a big word. I would consider it more like risk management.
So many variables but to head off disaster, you or somebody you actually know and trust needs to be present to perform or supervise/monitor packing, loading, unloading, and set-up of your stereo system. If you decide to have movers do some or all of that, I suggest calling ahead of time and asking for their crew with the most experience with that type of thing and then I would be ready to pay them for the extra service. I like your idea of contacting a reputable local stereo shop to assist with set-up, if you need the help. However, I would want to be there....who knows, you might learn something and have some fun.
We are about 6-8 weeks from moving, once our house in Maryland goes to settlement, down to Asheville, NC. One of the long-distant movers called me the other day and for a policy to cover our stuff while in transit, with my high end system, the cost is around $1000...for a plan that gives us nine months to file a claim.
The last time I headed down to Northern Virginia, on the Capital Beltway they were clearing an accident involving a FedEx and moving company tractor trailers, so I suspect "total losses" do happen!
I don't think I'd trust movers for that - just too much of an investment to put into inexperienced hands. We worked with a really good moving company a couple years ago (Three Men & A Truck - they were great) but there's no way I was letting them touch any of my equipment. Even with insurance covering damages, I'd be reluctant to let them handle anything since the compensation rate tends to be pretty low unless you go for a high priced extra insurance plan.
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+ 1 on fear and loathing.
I've not been able to shop for my movers, who have been vendors who worked with my employers.
Some loss and damage in all cases, with variable luck on the insurance: some vendors quickly made it right, but the last one kept demanding "further documentation" 'till I gave up (right up there with the company that cancelled roadside assistance on my vehicle because I used it).
That said, my audio gear, always packed to shipping standards, has always come through OK.
But nothing too big or complex. If I had really high value or delicate kit, I'd think the most reassuring solution would be to rent a van and move it myself, maybe with the help of occasional labor on both ends.
The honus for take precaution with gear on owner. This why alway keep origin box for all item. Meet professional tell them what you have and if they can’t tell every guy importance for audio or antique go next company. If no origin box write live animal on each box and poke air hole. Tell guy animal sedate and move gently to not wake. If speaker big tell hibernate bear. If phono cart tell them honeybee need to go in cab. Just no say human in box because might ask question.
@tubebuffer Fantastic advice. Am I correct you also previously mentioned lingerie football team that works as moving company during offseason?
@cantorgale In all seriousness, please don't ask movers to unpack your gear. You're best to wait until you arrive and do it yourself or schedule guys from dealer to meet you upon arrival. If you setup time now and offer a deposit to reserve their time, you will be less likely to get hosed. Cheers,
If I were you, I wouldn't trust the movers with the system. I became paranoid after hearing so many stories about stolen and damaged stuff. It's a too significant investment to put into inexperienced hands. However, if you have no other suitable choice, analyze the company you hire very well. Read the reviews, ask questions, and explore the enterprise's website. I did all this before hiring getmanandvan.co.uk for our last move. And I'm glad I ensured the quality of the chosen services. All my properties were transported in intact condition.
I'll join in the chorus. Pack the stuff yourself and do the task with all the nitpicking madness that made you an audiophile in the first place. Likewise, open and unpack the boxes and reassemble the system yourself. There are just too many quirky details that have to be attended to, and chances are decent the guy(s) who unpack it won't be seasoned audiophiles with plenty of time on their hands. Not only that, you''ll enjoy the heck out of assembling and positioning the system again.