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  #61  
Old 02.08.2017, 21:27
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

Really appreciate this thread. I'm not moving yet but a potential move is on my mind and thinking about everything is overwhelming. I'd only have a very small move (~2 cubic meters, maybe less), so I'm not sure the best option. Have some fragile stuff that I think would be destroyed shipping by post, and a rug or 2, bike and coffee table, with the rest mostly boxes, but if the minimum is 2 cubic meters and I might not meet that, shipping would be the way to go perhaps if I weren't so worried about my fragile kitchen plates and stuff being smashed

Anyway... this is a great thread. Thanks again!
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Old 11.08.2017, 12:29
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

Thanks to everyone who provided advise and quotes.

We are moving to Washington, DC from Lausanne and wanted to share our experience hoping that it may help somebody with their decision making.

Last time we moved we have chosen the shared container (2 wooden crates) and it took almost 3 months, so this time we decided to choose the dedicated 20 foot container option although it was only half full.

Compared quotes from three companies recommended in this forum. Got the following quotes for dedicated shipment of the 20 foot container:

Swiss Moving company - 8,900 CHF for 22 cbm/781 cft

Reloswiss - 8,785 CHF for 22-25 cbm

Pearson - 8,500 CHF for 19.5 cbm

The quote from Pearson was initially much higher since they did not do a home survey and based their quote on a regular 3 bedroom house which has much more furniture than we do. People from Pearson were very proactive - called to check if we have any questions, discussed all the different shipping options and in the end were able to match the lowest quoted price. We have chosen Pearson and so far has been very satisfied with our decision.

So far the customer service/response time was incredibly good. The packing/pick up was done very efficiently - in less than 5 hours. We will keep you posted on how the rest of the move goes.

Wishing good luck and tons pf patience to everyone who is moving!
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  #63  
Old 12.09.2017, 01:32
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

So after reading this thread, we decided to hire Pearson for our move from Basel to Arizona. My husband trusted them because they were UK based and had credentials that he admired.

We hired them for the move in January for a mid-March (2017) delivery. They promised a 6-8 week delivery time frame and since we paid in full we thought we'd get good service. It was way off.

We paid in full because this wasn't a company sponsored move. We bought the added insurance because they wouldn't insure anything they didn't pack themselves. They finished on January 31st after taking two full days to pack and load the truck. They barely labeled the boxes and I was stressing! This wasn't my first overseas or cross country move and I was very afraid by the packers but thought I was being overly emotional.

The shipment was over a month delayed and when the drivers finally arrived 12 hrs late, I was very accommodating because I was finally able to sleep on a bed and not the air mattress (after 5 weeks of delays). As they unpacked, we couldn't find the legs to the tables and it was because the boxes were not labeled! It was also nearly midnight when they finished unloading the semi and we were all tired. We had to open random boxes to get the pieces so that all of the furniture was put together with the parts needed. Two of the items we shipped never arrived at all.

The packers were the worst we've ever experienced. They broke so many glass items and some had survived 30 + moves so they were simply careless. They packed baking powder with family portraits and nearly ruined them by their ignorance. That made me furious. (Sorry, I have PTSD from that move).

It's is now September 12 and the 120 pounds of insurance we should have been refunded for the items they either didn't deliver or broke or ruined minus a 500 pound deductible has not been paid. We doubt we will ever see that money again because phone calls, emails and threatening to hire a lawyer has given us absolutely 0 in return.

Add this trauma to the deposit we haven't received for the apartment deposit/caution and we're out over 5K CHF so our leaving CH has been the worst experience yet. Whatever you do, do not hire Pearson. That's our recommendation.

Maybe instead, hire a therapist for the trauma of moving overseas and stay put.

Last edited by LittleGirl; 12.09.2017 at 01:34. Reason: Price grabber link??? can't remove it. sorry.
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  #64  
Old 16.09.2017, 10:47
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

Wow, sorry to hear that. The one time I hired movers I had a similar experience.

The last time I moved I just sold everything and bought replacements when I arrived. That was less stressful, and sounds like about the same cost.
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  #65  
Old 22.08.2018, 16:32
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Moving to USA, my experience with Reloswiss

Since 1999 I had been in a relationship with a chick from Michigan, on this forum occasionally referred to as "my American OH" or "my Michigoose." Both of us crossed the Atlantic quite a few times each year, for her to stay with me in Switzerland or for me the other way round, always based on the Visa Waiver Program, allowing two stays of 90 days per year.

She has a relatively big house in NW Lower Michigan, while I had an appartment in Walenstadt SG, where I was still running an oral surgery practice too. Theoretically we could have lived together almost all year round (e.g. me 90 days in MI, then her 90 days in CH etc.), however, my practice needed my physical presence way more than just six months a year.

Finding a young oral surgeon for a practice in the Swiss boonies isn't exactly easy; the youngsters prefer the cities. In 2017, after eight years of campaigning to no avail and more than four years into retirement age I was asked by a physician if I would sell my practice to him. I did.

Now I had to get some of my stuff to the vacation home in the Grisons but most of it to the Grand Traverse Bay in Michigan. And that was quite a lot - not only most of my household but also all my technical kit and caboodle, which means lots of laboratory stuff that can also be used for all kinds of repairs and other DIY projects that have nothing to do with dentistry or surgery. I'm a pretty handy guy in many fields way outside of my professional activities. I can repair all sorts of electronic and mechanical devices that have been deemed hopeless by professionals, and I also love developing and making technical things that simply aren't available anywhere, but of course I need the right tools, test instruments and other equipment for doing such.

All in all, my estimate of the volume of the entire load to cross the Atlantic soon exceeded a 20 ft container. And the list for customs clearance grew more complicated by the day.

I contacted Reloswiss in Gossau SG and got in touch with Simona Volfschütz, who quickly came across as an extremely pleasant and helpful person. Time and again I annoyed her with various questions concerning what is acceptable (absolutely no food, beverages or flamable items, for instance), how detailed the customs list had to be, what I could pack myself and what I better left to the pros, how to pack and declare a pressurized oxygen cylinder, etc.. No matter what I issues I was having, she always was there for me and always had an answer.

I filled 71 big relocation boxes (from Landy, dirt-cheap and pretty stable) and dismantled miles of cabinets, closets, shelves, work benches, desks etc., all neatly numbered. The volume kept growing.

In mid January Simona paid me a visit to figure out how the whole lot could be stuffed into a container. That's how I learned that she was not only an utterly charming woman on the phone but an eye-candy to boot. Her conclusion: We probably needed more than one and a half 20-footers. Things were turning expensive, but still worth the money.

Towards the end of January, three guys from Munich arrived to pick everything up. They were employees of Navtrans, an international relocation company run by Simona's half-brother. They worked twelve hours in a row with only one brief break, filled another 40 boxes, wrapped all the furniture parts in H-bomb-proof bubble-wrap foil (probably enough to cover a tennis court), used about 45 rolls of packing tape and stuffed the whole lot in their van and trailer in a manner that proofed that they had played a lot of Tetris in their youth. They were very careful yet thorough.

The stuff went to Rotterdam, from where it hit the transatlantic route. It was already afloat when it became clear that there still was a problem: The official customs forms (which are not the same as the packing list) were made to cover only two possible scenarios: 1) an American citizen who has spent some time abroad as an expat, and 2) a foreigner with a residence permit in the USA. Both options did not apply to me, because I had no residence permit - yet. Our wedding, after more than 19 years of rehearsal, was scheduled for August 4th, but that, of course, wouldn't just make a residence permit pop up, especially not in February. The so-called adjustment of status can be a lengthy procedure.

That's where Neide Perozin of ECS came into the picture. ECS stands for East Coast Shipping, Inc, 5181 NW 109th Ave, Sunrise, Florida 33351. That was the company that handled the whole operation on the west side of the pond. I never was in direct touch with Neide, but my then still bride was, and she said she was absolutely great to work with, just like Simona.

The two ladies came up with a seemingly weird idea: Let's just pretend it's not Captain Greybeard moving his stuff to the USA without a residence permit, but my OH moving back from her stays in Switzerland.

Honestly, at first that suggestion smelled a bit fishy to me. I mean, come on, how would an American writer and journalist explain to the US customs that she had hoarded several tons of technical stuff in Heidiland, including a video studio, lots of stage sound equipment, three oscilloscopes, a table saw, two belt sanders, a 3D-printer, seven computers, 12 loudspeaker cabinets, and about 40,000 electronic components like transistors, resistors, integrated cicuits and several hundred printed circuit blanks, to name just a few somewhat suspect items? And what about that pump organ from 1910 and a closet from 1797, for Pete's sake?

I was oretty sceptical, to say the least. However, Simona said, "Don't worry, Neide will manage that. She always does. She's great." And Neide did manage it. The entire huge load passed the US customs clearance without a problem, or if there was any, I wasn't told because Neide just tackled every problem one by one.

What's more, the whole transfer even went faster than originally estimated, about three weeks faster. By the time I flew to Traverse City in mid March, my stuff already was in Detroit, and briefly after that the big semi truck arrived at the self-storage facility in Suttons Bay, where it was meant to be stored for some time before being gradually moved into our home. I still had to finish the basement where I wanted to install my workshop and laboratory. Two self-storage units of 20 x 10 ft each were filled to a degree that a mouse would have suffocated, as Sid, the truck driver, put it.

Unpacking and moving everything to our home is still far from being finished, but so far I have found practically no damaged items.

All parties involved in this operation did a great job. Communication with those two ladies that managed the whole thing was an absolute joy. They always were available and helpful, and they did everything to ease this complicated relocation. All the other people I was in touch with, i.e. mainly the relocation guys from Munich and those from Traverse City, were fun and did a great job too.

All I can say is, many thanks to everybody who was involved in any way whatsoever.

Now, what did the whole thing cost? About 15,000, USD or CHF doesn't make much of a difference. I think that was a very decent price.

Summary: A relocation way beyond the usual scale, with thousands of items and a somewhat questionable situation concerning residence permit and suchlike. If I ever had to do something similar, even at a much smaller scale, would I choose Reloswiss again? Sure like heck I would!
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  #66  
Old 22.08.2018, 17:06
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Re: Moving to USA, my experience with Reloswiss

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[...]I contacted Reloswiss in Gossau SG and got in touch with Simona Volfschütz, who quickly came across as an extremely pleasant and helpful person. Time and again I annoyed her with various questions concerning what is acceptable (absolutely no food, beverages or flamable items, for instance), how detailed the customs list had to be, what I could pack myself and what I better left to the pros, how to pack and declare a pressurized oxygen cylinder, etc.. No matter what I issues I was having, she always was there for me and always had an answer [...] Summary: A relocation way beyond the usual scale, with thousands of items and a somewhat questionable situation concerning residence permit and suchlike. If I ever had to do something similar, even at a much smaller scale, would I choose Reloswiss again? Sure like heck I would!
Interesting. We had a really bad experience with Reloswiss, but from your experience it seems that they have switched up their vendors, which could explain the improvement. Our stuff arrived smashed & damaged, and the company were extremely unhelpful in following that up. Also, that customs story sounds like a massive scam. But so long as it all worked out...
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  #67  
Old 22.08.2018, 18:07
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Re: Moving to USA, my experience with Reloswiss

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Interesting. We had a really bad experience with Reloswiss, but from your experience it seems that they have switched up their vendors, which could explain the improvement. Our stuff arrived smashed & damaged, and the company were extremely unhelpful in following that up. Also, that customs story sounds like a massive scam. But so long as it all worked out...
I don't quite understand how you can say the customs part "sounds like a massive scam." Actually the situation was fairly clear: I was going to marry that chick anyway, the wedding date was already fixed, musicians, catering, everything. Everybody involved knew that there would be no significant problem for me to get the residence permit; it just had not been done yet, and the customs form did not cover that particular situation.

So I figure Neide, the lady down in Florida, just made the situation sufficiently clear to the customs guys so that they started using a little bit of thinking outside of the box to solve the issue. Massive scam? I don't think so.

As for your damaged stuff - sorry about that, but I assume that you know that very much of that may be due to the fact that the last phases of the delivery are done by regional and local companies. Of course, it is almost impossible for a little company like Reloswiss to control all the details that are going on at the far end of the whole long way. In our case, the last two companies involved were headquartered in Pennsylvania and in Traverse City, MI. The latter was a tiny firm, whose owner showed up in person and even did much of the unloading himself. Very obviously, Reloswiss cannot visit all those tiny enterprises worldwide and check their doings.

I have no idea what went wrong while dealing with the aftermath of your relocation. All I can say is, we had no such problems at all. However, that may also have to do with the way I packed those 71 boxes myself. Said owner of the firm in Traverse City had a look inside some of those boxes and told me that he had done packaging for the US Army for 15 years, but those Army guys sure could learn a few things from me, as he put it.
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Old 22.08.2018, 18:37
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Re: Moving to USA, my experience with Reloswiss

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I don't quite understand how you can say the customs part "sounds like a massive scam." Actually the situation was fairly clear: I was going to marry that chick anyway, the wedding date was already fixed, musicians, catering, everything. Everybody involved knew that there would be no significant problem for me to get the residence permit; it just had not been done yet, and the customs form did not cover that particular situation.

So I figure Neide, the lady down in Florida, just made the situation sufficiently clear to the customs guys so that they started using a little bit of thinking outside of the box to solve the issue. Massive scam? I don't think so.

As for your damaged stuff - sorry about that, but I assume that you know that very much of that may be due to the fact that the last phases of the delivery are done by regional and local companies. Of course, it is almost impossible for a little company like Reloswiss to control all the details that are going on at the far end of the whole long way. In our case, the last two companies involved were headquartered in Pennsylvania and in Traverse City, MI. The latter was a tiny firm, whose owner showed up in person and even did much of the unloading himself. Very obviously, Reloswiss cannot visit all those tiny enterprises worldwide and check their doings.

I have no idea what went wrong while dealing with the aftermath of your relocation. All I can say is, we had no such problems at all. However, that may also have to do with the way I packed those 71 boxes myself. Said owner of the firm in Traverse City had a look inside some of those boxes and told me that he had done packaging for the US Army for 15 years, but those Army guys sure could learn a few things from me, as he put it.
As to Reloswiss, as I mentioned, it seems like they've changed their vendors, and who knows, maybe our experience in part motivated them to look for better ones. You had a good experience. I did not. Let's leave it at that. It's important for future customers to have a full picture so they do the proper research. Ultimately they are the company one signs a contract with, so they are responsible.

Scam: Because by your own admission you didn’t qualify for either category (US citizen or foreigner with residence permit). As I know from personal circumstances, one only becomes a permanent residence when one arrives in the US, not when a wedding is scheduled. The nice thing about emigrating to Switzerland is that for customs purpose once one holds the immigration visa, one could easily import one’s stuff. But I’m glad it all worked out for you.
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Old 22.08.2018, 21:46
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Re: Moving to USA, my experience with Reloswiss

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Scam: Because by your own admission you didn’t qualify for either category (US citizen or foreigner with residence permit). As I know from personal circumstances, one only becomes a permanent residence when one arrives in the US, not when a wedding is scheduled.
Believe me, after almost 20 years with a US citizen by my side I knew pretty well how to get a residence permit, but the very first time we ever saw that US customs form was when our stuff had already left Europe. That was when we realized that nobody seems to ever have had the idea that someone might want to move a household to the USA without being either a citizen or a foreigner with a green card.

Someone at the US Customs thinking, "Hey guys, right, we never thought of that, so let's see how we can straighten this out" after having been notified of the actual situation is not a scam, it's just common sense in a place where you usually wouldn't expect it.
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Old 22.08.2018, 22:53
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Re: Moving to USA, my experience with Reloswiss

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Believe me, after almost 20 years with a US citizen by my side I knew pretty well how to get a residence permit, but the very first time we ever saw that US customs form was when our stuff had already left Europe. That was when we realized that nobody seems to ever have had the idea that someone might want to move a household to the USA without being either a citizen or a foreigner with a green card.

Someone at the US Customs thinking, "Hey guys, right, we never thought of that, so let's see how we can straighten this out" after having been notified of the actual situation is not a scam, it's just common sense in a place where you usually wouldn't expect it.
To be fair, most people who move households are either citizens or aspiring permanent residents. Like I said, when I moved to CH I had to provide the appropriate paperwork at the border else customs would have taxed me for the goods I was attempting to bring in. (I remember my Swiss OH was very nervous about this and I had to keep reassuring him that I was permitted to bring all this stuff, tax free, with me, as I had a D visa.)
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Old 22.08.2018, 23:11
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

Quite a moving tale!

Good luck with the adjustment of status. Went through this with my husband 1999-2001. A bigger pain in the ass will be hard to find.

Glad they were able to tweak the customs stuff....that was a very clever way to get around it.
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Old 22.08.2018, 23:14
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

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Good luck with the adjustment of status. Went through this with my husband 1999-2001. A bigger pain in the ass will be hard to find.
I hope you mean the adjustment and the not the husband.
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Old 23.08.2018, 10:03
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

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I hope you mean the adjustment and the not the husband.


Adjustment of status is US immigration speak for whenever someone changes their immigration category. In this case, Capt G will ultimately be a permanent resident through marriage, I think.
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Old 23.08.2018, 11:32
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

If anyone is still looking for a moving company from Switzerland-US or US-Switzerland, the company Inter Movers LLC is fantastic. I and several other people I recommended used them and they are short of absolutely brilliant. Mind you, I read the reviews about this company before hiring them and I would say 85%-90% of the reviews are positive. I was suspicious and thought it was too good to be true. Perhaps the company was writing these or hired people to write such great reviews? Anyway, I gave them a try...too tempting! LOL I wasn't disappointed. The guy Micheal is really nice, down to earth, and honest! No, I don't get anything for recommending them. LOL But I do understand the importance of hiring reliable movers. Good Luck!
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Old 24.08.2018, 22:53
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

Congrats on the wedding, CG - wishing you and your bride much happiness!

(And figuring out a get-around to make obtuse bureaucracy work for you is as American as apple pie. Glad the move went smoothly.)
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Old 25.08.2018, 07:54
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

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Congrats on the wedding, CG - wishing you and your bride much happiness!

(And figuring out a get-around to make obtuse bureaucracy work for you is as American as apple pie. Glad the move went smoothly.)



Apple pie is not American, the first known recipe for Apple Pie is from England
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Old 25.08.2018, 15:42
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

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Apple pie is not American, the first known recipe for Apple Pie is from England
Mayhap, but we perfected it.

MIL's apple pie (and her mother's, grandmothers', great-grandmothers', and a whole line of Hoosier women all the way back to the pioneers) was a thing of utter beauty, a crust so light and flaky and melt-in-your-mouth, filled with just the right combination of spicy-sweet apples* dusted with a hint of nutmeg and cinnamon, to create an explosion of flavor that could make strong men weep for joy. Served warm with a slice of aged Vermont cheddar. On a crisp midwestern autumn day.

No matter if it's roots lie across the pond, 'taint nuthin' more 'Merikin than apple pie.


* MIL swore by McIntosh, Northern Spy, or Runkel, to bring this back on topic to Michigan.
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Old 26.08.2018, 03:00
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

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Congrats on the wedding, CG - wishing you and your bride much happiness!
Thank you MC.

It was a wonderful event. We got married in the park pavilion right next to the marina in Northport, MI, the northernmost village on the Leelanau peninsula, the "little finger of the Lower Michigan mitten". Great weather, great people, great music, great food, great local wine (the Grand Traverse area is known for its wineries).

The bridegroom even wore a necktie, which was absolutely extraordinary in that normally his motto is, "An event where I have to wear a necktie is an event I do not attend." And, last but not least, the bride, albeit pretty much on the heavy side, looked absolutely great in her majestic train dress.

Keeper, our four-month-old tricolor puppy, a.k.a. The Puppy From Hell, was the ring bearer, by the way. When the judge who performed the wedding said, "You may now kiss the bride," the pup started yapping, and everybody laughed.

We named the pup Keeper because he is a lightkeeper dog in training. Of course he already has his PFD (Puppy Floating Device), and, although collies aren't exactly water dogs, he is an avid swimmer. And he loves boat rides, especially in the little dinghy, just like Laddie, his great-uncle, whom we had to put to sleep in February.
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Old 26.08.2018, 10:30
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

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Thank you MC.

It was a wonderful event. We got married in the park pavilion right next to the marina in Northport, MI, the northernmost village on the Leelanau peninsula, the "little finger of the Lower Michigan mitten". Great weather, great people, great music, great food, great local wine (the Grand Traverse area is known for its wineries).

The bridegroom even wore a necktie, which was absolutely extraordinary in that normally his motto is, "An event where I have to wear a necktie is an event I do not attend." And, last but not least, the bride, albeit pretty much on the heavy side, looked absolutely great in her majestic train dress.

Keeper, our four-month-old tricolor puppy, a.k.a. The Puppy From Hell, was the ring bearer, by the way. When the judge who performed the wedding said, "You may now kiss the bride," the pup started yapping, and everybody laughed.

We named the pup Keeper because he is a lightkeeper dog in training. Of course he already has his PFD (Puppy Floating Device), and, although collies aren't exactly water dogs, he is an avid swimmer. And he loves boat rides, especially in the little dinghy, just like Laddie, his great-uncle, whom we had to put to sleep in February.

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Old 26.08.2018, 11:28
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Re: Moving to USA, Shipping quotes

I'm very sorry to hear about Laddie - but am glad to hear that Keeper is following in Laddie's footsteps. Wishing you all fair winds and following seas.
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