The International Experience in 5 Easy Steps

The International Experience in 5 Easy Steps

So Great Aunt Mathilda has more of her famous “Chachkie” collection she needs to send to her twin sister Olga (a profound Chachkie collector in her own right). Granted, this is one of her smaller collections consisting of only a dozen or so medium sized boxes…but it just so happens that Great Aunt Olga lives in Oslo, which is in Norway. Obviously, there are too many boxes to simply take to a parcel shipping company or even the post office, so what does she do? Well, we can certainly handle this international move for dear old Great Aunt Mathilda! Really?

Yep! If there’s an address on this planet, we can most likely get your belongings there. But let’s take a minute to consider what it is you’re wanting done. There are a lot of moving parts to any move, but with an international move, well, there’s a bit more. Let’s take a moment to go over some terms you are going to see a lot of and let me explain what they mean.

International Move Definitions

  • Customs – This is the government agency that administers and collects the duties levied on imported goods.
  • Duties – A Tax levied by a government (usually through its Customs Authority) on certain items purchased abroad.
  • Port/Terminal Charges – Charges associated with the processing of shipping containers as they come in to port.
  • Custom Clearance – The documentation required by a country’s Customs Authority allowing goods to be imported and exported.
  • Liability – As the shipper, we are responsible for the items packed in all of your boxes. We are required to provide detailed inventories of every single item you are sending because different countries have different restrictions on items coming into their country (for example, you cannot bring cordless phones into Norway).

So what does all of this mean? Well, I’ll tell you. If you’ve ever traveled internationally, you were required to go through Customs before they allowed you to enter their country. You probably stood in what seemed like huge, never-ending lines only to be greeted by a bored looking Customs Agent. They needed to see your passport, asked you if you had anything to declare and might have even look inside your bags. So why is that?

I promise it’s not because they’re dying to see what color socks you have…nope, they’re looking to make sure you aren’t bringing anything into the country that is prohibited or carries a Duty tax on it. If you don’t declare something, or are dishonest…or in some countries, if you simply look shifty, the customs agents will pull you aside, inspect everything you have (down to the thread count on your favorite pair of socks) until they are sure you are on the up and up. The rules that apply to you as a traveler also apply to the household goods you are bringing into their country.

5 Easy Steps to an International Move

Now don’t worry, this may seem daunting but it really isn’t. Here are the steps to making your international move easier:

  1. You decide to move overseas and you contact a moving a company.
  2. The moving company you’ve selected prepares all the customs documentation required for your shipment and you fill them out.
  3. Once an onsite is performed (see Rogue Movers, Reputable Movers, and Written Estimates) and the move date set, the crew comes in, packs everything up, creates the detailed inventories of everything (that’s the liability and customs thing I mentioned earlier) and loads it all into the shipping container.
  4. The container will be delivered to the port and loaded onto the cargo ship for transport.
  5. In Great Aunt Mathilda’s case, this is a smaller shipment so she can either elect to bring the boxes directly to our office, or, she can have them picked up by one of our trucks (for a nominal charge of course). We weigh and measure the boxes and then determine how she wants them shipped….by air or sea and then off they go to Great Aunt Olga in Oslo.

Transportation Options

Now naturally, shipping by air is going to be faster, usually between 3-10 days, but it’s also more expensive. And, it only works when you have a very small shipment like just a few boxes. But, If you don’t care how long it takes, we can stick these smaller shipments on a cargo ship and the boxes will arrive in a couple of weeks.

There are a lot of moving parts to an international move and it can seem quite overwhelming. The process takes a little longer because it can take a day or two for the quotes to come back from the forwarding agents on a shipment. But rest assured that we are more than capable of helping you through every aspect of this move, no matter how big or small.

Stephanie Armato
Customer Service Representative

After moving across the country (twice) with her two favorite horses, Stephanie has experienced first-hand what every single one of our customers goes through. Her passion for helping people for the past 16 years as a customer service representative has led her to delve into the world of writing informative blogs to help our customers during the moving process. If you have questions for Stephanie, please feel free to add a comment below!

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Bekins Northwest Earns 2016 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Bekins Northwest Earns Esteemed 2016 Angie’s List Super Service Award

Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service

Angie's List Super Service Award

Bekins Northwest – Yakima and Bekins Northwest – Richland have earned the home service industry’s coveted Angie’s List Super Service Award, reflecting an exemplary year of customer service to members of the local services marketplace and consumer review site in 2016.

This achievement is particularly significant as Angie’s List experienced unprecedented member growth in 2016. More than 1.6 million consumers, many of whom were eager to quickly hire highly qualified service pros, joined Angie’s List after the company added a new, free membership tier.

“Companies that can meet higher demands without missing a beat in their exemplary performance standards truly do stand apart from their peers,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “Only a fraction of the moving companies in Yakima and Richland were able to do it.”

Angie’s List Super Service Award 2016 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, which include an “A” rating in overall grade, recent grade, and review period grade. The SSA winners must also be in good standing with Angie’s List, pass a background check and abide by Angie’s List operational guidelines.

“Bekins Northwest is delighted to receive this honor. It reflects and validates our tireless efforts to consistently provide the highest level of service to our clients,” says Robert Schmidt VP / Sales and Marketing.

Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List as new, verified consumer reviews are submitted. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.

For more than 21 years, Angie’s List restricted access to its verified reviews to consumers who paid membership fees. When the company removed that barrier, some companies worried that the new, non-paying members would not be as engaged as members of the past. Experience has shown, however, that these newly added members are just as engaged – across all age groups – as prior members. Also, because the company continues to adhere to its review verification process, there has been no degradation of review quality.

“The biggest change at Angie’s List is that we are connecting even more consumers to high quality service professionals,” Hicks said. “And that’s good for everyone.”


 Angie’s List helps facilitate happy transactions between more than 4.5 million consumers nationwide and its collection of highly rated service providers in more than 720 categories of service, ranging from home improvement to health care. Built on a foundation of more than 10 million verified reviews of local service, Angie’s List connects consumers directly to its online marketplace of services from member-reviewed providers, and offers unique tools and support designed to improve the local service experience for both consumers and service professionals.

Bekins Northwest based in Olympia, Washington, is a leading provider in comprehensive relocation and storage services in Washington State. The company provides services related to moving, packing, storage, as well as furniture installation and disposition. The company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout the Northwest, including the Seattle Seahawks and the state of Washington. Bekins Northwest has branch locations in Seattle, Lakewood, Tacoma, Federal Way, Olympia, Moses Lake, Yakima, Richland, Walla Walla, and Spokane, Washington. To learn more about Bekins Northwest visit

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Rogue Movers, Reputable Movers, and Written Estimates

Rogue Movers, Reputable Movers, and Written Estimates

Let’s be honest: moving is a pain, no one likes to do it. Seriously, just ask your friends to help and suddenly everyone is instantly busy, out of town or scheduled for routine brain surgery. So now that you’re on your own, what do you do? Where do you go to find help? Is it time to bring in the pros and if so, how do you pick the right company for you? Well, I’m glad you asked.

Rogue Movers vs. Reputable Movers

There’s a couple of things you should know when “shopping” for a moving company. There are two types of moving companies…the Reputable Movers and the Rogue Mover. In the state of Washington, Reputable companies follow the strict guidelines set by the Utility Transportation Commission (UTC) and the Rogue companies….well, they don’t…which is why they’re Rogue…so be very careful with this kind of company. How do you know the difference? Well, the Reputable Movers have professional websites listing all the services they offer, tips for moving, “free quote” sections, etc. The Rogue Mover….well, sometimes they do too. Telling the difference can be a bit tricky. So for now, let the shopping and sorting process begin!

Before you know it, it’s 2 a.m. and you’ve been trolling all the moving websites, filling out quote requests until you can’t feel your fingers anymore. Some companies throw a quote out right away that sounds too good to be true. Others give a price range and then there are the companies that tell you to schedule an onsite visit in order to get your “free written estimate”. Ugh…can I just get a realistic number please? I don’t want to take the time to get anything in writing! I know, you’re tired, you’ve microwaved the same cup of coffee so many times it now has a faint nuclear glow to it and you are not in the mood for any of these shenanigans! But let me tell you something about the need for the written estimate because this is going to be a major factor that sets the Reputable Movers apart from the Rogue Movers.

Written Estimates

Washington State law requires that customers receive a Written Estimate from a licensed moving company before you put your stuff on their trucks. This is a free, no obligation service and anyone who tries to charge you for an onsite visit or tells you a Written Estimate isn’t required is a company to be very cautious of. Now you may be wondering what difference it makes; how does a piece of paper protect you? Well, here’s why – the estimate protects you from a Rogue Mover who quotes you a low rate to get you to sign on the dotted line and then holds your belongings “hostage” on their truck until you pay whatever inflated price they want. They are also known for telling customers to pay a percentage up front as a “deposit” only to never be seen or heard from again. A Reputable Mover does the free onsite visit to assess the needs of the customer. They then either provide you with the written estimate at the end of your appointment or will email one to you if you prefer.

Now what happens if the size of the household being moved changes? Maybe you’ve had a monster yard sale and sold off all the “chachkies” you inherited from your great aunt Matilda….or (and I promise, this has happened) you got click happy on the Ikea website and went on a furniture shopping spree and now have more furniture than you did at the time of your estimate…not a problem because a Reputable Mover will make the necessary adjustments to the estimate before your stuff goes on our truck.

Protecting YOU

At the end of the day, it comes down to just using your best judgement. If a quote sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Written Estimates are required by state law to protect YOU the consumer. They aren’t some evil form of salesman trickery to coerce you into something you don’t want or need. It’s not a “hard sell” – either you like the quote or you don’t, it won’t hurt our feelings in the least….well, ok, maybe it’ll hurt ’em a little…and the Move Coordinator will probably lose sleep over it or might require therapy….but it’s all good. Now, repeat after me, Rogue Mover – BAD, Reputable Mover and their Written Estimate – GOOD!

Stephanie Armato
Customer Service Representative

After moving across the country (twice) with her two favorite horses, Stephanie has experienced first-hand what every single one of our customers goes through. Her passion for helping people for the past 16 years as a customer service representative has led her to delve into the world of writing informative blogs to help our customers during the moving process. If you have questions for Stephanie, please feel free to add a comment below!

Have Anything to Add to This Article? Leave it in the Comments Section Below!

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