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Storage & Warehousing
How to describe your staircase to movers.
When describing your staircase to a moving company, never sugar coat it and try to make it
sound easier than what it is.
It is always better for the mover to expect the worse and be ready for it when
he shows up, than for him/her to get there and not have the right number of
people of equipment to do the job. Moving day with a house closing is
stressful enough; you do not want to mover to say: "Sorry sir, if I'd have know,
I would have brought more movers or I would have brought this equipment to do
your job or I'm not qualified to do this job safely."
Straight Flight of Stairs:
A straight flight of stairs is a staircase that does not have any bends or
curves in it. A straight flight of stairs must also have lots of room at the
top and bottom to get on and off the staircase.
Straight Flight of Stairs with a tight turn at top or bottom:
This is a straight staircase that has a moving obstacle at the top or bottom of
the staircase. The staircase itself is straight, but it has a tight turn
at the top or bottom. The turn or landing is usually the width of the
staircase: approximately 2-3 feet square, which makes it difficult for movers to
get large objects on and off the staircase. Notice the wall at the top of
the stairs. You immediately have to turn left of right when you get to the
top. The distance from the top of the stairs to the wall is less than 3
feet distance. Most pianos are 5-6 feet long and 2 feet wide. This
is a big deal to the mover, because half of the piano and half the movers are
still on the staircase while trying to make this turn. The same is true if
this turn was at the bottom of the staircase.
Flight of stairs with turn in it:
This is a flight of stairs with landing in it. This is a staircase that
contains one or more landings in it. For example, 6 steps, than a square
landing the length and width of a stair, than another 6 steps. These
staircases are extremely difficult and tight. You want a mover that knows
what he is doing to attempt this move.
Flight of stairs with a pie shape turn in it:
This is the same as a flight with turn in it, except that the landing is made up
of 2 or 3 pie shape stairs instead of a square landing. These staircase
are probably the most difficult moves to do, because there is usually a height
restraint problem as well. Notice the ceiling in this picture. Not
all pianos will fit up or down these staircases, because the move is so tight.
You generally only have one chance to do it right.
This is a flight of stairs that is not straight and curves all the way up or down.
Most people don't think these staircases are not a big deal, because they
generally look open and have lots of room. To a mover, moving a big object
like a piano; these staircases scream danger and automatically require extra
manpower. What most people do not realize, is that because the staircase
is not straight, the stairs are not the equivalent to a flat surface. As
soon as a piano mover starts moving the piano up this style of staircase, the
piano will immediately want to throw itself into that nice curved wall. If
they do not have the right manpower on this job, to make sure it goes smoothly,
you can expect damage to your furniture and walls.
Staircase with a curve in it:
This is a spiral staircase, but some people get it confused with straight
staircases. This is because half the staircase is straight and half the
staircase has a spiral in it and they only describe the easy half of the
staircase to the movers. This picture is not the best example, but does
show the straight section at the bottom and the curve in the top half of the
staircase. This style of staircase is usually more difficult than the
spiral staircase, because the turn is much tighter.
Describing a staircase incorrectly can have serious implications:
1. It could cause the mover to walk away from doing your job due to insufficient
manpower. This is a huge deal if you house is closing.
2. It could cause you to encur extra charges on your job to cover the extra
time, manpower, risk and exposure in doing your move.
3. It could cause your item or merchandise to be damaged, due to mover feeling
pressured to do a move with insufficent manpower or less experienced manpower
than is required or moving it without the proper equipment.
In these situations, people often ask movers to do things that are unsafe and
extremely risky: to "pull off a miracle" or "save the day". Sometimes they
win and everything goes ok. Sometimes they lose and their merchandise,
home or movers get damged and hurt. This is the last thing anyone wants,
please take the extra time to make sure you describe things to the best of your