When I told my wife that I received a cold call from a moving company and agreed to meet with a representative because the caller seemed so nice, she went into panic mode. “Oh, my,” she said, “haven’t you heard all the horror stories about movers?”

Before the end of the day, she had printed out 89, count them, 89 online postings of moving stories from hell, everything from drivers showing up drunk to not showing up at all, to holding truckloads of furniture for ransom until inflated prices were paid to victims of a scam. Even we had experienced a couple of them ourselves. With our last move when the company did the packing for us, hadn’t they unbelievably thrown our hammer into the same box with our signed Tiffany candy dish, shattering the latter to bits?

By the time I had skimmed through all the postings, I was really anxious and was prepared to ask a lot of questions, even though my eventual move is be barely four miles across town.

However, within moments from the time Phil Derasmo of Advantage Moving & Storage Systems arrived, I felt totally at ease. First of all, even though his direct marketing representative, the nice lady on the phone named Felice, had called from someplace in New Jersey, I learned that Phil was the president of the company and a neighbor, hailing from neighboring community, Mahopac. Somehow, even though I do a lot of business with global companies, I like everybody else feel very good about shopping and supporting “local” as well.

When I asked how long he’d been in the business, he said, three generations, and it came with a story with real heart.

“My grandfather Mario started the business in the early 50s by making arrangements with his neighbors in the Bronx to go down to the port in lower Manhattan in his open wagon to pick  up their relatives who were arriving by boat from Italy,” he told me.  “There were a lot of Italian immigrants coming over at that time, and they didn’t come just with suitcases. They came with trunks. With many, maybe 2,000 or more, he was the first person they met when they got off the boat.  He would charge them about $25 to get them up to the Bronx, and it took about two hours because it included an impromptu tour of Manhattan. He then started moving people, a natural progression”

Today, Phil’s company is highly advanced with a contingent of trucks and warehousing and the most technically sophisticated website you can imagine which takes the guesswork out of calculating what the cost of a move is going to be by moving your browser over a map of the country.  “That’s the biggest problem with some companies in the business today,” Phil said, “getting a straight answer about what the bottom line is with cost when you do comparative shopping among several movers. With our company, you just go to our website, and our cost calculator can take you anyplace in the country and you’ll know what the basic cost will be.”  It’s true. Go to www.advantagemoving.com and check it out. It’s like a game to play.

But as technically advanced as Advantage may be with its marketing, the personal touch that its president offers, along with just a few other representatives who deal one-on-one with customers, is actually disarming.

I knew I was dealing with an honest, straight shooter when we were going through the rooms of my home and my biggest concern was my paintings. I was trying to calculate what it would cost to package up our paintings and framed prints which we’ve collected over the years. He simply said, “Why go through that expense? I’ll give you a some big boxes with separators, either cardboard or bubble wrap, and package them up, and why not move them yourselves? It will save you a lot of money!”

Phil tells me that 75 percent of his business comes from personal referrals and, indeed, I can understand why. His information kit gives the names and telephone numbers of people in my own community I can call for recommendations.

Be sure to check out Advantage’s really fun website even if you’re not planning a move soon, but if you are, call 1-800-444-0104.

Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc., the longest running public relations agency in Westchester (www.PrimaveraPR.com), specializing in lifestyles, real estate and development. His real estate site is: www.PrimaveraRealEstate.comand his blog is: www.TheHomeGuru.com.  To engage the services of The Home Guru and his team to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.