What’s with the Orange: Why Should I Buy Bright Wheel Chocks?

Wheel chocks are a fairly inexpensive piece of safety equipment used to prevent trucks and trailers from unintentionally rolling or tipping when the vehicle is parked for loading and unloading or maintenance.

US Cargo Control offers several styles and sizes of wheel chocks designed to work with several different types of trucks. All of the wheel chocks are available in a traditional black color, but some come in bright orange as well.

What’s up with the orange color?

Urethane Wheel Chocks
Orange, urethane wheel chocks.

Orange Wheel Chocks

Several customers had contacted US Cargo Control asking if they could get ahold of brightly colored wheel chocks. It was becoming a common problem for their employees to leave behind or misplace black colored chocks.

The problem? Basically, black wheel chocks didn’t stand out. Moving forward, several customers thought it might be a good idea to invest in vibrant wheel chocks, making it difficult for drivers and crews to misplace or forget them.  The bright color catches the attention of the driver or crew as they are pulling out, making it much less likely for the chocks to be left behind.

For many companies, it’s been a smart investment.

Orange Offerings

US Cargo Control offers two styles of wheel chocks in orange.

The Urethane Wheel Chock is made of durable urethane and is very visible as it comes in a vibrant, orange color. This style of chock comes in several sizes and is sold in single quantities or sets of two.

The Pyramid Wheel Chock also comes in orange and is available in single or two pack quantities. This specific style is a double sided pyramid, meaning it can be used on either side. It also features an eye-bolt and is made with heavy, duty rubber.

What Happens When Moving Blankets are Machine Washed and Dried?

US Cargo Control is your one stop shop for moving supplies. The company sells several styles of moving blankets, also known as moving pads, and sorts them into three categories for easy selection. We placed each category of blanket in the wash-machine and dryer (despite manufacturer instructions) to see how they held up.

 

The Best Category

The blankets featured in the best category are considered top of the line, premium moving pads. According to the manufacturer, they are all safe to wash in a wash-machine, but are recommended for line- dry not the dryer.

The Supreme moving blanket features heavy duty construction for exceptional durability. It is made with a woven cotton/ polyester blend fabric and is bound with woven polyester. When pulled from the wash-machine the Supreme remained in great condition. When the dryer cycle was complete it came out soft. However, it did show some signs of fraying along the binding after the dryer.

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Pro Mover

 

The Pro Mover moving blanket is a softer pad and is made with microfiber fabric. It is bound with woven polyester. It mirrored similar results to the Supreme style. It too looked good coming out of the wash-machine, but frayed a little on the binding after a round in the dryer.

The Performance moving blanket is a lighter pad made from a woven cotton/polyester blend of fabric and bound with woven polyester. It came out of both the wash-machine and dryer fuzzy, though the binding remained in good condition.

All three styles featured in the best category took 48 minutes to dry.

 The Better Category

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Mega Mover

The moving pads featured in the better category are a more middle-of-the-road blanket. The manufactures do not recommend putting these blankets in the wash-machine or dryer.

The Mega Mover moving blanket is made with a woven-polyester fabric and is bound with non-woven polyester. This style of blanket appeared unharmed after a round in the wash-machine and dryer. It did not experience any fraying or fuzz.

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Multi Mover

The Multi Mover moving blanket is made with a woven and non-woven polyester blend and is bound with non-woven polyester. It also appeared unharmed after cycles in both the washer and dryer; no noticeable fraying or fuzz.

Camo
Camo

The Camo moving blanket is unique in that it comes in a green camouflage pattern. It is made with woven polyester fabric and bound with non-woven polyester. It too came out of the washer and dryer in good condition – no fuzz or fraying.

All three styles featured in the better category took 48 minutes to dry.

 

The Good Category 

The moving blankets featured in the good category are the most cost conscious blanket styles. Our manufactures do not recommend placing these blankets in the wash-machine or dryer.

The Econo Deluxe moving blanket is made from a non-woven polyester fabric and is bound with non-woven polyester. It did not hold up well in the wash-machine and produced a lot of fuzz. It came out of the dryer soft, but was still in tough shape.

The Econo Mover moving blanket is made from a non-woven polyester fabric and is bound also with non-woven polyester. It produced fuzz coming out of the wash-machine and dryer. Overall, it wasn’t in good shape after a full laundry cycle.

 

image of economy moving blanket
Econo Saver

The Econo Saver moving blanket is made from non-woven polyester fabric and is bound with non-woven polyester. This style also produced mass amounts of fuzz in the wash-machine, but the dryer cycle was the most concerning. The blanket appeared to fuse with itself – causing some damage to the integrity of the blanket.

All three good styles took a mere 18 minutes to dry. Considering the amount of fuzz and dust produced it likely isn’t a good idea (for the sake of your wash-machine and dryer) that you risk putting these blankets through a full wash-cycle.

Conclusion 

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In conclusion, it is likely best to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and only machine wash moving blankets featured in the best category (line dry). Some of the blankets did decently well in the washer and dryer, but we can’t guarantee that will be the case the first time, or every time after.

Wash and dry at your own risk.

Basic Wheel Chock Use and Safety Tips

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A pyramid style wheel chock used to prevent the wheels from unintentionally moving.

Wheel chocks are used for safety and accident prevention.

Chocking, also known as blocking, is done to prevent trucks and trailers from unintentionally moving, like rolling or overturning, while workers are loading, unloading, hitching, unhitching or servicing the vehicle. Unintentional movement is a scary and dangerous situation. It can cause injury and in some cases death.

Basic Chocking

Make sure you invest in chocks that are specifically designed for the type of vehicle you are driving, especially paying attention to size.

Never use a make-shift chock. That includes lumber, bricks, rocks or any other creative contraption you come up with on the fly. Use only proper wheel chocks that are manufactured and regulated to do the job right.

Make sure to keep sets of chocks in the truck or trailer, you cannot rely on the docks to always have them. That being said, it is best practice for the docks to have wheel chocks, and for that matter wheel chocks that are chained to the dock to prevent theft or loss.

Chocking at a Dock

Upon arrival, set the brakes and activate the locking mechanism included on the dock. You’ll need to be parked as firmly and as closely to the dock as possible. Engage the chocks on both the left and right wheels that are closest to the loading dock.

Be extremely mindful when you know a forklift will be driving in and out of the trailer from the edge of the dock. When the wheels are not chocked, or blocked, the trailer can become dislodged creating a space between the dock and the trailer. Forklift operators can get caught in that space or fall into the gap that is created. Do not drive a forklift into a trailer until you are sure the wheels are properly and safely chocked.

Chocking a Free Standing Trailer

Chock both the left and right rear axle wheels. It is best practice to chock both the front and back wheels on both sides of the vehicle. Sometimes it’s even better to chock the front and back of each tire.

Acquiring Wheel Chocks

Wheel chocks are an inexpensive way to ensure the safety of those working in and around the truck and trailer. US Cargo Control offers both pyramid and wedge styles in single of two pack quantities, some are also available in a bright orange color.  Bulk quantity discounts can be made upon request. Visit US Cargo Control to browse the company’s full line of wheel chock offerings.

Customer Feature: White Glove Movers

For more than a decade, White Glove Movers has been in the business of moving. From residential to commercial moves, the company prides itself on its commitment to customer satisfaction.

A White Glove Movers truck parked and ready for a move.
A White Glove Movers truck parked and ready for a move.

“The very best part of the job is getting complimentary notes,” White Glove Movers Co-Manager Tom McCartan said. “We get a lot of referrals and a lot of repeat business.”

White Glove Movers is based in Marion, Iowa and offers a full line of moving services ranging from residential to commercial moves. The company’s team of trained, professional movers will also pack boxes, pods and trucks – even rental trucks. Just about anything moving related, White Glove will do it.

The company is equipped with four large trucks, two vans and one small truck. The movers take on about 750 moves per year, with 60-70 percent of business happening during the summer months.

“That’s when things get very hectic and busy,” McCartan explained. “It’s great.”

The company’s setup process is simple. The office receives moving inquiries, and then schedules an estimate with the prospective customer. After that, the move is booked and put on the calendar.  Then, on moving day, a team of professional movers will carefully pack, load and unload the truck.

Many people underestimate the workload involved when moving and will attempt to do it themselves. White Glove Movers believes people should really consider the risk-reward of taking on a move without the proper equipment and training.

“Moving is very stressful, it can cause injuries that are very hard to recover from,” McCartan said. “We just think let us [White Glove Movers] take the risk. The cost is just not that prohibitive, it’s a lot less expensive than recovering from an injury.”

White Glove Movers rolling a heavy tool kit into the truck.
White Glove Movers rolling a heavy tool kit into the truck.

Moving is especially challenging when people lack the proper tools to do it safely. White Glove Movers utilizes a long-list of moving supplies and trusts US Cargo Control to provide its staff with safe, quality moving equipment.

The company purchases products ranging from protective padding like moving blankets, banister covers and door covers to transport supplies like dollies and straps.

“When you take on the responsibility of handling someone else’s possessions you really need to do it right,” McCartan said. “You better have the right equipment and the right protective gear so when the move is done they [the customers] are in a position to send you a note of compliment.”

US Cargo Control began providing White Glove Movers with professional moving supplies in 2013. The White Glove management team was drawn to USCC because of its competitive pricing, but company leaders soon learned it is the customer experience and service they enjoy the most.

“Working with US Cargo Control has been easy for our Office Manager, Mindy. They treat her with respect and get things done when they are supposed to be done,” McCartan said.

If you are interested in learning more about White Glove Movers or inquiring about a move visit the company website or give them a call at 319-393-3000.

Professional Movers Provide Peace of Mind

At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc., we are experts when it comes to packing and moving. While most people only move a few times, we do it every day. A team of movers will provide expertise and professionalism, while bringing you peace of mind during a stressful time.

Photo Courtesy: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK International Inc.
Photo Courtesy: TWO MEN AND A TRUCK International Inc.

Acquiring a Moving Estimate

Developing an estimate is an important part of the moving process. Be sure to tell the customer service representative everything you need moved, including items in your attic, storage unit or shed.

You cannot offer up too much information. Tell them if your furniture is unusually large or heavy, especially if items weigh more than 350 lbs. That means they may send three movers instead of the traditional two. Let them know if you have a small entrance, narrow stairways or halls. The more information you offer, the more prepared the movers will be – making the move more efficient and stress-free.

Protecting Your Items

Upon arrival, the movers will walk through the home with you, spending time inspecting and documenting any damages. This process can be expedited if you look over your items ahead of time to get an idea of what should be noted.

The movers will carefully wrap your furniture with pads and stretch wrap to protect it during the move. They will also cover all banisters and doors to protect the entrances and exits. You can ask the movers to put down floor coverings to keep your carpets and hard floors clean and blemish-free.

Once the movers begin to load the truck, you are welcome to bring items to a central location like a living room or garage. This will speed up the loading process saving you time and money. However, you are not required to do so.

Communicating with the Movers

You can ask the driver to share his or her cellphone number with you, so you can reach the crew at any time during transit. Having a direct contact will provide further peace of mind. You can also call the office at any time for updates and to answer questions. The movers will do everything they can to keep things moving smoothly.

Make sure you are available while the movers are unloading the truck so you can tell them where you would like your furniture. The movers will also stay and rearrange furniture to your liking. The crew will place all boxes in the appropriate rooms and, upon request, will put together beds, dressers and other items that require minor reassembly. Before you know it, your move will be completed and you will continue to enjoy peace of mind as you settle in to your new home.

Consider TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/INTERNATIONAL, Inc.,

There are many perks to hiring a professional moving company. At TWO MEN AND A TRUCK®/ INTERNATIONAL, Inc., we have a 96% referral rating which has been achieved due to our commitment to customer service. We strive to exceed our customers’ expectations on every move, regardless of size. We are always looking for ways to surpass your expectations and ensure you are at your happiest during what can be a very stressful life event. We want you to keep a peace of mind with the help of our professional moving services. Visit our website and request your free moving estimate today.

About the author: Arika Ford is the Marketing and Communications Training Specialist  for TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® / INTERNATIONAL, Inc., the first and largest franchised moving company in the United States. Let us help move you forward!

USCC Expands Wheel Chock Offerings

US Cargo Control recently added more options to its wheel chock product line.

Wheel chocks are used to ensure a vehicle stays stationary. They are typically used to prevent the vehicle from unintentionally moving forward or backward while it is being loaded or unloaded, serviced or parked but still running.

US Cargo Control offers four types of wheel chocks: solid rubber, wedge, pyramid and urethane. All are available in single or two pack quantities.

Solid Rubber Wheel Chock.
Solid Rubber Wheel Chock.

Solid Rubber Wheel Chocks 

Solid rubber wheel chocks are made of heavy duty rubber and feature a wedge design. They are light weight, yet durable.

Wedge Style Rubber Wheel Chock.
Wedge Style Rubber Wheel Chock.

Wedge Style Rubber Chocks

Wedge style rubber wheel chocks are also made with heavy duty rubber and feature a wide carry handle.

Pyramid Wheel Chocks

Pyramid wheel chocks are made with heavy duty rubber and are double sided with an eyebolt. The pyramid wheel chock is versatile because it can be used on both sides. They are available in black and orange.

Pyramid Wheel Chock.
Pyramid Wheel Chock.

Urethane Wheel Chocks

Urethane wheel chocks are made of durable urethane and are extremely visible as they come in a bright orange color. They are available in single or two pack sets. Urethane materials are a smart choice if you know you will frequently be using them in poor weather conditions. They are also resistant to oils, fuels and lubricants.

Urethane Wheel Chocks
Urethane Wheel Chocks

 

Questions

If you don’t see what you are looking for or are unsure of what would be best for your use, give one of the sales specialists at US Cargo Control a call at 866-348-3473.

Downsizing Distress: How to Cut Clutter Before Your Next Move

We all try to ignore it — our crowded closets, disastrous drawers and garbage filled garages, but the time has come. You know you will be moving in the next few months (or years) and you have decided that it is time to cut the clutter.

This, by no means, is a simple task. It is actually quite challenging, overwhelming and intimidating. Years of collective crap has eroded and engulfed your once spacious family home, but it’s time to take it on.

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A closet in desperate need of downsizing.

Follow these tips to curb downsizing distress and declutter your way to your next dream home.

You Can Never Start Too Soon

Even if you are only beginning to consider a new home – start decluttering. If you are five years out from retiring – start decluttering. You really cannot start the process too soon. It took years to generate all of the junk. You cannot expect to have it cleared out in a matter of days. Get going as soon as possible.

Make a Plan with Measurable Goals

Before you begin sorting, create a road-map for remedying your rubbish. Set specific goals and plot them on a timeline. Remember, this entire process can be time consuming. You do not want to take on too much right away. You need to set realistic, obtainable goals and stick to them.

A key piece of advice – keep organizing and sorting tasks to two hours or less, that way you won’t burnout.

Implement a Tracking System

This is a great strategy for those with the luxury of time. If you have several months to dedicate to decluttering, implement a tracking system.

  • Clothing Closets

Start with your closet. Turn all of your hangers the opposite way. Each time you use an article of clothing, flip the hanger back to the normal direction. After a full season (fall-winter, spring-summer), donate or sell all of the items hanging the wrong way. You can use a similar system for shoes. Place them on the shelf in the opposite direction you typically store them, any pairs that remain in the wrong position must go.

  • Bathroom Cabinets and Drawers

Turn all of your bathroom products to a position where the label is facing inward or down. When you use a product turn it around so you can see the label. After a set amount of time, any products still stored with the label backwards or down need to go.

  • Kitchen Storage

Start tracking how often you are using kitchen gadgets, cookware and dish sets. This can be challenging, but helpful if you follow through. Create an inventory of your belongings and post it to your refrigerator, then when you use an item cross it off the list. Any items still on the list after a set amount of time need to be donated or sold.

Sort, Sort, Sort!

Go room by room, closet by closet and drawer by drawer. Pull all of the items from each area and sort everything into three piles: keep, donate/sell and trash. As you sort, compile a spreadsheet or notebook and jot down items you plan to keep (for now) but want to gift to specific family members and friends.

As for your adult children, it’s time to stop storing their stuff. Invite them to come to your home and sort through their childhood belongings. If they live far away, box it up and ship it to them. Any items they do not want to keep, you certainly do not need to hoard. That also goes for baby and kids clothing, accessories and furniture. If your child has outgrown it – pitch it.

Do not pack paper. Invest in a shredder and start shredding. Create a new filing system for the documents you need. It may be worth asking your accountant or attorney (or even a quick internet search) before you go crazy with the shredder. Unless you are keeping books, news clippings and magazines for a specific reason, those should go too. The same logic goes for photos and cards. Don’t forget to recycle.

As you sort, keep in mind the floorplan for your new space. If your furniture will not fit, or you have too many sets, it is time to donate or sell. Do not waste your money storing items you know you will not use.

Commit to your sorted piles. If you are going to sell, legitimately try to sell. Utilize an estate sale service, an auction company or an online based classified listing like Craigslist. Many community news organizations also offer classified services, social media does as well. Consignment shops are another option along with personal or community garage and rummage sales. Anything you do not sell, donate.

Planning, Patience and Perseverance

At the end of the day a successful downsizing endeavor will require plenty of planning, patience and perseverance. It’s up to you and you alone to follow-through.  Need some motivation?

Think about …

  • The money you’ll save in moving costs.
  • The quick cash you’ll earn from sales.
  • The fact that your donations have made a difference.
  • The relief that this tedious task is finally completed.
  • The excitement in knowing your new dream home will be clean and clutter free!

One you have successfully downsized start thinking about your actual move. If you are planning to take it on yourself check out our DIY moving supplies checklist and start thinking about the supplies you might need to make it a quick and easy move.

Wheel Chock Regulations: What’s Required & What’s Just Common Sense

Wheel chock regulations are murky. There are two different federal agencies, governing two different groups with two different requirements. Confusing?

This post aims to make the requirements more clear. image of truck driver safety handbook

Federal Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency tasked with keeping US workers safe while on the job. That being said, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a subset of the US Department of Transportation (DOT), can override OSHA regulations when it comes to specific rules related to commercial motor vehicles and their drivers.

Each agency has different rules when it comes to the required use of wheel chocks.

OSHA Regulations

OSHA is very clear when it comes to wheel chocks– use them.

However, there is a hang-up. OSHA does not have jurisdiction when it comes to regulating commercial motor vehicles (like semis and buses) and their drivers. That’s up to the FMCSA. Yet, OSHA cannot be ignored, there are some exceptions.

OSHA has complete jurisdiction over all intrastate motor vehicles, those used in the workplace and on non-public roads. Examples include gravel and sand haulers, logging and agriculture haulers along with concrete mixers. OSHA also says it will enforce its wheel chock requirement on all trailers and trucks that are not classified as commercial motor vehicles.

Put simply, if you are not a commercial motor vehicle, you need to chock.

FMCSA Regulations

The FMCSA has different rules when it comes to requiring wheel chocks. The law states that air-braked power units (made on or before March of 1975) are enough to keep a commercial motor vehicles from moving during the loading and unloading process. However, the FMCSA does require blocks or chocks for all agricultural commodity trailers, pulpwood trailers and heavy haulers.

Put simply, if you are a commercial motor vehicle you likely do not need to chock, but double check to make sure your vehicle isn’t an exception.

Safety Concerns

A common safety concern involves the movement of trucks or trailers at a dock. Specifically when a forklift is loading and unloading the trailer.  It is somewhat common for trailers to creep and become disconnected from the dock lever. When this happens, it endangers the safety of the forklift operator and those working in or around the trailer at the time. Safety officials recommend drivers always set the brakes, chock the wheels and or activate the locking mechanism included on the dock.

Carriers, receivers and distributors can and do set their own policies that go up and above in regards to safety. It’s important to be aware of those policies. If a company requires wheel chocks, the policy will be enforced.Federal safety standards are considered the minimum or threshold when it comes to safety.

Wheel chocks are not required for independent CMV drivers, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea to have a backup plan should your brakes malfunction. Accidents do happen. Wheel chocks simply ensure that you are looking out for the safety of yourself and those around you.

 

 

 

College Moving Tips: How to Move like a Professional Mover

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Families move their college students into campus dorms.

If you have a college bound kid you can expect quite a few moves in the near future. We aren’t just talking about the initial move into the dorm either. Some college students move every year of their college career, frequently switching out spaces and roommates.

You might as well stock-up on a few moving essentials now, so you are prepared for current and future moves.

Should I Hire a Moving Company?

You could, but it isn’t likely your child has enough items to really make it worth your while. Instead, we recommend purchasing a few essential moving supplies (that the pros use) to make your child’s first adult move quick and easy.

Roommates arrange and assemble their new dorm room.
Roommates arrange and assemble their new dorm room.

Moving Essentials 

Moving into the dorm is the easiest move you’ll make. Most of the heavy lifting is done for you. Beds, dressers and desks are most likely included in your room fee. However, you may be lugging large electronics like a new TV, futon, microwave and mini-fridge. The following items will make your move even more simple:

A hand truck will make moving furniture and boxes a breeze. The luxury of wheels will minimize heavy lifting, reducing your risk of injury and fatigue.

Basic Steel Hand Truck
Basic Steel Hand Truck
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Forearm Forklift Moving Straps

Moving straps help distribute the weight of big objects more evenly, again reducing the risk of muscle strain. Straps like the TeamStrap, Forearm Forklift and Shoulder Dolly are designed for two people to use and lift big items. Those straps force you to using larger muscle groups, which will free up your hands to better control that runaway mini-fridge avoiding damage to appliances and furniture.

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Pro Mover moving blankets

Avoid hauling big boxes and pre-assemble furniture, like that new futon or shelf, before you go. This is a great option if you have a pickup truck or trailer handy for the move. After assembly, you’ll need to wrap the furniture in moving blankets or pads to keep it safe during transit. The blankets can be used for other bulky items or as packaging material as well. Carrying wrapped items inside will also help you avoid nicking the walls. This tip may sound like a hassle at first, but it will save you time the day of the move – freeing up the afternoon for a leisurely lunch, campus tour or any last minute shopping trips — like to the university book store where you can purchase that cheesy “proud parent” sweatshirt that’s sure to embarrass your college freshman.

Reusable Supplies  

 It may seem like overkill to stock up on professional moving supplies when your child is making a relatively minor move into the dorms – but remember off campus living is coming. That move will require much heavier lifting as you’ll be furnishing an apartment or house where an elevator will likely not be accessible. Having these few items on hand will make many moves on and off campus that much easier.

Vehicle Shipment 

Some families don’t want their child driving long distances to get back to school. Shipping the vehicle might actually be a smart option to avoid an expensive gas bill, tolls and long days on the road. Especially if your college student has a bit of an unreliable car.