Red's move - we need help
IMPORTANT UPDATE - Okay, we are zeroing in on a very workable low-cost plan here.
The move will happen over the weekend of August 27. We are using some hired labor at the Ohio site, so we do not need any help there. We also have a hauling solution now, so we no longer need anybody's truck. We do need people in Richmond on Sunday morning, but we have heard from about six folks who might be able to make it and that's probably plenty. To those people, I will be emailing you tonight. The plan is to have you at the apartment on Sunday morning, and then we'll take you to a nice Richmond bbq dinner and give you some Erf goodies.
I'm trying to schedule time to keep writing script and doing the other stuff I have to do, because we've actually gotten a bit overwhelmed by the responses and offers. A couple of people have insisted on throwing some money at this problem, even though we said we don't need it. I really appreciate that, and I can't say it hasn't made things easier.
Tomorrow, I will be sending email replies to everyone I have not gotten back to yet. You all remain the best audience in webcomics, and I will fight any creator who says otherwise!
=====Original Post Below=====
Let's do the TL;DR first: Team Erfworld needs to move our developer Red from Bellevue, Ohio to Richmond, Virginia by the end of the month. The best quote we've gotten from professional movers is $2200, which is way out of budget. We do not need monetary donations (we're pretty sure), but we do have to bring that figure down as much as we can. Your help and advice (and maybe your labor and your truck) would be welcome.
The Background: Who is Red?
This is Red. He's an important member of Team Erfworld. He has some Transylvitian Signamancy. Red is his real name.
Red came to us at the start of 2014, joining John and Brendan on the web team. He was an Erfworld fan for many years before that, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of the story. In addition to building the Toolshed, the new PartiallyClips archive, the new Hamstard sub-site, and being instrumental in the spring redesign, Red also assists the creative team by checking details in the scripts and art. Informally, he's our "Chief Continuity Officer." If you have helped the website development in some important way, he may award you the Shiny Red Star badge:
Red wasn't in a great personal situation when he joined Team Erfworld. He had medical and financial problems, no job, he was living "at home"... I've been there. A lot of us have.
At that time, Erfworld wasn't in the best spot, either. I don't like to think about the thinness of the ice we were skating on. The work that Red has done for us has been essential to putting Erfworld in the much, much brighter situation we're in now.
We want to help improve things for Red, as he has improved things for the comic. We are currently paying the web team as part time contractors, with their compensation tied to Erfworld's monthly revenue so we can stay afloat. We are not to the point where we'd have the money to say Red is full-time developer and pay him a competitive salary, but if we keep growing and he keeps creating new stuff for Erfworld, then there's a path to that.
Why is Red Moving to Richmond?
The last few weeks, we've been running an experiment to speed up our progress.
Red drove down to Richmond at the start of July and we got him into an AirBnB room. I wanted to see if our workflow and productivity would improve if we could regularly be in the same room, looking at the same screen, instead of this Hipchat/Email/Skype/IRC telecollaborating crap.
It has worked really well. Rather than having him move into his own apartment somewhere in Ohio, I'm convinced Erfworld needs him down here. We can get more done, fix bugs faster, and roll stuff out quicker. Plus, he wants to come to Richmond. Richmond's pretty cool.
You now have very nice site now. Why do you need three part-time web people, let alone a full-time one?
Okay, we don't actually get asked that question very often, but I do get asked all the time "when is there going to be an Erfworld game?"
My answer has always been along the lines of "when we're ready, we're in no hurry." That was another way of saying, "when things are not completely on fire." Now that our financial, creative, and technical things are not on fire, it actually *is* time to begin working toward an Erfworld game.
Don't jump up and down just yet. The timetable for this is very long. I've been doing Erfworld for almost a decade, and I've learned a lot of hard lessons about how to make workable plans. We will take a slow and organic approach. We'll develop it a piece at a time, as we can, while staying focused on the main comic and coming through for the community. I still have unmet promises to some Kickstarter backers to work on, for example. I still need to find the time to restart the backer stories.
But if we're finally going to start moving in that direction, then we need Red on board and working with me and Linda here in Virginia. He found an apartment that fits his needs and is sustainable within what we're paying him now, and I told him he should go ahead and sign the lease today.
This is his new place:
Empty, isn't it? And here's his furniture:
This stuff is in storage in Bellevue, Ohio. It costs $70 a month to keep it there, in one 10' x 5' and one 10' x 10' unit. These are Red's worldly possessions and he needs them to sit on, sleep on, and eat off of.
Best quote we've found for a certified & licensed interstate moving company to pick all of this up and put it into his new place is $2200. Red doesn't have that. Erfworld has the cash, but it's slated for other important things, such as paying artists, paying taxes, getting merchandise made, and some enterprise stuff I'm not ready to talk about yet. We can swing it, but we didn't expect a hit like this right now. It would ruin some of our plans for fall.
I think there's got to be a better way. When I moved to Richmond, I furnished my whole place for under $4K. There must be a way to get an apartment's worth of furniture 10 hours down the road for like a thousand bucks, right? Right?
Maybe not, but we're asking for help and advice here.
What do you want me to do about it?
Probably nothing. If you're in Scotland or California or South Africa, then just treat this post as an entertaining story in the meta-saga of this webcomic. This is not a fundraiser. Erfworld readers have always been extremely supportive and generous, a fact that I do not ever want to take for granted. Moving Red is a solvable problem. I'm pretty sure I'll come asking for money again when we've got an impossible one.
This is just another kind of experiment, crowdsourcing the problem rather than crowdfunding it. Fans have contributed time and talent and expertise and sometime tangible assets in the past, like the time we needed a MacOS machine.
I don't know what to do about Red's move, but maybe you do. Maybe you know a better way to go about this. Maybe you're near Bellevue or Richmond and wouldn't mind helping load or unload a truck, for example. Maybe you know somebody that can do this for half our quoted figure.
And...maybe we hit the jackpot. Maybe you have a big enough truck and you wouldn't mind hauling a bunch of furniture ten hours down the road in exchange for meals, gas, some signed Erfworld stuff, dinner with the team, and a few hundred bucks. It's not likely, but it seems worth asking.
So post your general links and suggestions in this thread. To make a specific offer of direct help, please email us at email@example.com. I wouldn't be surprised if helping rescue his favorite sofa might also qualify you for a Shiny Red Star. :)
"I do get asked all the time 'when is there going to be an Erfworld game?'
My answer has always been along the lines of 'when we're ready, we're in no hurry.' That was another way of saying, 'when things are not completely on fire.'"
Honestly, once you guys get enough cash flow coming in, you should have 0beron produce the base game and then you proofread it. Dude know more about the mechanics than I do and that's saying something. Plus, he already has a system going.
For what it's worth, check out www.1800Packrat.com
We just used them for a much longer move (Atlanta to New Hampshire). They were cheaper then PODS (about 30%) spread out the charges some, and the drivers we had were really good at getting the containers down some narrow drives. Might need someone with space to put the container while loading/unloading.
Another possible option would be U-Box, from U-Haul. They have a plan where you load the Box at the U-Haul site, and can unload it from a U-haul location near your destination. For a small charge, you can tow the UBox from the store to your pick up or drop off site yourself (not the long haul inbetween) and the second box and beyond add some upcharge, but don't double the charge for the second box (if that makes sense, we got a quote of about $1200 for one, about $1700 for two).
If looking into rental trucks, I like Penske over U-haul (cheaper and very reliable), Budget come off as a bit dodgy, and don't have the density of pick up and drop off sites.
Why yes, I've had to do a lot of research into this lately (have one more load of stuff to move up from Atlanta, probably going PackRat), thought I'd share what I know. Hope you find a new friend with a truck, but if not, I hope the above helps.
If I thought I could get away with it, I would ask my brother to try to borrow Tony Soave's truck again. He used it to move his girlfriend's stuff to his new house. However, it's one thing to move stuff for an hour's drive and it's another thing to ask one of the richest men in the state of Michigan if you can use his truck to travel 650 miles away.
Plus, I'm fairly certain that no one would let me drive a truck ever. Especially through Washington D.C.
Never underestimate the power of pizza.
One thing to think about. Instead of an all-or-nothing plan, consider a partial plan. I'm sure Red has some stuff that has sentimental value, I'm also pretty sure that a lot of his stuff he wouldn't mind making due with something new and cheap for a while with some cheap wal-mart ersatz furnature. The $2k sounds like a move the entire lot. But maybe he could consider sizing it down to a u-haul load.
Really, why pay professional movers when you can give some friends pizza? Then just drive the u-haul yourself, then Richmond friends and pizza! House full of furnature, and pizza boxes. Which make recyclable tables. :)
Can't edit comments apparently, so new post.
Unfortunately, I'm in Texas now not Virginia Beach were I live when I first started reading Erfworld. I always thought it was so funny. People in Richmond came down to Virginia Beach to hang out, and People in Virginia Beach went to Richmond to hang out. :)
You might want to check out http://www.upack.com/
It is a division of ABF Freight, a trucking company that has been around for many, many years.
I did a quick instant quote on their website and it said $1078 to move a 1 bedroom/Studio size amount of goods (this looking from the pictures seemed about right) Bellevue, OH to Richmond VA in 1 months time (guessed at the timing).
You will have to load at the departure site and unload at destination site. All transportation costs are covered.
Since you can't edit posts, I'd thought I would add that in the quote, the move would cost only $476 if you can get his belongings to the ABF service terminal in Mansfield, OH (1 hour south of Bellevue) and pick it up at the ABF service center in Richmond, VA. The original $1078 quote is for door to door service.
You can rent a 17-20 foot UHaul truck for $40 day plus ~$1 a mile. Round trip to service center would be ~$200 in rental fee/gas to save almost $600. Might be worth it if you can find enough people to help.
Too bad it wasnt closer to the west coast id borrow my uncles semi and trailer and do it for cost of fuel and a beer.
That said i just moved almost 1500 miles and i can pass on advice, your number one cheapest way to do it is to hand load a large uhaul truck, they are pretty easy to drive as long as you remimber that box trucks off track and to take turns VERY wide so you dont knock over a light or stop sign, Most run $400-800 depending on time of year and where its going, everything he has if he packs it correctly will easily fit into a single 20' box truck, Figure fuel at about 5 miles a gallon im guessing roughly 600 miles from what you have said so id count on $300 in fuel, call it $400 incase you get an older truck or get lost ect, with boxes and furnature tarps and a few straps itll run you $1500 absolute worst case.
The real cheapest way is if he or someone near you has a pickup even a half ton or a large SUV with a hitch you can rent a 20-36' box trailer to load up, even if you dont have a hitch you can get everything you need for about $350 and a box trailer will run $200 at the low end $500 at the high end, This is how i did it and it only ran me $1087.43 (yes i kept track) total and that was installing my hitch buying a ball and chains as well as going 1500 miles, instead of 600.
Moving companys are a major ripoff unless you have no choice, they charge you at $5 a gallon of fuel ontop of movers wages and anything else they can tack on and typically run 30-50% more then the actual move costs if you rent equipment and do it your self, I know this as i am a trucker and know how these companys work having done it.
The next cheapest option is u-box they drop off mini storage containers you load them, they pick them up and deliver them you unload and they come and get them after, Pods are also an option in some areas, there may also be local companys who are too small to be well known who will do it even cheaper.
Hope this helps
I would like to pose a very serious question:
Is all his furniture type stuff worth $2200?
I've had to do this before. I've had to move on a tight budget. But, as it turns out, everything I absolutely, positively could not live without... fit in my car rather comfortably. Clothing, my computer, couple of smaller things... that's it.
When I got to my new digs, I spent a few hundred on a new twin-sized bed and hit up goodwill for cheap but not breaking-down-level furniture for maybe another hundred or so. Got a futon, a table, a computer desk, and a bed, and various small appliances for around 500 or so.
So, here's my proposed solution, which worked for me in the past:
Sell/give away the big stuff that can't fit into the car. Drive down. Have a big moving-in party, swing a few hundred, rather than a few thousand, on some starting furniture. Make a clean, fresh start. Maybe even let people donate stuff. Yanno, like a registry for people getting married or something similar. I'm sure plenty of readers have things like that they can afford to let go. Be a hell of a lot cheaper.
I don't know, given the medical issues, if any of that is medically necessary. If so, this may not be feasible. However, unless there's large things that carry sentimental value that you just can't part with, it may actually be the easier, more cost effective solution.
I would also suggest renting a truck, if you can get enough people to load it and unload it. Loading from storage is usually easier than loading from a place you're already living, since everything is already packed and doesn't have to go very far or up or down any stairs.
I would suggest, however, looking into multiple rental places rather than just U-Haul. Often other rental companies will be more expensive, but will have purpose built diesel trucks, rather than converted gasoline vans, which are generally easier to drive and get substantially better mileage. When the total cost is going to be more in gas than the rental cost, sometimes the more expensive trucks can be worth it. I've personally had really good luck with Budget, although I know others have not. Penske and Ryder have much nicer trucks, but they're also a lot more expensive.
If you go the truck rental route, make sure that whoever is driving pays close attention to fuel type and truck height. Putting gasoline in a diesel engine, or trying to drive through somewhere without enough vertical clearance can do a lot of damage and generally neither is covered by insurance.
Sometimes you can hire people off Craigslist to help with quick jobs like loading a truck, and it will still probably be a lot cheaper than hiring movers for the whole job. I would gladly help if I were in either area, but unfortunately I'm too far away.
It can not be understated what a huge help Red has been to Erfworld. It also really really can't be understated how hard people like him are to find. People who stand and deliver. Lots of people stand and just disappear their promises also adopting a state of nonexistence.
If anyone deserves help and support in their time of need it is Red.
Looking at the furniture and belongings, a good deal of it might fit in a large estate car or SUV. It might be possible to hire a van/small truck, so long as someone on the site here is capable of driving one, or to hire a driver as well either seperately or as part of a "man with a van" duo. That should cost significantly less than a full moving company, and honestly, the services of the movers really aren't needed - most of the furniture is already in storage and nothing needs carting down stairs or maneuvering about too much. One large van or truck driven by a single person, one large car driven by a second (Red or a friend, maybe?), and a team at the other end waiting to unload? That should be possible. I recently moved home with an entire household's worth of furniture and boxes via a large estate car. Admittedly much of the furniture was flat-pack and the distances involved were far less, but it's vaguely possible.
If there is one thing I've learned from other's failed Kickstarters, it's that for a game you are making, you START SMALL!
The ideal home brew game is something you spend a lot of time on in only the design phase. Decide on the gameplay loop, what the game is and what the player does. Concentrate on that. Then come up with all the things you'd like to put on top of it. All that pie in the sky type stuff that you'd love to insert, and would do so if given half the chance. Then you file those dream options and additions away and concentrate only on your base game with only the parts that are required for it to be a fun and WORKING game.
After you have that working game made, two or three years down the line (or ten, or twelve), a game already programmed to have the fun stuff added in with patches and updates, THEN you can put in the bells and whistles and options and do-dads.
The reason you wait so long to do it? If you don't, then you'll definitely run out of money chasing extra content your game doesn't even need. Concentrate on the core experience, and as the game progresses with only that, you'll figure out which of the extra content is actually worth putting into the game.
So before you even type a single bit of code, you reaaaaally need to know what game you are making.
I agree with all the people who say U-Haul or some other truck rental company. Red, if he's physically able, and some of his friends/family, can load up the truck and drive it to Virginia and turn in the truck in Richmond when they're done with it. They even rent trailers for the trucks if you want to tow the car as well.
Having said all that, I have a non-related issue: I don't know if there's a reason you use imgur for the non-comic images, but perhaps it isn't a huge hurdle to store them on your site? Or use some kind of file handler to fake the funk as far as their original location? My firewall blocks imgur and other file-sharing sites by default, so I always see broken images.
I've never commented on any of the posts here and this particular one is not of much value, since I live in Finland and cannot contribute the way team Erfworld and Red needs. However, I just want to say that I appreciate what Red has done for the comic and hope he could get a full-time job from Erfworld.
I still remember how he quickly solved an issue I had with purchasing older pin-up art with Smuckers. Cheers!
All the best,
I've seen a few of the numbers tossed out in this thread, and wanted to add mine to the mix. Quick run through Penske's site has a 16' truck one way from bellvue to richmond at $622.80. Gas should be in $150 range. You'll need to provide the labor however. A 22 footer would be $934.22. Keep gas in that $150 range, and the recommendation about about hitting up Savers / Salvation Army / Good Will / AmVets for (very) serviceable furniture has some merit. He'd still need to deal with the full storage units, as they generally frown upon the "abandon all your trash" technique.... my 2 cent