How to find the right removals company
Moving home can be stressful enough without having to worry about the company moving your furniture and prized possessions! Read our guide to help you find the right removals company for you.
Why do I need a removals company?
Packing up boxes is one thing, but lugging them up and down stairs and in and out of vans is extremely exhausting. If you have a lot to move, valuable items, such as antiques, or large, awkward pieces like a piano, it might be best to leave it to the professionals. Plus, it will give you more time to focus on all the other aspects of moving. According to recent research by Zoopla and Hometrack, on average, Britons move home only every 23 years. If it’s been a while since your last home move, then here’s what you need to know to help you find the right removal company.
Top tips to find the right removal company
Before you start calling companies for quotes, there are a few things to consider:
- Is the company a member of either the British Association of Removers, a trade association that regulates members in line with Trading Standards, and/or offers a dispute resolution via the Ombudsman Services, following their code of practise for customer care.
- Search for independent reviews of the removals companies you’re looking at
- Look at their ‘about us’ section for trading history and longevity
- Look at the photos for an indication to truck size and condition, warehouse facilities etc.
- Ask any local friends if they have used them and what was good and bad about their experience
Get removals quotes
- Get removal quotes 4-6 weeks before you move. Bear in mind moving on a Friday and in the school holidays is always busier, so start looking sooner rather than later
- Take into account the price, the service you’ll receive and whether the company has availability around your likely move date.
- Some removals companies offer an additional packing service – see below
- Only consider removals companies if they are prepared to perform a visual survey prior to a written quotation – it is impossible for them to estimate and plan a removal without seeing it first-hand.
- When they visit the property run through everything – will they dismantle furniture that won’t fit through doors? Do you have a loft full of boxes? Make sure they include it in the quote.
- Make sure the removals company know the vehicular access to your property – the one you are moving from and the one you are moving to. The last thing you want is a very large vehicle arriving only to find it can’t get within 500 metres of the property
How much do removals cost?
Removals costs vary according to the size of your property and volume of items being moved, distance of the move, access to the property and the number of special care items involved (e.g. antiques, art work). For a family to move from a three-bedroom house in Walthamstow, East London, to a new home 10 miles away, quotes range from £432 to £598 without packing and £952 to £1,023 including packing.
And you’ll need boxes. If your removal company is local they may deliver boxes in advance free of charge, others will charge cost price – starting at £1.32 for a small box up to £4.38 for a wardrobe sized box. For tips on packing and getting ready for your move day see our moving day checklist.
Do removals companies pack for you?
Yes and this is an increasingly popular option and will add an extra £400-£500 to the removals bill, for an average family 3 bed house, and will take about a day for the team of packers to complete.
You can also pay to have the items unpacked at the other end, though most people do this part themselves. Typically, unpacking would take a team of professionals half a day and cost approximately an extra £200 for the average 3 bedroom house. If you do want your items packed and/or unpacked make sure you have a survey done by the removals company before hand so they can give you an accurate quote.
Questions to ask your removal company
Once you have your quote, you’ll want to speak to the removals company to get an idea of their service. Here are the questions you need to ask:
- How long have both you as an individual and your company been in business?
- Are you a member of the Ombudsman Services or British Association of Movers?
- How quickly can you send someone round to do a survey of my property and give a more accurate price?
- Can I provisionally book now and pay when I have exchanged contracts? (You should avoid booking and paying for a removals company until you have exchanged contracts and have a completion day agreed with all parties in your chain. Some may require a deposit up front.)
- What happens if for some unforeseen circumstance my move day changes?
- Do you have storage facilities in the event of a delay to my onward property? What are the costs?
- Does your quote include insurance? What are the individual item thresholds and total loss limits? (Most companies provide you with moving insurance against loss or breakages of your property while it’s in transit. Make sure this is the case before booking and that the amount is sufficient. Usually it is £10,000 for any individual item and £50,000 total loss)
- How many members of staff will be here on the given moving days?
- Is the quoted price the final price? If the estimator has underestimated the volume of items, you’ll want to know if you may be landed with additional charges
- How much is packing and unpacking, and how does it work? (if required)
- Can you arrange a free cleaning service at either end? (if required)
- Can you provide me with a written move schedule? e.g time of arrival on the day, time it takes to load, travel and arrival time at property, unload, and unpack etc
Make sure you have a good rapport with the removals company as it will make the transition as smooth and painless as possible.