Here is everything you need to be able to find yourself a good, honest and reliable removal company for your next house move, house clearance or refurb.
Everything You Need To Know About Hiring A Removal Company
If you’ve never hired a removal company to help with moving home, transporting your goods into storage or organising delivery of everything you own halfway across the world (or just around the corner) – then there are a few things you should get clued up about.
Don’t rush in and make split second decisions and booking the first and cheapest removal company, you first stubble upon.
First, take a look at our complete guide on how to find the best removal company to suit your needs below:
What Do Removal Companies Do?
You may think it’s a silly question to ask but until you’ve received a removal service, how are you to know. At the end of the day, we want our readers to be as clued up as possible.
Removal companies are supposed to make moving home or moving your belongings or whatever you are moving easy. They are definitely not there to make your life harder, quite the opposite in fact. THere’s a lot of pressure on removal companies to take the stress of moving away from the customer. On the run-up to your move, you’ve probably just about had enough of estate agents, lawyers, switching your utilities and lots more, and that means you could literally do without any more upheaval from hiring a bad removal company.
Removal Firms will do much of the hard work that goes into making a physical move that takes the burden away from you.
One of the biggest challenges when looking to hire a removal company is finding a company and service provider that is reliable and trustworthy. It is recommended that you choose a company that belongs to the British Association of Removers (BAR). These companies are most likely to have adequate insurance and proper training to ensure your goods stay safe, are well protected, and are loaded and transported correctly.
What Services Do BAR Registered Removal Companies Provide?
As mentioned above, BAR registered removal companies are recommended over companies that are not registered. This is because they provide a high standard of service which often includes services you wouldn’t think were necessarily included or available to you.
BAR registered companies are often trained to pack, protect, remove, store, transport, deliver, unload and unpack all of your belongings. If you would prefer to pack everything yourself, then you can ask the company to supply you with packaging but seriously, why would you bother if you can have someone come and do it for you so you can get on with your working and family life.
What To Do Before You Request A Removal Quote?
To avoid being overcharged or not having adequate space in the removal truck on the day of your move, you should compile a list of everything you want to move and their measurements. Pack your small and delicate items into boxes, measure them and have them ready in an excel or word document to send over to the removal company at the same time you request a quote. This way, the company will be able to work out how to pack, how much space you need and if there are any special terms based on any of the items you want to move.
You’ll get an accurate quote, and if the vehicle doesn’t fit everything you own inside of it, after providing a full itinerary, then you won’t be to blame. The company will still have to organise and arrange removal – often by using a second vehicle that you won’t be liable to pay for as you’ve already had your quote and paid.
What Usually Happens on Moving Day?
A qualified and experienced team of professionals will arrive at your door, usually in a uniform and with an adequately sized truck. They’ll introduce themselves, have a good look around the property and label the things that are of great importance to you and are fragile.
They’ll Protect any part of your house that could be at risk of damage, such as putting down floor protection where it’s needed – often in carpeted areas or when the weather is bad outside.
If you have asked for a packing service, then the removal team will pack, protect and remove all of your items from your property into their truck. If you chose to have an unpacking service, then your goods are likely to be transported the same or next day. Your goods will be unloaded into the property, put into place (wherever you want it) and then unpackaged before they leave.
The Different Services Removal Companies Can Provide
The services offered by different removal companies can vary, but may include:
- Packaging your goods on your behalf
- Loading of goods
- Transport of goods
- Storage facilities
- Moving vehicles
- Handyman services
- Washing machine disconnection/reconnection
- Organising parking permits (upon request)
- Arranging other services you may need – if there is anything you need help with like furniture assembly or installation of gadgets etc. then just ask – they can only say no, it won’t hurt to ask.
Some removal companies will also help you find a new home or help you search your inventory as you move into or out of a rental home!
How Much Does it Cost To Hire A Removal Company?
How long is a piece of string? Removal costs are usually individual to you based on your personal specifications. They’re generally figured out on the basis of stuff like:
Amount of furniture and personal belongings that you move (your ‘volume’)
- Access to properties – inside and outside
- Distance of properties
- Products that involve packing or dismantling of furniture
- Special care products that may require additional packaging or putting it in a crate
- Unique handling objects that may require additional equipment or a method different from standard
The costs can also vary depending on the business you select and the time of year. The only way to find out what kind of price you can expect to pay for your move is to get a quote.
House Removals That Require Storage Services
Many companies in today’s world are equipped with their own storage facilities and those that don’t, outsource their storage to warehouses and distribution centres. There are many storage options available; some companies will even load all of your belongings into crates and pallets ready for storage so they can be moved and stored with ease.
Organising storage facilities and services through your removal company can save you time and money and can make your move more effective especially if there is a long or short period of time between moving in and moving out of properties.
Storage facilities are extremely popular with those who are moving overseas. Sometimes, the move schedules can mean that your belongings will arrive before you do and in this instance, storage is required, in a foreign country, until you can move in successfully. Professional international moving companies will have access to storage in those countries where you personally may not be able to access the same storage or services.
Finding A Removal Company & Requesting A Quote
Before you can invite businesses to quote on your move, you’ll need to know who’s out there to help and how to turn them into reputable companies that you’re interested in. But where are you going to locate possible moving companies?
Ask Friends & Family For Recommendations
Asking people you know and trust can be a great way to find a reputable and trustworthy removal company. If you aren’t close to many people but have them as friends on your social media, then ask on there for recommendations from friends. Facebook is a great place to do this.
One of the most common ways to find a removal company is to search google for ‘removal companies’, ‘international removal companies’, house movers’ and more.
By searching for ‘removal companies near me,’ you’ll be able to find the best-reviewed company nearest to you by using google maps and looking at the google my business listing that is there. This will also give you a good idea of who does and who doesn’t have a good reputation before heading over to their websites to request a quote.
Search Local Directories
Local directories like yell.com, checkatrade.com and BAR are great ways to find companies that operate in and around your area. Here are some of our favourite directories that you can search for the removal company you require:
The British Association of Removers Directory
The BAR is the largest professional organisation of removal companies in the United Kingdom which sets minimum requirements and a code of conduct to ensure that you get a good service. This online directory integrates a list of pre-vetted representatives with recommendations from previous clients to provide you with independent input on the business you are considering.
The online edition of the old Yellow Pages. You can search by location for a local firm, and if the mover has completed their profile, you can find out more about them, see pictures of their vehicles and crews, and see a list of services they offer, as well as a link to the removal company’s own website to find out more.
Most people know which? Brand as a source of independent product and service expert reviews. What? Trusted Trader Directory is an endorsement scheme that recognises trustworthy traders who successfully pass through stringent appraisal procedures, including credit checks, customer references, site visits and process feedback, and all certified traders must agree to the Which? Code of conduct.
Removal Service Comparison Sites
There are a number of ‘broker’ and comparison style sites out there that take the details of your move requirements and share that information with a large number of movers who will then either provide you with a quote on the comparison site or they’ll get in touch with you and quote you directly.
This is a good way to save time and money, but it’s not necessarily the most reliable way to find a mover.
Thing To Check Before Hiring A Removal Company Through An Online Comparison Site:
- Online Presence
- Customer service
- Owner/directors name
- Vehicles they own
Not all companies have an online presence, and some don’t even supply you with their correct details. Websites like Anyvan.com have perfected their removal services somewhat and now provide their own contractors who work under the Anyvan.com brand.
Websites like Shiply are questionable, and they’ve racked up some unfavourable reviews, but you could use this site effectively so long as you don’t just go for the cheapest quote as almost anyone can sign up as a mover.
It’s always a good idea to remember that a removal company listing on a broker or comparison website, doesn’t guarantee their credibility. If anything goes wrong, then your broker or the comparison site is unlikely to take any blame if something goes wrong, even though they probably earned a commission from the sale of the booking for your move.
Shortlist The Companies You’ll Invite To Quote
If you haven’t moved yet or already know who you want to move with, then, 3 is the magic number.
Having three quotes lets you make good comparisons and make sure you get the right quote and the best value for your money.
When deciding who to place on the shortlist, consider the following:
Do they provide you with all the services you need? Think about packing facilities, insurance, dismantling/reassembly or storage if your new home isn’t ready right away.
Are they covering your area? There are a number of national companies that cover moves to/from anywhere in the UK, regardless of where they are located, but some may only cover a certain area.
Are they reputable? Make sure they have the required credentials and accreditations (ideally pre-assessed by a qualified body like the BAR) and do they have good reviews?
When you have your shortlist, it’s time to ask for quotes and plan home surveys. You may either call the mover on the phone or send a quote on their website or by e-mail.
Home Removal Surveys & What They Entail
Having a Home Survey is a perfect way to get a set quote for your move, without any secret surprises. They should be free and without obligation.
To send you a fixed price quote for your relocation, most removal companies would want to review your property and negotiate your individual specifications with you. Usually, this is achieved with a home visit, but often it is done using a video survey or an electronic method. Always be sure to check whether the quote is a fixed price or an estimate – especially when the survey is not done in person.
Home removal surveyors are also often referred to as a house move consultant – they will pay a visit to your home to find out more about your individual needs and requirements, the items that need to be moved and advise you of packing services or what type of packing will be required if you want to do it yourself.
They will often:
- Comprehend what’s important to you and answer any questions you might have.
- Explain how to move with their business, the services they offer, and what your future move plan will look like.
- Take an inventory of the things you choose to move, allowing them to measure the volume of your furniture and personal belongings so that they know the size of the truck, the workmanship and the packing materials needed for your move, all of which add to your price.
- Check access to ensure that any specific conditions or barriers are taken into account.
Tips On How To Get The Most Out of Your House Removal Survey
Tell the removals contractor everything-from moving dates (if you know them) to accessing details, stuff you’re worried about and how you’d like it to work. The more the consultant learns, the more accurate the quote will be and the better your transition experience will be!
- Show them all that needs to be moved-open cupboards and show garages, lofts and outdoor spaces so they can make an informed assessment of what kind of resource they need. Don’t forget to tell them if you’re going to buy something new before the day you are planning to move.
- Explain to them what you don’t want to be moved to make sure it goes to the right place, and you don’t end up paying for stuff you don’t need!
- Point out special care/valuable items-they can need some extra security or special handling.
- Tell them what support you need-do you want them to pack or are you able to do your own? Would a handyman save you time to dismantle items in advance?
- Don’t avoid tough circumstances! – Not all moves are easy, and it’s crucial that the mover can prepare something difficult. If you’re going to have to remove a window to get the sofa in, you’re probably going to need that, too. Don’t be tempted to cover up stuff like poor entry, restricted parking, or tricky things to get a lower quote. Additional charges or tension on The day could cost you a lot more!
- Ask questions – make sure you’re familiar with what this procedure entails and how it’s going to make a great move for you.
Don’t be tempted to make one company do the home and then send the details to the others. We mention this for a variety of reasons, including:
Estimate volume is a manual measurement that is dependent on the expertise and knowledge of the surveyor, which ensures that there could be some fluctuation between firms, but if one is substantially different from the other, you will easily see if anyone has made a mistake that could impact the costs or move day problems.
Having the opportunity to meet a move consultant is more than just testing the volume and getting a quote. Not only will they be very helpful in helping you through the moving process, but this individual represents the company that you can entrust to be in your home and maintain your precious belongings. They are a clear example of the service, standards and professionalism that you will expect after you have booked, so they will really help you make your choice if the rates are the equivalent.
Things To Know If You’re Doing A Self-Survey
Be sure to demonstrate or tell your mover everything you’re going to be accountable for the details you’ve given. Any inaccuracies could cause delays or unnecessary costs on the day of travel, for example, if you have an incomplete list of things to be transported and the vehicle is too small they will have to make an extra trip or return to the depot to collect additional packing materials.
How To Compare Quotes From Removal Companies?
After you’ve got all your quotes, it’s time to compare them, and it’s more than just comparing prices.
Always Get A Formal Quotation & Removal Contract
We can’t emphasise it enough. When you hand over all your worldly belongings to a corporation, you need the cover offered by a quote in writing that comes with the contract and the terms and conditions of the contract. Read them, make sure that you understand them and agree with them and that if you are not satisfied with any of them, you will receive any agreed changes in writing.
The British Association of Removers has given uniform terms and conditions accepted by the Trading Standards Institute to protect customers, so this is another great reason to search for a badge.
You Should Compare your Quotes Based On Your Move Criteria
What’s the most important thing to you? Are you just deciding on the price or are there other considerations to include, for example, the move plan; handling of special items; how you would need to be involved; extra services; insurance and accreditation? We will come to these below in-depth, but getting a good picture of what’s relevant will allow us to compare.
How To Check Like For Like Removal Company Quotes
There are two key items to check:
Clipboard checklist – Check all quotes are the same
The Volume of Items To Be Moved
Are they all the same thing? If one is very far away, it’s a good idea to ask why, one may have included a place some people overlooked (e.g. lofts, gardens or sheds).
Are all removal companies basing their rates on the same quality of service? What packaging is used if any) and the products included? Is there a shuttle vehicle or an external elevator required due to poor access? Do they contain any parking fees (if applicable) or other extra charges?
Contact the removal company to let them know if you see anything they’ve done differently. They’ll be able to either clarify the difference or correct their quote if they’ve misunderstood the criteria and you didn’t want something included.
This is where three quotes come in handy, so you can generally see if anyone is out!
Compare The Move Schedules For Each Company
Is a move scheduled for the same number of days or some are all in one day, and others are taking two, for example. Is there a strategy that works better for you? If so, let all businesses know that’s the way you’d like to operate, so they can alter rates if anything changes.
Compare The Quality of The Service
We spoke about how convenient it is to project a professional image, but that this is not always the assurance of a reputable organisation. As in the shortlisting process, now is the time to go back over Ratings, Accreditations and Professional Associations to get a sense of the standard of service they provide.
Compare The Cost
However, tempting it may be – no decision should be based solely on price. Look for value for money on the basis of what you can afford and what you’re willing to pay to achieve your moving goals. Are there additional protection, resources or services that one mover has over another that add value to your move?
Cutting corners could be disastrous, and it’s not always worth the cost in the long run. We’ve heard stories of families losing precious items and having ornaments and keepsakes broken or destroyed thanks to using cheaply priced companies who may not take the care needed to provide you with a service that you’ll be satisfied with.
Booking removal services based on cost alone could lead to:
- Harm or failure, which involves time-consuming claims process, or worse, not getting your money back.
- Stress on the day you move if something goes wrong and your organisation doesn’t have the resources or expertise to react quickly enough.
Adding On Insurance Costs
Take a look at what the cost of insuring your move is, generally it is based on a percent of the move cost or a percent of the value of your belongings. Check if you are given Liability Insurance (with a fixed cap per item if you can show negligence) or Reimbursement Insurance (based on the real value of less depreciation for an item that is destroyed while in transit with the removal company) and also New for Old Insurance which is where full replacement of old items with new ones is assured.
What To Do When You Have Chosen The Removal Company You Want To Use?
If you’re satisfied that everybody is providing you with the same level of service, the same level of quality, the same volume and the same price, then I’m afraid there’s no perfect formula for making your choice, and it’s going to be your personal preference.
Who has made you feel most relaxed coping with the process so far? Who gave you the most confidence, who do you trust? The culture of a business will dictate its processes and customer service, and your experience so far is a strong indication of what your experience will be like when you book, so who do you want to work with?
Note on deals with removal companies: Don’t be afraid to bargain, if you compare all of the above, but your chosen mover is too costly on the basis of a like-for-like service from another mover.
Check For Professional Accreditations
Finding the perfect removal company that ticks all the boxes you need can be challenging – especially with there being hundreds of websites online that look like huge removal companies when they in fact only provide a van and man type of service. You’re not going to be able to test any of them out beforehand unless you do your move in two parts which makes little sense unless there are specific circumstances which allow for you to do this. (Keep in mind that it is probably going to be more expensive to split to move into 2)
The British Association of Removers (BAR) is committed to the promotion of professional excellence, so if the removal company you have selected is listed on their website, you will know that they have been designed to ensure that the level of service they provide are of the highest quality.
All member companies of the BAR must:
- Meet their minimum quality requirements
- Adhere to their strict code of conduct
- Provide the Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) as a safety net to ensure that in the unlikely event that we encounter financial loss before your transfer is completed, you have not lost any payments already made.
- Provide dispute resolution guidance
To ensure you get the move you require – we recommend that you always look for the BAR badge on websites and in company descriptions when choosing your removal company service provider.
Checking Reviews For Removal Companies
Reviews and testimonials are a perfect way to find out what the experience of moving with a specific organisation could be. Here are some great places to look for reviews:
- Google Maps Reviews
- Facebook Reviews – check the companies Facebook page for reviews
You should also search for the companies name followed by the word scam, reviews, avoid just to make sure as more often than not – internet users who are dissatisfied with a companies services will turn to forums and other platforms to vent and join together with similar people in the same situation.
When Is The Right Time To Book Your Removal Company & How You Should Do It?
Most people start getting quotes from removal companies around 4-6 weeks before the day they want to move. In peak times, such as summer or school holidays, it is advisable to start the process as soon as possible to get the best rates and stop your preferred mover being booked.
How to book once you’ve selected your quote:
When you’ve selected your mover, call them to book the dates of your relocation. Usually, they will ask you to return your signed contract (acceptance form) to secure your booking.
Booking if you don’t have a move date:
If you don’t know the dates of your relocation yet don’t worry, let the removal company know your provisional or goal dates and then finalise them once you know more.
Paying in advance for your move:
Most businesses will ask you to pay in advance for your relocation, usually at least seven days before your move is due. It’s a common practice. If you’re concerned, make sure your mover is a member of the British Remover Association that provides an advance payment guarantee to protect your money until you’ve paid.
You should also be aware that moving during the Coronavirus pandemic means that the BAR’s Advance Payment Guarantee for new claims has been suspended until further notice (25/11/20). But check and ask before you move as this may now have changed.
Cancellation & Move Postponement Waivers – Removal Companies
Most professional companies offer some sort of cancellation policy and move postponement waiver though this is something you should always look at before booking, especially during lockdown periods. You will probably have to pay an additional insurance fee to cover incidents out of your control, and as previously mentioned, BAR may not cover you for these eventualities if the cause of delay, loss or postponement is as a result of Covid19 restrictions such as inter-regional and international travel.
A lot of companies offer a cancellation or postponement insurance waiver, which is a small fee that allows you to reserve the removal companies services without wasting your money if you have to adjust the move dates later. This is great for peace of mind if you’re concerned about your completion date slipping but want to make sure the moving company will still be able to complete your move if you need to wiggle things around.
If you have any questions that are related to finding the right removal company then post them below, we’ll be sure to get an expert on to answer or write up a blog post in response with the information and guidance you need.