Knowing how to choose a removal company is something you’ll only learn once you have done it several times over. Even then, there are always new things to look out for.
From finding someone reliable to turn up on time through to understanding the level of insurance offered, there’s plenty to think about when assessing removal companies.
So, here’s our quick guide on how to choose a removal company in the UK (based on our personal experience) to ensure your moving day is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Get A Range Of Quotes
The general rule of thumb when getting quotes for any type of job is to get at least three different quotes before making a decision. Removal companies are no different.
Find at least three different companies and get a price from each, so you can compare them. You can use our handy tool to find and compare removal companies in your local area.
Make sure the company visits your property too. They can give you an estimate beforehand but don’t give them the green light until they have assessed how many belongings you have and whether there are any access issues that will make their job more difficult.
We had some removal firms provide us a quote just based on our best estimates – they never visited our property. That was a red flag for us straight away as it’s actually really difficult to estimate how much space your belongings will take up.
The last thing we wanted was to find out the van wasn’t large enough on the day of the move so we avoided using any of the removal firms that didn’t come to visit us and see for themselves how much stuff we had.
Check Their Customer Reviews
If the company is relatively new or does not have a strong online presence, finding genuine customer reviews may be tricky. In that situation, don’t be afraid to ask the removal company if there are any past customers you can contact who would be happy to vouch for them in the way of a reference.
We always made sure to check reviews of the removal firm we were using on each of our moves and, so far, we haven’t had a bad removal firm yet!
Are The Staff Fully Trained?
Conducting a house removal isn’t simply a case of loading and unloading a van. The company conducting the move should be skilled in knowing the correct way to pack, carry, and load items to minimise the risk of damage.
For this reason, it’s usually best to avoid companies that rely on occasional labourers rather than full-time dedicated staff.
You can also get an idea of how reputable the company is by checking if they are a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR). Only around 10% of removal companies are actually members, so don’t worry if the company you use isn’t a member. But, if they are, it’s definitely a big plus point.
Find Out What Level Of Insurance They Offer
Any removal company you are considering should be insured to some degree, although exactly what is covered will vary.
Many will not insure anything you pack yourself, meaning that you may need to factor in the extra costs of the removal company packing valuable items for you too.
Find out exactly what is covered and to what value. You’ll also want to know how long you’ll have to make a claim and whether high-value items are included.
Of course, with any smaller high value items you have, you could always put them in your own car (if you have one). We did this with things like laptops, passports, etc. Anything we felt was valuable and would go in our car, we took it ourselves to take the removal firm’s insurance out of the equation.
One interesting experience we had though was transporting our wormery (a plastic box with worms in that you can use to make your own compost). The removal firm actually couldn’t take it in their van as it would be classed as transporting animals and would invalidate their insurance!
Therefore, we had to take the worms in our own car. They might not have been valuable but knowing things like this helps to ensure you stick to the rules and keep insurance policies active.
Get The Costs Of Any Additional Services You Require
While the main purpose of a removal company is to get your belongings from your current home to your new home, most will offer a range of additional services too.
The most popular is their packing service since that’s one of the most tedious, time-consuming tasks for homeowners. However, your removal company may also offer to dismantle and rebuild any large items such as beds and wardrobes as part of their service.
If you are moving into smaller accommodation, or are spending some time renting before you buy your next place, you may also need to put some items into storage. Many removal firms now offer storage solutions or can at least put you in touch with a local storage company.
Should you need any additional services, make sure you ask for the costs up-front so you can factor them in when choosing your removal company.
Each time we have moved we have always opted to do all the dismantling and packing ourselves to help save on costs. However, I’ve been told by friends that the dismantling service can be extremely useful.
As removal firms dismantle beds and wardrobes regularly, they’re super fast and efficient at doing it and it can save you lots of headaches! We’ll certainly be looking into using this service the next time we move.
Make Them Aware Of Any Difficult Items
As part of the quotation process, the removal company should always visit your property and assess the items you need moving, and whether there are any access issues.
However, you should also make a point of mentioning any particularly difficult items you will need moving, to ensure they are taken into account.
We have a sofa bed that we put in our guest room. It’s extremely heavy, so whenever we moved we pointed this out to the removal company. For our last move, we wanted them to put it upstairs. But the staircase in our new home is very narrow.
We told them all this to make sure there wouldn’t be any problems. They said that they will try to carry it up, but that we should also have a plan b, in case it won’t fit. When they tried, they quickly realised that they won’t be able to get it upstairs.
Because we told them in advance, and they warned us that this could happen, we already had a backup plan, so this didn’t cause any extra stress. And given how stressful moving day is, it is always worth to be prepared for changes like this.
If access is difficult, some larger items may need removing via a window. In some cases, the window frame may even need removing to enable the furniture to fit through it. For this, there will be additional costs incurred.
Mentioning such items up-front will ensure you do not get any unexpected costs added on when moving day arrives!
It’s worth mentioning you should be sure to check the removal firm or man and van price list carefully to avoid any unexpected fees.
Find Out What They Offer To Make Your Job Easier
Removal companies don’t just move things in standard-sized boxes. Nowadays, many offer innovative solutions that help make your job much easier.
For example, wardrobe boxes allow your clothes to be taken straight from your wardrobe and hung up inside a protective box. This means you don’t even need to remove any coathangers – a huge time-saver!
The removal company we used for our most recent move offered this service. While we did have to pack some of our clothes, the ones in drawers, most of them could stay in our wardrobe until moving day. Then they just moved them from there into their wardrobe boxes.
It only took them about ten minutes, and it saved us such a lot of time beforehand. Because the previous owners left their dressing room furniture, as we bought it off them, all we had to do was quickly move the clothes from the boxes on to the wardrobe rails.
Such a time saver and it was included in the moving package we had. I can highly recommend this service.
Protective bags for TV’s are also another great innovation that will help to protect what is possibly one of the most valuable items in your home.
Make sure you check what solutions the removal company has that will save you time or effort. Sometimes they will be included in the price, sometimes they’ll cost extra, depending on the removal firm.
Ask What Size & Type Of Van Will They Use
Most homeowners will over or underestimate how much stuff they have to move. If you’re not used to moving house, it can be difficult to visualise just how much space your personal belongings will take up when all packed up.
Removal firms do this day in, day out so are usually very good at visualising how much space your things will take up. However, it’s still worth asking a few questions about the size and type of van they will use, such as:
What type of van or truck will they use? The type is important. Ideally, they should use a van with a tail-lift as this will make it easier for them to load and unload large items without damaging them.
How big will the van or truck be? It will be difficult to know for sure if the size of the van will be adequate, so ask what happens if they can’t fit everything in. Do they have a backup van they can use? If they do, it will avoid any issues if they have underestimated how much stuff you have.
Will the removal firm turn up the day before to pack items? When we moved into our current home, the removal company came the day before to pick up things we wouldn’t need immediately, such as everything in our shed and boxes of books, and stored it for us.
They then brought them to our new house a few days after we moved in. While it made us a bit nervous to know they had some of our staff, it meant that they were sure they could move everything else on moving day without issues.
I would only recommend agreeing to such a plan if you are happy you can trust the removal company though. This removal company had loads of great reviews on their Facebook page, with many saying that they would go the extra mile.
This gave us peace of mind and on the day, we could relax knowing that everything will fit into their two vans and be moved without issues.
Be Aware Of Their Payment Terms
Most removal companies will require some kind of a deposit paid up-front. This is usually a percentage of the agreed total price.
Be aware that the deposit is usually non-refundable and is used to guarantee your removal date. Therefore, you should not pay a non-refundable deposit until at least all parties have agreed on a moving date.
Ideally, you should wait until contracts have been exchanged before you book a removal firm. This will help ensure the moving date does not change, however, that can be risky as there often isn’t much time between the exchange of contracts and the agreed moving date.
Before booking a removal firm you should also ensure you know what their cancellation policy is, just in case your removal plans change at the last minute.
Understand What Will Happen On Moving Day
Make sure you ask the removal firm what happens on moving day. The questions you MUST ask include:
What time will they turn up? How long do they expect the loading process to take?
Do they have any special requirements on the day (such as needing a specific parking spot)?
Also, keep in mind that while you’ll be given a specific time the keys to your new place should be ready, it does rely on the person moving out to be ready by that time. Many removal firms will charge a ‘waiting time’ if your keys are not available to collect at the scheduled time and there is, therefore, a delay in unloading your belongings.
So, that covers all the main things you need to know about how to choose a removal firm. If you take all of the above points into account, you should be able to compare removal quotes and choose the right removal company in no time.
If you have pets, we’d also recommend reading our article on what to do with pets on moving day.
And if you still need packing materials, check out these house moving kits.
Tips On Choosing A UK Removal Company
You want to find a reliable, professional and affordable service that will take care of your belongings and make your move as smooth as possible.
Here are some quick tips on how to choose a removal company:
Do your research: Compare different removal companies online and read reviews from previous customers. You can also ask for recommendations from friends, family, or colleagues who have moved recently.
Get quotes: Contact at least three removal companies and ask for written quotes. The quotes should include the details of the service, such as the volume of items, the distance, the packing materials, the insurance, and any extra charges.
Check the insurance: Find out what kind of insurance the removal company offers and what it covers. You may need to buy additional insurance if your items are valuable or fragile, or if you are moving abroad. You should also check your home insurance policy to see if it covers your belongings during transit.
Book early: Booking early also gives you more time to prepare for your move and avoid any last-minute stress.
Essentially, moving house can be a stressful and exciting experience, but choosing a good removal company can make it easier and safer.
By doing your research, getting quotes, checking the insurance, and booking early, you can find a removal company that suits your needs and budget.
Remember to read the terms and conditions carefully before signing any contract and keep in touch with the removal company until the day of your move.