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 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 jobs more difficult.
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.
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 are 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 aren’t members. 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.
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.
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. For example, a piano is both heavy and awkward and so will need more time and expertise to move safely.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 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. 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 recommending reading our article on what to do with pets on moving day.