When To Book Removal Company?

When To Book Removal Company
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When booking a removal company, it is generally advised to wait until after you have exchanged contracts – and that’s because a lot can happen between the time of booking and the actual move.

But there are some situations where the answer to the question “when to book removal company?” should be “as early as possible”!

For instance, if you are exchanging and completing on the same or the next day, it is often easier to book a removal company in advance.

This way, you can be sure that they will be available on the date you need them.

Alternatively, if you are moving during peak times, such as the summer holidays, you will need to book early as removal companies can get fully booked very quickly – be aware though that some removal firms will not allow you to make a booking before exchanging.

There’s no doubt that packing and then lugging boxes of belongings up and down stairs can be tiring, and then having to carry them out to a van is time-consuming too.

It’s always a good idea to use removal company professionals, particularly if you have a lot of belongings or large items or even antiques.

If you are considering hiring a van and moving yourself though, be sure to check out our guide Moving Yourself vs Hiring Movers.

How far in advance should I book a removal company?

This will depend on several factors, such as the time of year and how quickly you need the move to take place.

Usually, it is advisable to get quotes from various removal firms well before exchanging contracts.

This way, you will have plenty of options in case your preferred firm is unavailable.

However, if you are moving during peak times or have a specific date in mind, you’ll need to contact removers early – and hope that the exchange of contracts takes place as expected.

When we’ve moved house we’ve found that if the market is busy, removal firms are reluctant to let you book a date unless you have exchanged contracts. However, most will allow you to provisionally book a date or pay a deposit to reserve the date.

However, when the market is slow and they don’t have as much work on, they’re more likely to allow you book a date before contracts are exchanged.

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When should I seek removal quotes?

Ideally, you should seek removal quotes well in advance of exchange.

You won’t be the only person looking to move home without a firm idea of the exact date for when you will need to pack and move out of your current property.

Removal firms are used to the process and flexible in offering a provisional booking that will be confirmed later.

Remember to check that the quote being given is on a like-for-like basis and consider why one firm is much cheaper than its competitors.

And don’t forget to read reviews and testimonials from their previous customers.

We’ve always started getting quotes for our removals within a couple of weeks of agreeing a sale. We also make sure to get quite a few quotes (5-10, typically). That way, we have plenty of options when the time comes.

Because many removal firms are reluctant to book you in until contracts are exchanged, and because there often isn’t much time between exchange of contracts and moving day, having plenty of options helps to reduce your stress levels.

Even then, the process can quickly get stressful.

When we last moved there was a big rush to complete before a Government-introduced Stamp Duty holiday ended. As a result, removal firms were ridiculously busy.

Even though we’d had quotes from 7 different firms, by the time we exchanged contracts, every firm was booked-up for our moving date. We must have called around 30+ firms before we finally found one that was available on our day.

It was a stressful process but, in the end, it worked out well for us. Our experience was an extreme but it does highlight the importance of getting quotes early and from as many firms as possible.

Who should I get home removals quotes from?

You should get quotes from multiple removal firms to find the best deal.

This will give you a good idea of the range of available prices, as well as the level of service that each company offers.

You can source quotes from:

  • Online searches;
  • Comparison websites;
  • Newspaper or classified ads.

It is important to remember that not all removal companies are created equal, so be sure to read reviews and compare services before deciding.

Also, some firms will offer a packing service – which can be pricey – while most will insist that you are 100% packed when their removal truck turns up.

What will I need to know about my move before I arrange removals services?

Make sure you gather all the needed data before arranging removals service.

There are a few things you will need to know before arranging a removals service. This includes:

  • The size of your home;
  • The number of bedrooms;
  • The type and size of furniture you have.

You will also need to know the address of both your old and new homes.

This information will help the removal company give you an accurate quote.

If you aren’t clear about your removal needs, for example, not explaining about having large furniture that needs moving, then be prepared to pay extra – especially if it takes the removal team time to organise your belongings.

You should also be aware of the removal company’s terms and conditions, including any cancellation fees that may apply.

How much will a removal firm cost?

On average, for a family moving from a three-bedroom home and travelling 50 miles to a new address, they will spend nearly £1,200 on removal costs.

This is made up of £800 for loading and then unloading, £125 for dismantling and then reassembling any furniture, and £250 for packing materials and services.

Since this is an average bill, the actual cost will vary depending on the house size, any extra services required, the distance the removal team will be travelling and the removal firm’s rates.

Also, most removals firms will offer a packing service, but this could cost you up to £500, while unpacking may cost another £200.

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Can I get a removal quote based on provisional moving dates?

Most removal firms will give you a quote based on provisional moving dates.

This means they will not finalise the booking until closer to the move date, which gives you some flexibility if your plans change.

However, it is essential to remember that if the move is cancelled, you may have to pay a cancellation fee.

You should check the terms and conditions of the removal company before booking – this is where checking the small print will be a boon!

We found that smaller family-run firms were usually the most flexible and understanding with the least strict terms. When we needed to move our date at the last moment on one of our moves and the firm couldn’t do the new date, they just agreed to cancel the booking without charge.

However, not all firms are like this so it’s important to check.

What should I ask a removal firm when quoting?

If you have questions for the removal firm, you must ask them, even if they sound incovenient.

There are some questions to ask a removal firm when asking for a quote, and they include:

Do you have public liability insurance and goods in transit insurance?

You will want to have your personal belongings protected, and a reputable removal company will have these insurance covers.

How much is your removal insurance cover for?

Most removal firms will offer £50,000 for total loss.

Are you a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR)?

Being a member means there is a code of conduct to abide by – and a route for redress.

Can I provisionally book a date now and only pay when contracts have been exchanged?

Most removal firms won’t allow this at peak times, but it is worth asking.

How long have you been in business?

A removal firm with years of experience will have lots of experience – and be worth trusting with your belongings.

However, smaller firms can be keener to do a good job as they’re trying to build up their reputation. If you can meet the firm representatives in-person, this will help you decide how much you trust them.

Will you need to visit my home and give an accurate price?

Most firms will want to visit so they can confirm their quote – and not have to hand you a bill for money when they do arrive to pick up your belongings.

We tended to avoid any firms who were happy to quote without visiting our property. After all, we didn’t want them arriving on the day and realising they hadn’t brought a big enough van!

How many members of staff will be here on moving day?

If you have a lot of stuff to move, you will need more people working to ensure that an agreed timescale can be adhered to.

Is the quote the final price?

You don’t want to pay more if the estimator has underestimated the size of the job and the firm wants to add extra charges.

How much will packing and unpacking cost?

The removal firm will have set prices for this service – and you might find it helpful to do your own packing but have experts help you at the other end.

How big will the lorry be?

You need to confirm that the lorry being sent will be adequate for the job. However, we found it was often difficult for us to tell so you need to trust the removal firm too.

However, we found a good question to ask was what happens if they can’t get everything to fit. Many removal firms were able to tell us about their backup plans, such as having access to a second van if needed.

Do you supply free cardboard boxes?

Always worth asking – some firms do, which will save you money.

When we moved the first time, the removal firm we chose dropped off a big pack of boxes for us for no additional charge. However, we’ve also had firms want to charge us extra if we need boxes from them.

Will you dismantle the furniture if it won’t fit through a doorway?

If you have bulky items, such as a grand piano, this is a crucial question because you don’t want your belongings to be left outside.

In our experience, most firms will carefully consider this kind of thing in advance of the move. We’ve had them point out potential issues with furniture that doesn’t fit and they’ve always made clear what their alternative plan is.

Tips for preparing for a removal day

Your moving date will need to be carefully selected so it’s not only convenient for you, but also for the other home movers involved in your chain. For removal day, you should:

  • Be aware that summer holidays and bank holidays are busy for removal firms, and you can save money by moving on a weekday rather than a weekend;
  • Be completely packed because the removal team will be working to a strict timeframe-and you don’t want to keep them waiting;
  • Dissemble any furniture;
  • White goods such as freezers, fridges, and washing machines will need to be prepared ready to go into the removal van;
  • It might be good for children and their pets to stay with friends while the removal process is underway.

Do you pay removal companies upfront?

It is not a rule to pay upfront to the removals firm. It always depends on the company you choose.

The need to pay a removal firm upfront will depend on the removal company you choose.

Some companies require a deposit to reserve your move, while others will only require payment once the move is complete.

It is important to read the terms and conditions of each company before deciding.

In our experience, most will at least require a deposit before the day so they can turn up with confidence you’re good for the money. We’ve also had removal firms that wanted us to send the payment on the moving day itself.

It’s worth checking because if you use a firm that requests this, you’ll need to make sure you have access to your banking on the day to be able to submit the payment – especially if the company requires a bank transfer rather than card payment.

How do I prepare for a removal company?

To make the move as smooth as possible, it is important to prepare in advance. Some things you can do include:

  • Clearing out your old home and sorting through your belongings;
  • Labelling boxes and packing everything carefully;
  • Planning how you will transport large items, such as furniture;
  • Ensuring you have enough packing materials, such as boxes, bubble wrap, and tape;
  • If necessary, booking a parking space for the removal van.

By being prepared, you will take a lot of the stress out of the move and ensure that everything is packed safely.

If you are doing the packing yourself, be sure to use strong boxes and pack everything tightly to help to prevent items from being damaged in transit.

When to book removal company – did you know?

There are some interesting facts about booking removal company before exchange, such as:

  • A removal firm could charge up to 30% if you postpone or cancel within 5-10 working days of the booked date – and up to 100% if you postpone or cancel within 48 hours;
  • Be aware that you must be 100% packed and ready to go when the removal team turns up;
  • According to research from Zoopla, Britons move home only every 23 years, on average;
  • Various surveys highlight that up to 80% of people read reviews before making a purchasing decision;
  • One comparison site highlights that the most popular month for a house move is August, with 10% of movers choosing this month;
  • And July is the second favourite month for moving – for 9.8%;
  • But a December move is the least popular month with just 6.5% wanting to move at Christmas time.

Other questions you may have about booking removal company before exchange

How do I book a removal company if I don’t know where I’m moving to yet?

If you don’t know where you’re moving to yet, you can still book a removal company. However, you will need to provide the company with a contact number and email address so they can get in touch with you. And when you do have a destination, remember to let the removal firm know as soon as possible.

What should I do if I need to cancel my move?

If you need to cancel your move, you must contact the removal firm urgently, but you will probably have to pay a cancellation fee. And since cancellation fees can be hundreds of pounds, it is essential to weigh up all of your options before deciding. It is also important to note that most removal companies require at least 48 hours’ notice before a move can be cancelled.

Do I have to wait for a moving date confirmation?

Many people wait until they have a confirmed moving date before they reserve a removal company. However, this can often lead to disappointment as many companies are fully booked for the dates that you need. It is a good idea to book a removal company well in advance, regardless of whether you have a confirmed moving date or not.

Why should I not leave packing until the last minute?

It is also important to not leave packing until the last minute as this could lead to a rushed and stressful move. You will need everything to be packed tightly in strong boxes, so they don’t get damaged and essential items, such as toiletries and clothes, need to be easily accessible on moving day.

When to book removal company in the UK

For many people, it is advisable to book a removal company well in advance of your planned move.

By doing so, you will give yourself time to compare removal quotes and find the best company for your needs.

Be aware too that when moving during peak times, for example, in school holidays, or if you have a confirmed date for exchanging contracts, then it is important to book a removal company as early as you can to avoid disappointment.


  • Steve Lumley

    Steve Lumley has years of experience writing about property. His output has covered everything from property investment, news for landlords and student tenants to articles on how to run a successful portfolio and starting out as a property investor. He has also written several books on the subject.

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  • Paul James

    Paul James, is a marketing expert with a passion for property. As well as being a property investor, Paul has also worked within the marketing departments of some of the UK’s leading estate agents. Paul is the founder of Property Road.

    View all posts
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