How do you go about finding a good removal company, and how do you know they are a good even when you have found them?

Moving is already stressful enough and in the event of using the wrong removal company that stress could become at least ten times worse.

If you are going to use a removal company, rather than move yourself, (which is something we talked about in our last blog), then finding the right company can be a bit of a mine-field.

There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when thinking about investing in a removal company. Do some basic due diligence.

When searching online, or asking friends for recommendations, look for companies with a landline and full postal address, as cowboys and less professional groups tend to use mobiles only and are difficult to pin down.

Do they have good reviews on their site? Read several, and notice the date; how recent are they?

Are they members of the BAR (British Association of Movers), or Which? Trusted Trader?

Are they answering their phone in a timely manner or responding to a request in a timely manner? Basic efficiency around this speaks volumes about how they might treat you down the line.

What could go wrong with a bad company?

There are so many things that can go wrong during a move, the list is almost endless. Nothing is risk free, however being prepared can avoid some obvious pitfalls.

Your precious belongings could easily be treated in a less than caring manner, leaving you upset and possibly unable to do anything about it, if you haven’t questioned some of the following areas.

Avoid working with bad companies by asking:

  1. Will they do a pre-survey visit to confirm the amount of possessions you require moving?
  2. How will they cope if there are any difficulties in gaining access to either the property you are leaving or the one you are moving to?
  3. Do they offer a written quotation and fixed price?
  4. Ask about their insurance policy. Does it cover precious items?
  5. Ask if their staff are trained?
  6. What type of vehicles do they use?
  7. Do their staff wear uniforms?
  8. How many people will be involved in the move?
  9. Do they supply packing boxes, and are they included in the quote?
  10. What type of moving equipment do they have?
  11. How will they accept payment? Rogue removal services often only accept cash.
  12. Will the movers be fully employed or casual contractors? If the latter, they may not be careful about your possessions.
  13. Will they be flexible about moving day, if your completion or sale changes suddenly and unexpectedly?
  14. Are there any hidden charges around things like fuel, extra time spent etc etc?

If any of the companies you contact can’t answer these questions satisfactorily, they are probably not the company for the job.

What do good removal companies look like?

Get quotes from three companies is sensible – unless you have first-hand knowledge from a previous move or the move of someone close to you.

They must visit your property. If you are moving to a different part of the country, it may be worth getting an estimate from a firm based in that area. It may be worth taking photographs of any awkward access issues when visiting your new property.

A good company should be able to answer positively to all the points above, plus the areas below.

• A good company will explain their charges, giving you an itemised quote, and talk about how you may be able to lower costs, i.e by packing your own items.

• Ask for estimates to be broken down; insurance, packing, hourly rate, mileage and any storage costs. This will help you compare quotes.

• A good company will ask about parking, if there are restrictions etc. and either get them sorted out with the correct agencies, or tell you how to do that.

• Itemise difficult to move items such as, pianos; wardrobes; larger furniture which needs dismantling;

• Ask if they have any specialist equipment to help move pianos if particularly heavy - e.g. iron framed pianos.

• A good company will use large Pantechnicons to move your furniture, rather than smaller vans. This would mean more journeys, which would take longer and cost more in fuel.

• Ask what happens if the move is delayed and you can’t get into the property as expected. A good company will have an answer for this situation and be able to explain how they deal with it. Their insurance may cover this situation or they may advise on your taking out specific insurance for this kind of eventuality.

• Staff members wearing uniforms is a good thing, because you need to recognise the people coming in and out of your property, when you have the front door open to the world for the entire day.

Feeling secure in the knowledge that the removal company know what they are doing, and are professional, will help your day run more smoothly.

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