So you’ve picked your companies to get a quote from, you’ve had the Move Consultants round and showed them everything you want to move and now you’ve probably got at least 3 very different looking quotations in front of you – how do you choose?
Comparing quotes can be tricky because every European removal company has their own quote format and way of laying out their costs and service plan. Here are our top tips on how to make sure you're comparing like for like and work out the best option for you.
Before we start though, one BIG note...
ALWAYS GET A FORMAL QUOTE AND CONTRACT.
We can’t stress this enough. When you’re handing all your worldly possessions over to a company you need the protection provided by a quotation in writing that comes with a contract and the relating terms and conditions. Read them, make sure you understand them and agree with them and that if you’re not happy with any of them that you get any agreed alterations in writing.
The British Association of Removers provide standard terms and conditions approved by the Trading Standards Institute to protect consumers so this is another great reason to look for the badge.
Compare based on your move criteria and what's important to you
What is most important to you about your move to Europe? Is price your key driver or is the move plan important to you too? Are you worried about the handling of special items or the support you'll get for a major life step like this that will rely on their knowledge and experience? Do you need additional services? Are good insurance and accreditations a deal-breaker for you? We’ll cover these below in detail but having in mind a clear picture of what’s important ahead of time will help you to compare and not be blinded by the ££ signs.
Check all the quotes are like for like
Checking quotes are like for like helps make sure no one has missed anything that could come back to cause problems during the move.
Five main things to check:
- Volume of items to be moved - Are they all the same? (Some movers will give a volume, others just a list of items - you can always ask if you can't see this). If one company is quite far out it’s strongly recommended to ask why, one might have included an area others missed (i.e. lofts, gardens or sheds).
- Transit time - this is typically down the method of transport proposed, so if speed is important, check the door to door transit time. Bear in mind any costs you might incur elsewhere for waiting longer, like hotels or eating out.
- Method of transport - are you paying for your own exclusive vehicle or sharing transport with other customers as a part load? Does this affect transit time at all? Are the dates based around your schedule or do you need to be flexible to the movers?
- Services - Are you getting the same level of service included from everyone quoting? What packing is included? Is there a shuttle vehicle or outside elevator needed due to poor access? are they including any parking fees (if applicable) or other additional charges?
- Additional Fees - Make sure you're clear if there are any extra fees like customs clearance that are included or excluded and that you've been given guidance on what to expect.
Call the removal company and let them know if you spot something they’ve done differently they’ll either be able to explain the difference or correct their quote if they misunderstood your requirement and you didn’t want something included.
This is where getting 3 quotes comes in handy because you can usually spot if someone is significantly out!
Compare the move schedules
Is the move planned over the same amount of days or are some all in one day while others taking two for example. Does one plan work better for you? If so let all the companies know that’s the way you’d prefer to work so they can adjust prices if it changes anything.
Compare the quality
Being able to portray a professional image is fairly easy with slick website builders and template documents available, but that isn’t always a guarantee of a reputable company. Just like you did in your shortlisting process now is time to go back over Reviews, Accreditations and professional associations to get a feel for the quality of service.
A note on Destination Agents
Many companies will transport your shipment door to door themselves, keeping your belongings in their direct control the whole way. However, some will only complete the packing and loading and work with a partner for transport and/or delivery. If your European moving company is outsourcing any part of your move to a partner then you'll want to ask who they will be using and check that the freight/destination agent is a professional company too - i.e. do they have the same quality accreditations that you would expect here? Companies with established relationships with destination agents (i.e. through the FIDI network) offer the added peace of mind that they are experienced in working together, so should provide a smooth transition and preferable rates.
Compare the price
However tempting it is no decision should be driven purely on price. Look for value for money based on what you can afford and what you’re prepared to pay to meet your moving goals - are there additional safeguards, services or credibility that one mover has over another that adds value to you in terms of peace of mind and lower risk?
Cutting corners to get a cheaper price could result in:
- Damage or Loss which means time-consuming claims process or worse, not getting your money back at all.
- Stress during your move if something goes wrong and your company doesn't have the resources or experience to respond quickly.
..and don't forget to include insurance costs
When you do your financial comparison include the cost of insurance if this is a service you are going to accept. Typically insurance premiums are based on a % of the value of your belongings. Check the level of cover you are being offered - is it new for old, indemnity cover or total loss only? Is there an excess?
All things being equal....
If you’re happy that all the movers you have seen are offering you the same level of service, the same level of quality and the same volume and rough price then I’m afraid there is no magic formula for making your decision and it will be down to your personal preference.
Who made you feel most comfortable dealing with the process so far? Who has given you the most confidence, who do you trust? The culture of a company will determine their processes and customer experience and your experience so far is a good indicator of what your experience will be like once you’ve booked, so, who do you want to work with?
A note on negotiating with removal companies: Don't be afraid to negotiate, if you've compared all of the above but your preferred mover is too expensive based on a like-for-like service from another mover.
Ready to learn more? Check out our European Removals Guide.