A Guide to European Removals

The ultimate guide to finding and choosing the best European Removal company to help you move your household goods to Europe.

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About this Guide

Moving your home to Europe is a bit more complex than moving within the UK, especially since Brexit and the introduction of Customs clearance into the process.  It's more important than ever to choose a professional European Removal company to help with your move, but it can be confusing to work out who to trust. 

This guide helps you through the process of finding and selecting the right European Mover for you. We've got lots of advice and tips to help you safely move your belongings to Europe, while you save money and moving costs.

This guide will help you understand what services and types of companies are available, how to choose the right options for you and how to get the most from your moving budget for your big move to Europe. 

In the guide:

  1. What do European Removal companies do?
  2. What services do European Removal companies provide?
  3. What transport options are available for household goods?
  4. How long do European Removals take?
  5. How much do European removal companies cost?
  6. Shortlisting moving companies
  7. Home surveys for European moves
  8. Comparing removals quotes
  9. International moving certifications/accreditations
  10. Booking
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What do European Removals Companies do?

European Removal companies pack, load transport and deliver your household furniture and personal belongings so they arrive safely and securely at your new home with as little stress for you as possible. 

A removal company will take on most of the hard work of making your physical move, and guide you through everything else to take away that stress for you. Since Brexit, this support is more important than ever as moves going to or from the UK must clear Customs: requiring official paperwork to be completed and processes to be followed. 

As an overview your movers will typically help with the following:

  • A pre-move survey to understand what your move involves to give you an accurate quote and move plan.
  • Provide packing materials including crates for anything valuable or fragile. 
  • Give you advice and assistance in preparing for the move including telling you what you might not be allowed to take with you and help you complete all the documentation and customs forms. 
  • Pack and wrap your furniture and effects. 
  • Load onto their vehicle and transport it to destination. 
  • Keep you up to date with progress and keep you informed of key milestones. 
  • Clear your items through customs
  • Deliver and unload items at your new home

We've broken this down and given lots more detail in our article "What do European Removal Companies do?" if you'd like to learn more about how they can help.  

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international packing services

What services do European Removal Companies provide?

Different services may be available depending on the type of company you are using for your move. Typically full service professional removal companies will offer: 

  • European Standard Packing
  • Loading and transport by road
  • Unloading
  • Unpacking 
  • European standard packing materials 
  • Storage (at origin or destination)
  • Vehicle moving
  • Handyman services

Some removal companies can even help you find a new home, set up technology, relocate your pets or help you with the inventory check when you move into/out of a rental home! 

We've broken this down and given lots more detail in our article "what services do European removal companies provide?" if you'd like help choosing which options are right for you.


What are the transport options for European Moves?

If you're moving from the UK to mainland Europe your move will typically go by road (with a short transit for the vehicle by rail or sea to cross the channel). 

It's common to be offered  3 main options for transport to suit your schedule and budget. 

  • Part Load Services - (Sometimes called 'economy' or 'groupage' services) this is typically the cheapest way to move if you don't need a full truck. You'll only pay for the space you need by sharing a vehicle with other customers moving along a shared route. You'll usually have to be flexible with your dates so that all the moves can be effectively scheduled in combination with each other. 
  • Dedicated Dates service - this is similar to part loads as you only pay for space you need by sharing a truck with other customers moving along a similar route. However, with a dedicated date service, YOU choose the dates and the other customers fit in around you. This helps keep costs down at the same time as fitting in with your schedule if you can't be flexible. 
  • Dedicated Vehicle - you choose the dates and have exclusive use of the vehicle. This is perfect for larger shipments or where you don't want to share space. The vehicle will usually be loaded at your home and travel straight to destination via. customs clearance facilities. 

We've broken these options down and given lots more detail in our article 'European transport options for household goods' if you'd like help choosing which services are right for you. 


How long does a European move take?

Door to door transit time depends on:

  • Method of transport - dedicated vehicles are the quickest and dedicated dates services are not far behind.  Part load/groupage services can be the slowest but this depends on where you are in the collection/delivery schedule.
  • Where you are moving from and to - this determines how long it will take for the vehicle to travel.

We've broken this down and given lots more detail in our article 'How long do European removals take' if you want to find out more. 


How much do Removals to Europe cost?

European removals costs are different for each customer. They vary based on your personal requirement but are typically calculated on the following:

  • Volume. (check out our volume calculator to see how much you have to move) 
  • Timescales: How quickly you need the delivery and how flexible you can be with your move dates
  • Access: at both properties
  • Origin & Destination
  • Services chosen
  • Special care/handling items
  • Any additional moving costs: such as import duties/taxes if you are taking any new items you've not owned for 12 months or are not eligible for duty-free import

We've broken this down and given lots more detail in our article 'How much do European removals cost' if you want to find out more, including why you may receive different costs from different moving companies. 

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Shortlisting Shipping companies to quote

How do you choose from hundreds of web search results to find reputable European moving companies that are right for you?

  1. Check the FIDI Directory for movers in your area who are certified to the FAIM international moving quality standard to ensure you're moving with a verified professional company. 
  2. Check the BAR directory for movers who are regulated and have been pre-vetted as meeting the standards required for European Moves. Be sure to look for the Overseas Moving badge as some BAR members are only regulated for UK moves. 
  3. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, or online expat communities like British Expats who have made the move before and have real experiences they can share.

Unless you already know who you want to move with then 3 is the magic number as 3 quotes helps you make good comparisons to ensure you're getting an accurate quote and best value for money. 


Pre-Move Surveys

Getting a pre-move Survey is the most accurate way to get a fixed quote for your European move and to avoid any surprise extra costs. This should be free and no obligation, regardless of method - most companies offer in-home or virtual video surveys, with some also offering self survey forms. 

A pre-move consultation helps the mover to:

  • Understand what's important to you
  • Explain how your move will work, the services they provide and your potential move plan
  • Take an inventory of the items you want to move
  • Check access for any unique requirements or restrictions
  • Advise on customs rules such as restricted/prohibited items

Find out more about pre-move surveys and how to get the most out of yours in our guide: "Your international removals survey - a guide to your pre-move consultation"

You can also check out our handy list of questions to ask European removal companies to help you find out what you need to know during the visit. 

Contract quote

Comparing quotes and selecting your mover

European removal companies all have their own format for showing costs and service specifications so it's essential to look for the key elements to ensure you're comparing like for like. This includes volume, transit time, method of shipment, inclusions/exclusions and additional fees.

Make sure every company has made their own assessment, rather than rely on the survey/assumptions of another. Once you're sure everyone has based their quote on the same information you can evaluate against what's important to you, including:

  • Move Plan
  • Quality
  • Pricing

Read our guide Comparing quotes for European Removals to find out how to evaluate carefully to select the right mover for you. 


European Moving Certifications and Accreditations

A European move is somewhere between a UK move and an International move. There are higher risks than a move entirely within the UK because of the longer journey time and the complexities of customs clearance. 

For this reason, we recommend choosing a certified international mover to protect yourself and maximise the chance of a great move experience. Typically they will have been independently pre-vetted to ensure they are qualified, experienced and meet high quality standards. 

The two main international removals industry-specific accreditations to look out for are:

  • BAR Overseas

Read our guide "Which certifications should my international moving company have?" to find out why.  

Contract quote

Booking your move

When should you book a European Removal company?

Most people start to arrange quotes for removals around 2-3 months before you want your items packed and moved. If your move date is likely to be in peak periods like summer or school holidays it's advisable to start the process ASAP to get the best rates and avoid your preferred mover being booked up.

If you don’t know your move dates yet don’t worry, let the removal company know your provisional or target dates and then finalise these once you know more. 

Paying in advance for your move:

Most companies will ask you to pay in advance for your move, typically on booking or at least 7 days before your move date. If you are worried, make sure your mover is a member of the British Association of Removers who offer an advance payment guarantee to protect your money once you've paid. 

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Our  quotes are free and there is no obligation so why not get in touch with us right away to find out how little it could cost you to enjoy an easy, simple, enjoyable move with Bournes.

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