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Answers to your top questions about removal companies

Posted by Bournes Moves - April 13, 2015

family moving house with a removal company

Are you moving house soon? If you're starting to think about the possibility of using a removal company then there might be a few things you want to know first - and you wouldn't be alone.

These are some of the most frequently asked questions about removal companies, and the answers we hope will help you pick the right one for your move...

1. How much will house removals cost?

One of - if not the - top questions we usually hear is regarding the cost of removals services. It is also probably one of the only questions that companies can't give a definitive answer to immediately without knowing a little more. There are lots of elements that make up the cost of a removal, so it's hard to give each customer a concise figure before there's been a chance to review their individual requirements. 

As a rough guide, the cost of a removal is usually based on a number of combined factors :

  • Volume (amount) of belongings you're moving
  • Access at both properties
  • Distance of the move
  • Your preferences for your move plan
  • Additional services you select - i.e packing services, dismantling/reassembling of items or handyman or housemaid services.

The best way to get an accurate figure is by booking an in-home move consultation, where expertly trained Move Consultants can assess the amount to be moved as well as any other components of your move, from which a detailed quotation can be made. 

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2. How soon should I book a removal company?

Moving day calendar - how soon should I book a removal company?Generally speaking, it's recommended you start contacting removal companies around 4-6 weeks prior to your arranged move date.

If you're buying and/or selling this may be your completion date and you'll likely know when this is once you have or are about to exchange contracts and are reaching the end of your sale process. This ensures you've got plenty of time to arrange a pre-move survey and get an accurate quotation. However, don't panic if you're moving at short notice as some companies will have flexible resources that allow for last minute moves. 

And remember that it's never too early to contact a removal company for help or advice - most will only be too happy to help you and answer any questions you might have about your upcoming move. 

3. How do I know if a removal company is reputable?

When you're paying a lot of money to hire a service you need to know that the company in question will do a good job - especially when it comes to moving all of your treasured possessions. When it comes moving house, it's important to make sure that the company you pick is not only professional but more importantly reputable. 

Finding a reputable removal company is actually easier than it sounds though. As a rule, you should always look for companies that are members of the British Association of Removers (BAR), can provide you with previous customer feedback and have good local reputations or come strongly recommended by friends or family. Find out everything you need to know about finding and choosing the right removal company for you with The Ultimate Guide to Removal Companies.

Read our guide: The Ultimate guide to removal companies

4. Do I pack my own belongings, or do the removal company do the packing for me?

It's entirely up to you what you choose to do regarding the packing of your goods - if you're happy to pack your own items and are confident in doing so then that's absolutely fine, but the removal company can usually do it for you if you want them to. Consider:

  • Do you have a large amount of furniture and personal effects to be moved?
  • Are you short on time?
  • Would you like the peace of mind of professional packing to reduce the risk of damage?
  • Have you got any awkward, delicate or fragile pieces you need help with?

You can usually choose from self packing, full packing or even customise your quote and ask for just selected items to be packed for you. Whatever your requirements are, you can discuss this with your Move Consultant, who will ensure that the quote they produce reflects your needs.

The same also applies to unpacking - this is something you can do entirely yourself, or for an extra charge you can request the help of your removal company in unpacking. 

If you're packing your own items you can watch our packing video guides here to help you make sure they are safely protected. 

5. What is a pre-move survey and do I really need one?

A pre-move survey is the name given to the process that most removers use to assess the overall volume of goods that need to be moved from your present home to your new one.


A Move Consultant will visit your home to physically assess each room and the items to be moved (a visit typically lasts around an hour), noting anything that's particularly delicate or heavy and taking into account any specific issues such as awkward access to and from the property or any items of furniture that need to be dismantled prior to moving. This is also an opportunity for you to ask any questions or discuss your concerns about the move face-to-face, while getting a feel for each different company and how they work.

Once finished, the Move Consultant will send you a quote covering all the requirements you've discussed. Always remember that this entire process - from the in-home consultation to the quotation - should be free, and that you are under no obligation to go any further with any of the companies you've dealt with.

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If you only have a small quantity of goods to be moved or don't have the time for a survey, then some companies may be able to send you a self survey form that you can complete on your own. They can then calculate your quotation and move plan based on the information you supply.

6. How do I move items from my loft?

You can bring down the items yourself for the moving company to pack, which is or if you can't access it yourself then you can ask your removal company to do it for you. For health and safety reasons, most removal companies will only empty a loft providing it is properly boarded and lit and can be safely accessed by ladder.

7. When do I have to pay for my removal?

Most removal companies will ask for payment in full in advance of your move, typically a minimum of 7 days before move day. This is standard procedure for BAR removal companies and BAR membership provides an Advance Payment Guarantee (APG) as a safety net so that in the unlikely event that your mover suffers financial failure before your move is completed that you have not lost any payment already made. As a member of the BAR National and Overseas moving groups Bournes are delighted to be able to offer this financial protection for UK, European and International Moves. You can view Bournes APG certificate and details or visit the BAR advance payment guarantee page to find out more, incluuding the full terms and conditions of the scheme.  

8. How do I arrange parking for removal vehicles on the day of my move?

You can either arrange parking yourself or ask your removal company to help, but it is definitely important to plan for so that you don't risk additional delays or charges on move day. 

Find out from your mover the size of the vehicle(s) and if you need to make sure to speak to neighbours about reserving some space. If you are intending for the vehicle to park on a public road you may need to contact the council to get the necessary permits or dispensations if they need to park on yellow lines or reserve bays. Most removal companies will be happy to help assist you with this process if it's something you're unsure of and will know the right people to talk to and when. 

9. I want to store some of my items as part of my move - how can I do this?

If you need to store some items as part of your move - whether thats temporarily between homes or longer term, whatever the reason may be - then it might be best to begin your search by specifically looking for a removal company in your area that also offers moving house storage too. This will not only cut down the cost of using a separate storage facility, but also the additional handling of your items too. 


Moving companies like Bournes that offer removals and storage together will often be able to pack the required items into a special storage container directly at your home, which is then taken back to their warehouse to be kept securely for the length of time required. They can then be delivered out of store to your new address when the time is right. 

 10. What do I have to do on moving day?

On moving day you or a representative need to be present at the property. The removal crew will arrive at the agreed time and will almost always require a quick walk around the house with you to receive any instructions you might have - this is where it's up to you to point out things like delicate or heavy items to watch out for, items that are not to be moved or rooms that you want left until last. 

After everything is packed and loaded onto the van, you will be asked to do a final walk around the property to check that everything has been removed as you wish and there is nothing left behind. Once you reach your new property and the crew have unloaded, you'll be asked to complete some simple paperwork to confirm that the move has been carried out to your satisfaction. 

Don't forget to make sure that you've prepared an essentials box prior to moving day and have made all the necessary provisions for any children or pets that will be accompanying you on the day. Most of all though, you should remember that this is nearly always an exciting time - and one that should be a positive experience when using a professional removal company!

11. How is a Removal Company different from a Man and Van

This will vary depending on which removal company and which man and van company you're comparing, but things to look out for include:

  • Qualifications and professional accreditation.
  • Membership of professional bodies offering payment protection or independent dispute resolution.
  • Level of removals specific training. 
  • Written, fixed fixed quotation and contract detailing agreed service specification. 
  • Range of vehicle sizes and features.
  • Number of resources (crews/vehicles) providing flexibility if something changes last minute. 

Because there can be lots of differences that aren't always easy to spot between companies who could help you move we've put together this free guide - How to choose a Removal company - to help you find the right mover for you. 

12. How are removals crews trained?

Again, this will vary depending on the removal company you're considering. At Bournes our crews are trained in house at the Bournes Academy by our dedicated training manager and study a range of topics throughout their career including:

  • Customer service
  • Manual handling
  • Packing techniques 
  • Safe loading 
  • Protecting floors, walls, doorways, driveways and other areas of a property
  • Health and Safety
  • Handling fragile or specialist items (including piano's, grandfather clocks and barometers)
  • Teamwork and leadership 
  • and lots more!

If you're worried about a particular task or item just ask your moving company how their team is trained to handle it. 


Get a free removals quote


Want to know more? 

Find out everything you need to know about finding and choosing the right removal company for you with The Ultimate Guide to Removal Companies.

Read our guide: The Ultimate guide to removal companies







Topics: House Removals

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