If you're about to move house and are looking for help from a removal company, you might not know where to start. Narrowing down your choices can be tough, especially when all companies seem as good as each other. To help give you an idea of some of the things to look out for when making your decision, here are the top ten things the best removal companies will do to ensure you have a smooth move...
1. Conduct a comprehensive pre-move survey
As soon as you know your move dates (or at least have a rough idea) you need to start looking into booking a removal company. As part of this process, each company you contact (which should be at least 3) should offer you an in-home survey. A removals company survey involves a trained move consultant or surveyor coming out to survey the property and goods to be moved in order to produce an accurate quotation and more importantly makes sure they understand your individual move needs and any issues either you or the removal company might have with the move so everything runs smoothly on the day.
This survey should take around an hour (depending on your property size), be completely free of charge and the move consultant should be thorough. By thorough, we mean they should walk through every room in the property, checking in cupboards, looking in the loft and looking around the garden and in any sheds/outbuildings you have. The more comprehensive the survey is, the more accurate your quotation will be and the more smoothly your move will typically run.
2. Ask about access for a removals lorry at both properties
This might not seem like a big deal, but knowing what access is like at both of your properties on move day makes a big difference when it comes to how smoothly your move will run. As part of their comprehensive survey, access is something the move consultant/surveyor should discusss with you when they come to visit.
They will make their own initial assessment based on the parking availability or restrictions outside your house and then ask you more details about the property you're moving to. Sometimes it's very straightforward - you might have a driveway that the removal truck can park directly onto, or you might be able to ask neighbours to move their car temporarily if you all share a parking area - and other times it's slightly more complicated. For instance, you might have double yellow lines outside your property, they might need to suspend parking bays, there might be no parking at all and the removal company will need to work out where the nearest place is that they can safely park, you might live down a very narrow lane that a removal vehicle won't fit down, in which case they will require a smaller van to shuttle your goods up to the main truck, or your new property might be on the top floor of a block of flats, so extra manpower or lifts are required.
Not only does going into detail about the access at your properties help the removal company plan and prepare their resources properly, but it saves you from incurring any extra charges on the day of or after the move.
3. Ask you about your move schedule
This is a really important part to get right for a removal company - without knowing the key information, the move can't take place at all! In order to start planning and preparing properly, a good removal company will ask you everything about the expected schedule of your move - from exchange and completion dates (if you're buying/selling) right through to the time you need to vacate the property you're leaving. The more detail they have, the easier it is to start organising your move and make sure they can work to the schedule you need them to. It also lets them help you to understand availibility and the different cost implications of moving at different times of the month/year. Don't worry if you don't know everything yet, it still helps as long as they know what you know!
4. Try to understand your individual move
The more a removal company knows about the circumstances surrounding your move, the more they will be able to tailor the move plan to suit your individual needs. For example, if you're decluttering then you might end up with less stuff on move day than is seen at the survey, which not only alters the time it takes to carry out the move, but the price you are quoted. If you're downsizing they might need to be prepared to help you get more furniture into a smaller home, or perhaps you're moving in with family while your new house is built, in which case you might need to put some items into storage in addition to being moved. You might have young children, and need certain items unloaded as a priority at your new property or need an extra pair of hands getting everything packed up. Whatever it is is that's concerning you or is a top priority on move day, if your removal company know about it they can do everything possible to accommodate your needs.
5. Offer you removals insurance and explain your different options
It's not usually compulsorary to take a removal company's insurance, but it is wise to find out as much as you can about what's being offered and make an informed choice as to the level of risk want to take.
While a good removal company will be highly trained to deal with your move and minimise the risk of breakages, the fact remains that removals is a high risk industry and sometimes, with the best will in the world, accidents do happen. You should be offered cover for your move, explained clearly what the level of cover is and how you should claim (and the circumstances under which you can't claim if any) and also be talked through where you stand with regards to making a claim if you choose not to take any insurance. If you choose to take your own insurance independently, you should still ask about how this affects your right to claim if any breakages or damage occurs.
If you're still confused, then this removal's insurance guide explains all of your options in more detail.
6. Offer you packing materials and a packing service
Again, these are things which will be covered as part of a comprehensive survey. You might already know whether or not you need help with packing, which is great, or you might discover after chatting to the move consultant that actually, you would like your fragile items packed after all, or that perhaps you're a bit pushed for time and could do with the extra help when it comes to packing everything up in time for the move and a packing service is your best option. If you choose to do your own packing you might need some materials delivered to you in time to complete everything. Whatever you decide, a good removal company will factor this into your move plan and offer you lots of advice and support.
7. Explain their removals costs and any additional charges clearly
One sign of a good removal company is transparency - especially when it comes to costs. Once you have received them you need to start comparing your removals quotes. You should make sure that the removal companies have shown their costs clearly, explaining what is covered in the price you have been quoted, what is not covered and the additional services you can pay extra for. Make sure all your specifications have been covered - things like packing services, the inclusion of materials or any charges for the removal company to make parking arrangements for their truck on the day of your move if necessary - and always check that the volumes quoted are roughly the same across all quotations you receive.
8. Train their removals staff
Investing in the staff training is one of the hallmarks of a good removal company. We're not just talking about the crew, who must be trained to the correct level of competency when it comes to packing, wrapping and handling your items on move day, but also the staff in the office who work behind the scenes to coordintate and organise all the other elements that go into making your move run smoothly.
9. Be registered with the British Association of Removers
The British Association of Removers is an independent organsiation dedicated to promoting professional excellence in the removals industry by developing and maintaining professional standards and services for the benefit of customers.
There are several reasons why you should always use a BAR removal company, including having to comply to a code of conduct, an advance payment guarantee and an idependent complaints resolution service.
10. Provide you with a Move Manager
Once you've chosen your removal company and accepted the quotation they've offered, you should be assigned a Move Manager. This will be someone in the office that takes on the organisation of your move and will be your main point of contact in the run up to and on the day of the move. He or she will be able to answer any questions you may have and will keep in touch with you to ensure all your requirements are met. This is a valuable resource in the run up to your move, and can alleviate some of the stress you might be feeling as move day approaches.
So that's it! 10 great things you'll get from a removal company like us that will help your move run smoothly. Good luck!
Need more help choosing a removal company?
Find out everything you need to know about finding and choosing the right removal company for you with The Ultimate Guide to Removal Companies.