Are you considering moving your household goods to Australia as part of your relocation? Starting to plan the move and budget for removals costs? If so, we can help. In this post we'll tell you everything you need to know about the cost of moving your belongings to Australia so that you can make the most out of your budget, avoid nasty surprises and make sure everything gets there safely.
In this article:
- Average costs of Removals to Australia
- How removal costs are calculated and the factors influencing your price
- Why some quotes for removals to Australia are so cheap
- Why some companies are more expensive
- Extra costs to be prepared for (with examples)
- How to save money on shipping to Australia
- How to protect your payment
So, let's get started.
What is the average cost of removals from UK to Australia?
Quick Answer: Guideline International removal costs from the UK to Australia can be as cheap as £1,000 for lower volume shared container services, door-to-door. For full house moves a 20ft container from the UK to Australia starts at around £6000* (usually suitable for a 3 bedroom house) and a 40ft container from £9,500* for larger homes.
However, every move is different so read on to find out more about how costs are calculated.
Here are some ballpark estimates of door-to-door removal costs for a basic move from the UK to Australia - based on a typical simple move scenario using Sydney as an example.
|Type of Container||Typical House Size||Average Door-to-Door Removal Cost (GBP)|
20ft Exclusive Container
40ft Exclusive Container
4 Bed+ (or 3 bed with car)
1/2 Shared Container
1/4 Shared Container
1 Bed (essentials)
* Important note: These prices are for full door-to-door international removals. Some websites show port-to-port freight costs only, which will be significantly lower and are typically not suitable for individual household goods moving as you need to have items packed, loaded and the container moved to the port etc.
how much do house removals from the UK to Australia cost?
Photo by Mudassir Ali: on Pexels.
The cost of shipping from UK to Australia will vary for each move, and each removal company is different.
The total cost of your door-to-door removal to Australia is not just based on the size of the container you ship. It depends on many factors and is unique to your specific needs. That's why the ONLY way to get an accurate cost for YOUR move is to get a personal quote.
How are removal costs for shipping from UK to Australia calculated?
There are 3 elements to any international move.
- Origin Costs: Packing and loading your items into a container and getting it to the port.
- Transport Costs (aka freight): Shipping the container to your destination country.
- Destination Services: Customs clearance, bringing the container to your new home and unloading your furniture and boxes.
There are many factors that go into each of these 3 stages that will affect the cost of removals to Australia, from the volume of effects you're moving to the access at both homes, distance travelled, your schedule and any special requirements.
Let's break those down....
1. The items you want to move with you to Australia
There are two main considerations here that will influence costs:
- Volume: The number of items you are moving and their size is a big chunk of the cost because that determines how long it takes to pack, load and unload as well as the packing materials and the size of container needed etc. It can also determine the mode of transport you use too e.g., full container or shared container shipping.
- Type of items: Most household goods are simple to ship, but there are some items that can add to the cost of your move for example:
- Fragile items that need crating or specialist packing.
- Heavy/Awkward items that need special handling.
- Large items that need to be dismantled and reassembled to get out of / into your property.
- Restricted items that need special processes or additional paperwork for customs clearance.
2. How quickly you want your belongings to arrive in Australia
The volume of items isn't the only thing that influences the method of shipment (e.g., full container or shared container). The speed you want your items to arrive is also a big factor in choosing method, and therefore price.
Typically, quicker shipping = more expensive.
The quickest shipping method is air freight, but this is only really recommended for small shipments of important items, like work equipment, baby things and some clothes. Everything else typically travels by sea freight. The quickest method of sea shipping for household goods is an exclusive container, followed by an LCL shared shipment and finally groupage shipments. Find out more about sea shipping options here.
As an example, here are some typical transit times for Sydney, Australia:
- Exclusive Container - 8-12 Weeks (20' container from £6,000)
- Shared Container - LCL - 8-12 Weeks (1/6 container from £3,400)
- Shared Container - Groupage - 10-20 Weeks (1/6 container from £1,800)
3. Your Properties
Photo by R Architecture on Unsplash
A number of things about your home in the UK and your home in Australia can influence the cost of shipping your household goods.
- Distance of UK home to origin port and from destination port in Australia to your new home: This affects your transport cost.
- Access: Whilst many homes in the UK and Australia have good access for a large removals vehicle the cost can increase if there are any restrictions or challenges, for example, a long distance from the front door to nearby parking that will take the crew more time; narrow lanes or low bridges that might mean several smaller vehicles are needed instead of one big one; lots of internal or external stairs; tight doors/hallways that might mean items need special handling or dismantling to move.
4. Your move schedule
Moving costs can be affected by the dates you want to move and how flexible you want to be.
Many people choose to move to Australia during a school holiday so that children can start a new school at the beginning of the school term to minimise disruption and help them settle in. School holidays are the busiest time of the year for removal companies and pricing typically reflects that. If you move off-peak, you'll often get a cheaper price.
If you've got a smaller shipment you may also get a cheaper price if you can be flexible with collection or delivery dates, as this may allow your international removal company to combine with other moves.
5. International Moving services you need
Most international removals quotes will include the main services for a door-to-door move: packing, loading, transport, customs clearance and delivery (always worth checking though!), but often offer extra services that make your move less stressful, for example:
- International Removals Insurance (usually cost is a % of the value of goods).
- Handyman services to take down pictures, put up shelves etc.
- Cancellation/postponement protection fee so that your investment is protected if you have to cancel or postpone your move at the last minute.
Why are some quotes for removals to Australia so cheap?
Different international removal companies prices will always be different, but sometimes you'll find some companies are significantly cheaper than others and it's important to find out why.
Here are some reasons they may be cheaper:
1. Has your volume of goods been assessed lower?
Pre-move surveys are done by humans looking at your household goods and personal effects and estimating their volume (height x width x depth). For many items, this is done by eye rather than with a tape measure (as that would take forever!) and so getting an accurate volume is a skill that professional surveyors take many years to master. If one has assessed volume lower than another they may have misjudged something or missed an item.
Getting the volume significantly wrong on an international move can have a big impact. From the extra costs you'll likely incur for freight or delivery, to the risk of having to leave items behind if not everything fits in your container on move day. These situations can be stressful, so it's always a good idea to either ask your movers for the volume or an inventory list to make sure it's accurate.
2. Have they used a different freight option?
The freight cost is the part of your price that relates to the physical journey by ship. Freight costs vary depending on the shipping line and sailing slot selected. and this can change move prices by £100's.
If one company is offering a significantly cheaper price, you can ask both companies which freight option they used, ensuring it is a) a quality shipping line they have good experience with b) a suitable transit time and c) an up-to-date rate (as these can fluctuate frequently).
3. Are they a reputable UK-to-Australia removal company?
Moving someone within the UK is an entirely different process to moving them internationally - from the different standards of packing required to needing expert knowledge of import/export rules and paperwork as well as established relationships with overseas partners.
You'll want to make sure the company you have selected is appropriately qualified and independently certified to the quality standards required for an international move.
FIDI FAIM is the only quality standard for International Removals. Certified companies are regularly inspected in over 200 areas to make sure they meet the requirements for a good international move like qualified staff, roadworthy vehicles, fair contracts, quality packing materials etc. If one removal company is offering you a much cheaper price, always check if they are FIDI FAIM certified - after all, you wouldn't have a gas boiler installed by someone who wasn't Gas-Safe certified - so don't take the risk with all your worldly possessions either! Find out more about why you should move with a FIDI FAIM certified company.
4. Have they discounted their price?
Sometimes you get lucky and international removal companies discount your price. This could be because they have a groupage container waiting to sail that your belongings would fill, or because they already have a vehicle in your area that could do the collection without extra costs, or because they have a quiet day or week that they'd like to book out.Photo by Melissa Walter Horn on Unsplash.
Why are some international shipping companies more expensive?
As well as considering all of the above, pricing between companies that have provided like-for-like quotes and meet the same quality standards can still vary. This could be for a number of reasons, including:
- Reputation (check out Trustpilot for reviews)
- Extra value services (like a dedicated move manager or VIP services)
It's OK to ask movers what value they add for the additional cost. They should be ready and willing to tell you why they are the best fit for you!
What additional costs should I be aware of when shipping belongings to Australia?
When you compare quotes between international removal companies it is important to check which costs are included or excluded. Typically the main services like packing, freight, customs clearance and unpacking are included, but some of the below might be excluded.
If you don't see these charges noted separately on your quote, make sure to ask if these are covered in your price.
Biosecurity inspections (AKA Quarantine Fees)
As an island nation, the Australian government is fiercely protective over its biosecurity and the import of household goods could allow the unintentional entry of pests and diseases, therefore all personal effects entering Australia are subject to Biosecurity control.
For household goods shipments this means a physical inspection as part of the customs clearance process, and treatment if any issues are found (e.g., fumigation, disposal or re-export).
Whilst some companies include this fee in your quote, many will exclude this cost as it can vary based on a number of factors including the time it takes so they will only charge once they know the actual cost. This could save you money in the long run, but you'll need to budget for it just in case. Where excluded, these charges are payable locally and will need to be settled before the container is cleared through customs.
There are lots of steps you can take to reduce the risk of inspection charges including cleaning items properly before shipping and making sure you don't include any restricted or prohibited items in your shipment. Check out the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry website for a list of items that shouldn't be shipped, and for more tips.
Cost to budget for biosecurity inspections:
- AUD$450-500 for a 2oft container
- AUD$950 for a 4oft container
- a share of the above costs for a shared container
+ cost of treatment
Customs Duties and Taxes for household goods imports into Australia
Providing you are eligible most household goods are not subject to duties and GST (Services Tax) when you move them to Australia as long as they are imported within 12 months of your arrival. Eligible people usually include returning citizens, or non-citizens with long stay/permanent visas who have been abroad longer than 12 months.
There are however some personal belongings that may not be free of duties and GST so always check with your mover if there are any items included in your shipment that may not be imported duty free. These items may include:
- Items that aren't for personal use, e.g., for business purposes
- Some antiques
- Alcohol (although typically it is not advised to ship liquids at all)
Storage in Australia
If you're not ready for delivery when your shipment arrives you may need to pay for temporary storage. If you think this might be the case ask your removal company upfront what likely storage charges in Australia would be so you can budget.
What can I do to save money on shipping household belongings from the UK to Australia?
Now you understand everything that goes into the price of your removal to Australia here are a few ways you can save costs.
Cost-saving tips for removals to Australia
- Declutter: Reduce your move volume by only taking the things you really want and need. Get rid of anything that won't work in Australia, fit the size or style of your new home or that you really won't use. Make sure to donate or recycle wherever possible!
- Be flexible: If you can accept a slightly slower delivery time or move on a quieter day or a day that works well for your mover, they might be able to give you a discounted rate. Always worth asking!
- Plan ahead: Work with your move manager to get all your documents in order ASAP - this might mean your shipment can be loaded directly at your home instead of via a warehouse to reduce the cost.
- Think about the Biosecurity inspection: Reduce the risks of high inspection costs and potential treatment fees by considering not taking any items of quarantine concern, or if you do have to take them make sure they are properly cleaned before packing.
- Get insurance: The cost of insurance will seem low when compared with having to replace expensive items if they are lost or damaged, or worse if there is a maritime disaster with your shipping vessel that could leave you liable for part of the costs of recovery under 'general average'.
- Use reputable movers: Do your due diligence to ensure you're moving with a qualified and reputable company, and avoiding rogues. This will reduce the hidden costs if things go wrong! Always choose a FIDI FAIM certified company for removals to Australia.
How do I get a removals quote for my move to Australia?
The only way to get an accurate idea of the cost of shipping from the UK to Australia for your individual move is to get a personal removals quote.
Step 1 - Find the companies you want to shortlist. Check out our Ultimate guide to International Removal Companies for advice on how to find and narrow down the best companies for you.
Step 2 - Arrange a home visit with your shortlist. Ideally, get 3 quotes (you'll need a home visit from each company) so you can compare properly.
Step 3 - Wait for your quote! You'll usually get this within 24-48 hours of your home visit.
Bonus tip: Protect your payments.
Quick side note... there is one risk related to the costs of international moving that not many people talk about. What if the moving company you choose goes out of business whilst your shipment is en route to Australia?
It's standard practice to pay for your move up front at least 7 days before collection. Your moving company will then hire a local partner in Australia to complete the customs clearance and delivery, but they won't usually be billed for these services until after delivery.
It can take months for your belongings to arrive in Australia, and as we've sadly seen in the past (although very rare) anything can happen during that time. If your moving company goes out of business after collection, the local partner at destination may not get paid by them for the delivery service, and so may not be willing to fulfil that contract without extra charges to you.
Whilst moving with a reputable company, and one that is FIDI FAIM certified (they assess financial risk) significantly reduces this risk, there are two further things we'd recommend to protect yourself.
- Move with a BAR Overseas Member who provides an Advance Payment Guarantee . If a mover suffers financial failure the Scheme will cover the reasonable cost of completing the removal contract.
- Pay by Credit Card so you are protected by your bank.
Want to know more about International Removals?
Check out The Ultimate Guide to International Removal Companies to find out everything you need to know to find a great mover and have a smooth move.