If you're moving house and haven't used a removal company before here's 5 simple steps to finding a reputable International Removal Company and booking the mover that is right for you.
1 - Make a list of companies to consider.
Ask for recommendations
- From your friends and family: People you trust are a great source of reputable companies you should consider, with real experiences they can share with you. If you know people who have moved overseas before you can ask your nearest and dearest in person or you could post the question on your social networks like Facebook or Twitter for a wider audience.
- From online expat communities: If you don't know anyone who has moved overseas ask an online community. There are loads of discussion forums (our favourite is British Expats) that are a great support resource for people like you looking to move overseas, with a wealth of experience for you to learn from!
In both cases...
It's important to remember here the importance of asking about INTERNATIONAL removal companies. Why? A great UK moving company may not be a great overseas mover, it's a completely different skillset - from understanding how to pack things for weeks on the stormy seas, to have the experience to know how to complete customs paperwork so you don't experience costly penalties or delays. If you're considering a mover based on a UK-UK move recommendation, also make sure you're checking they are accredited for overseas moves too.
Search a directory
Local directories are a great way to find companies that serve your area: Here are some of our favourites:
- FIDI.org: FIDI is the largest global alliance of professional international moving and relocation companies, what’s more, every FIDI affiliate must comply with the rigorous FAIM quality standard, generally accepted as the leading professional industry standard worldwide. The FAIM Standard defines consistent quality requirements a company must comply within its operations, administration and performance taking into account procedures, staff training, vehicles and facilities to ensure they are qualified to provide International Removals services to an acceptable standard or higher.
- The British Association of Removers: The BAR is the leading professional association of Removal Companies in the UK and sets minimum standards and a code of conduct to ensure you get a great service. This online directory combines a list of pre-vetted members with reviews from previous customers allowing you to get independent feedback on the company you’re considering. Make sure you look for members who display the 'Overseas Remover' badge as this site combines the UK and International companies together.
- Yell.com: One of the UK's leading business directories. You can search by location or by name for a company in the 'overseas removals' category to find out a bit more about them, the services they offer and sometimes photos and reviews too if they've completed their profile.
Use a search engine
A quick search on Google, Bing or your favourite search engine will likely throw up lots of options for you to consider. If you're using a search engine there are two things to be aware of:
- Anyone can make a good looking website ~ so how can you tell a reputable mover from a scammer that has great web design skills? Check out our blog on International removal Company accreditations to know what to look for.
- The results a search engine displays are down to complex algorithms and the top listings could miss some great providers that could cover your area, it's always worth scrolling through a few pages if there are lots of matches.
A note on comparison sites:
There are lots of ‘broker’ sites out there that take your details and sell them to multiple movers and you'll usually get calls from around 6 if not more to arrange quotes. This is fine and a way to save time but may not mean you’re getting access to the whole of the market (in a similar way that not all car insurance companies are on comparison websites).
You should also make sure to do your quality checks on the companies selected by the broker site before accepting any quote as their listing on a broker site does not guarantee their standing as a reputable mover and the broker will usually take no liability if things go wrong.
2 - Shortlist who you'll invite to quote
Unless you already know who you want to move with then 3 is the magic number.
Getting 3 quotes helps you to make good comparisons and ensure you're getting an accurate quote (as you can easily spot any anomalies) and the best value for your money.
When choosing who to put on your shortlist, consider the following:
- Do they provide the services you need? Do they offer the transport options you're interested in and do they do all the added extras you'll need like crating or maybe a handyman to dismantle large furniture?
- Do they cover your area? There are lots of national companies who cover moves to/from anywhere in the UK regardless of where they are based, but some will only cover a certain area.
- Are they reputable? Make sure they have the appropriate qualifications and accreditations (ideally pre-vetted by a certified body like FIDI) and do they have good reviews? Check out our 7 ways to find a reputable removal company.
Once you've got your shortlist, it's time to request quotes and arrange Home Surveys. You can either call the mover on the phone or request a quote via their website or email.
3 - Arrange a move consultation
You'll need to arrange for your 3 companies to visit your house for a free, no obligation consultation to discuss:
- what's important to you
- access (internal and external)
- your questions (check out our top important questions to ask an international removal company).
- volume of belongings
- how your move will work, including the customs processes.
Home visits typically take between 30 minutes and 1 hour.
Check out our guide on getting the most from your move consultation
4 - Compare your quotes
Once you've received all your quotes take a good look and make sure you're comparing price on a like for like basis. Did everyone include the same things, note the same things, note the same special requirements and is anyone offering something different?
Check out our guide to comparing international removals quotes.
5 - Book your removal company
Once you've chosen your mover, making sure the price and service levels are the best option for you the telephone to book your provisional dates and return your acceptance form.
Want to know more? Check out our International Removals Guide