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Choosing Your Removal Company

Remember, no two house moves are the same, so the removal company will send out an estimator to assess the quality of possessions you have, the amount of packing, the distance the van or vans will have to travel, the number of removal men involved, which floor you live on if it is a flat, and any other requirements, and will base their quote on that information. You should get three quotes to make sure you get the best value (most reasonable choices would be some of the famous names), and make sure you show them the contents of the attic, garage and garden shed. These take great effect on the quote and are most often forgotten.

When choosing your removal company make sure they are a member of the BAR. The British Association of Removers is a regulatory body that imposes certain regulations on its members to do with insurance, training and code of conduct. If your company is not with the Bar make sure they have the necessary insurance to cover any damages.

Most removal companies will offer a range of services and it is important that you make clear what you require.

  • A Standard move – this is basically DIY (do it yourself) where the removal company supply all the boxes, paper, bubble wrap etc., but you do all the packing. The company will then load, travel and unload.
  • Fragile packing – the removers pack all the breakables only, but you do the rest. They then load the van, travel and unload.
  • Full packing service – they will literally do everything including your clothes. They pack, load, travel, unload and unpack.
  • Combination service – this type of service varies depending on the individual household. They will do a complete packing service, load, travel, unload the boxes and leave them packed. Or unpack some. It depends what state your new house is in. It may not be ready to unpack everything. They will distribute the furniture and boxes into rooms as directed and then leave.
  • Storage – you can have everything loaded into a container and stored for you while you are looking for something to buy. Alternatively, you could do part move, part storage. During the estimate make sure the remover knows which pieces are going where – coloured stickers help – because this will affect the quote.

If you are selling some furniture prior to moving, make sure you tell the assessor, because it could make all the difference between needing one container and two.

Removers will also provide special services for antiques and pianos, if they are needed. The really good removal companies have people who know exactly how to protect antiques and will call in expert carpenters to take apart antique wardrobes or dressers. These are then reassembled at the other end. They have sophisticated pulley systems to get furniture out of the top floor windows and experts who deal with unwiring and packing chandeliers. No problem is insurmountable. Whatever your needs, however humble or grand, they’ve seen it all before and are there to help you.

Once you have received you three quotes it is up to you to decide who will do the job. Personally speaking I almost always go for the middle quote. When you’ve accepted their quote make sure you get it all confirmed in writing. You will need to tell them your moving date but if your house is still going through legal negotiations and you have not agreed a completion date, you could always give them a provisional booking. Do this as far in advance as possible. In fact, I usually get the removal people in to quote before the house is even on the market.

Keep in close contact with them so that you can confirm the moving date as soon as possible – as soon as contacts have been exchanged.

The cost of moving

  • The cost of your move will depend on a variety of factors and not just how much stuff you have got. The assessor has to take these factors into account.
  • The cubic capacity required to pack all your belongings. This will affect the number of vans you will need.
  • Which service you require. If they are doing a full pack it can take three men five days to pack, depending on the size of the property.
  • Access. If your home is on the fourth floor without a lift or the van can’t park near your house it will affect the price.
  • The timing. Fridays, weekends, school holidays and the last week of the month are really bad times to move. Removal companies are stretched to the limits, so you may not receive the best service.
  • The amount of packing.
  • The distance the van has to travel and how long to unload/unpack. This sometimes means an overnight stay for the lads.
  • Storage. The cubic capacity will affect the weekly rental.

Useful Tips

How to avoid a stressful move, best top three tips

  1. The summer holiday season is a crazy time to move. Removal men like to take their children on holiday too, so many companies employ casual labour at such times.
  2. Confirm the time when the keys to the new house are available and who pays for any waiting time. The people leaving the new house might be doing it themselves and take longer than anticipated, which leaves your company waiting for them to finish.
  3. Always check if your move will be a part load. In layman terms this means to say, is your loading going to be part of another job, two loads – one van. If a job is cancelled or delayed it could stop the whole job taking place.

Decide, which things should go the charity shops, after you have had your massive clear-out, as they will be more than grateful to receive cloths, jewellery and bric-a-brac. The Salvation Army will even collect small items of furniture. Other stuff that you feel has some monetary value could always go to a car boot sale, but in my opinion these are an awful lot of work for a minimum return. You won’t need the extra stress.

Preparing for the move

Option 1: They do all the work

You have a choice, either you do it or they do it. Obviously, it will cost more if they do it all but if you have a job and a family, there aren’t enough hours in the day to start packing bits of china. What price sanity? They are all very good at their job, so let them do it. One removal chap I spoke to said that he actually prefers it if the customer leave it all to them. ‘You don’t have to move a thing. Leave the pictures on the wall and the china in the cupboards so that the boxes can be labelled accordingly.’

They will pack all your clothes and hanging garments will transported in mobile wardrobe boxes. It couldn’t be easier. Your biggest contribution will be in the preparation and you can never start soon enough. Clear out all the junk which has been accumulating over the years. You don’t want to start life in your new house surrounded by clutter.

It would be very helpful if you could draw a little plan of your new home, giving each room a name or number. If you give this to the removal company they will make sure all the boxes go into the right rooms. Ideally, you should be there on the day in order to make quick decisions and to make sure everything is where you want it. Here is a list of essentials that should travel with you and not on the van – kettle, tea/coffee, milk and sugar, soft drinks for children, cleaning materials, washing liquid, sheets, towels, change of cloths, mobile phone, emergency provisions like snack food, bread, butter, cereal, children things, china mugs or plastic cups also make sure the vacuum cleaner is the first thing off the van.

This way, when you get to your destination you won’t be waiting for essentials to come off the van. They will then start to unload and unpack everything, so make them lots of cups of tea.

Keep calm. Most removal men have a lovely sense of humour so the banter will help to keep you relaxed. If they are doing it all, you can get on with making the beds etc. They will assemble everything and put furniture wherever you want it.

Option 2: You do it yourself

This choice is quite the most stressful way of doing it but of course it is the cheapest. Also, if you are very minimalistic and don’t have much stuff then it makes sense to do it yourself.

If you don’t need a professional removal company you could always hire a van, pack the boxes, get a friend to help you load up and drive it yourself. Ring around for quotes on the van hire and make it includes insurance and breakdown cover. However, you need to be strong to do it yourself as some boxes will be quite heavy. A friend or two will be needed to help you and you will need to have pre-packed all the boxes prior to the moving day.

Alternatively, you could hire a van with a driver, which will cost a bit more. Ask the driver whether he will help with the loading and if he has all the equipment such as packing blankets and ropes. Always check his insurance.

Who to notify before your move

Remember to arrange for any mail to be forwarded to your new address. This can be done by the Post Office for a small fee and can be for a period of one month to a year and extended if necessary. There is a quicker and cheaper way instead of using a public printer, if you have one at your home make good you of it and print ‘change of address’ cards. Make sure your old address is on it as well as the new address and telephone number for all the organisations that need to know, such would be – your bank, national insurance, credit card companies, social security office and local authority.

What to do the other end

I personally am very much in favour of making lists. Writing everything down really helps both you and/or the removal men to know where everything goes. With your list in your hot little hand you should be able to unload the van in a trice.

So, you’re in your new home. One the first night I’d try not to get too ambitious, because you’ll only end up knackered. Once the beds have arrived, make them up and sort out your personal belongings. You may need to give the bathroom a quick clean. If you have children, make sure their bedrooms are sorted.

How to reduce the stress once you arrive in your new home

  1. If the removal men are unloading but not unpacking, store everything in room by room sections, so that you can find the right box quickly. All the kitchen stuff together etc. Write the contents on the side of the box, so that when they are stacked you can easily see what is inside.
  2. Loud music is a great stress reliever. You might as well accept that it is going to be a bit chaotic for a while and this will help to keep you calm.
  3. Delegating little jobs is vital, because you can’t do them all yourself.

The next day you can really get cracking. Try to set yourself targets and this will motivate you. For example, ‘Today I’m going to finish the sitting room.’ It is very important to get one room straight, as a haven that you can retreat to, to get away from all the mess.

Slowly but surely you will see the boxes disappearing. Try to unpack as much as you can every day, because the sooner your home is straight the better. This helps your peace of mind and enables you to channel your energy elsewhere. A chaotic home often means a chaotic mind. Clutter and mess are not conductive to harmony and stability. Unless you are having building work done there is no reason why your home shouldn’t be unpacked and finished within two weeks, seriously. That includes pictures on the walls and everything! You will feel so much better if you keep going until it is all done rather than putting it off for another day.

If you need shelves to put all your books on, get a handyman or carpenter in right away. Ask around. There is bound to be someone who can help you. It might be useful to locate a plumber as well, in case of an emergency. If, after two years, you will have boxes that remain unpacked, get rid of them. You obviously haven’t missed the contents.

Some of us are natural home makers and nest builders and some of us are not. But it really doesn’t matter whether it looks like a cosy, cookies in the oven sort of home or a functional space where you lay your head, as long as you remember a few basic rules.

  • When you set out to buy your property the location is of paramount importance.
  • You don’t pay its market value otherwise you will be shaving profit when sell
  • You do your research
  • If you are undertaking improvements, you do them really well
  • When you sell, you get the timing and presentation right

This way you should see the financial rewards of buying and selling, and will be shooting up the property ladder.

The Big Move

The Big Move