Moving house often signifies an exciting new start, however the move itself can be stressful and will require a lot of organisation. Packing, cleaning and then moving all of your belongings can take its toll on even the most relaxed person, so it’s vital to find a removal company you can trust.
It’s tempting to underestimate the amount of physical and mental energy it takes to move house, especially if there are several flights of stairs, tight spaces to negotiate or a lot of physical distance between properties. With so many options to choose from, how will you know which removal company is the right fit for you? Read on for a checklist of what you need to consider when choosing a removals team, and enjoy a stress-free start to the new chapter in your life.
Ask for a quote
When it comes to moving house, there’s no ‘one size fits all’, and the cost of hiring a removal company will depend on a variety of factors. The size of your property, how easily the removal van can park, whether there is a lift or several flights of stairs, and of course, the amount of items that need to be moved will all affect the price. Companies such as Essex Removals offer a free, no obligation estimate and will arrange for an estimator to visit your property; most reputable moving companies should offer to do the same before you commit to their service. There are online forms that can be filled out to give you a rough idea of cost but it’s always better to get a member of the removals team to assess the property and give you a quote in person. A home visit also gives you the chance to discuss specifics, such as whether they offer a packing service and if so, how much it costs, the type of packing materials used for valuable or breakable items and whether they will reinstall items for you at your new property, e.g the cooker or washing machine.
It might be tempting to go with the cheapest option, but remember you need the right removals company for you and basing the choice off cost alone might be more stressful in the long run. Once you’ve chosen it’s also useful to ask the company how they would like to be paid for the job – most companies should be able to accept a credit or debit card as well as cash. Be wary of companies that insist on cash upfront or a large deposit before the move has been completed.
Check their insurance
It’s vital to thoroughly investigate a company’s insurance policy before making a final selection. For example, what is their policy if the move is delayed? What happens in the event of loss or breakage and is there a limit for how much you can claim? It’s worth making a comprehensive list of all valuable and fragile items, including anything that has sentimental value. Label all boxes clearly so the removal team know exactly when they are moving precious items. Insurance policies will vary from company to company so compare a few to make sure you’re getting the best protection for your valuables.
Get a recommendation
A trusted recommendation from family or friends can make all the difference, and is often more valuable than reading an online review written by a stranger. It also gives you the chance to ask in depth questions about how the company handled the move – were they prompt and on time in both communication before hand and during the move? Did they put your mind at ease when moving valuable items? It depends on whether the recommended companies are available in your area but choosing a pre-approved house removal company from people you trust can cut out a lot of valuable research time.
It’s important that you feel comfortable with the removals team – they’re handling all your precious belongings after all. A staff uniform can indicate a more professional service and can help you easily identify legitimate members of the team. A relaxed and friendly removal team with plenty of experience will reduce stress on the day and reassure you that everything is in safe hands.
Check their credentials
Most reliable and legitimate removal companies will be accredited by an organisation such as the BAR (British Association of Removers) or The National Guild of Removers and Storers. The BAR has an easily searchable database to help you find a removal company, or check whether any removal companies you are considering are a registered member. If they are not, it doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t trustworthy – they could be new or not felt the need to register, however for extra peace of mind a BAR approved company can definitely make a difference.
Do they offer any extras?
It’s worth asking whether the removals company offer any extras alongside the basic move from property to property. For example do they offer relocation services for offices or business or just domestic removals? Companies such as the Essex Removal Service provide a range of packing services, from Bronze where the company provides all boxes, bubble wrap and packing materials for you to pack yourselves; to Platinum where they will pack, label and unpack all items for you. Many removal companies also offer storage, too, if you’re downsizing your home or need a place to safely store office equipment.
Checking out other customer reviews can help narrow down the decision process, but as anyone who’s ever looked on Trip Advisor for a hotel or restaurant knows, one bad review can put you off entirely. It’s important to remember that your move is personal to you, and something one person may consider a complete deal breaker (e.g being 20 minutes late), may not matter to you as much. Often how the company handled the issue tells you more about them than the problem itself – check to see if they reply to negative reviews and how they resolved customer complaints.
Equally, a list of hundreds of five stars reviews can seem too good to be true, although most review websites are able to detect spam reviews, either positive or negative. Check the dates of the most recent ten or twelve reviews too, it’s no good finding an amazing-sounding company if their last review was posted several years ago. There are even entire sites dedicated to house move reviews, including Removal Reviews which has a handy guide on how to get the most out reviews and make them work for you.
Give yourself enough time
Something that comes up time and time again when researching how to choose a removal company is the importance of giving yourself enough time. The longer you plan ahead, the more likely it is that you’ll be able to book the removal company you want, on the date your require. Giving the removal company a lot of notice is highly valuable for them, too, and gives the team a chance to assess how long the move will take, plus a home visit and cost estimate for the job. If you are packing yourselves then the sooner you start the better, but the job takes as long as it takes no matter who is doing it, so planning in advance gives the removal team team time to pack everything safely and securely if that’s what you’ve chosen.
There’s no harm in shopping around when it comes to choosing a removal company – after all, these are strangers who you’ll be trusting to transport all your worldly possessions and you’ll want a team with a lot of experience. Call or visit several different removal companies to see who you like best, and don’t be afraid to go with your gut instinct. There will of course be other factors that come into play, such as availability, cost and location, but the experience will go a lot smoother if you’re working with a company you like and trust.
At Essex Removals we understand you want an organised, stress-free experience from a professional team. Based in Romford, we operate mainly throughout Essex, London and South East England but also specialise in European removals and long distance moving. Whether you’re moving down the road or to an entirely new country, our friendly experienced team can take care of as little or as much as you need – from transporting your items to packing, installation and custom container storage if needed. Visit our website today to see a full list of services and request a free, no obligation quote.