Choosing a Home Moving service / Removal Companies
Choosing a Removal Firm
Picking which service you use to move into your new property is a decision of: how much time you have to assist, the amount of items you need to move, your budget and if you are fit enough to move around large pieces of furniture and have friends that can help. Here are the choices:
Do-It-Yourself Move. Cheapest option. On a standard driving licence you can hire quite a large box van / small truck if you are a confident driver. This option allows you to take your time transferring your belongings between properties, which usually means there will be less breakages and damage. Remember that removals firms have alot of padding items they use in their vans to protect furniture whilst driving – you won’t have the same.
If you take this option you likely need to hire the van for at least 2 days. There may well be multiple trips involved. Furniture is alot heavier than you imagine, especially if you have to carry it down stairs or over any more than 20 metres. You’ll quickly become tired from the moving so the process takes alot longer. Certainly you will need at least 2 people, preferably more to help.
Best option is to have at least 3, with one person staying with the van so you don’t have to lock it up each time. This means one person can be resting and then rotate with the 2 ‘workers’. I would only recommend this option if you have a studio, 1-bed flat or are moving out of a shared property (e.g. moving from living with parents or friends) where you have little or no furniture.
If you do move your own belongings you must call your contents insurance company and ensure you are covered to move your belongings. It’s likely you will have to pay an extra fee or take out an independent policy for this. Many times you will have to seek out a policy to cover the move from a new insurer. If you don’t have contents insurance because you live with parents, or someone else, then arrange it for the move. You may not be worried about damage, yet it’s more likely your items could be stolen while being moved.
‘Man with van’ option. Many small teams operate, ranging from literally 1 man with a transit van to firms that will send you 2 or even 3 men with a larger box van. This option is cheaper than hiring a professional removals firm as they use smaller vans and you hire them for a time period.
A man-with-van operation usually only covers only short distance moves, within the City – they won’t move you from Birmingham to London. They will discuss the size of your move, the distance between the locations and suggest a time slot between 2 hours to half a day in most cases. They will have many moves during the day, so you will have to book a time for them to arrive. Often they can run-late from earlier jobs and you could easily be delayed.
Once their time is up they will charge you overtime, or simply move on. Be aware that if they have to fit another job in and you have underestimated how long you need them for, they will leave you and walk away. Often they will rush to move your belongings as they know they need to fit another move, so won’t take as much care of your items as you may wish.
Some of the larger firms can arrange, or will provide insurance for your contents in the cost of the removal, but I wouldn’t rely on these policies as unlike fully fledged removal companies they have alot of ‘get out’ clauses or you may have to pay the first hundred pounds or more of any damage claim.
We would only advise using a man-with-van option if you are on a budget, have a low value of furniture and belongings (certainly no pianos, antique or designer furniture) and only if moving contents of a 1 or 2 bed flat. Anything bigger needs a proper removals team.
The most expensive, yet most stress-free way of moving is to hire a full-on removals company who are experts in the moving process. Companies will charge 3 or 4 times as much as a man-with-van and in return you will get peace of mind, flexibility, storage options, care and expert handling and reassurance.
A professional moving company will co-ordinate with you to ensure completion date looks like it’s going ahead and offer flexibility to try and be available if you are unsure when you will complete.
Even a basic service from a removals company will see 3 or more removal men turn up. Usually you will be the only removal booked that day for the team. If keys are late being handed over for your new property or cleaners are still finishing up, removals teams can work around this. They use large trucks with all kinds of padding and protection to ensure pictures, furniture, televisions and clothes are specially packed to avoid damage in transit, even if you haven’t made a good effort to protect your belongings.
Insurance cover will be comprehensive, but always check in advance and highlight expensive or fragile items. Teams usually check details such as parking and access and can arrange permits / parking suspensions or send extra men if you have lots of furniture and live on the 6th floor with no lift!
Moving the belongings of a 2 bed flat or larger and any home with a family, requires a professional removals firm. They’ll also have answers if the sofa won’t fit through the door, a toolkit at hand to un-assemble beds and wardrobes and might even help disconnect your washing machine and dishwasher if you ask in advance of them arriving.
Most importantly, if you are moving into London from elsewhere in the UK or from abroad, you need a professional firm to ensure a long distance move is handled with expert care. Logistics is a complicated business – don’t try and save a few pounds by thinking you can do it all yourself.
Basic + Packaging Materials
Even with a professional removal service, if you take the basic package you’ll need to pack up your own items and have everything from books and DVDs to cutlery, crockery, bathroom items and so on packed up in boxes, bubble wrapped or paper wrapped where appropriate. You can easily underestimate how much packaging this takes! Luckily most large removal firms will offer to drop off packaging for you. Sometimes this is included in the price, other times it is extra.
If you’re short of time, have your hands full with children and pets that no-one else can look after, have the money and want to reduce the stress levels to near zero, going for a full service removal is the option to take.
Full or Premium service removals mean the removals team arrive on the day, or perhaps a day or two before hand and take care of Everything! They will arrive with packaging materials and empty every cupboard from the kitchen to the cloakroom. They will individually wrap plates and glassware, put picture frames and electronics into bubble wrap, use special cardboard wardrobes to store your clothes and have everything packed and ready to go in a quarter of the time it would take you.
Given they have packed it all themselves, they often only allow their ‘fully comprehensive insurance’ policy if you take this option. Once into your new home, they will unpack as much as you like and leave the remainder in boxes which they will come back and collect when you have had time to find a home for everything.
Now you’re ready to start packing: Click here for Tips on Sorting/ Organising and Packing to move home