How to Find the Best Removals Deal for your Move
When you wave goodbye to your removals van you want to be confident that your worldly possessions will arrive at your new home in one piece. You want a respectful, professional team of removers who will take care with your things. And you want all of this at a competitive price. Not much then. But it is possible have all of this, and more, with a little bit of forethought and planning. Here’s how ...
Define the service you want
Like any business, a removals company builds in elements of risk when giving out quotes. The more information you can give them, the more accurate their quote, and the service they provide to you will be the best it can possibly be.
Most removal firms offer a variety of pick-and-mix services to suit your needs. Services they offer may include:
- Packing and unpacking services
- Dismantling and rebuilding of furniture
- Provision of boxes and packing materials
- Pet options – these often require specialist services for which removers may have a preferred partner who offers discounted rates
- Unusual object removals - for example, cars, tractors, bikes, large tools and plant
- Storage – full or partial, in the event that you cannot immediately accommodate all of your possessions in your new home
Think carefully about what you need, and what you’re prepared to pay for, before you request your quote. Be aware that if you opt to pack for yourself this may affect the level of insurance cover the removers are able to provide.
Ask for help with your volume estimation
Many removers now offer an online quotation generator, that allows you to build a comprehensive picture of the scale of your removal. This is a great starting point, but be wary of using these to make direct comparisons between companies. The ways in which the details are loaded and analysed vary widely from one remover to another, and there is a lot of margin for error.
Your best option is to use the online generators to help you define a shortlist of, say, three companies. Depending on where you live, you can ask for these companies to send out a sales estimator to visit you. They are very skilled at assessing the volume of the items in your move, and how that translates into the size of vehicle you will require.
Don’t be tempted to hide or downplay anything – if an object is unusually bulky or heavy, or is especially valuable, it’s important you point this out. The remover will quote based on what you show and tell, and anything that deviates significantly from this may at best attract additional last minute charges, and at worst mean that the vehicle and team provided for your move aren’t up to the job.
Whether a sales estimator pays you a visit or not, it’s also essential that you advise any removals company you are dealing with about the access to, and within, your property – at both ends. An inaccessible driveway, tight stairwell, multiple floors – these types of challenges can cause problems for your remover and will have to be reflected in their quote.
Get a number of different quotes
This sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people neglect to do it. You may have a preferred remover – perhaps one that’s been referred to you – but it never hurts to take a sense check when you’re spending hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds.
Getting quotes is also a good way to get a flavour for how responsive and customer-orientated different removers are. If they are pushy, or uncommunicative during the quotation phase, you can imagine how this might translate into their general service. If they are helpful and flexible, then that tells its own story, too.
You may end up selecting a higher quote from a remover simply because your instinct tells you they are more trustworthy, and easier to deal with.
Be flexible on timing
Holidays and weekends are peak times for removals, and attract a price premium because of it. If possible, be flexible about your removal day and try to make it weekday to keep your costs down. It can also help if you are able to time your move so that it ties in with your remover’s schedule.
Allowing the team to arrive and start packing late one day, for example, could make the difference between a move taking two days instead of three. You’ll still be charged for the time they spend with you, but perhaps not for a whole day.
House moves don’t always go to plan, and this may not always be within your control. Remain as flexible as you can, but check in advance with your remover what their charges are for any delay in you being able to move. You don’t want any nasty last-minute shocks.
And this is also where a good working relationship with your removals company comes into play. They may be flexible, too, if they can, but almost certainly won’t if there have already been problems over price, access and volume in the run-up to the job.
Consider a partial load
When a vehicle is on the road it costs the remover money. If that vehicle is not full, it costs them even more. So removers always try to ensure their loads are at capacity at every stage of a journey. This flows down into their ability to quote competitively for a job, which is good news for you, the customer.
If a remover has sufficient capacity on a vehicle to accommodate your move, along with stuff belonging to someone else, then they may offer you the option of a ‘partial load’, which is an efficient way for them to use their space, and therefore cheaper for you.
This is standard procedure, but not everyone is comfortable with it because of the possibility that items may become mixed up between loads. In practice, the likelihood of this is very low.
Experienced removers know how to pack a vehicle securely for any size of load, and are skilled at keeping the goods of two different customers separate. When doing a partial load they also ensure every item loaded is very clearly labelled, and checked when it is removed at the delivery point.
Check their credentials
The British Association of Removers (BAR) is the UK professional body for removal companies. A firm that is a member of BAR must abide by a strict code of practice and quality standards.
Basically, you can generally rely on a BAR firm to be decent, although some removers may opt not to join for their own reasons, one being the cost associated with becoming a member. BAR removers tend to be larger, national organisations, who gain most from the benefits offered by the organisation. So while it is a sign of quality, it doesn’t guarantee friendly customer service, and many non-BAR organisations offer service that is just as professional, so this should be just one of the factors in your decision-making process.
As important are communications, and customer testimonials. Always ask your favoured remover for some testimonials before you make your final decision. References come in many forms, and may be written or in video format, for example, which lends a personal and realistic touch.
You can also check what training and experience your removals team has. Any decent remover will be happy to answer your questions and deal with any concerns you have. Going through this process is a good way to test a firm’s responsiveness and levels of customer care.
Be clear about insurance
Whoever you choose for your removals you need to check on the level of insurance the firm will provide for your possessions. Even the most experienced companies have the occasional problems, and often they are beyond the control of the organisation – an accident, fire, or theft, for example.
Removals insurance will give you peace of mind that you are covered financially for any losses or damage. There are varying levels of cover, so work out what you want, and see what’s included and what you may have to pay extra for.
Remember: the best deal isn’t necessarily the cheapest. You’re buying a service, and as with most things in life – you will probably get what you pay for.
At Penrose Estate Agents we regularly help our clients arrange removals, and can refer you to our preferred partner who not only offers a great deal, but also provides a range of other useful services, such as clearance and very flexible storage options. Contact us today for more details.
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