Whether you’re hiring a removals firm or plan to move yourself, there’s a lot to organise.
Moving home is stressful enough without worrying about packing, loading, transporting and delivering your precious belongings in one piece to the other end. The distance, size of property and your finances are likely to determine whether you hire a removals firm. If you feel you can manage, you may even choose to do part of the move yourself to keep the overall costs down.
Trained staff will have the experience to pack your goods safely and get the job done within a fraction of the time that it would take you to do it. They take the effort out of lifting and carrying everything, leaving you time to concentrate on other important tasks.
Of course, this all sounds perfect, but occasionally you do get cowboy firms who let you down. To avoid this, choose a company that’s a member of The British Association of Removers to ensure you can complain – and seek compensation – if anything goes wrong. The Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme and/or the National Guild of Removers and Storers are also organisations whose members are committed to providing you a professional service and follow approved codes of practice.
This comes at a price. Make sure you get a number of quotes from different firms – at least three. Ideally get a representative round to your home so that you can talk through exactly what needs moving from where. This allows them to see exactly what they’re dealing with in terms of quantity and potential obstacles so they can quote more accurately upfront. Removal teams have been known to resort to completely taking out windows to remove large pieces of furniture, even a number of floors up so they won’t want any surprises on the day!
Ask for the quote to be itemised so you can see the cost of each aspect so you can compare quotes like-for-like. This will cover aspects such as their hourly rate, insurance and packing costs. Ask questions about their service. Do they have storage? Sometimes completion doesn’t quite work to plan and you can be left stuck at the last minute with a lorry load of possessions and nowhere to put them. Adequate insurance in this event is also important if your goods are going to be left in their possession, especially overnight and if you have high value items.
When it comes to packing, find out if any awkwardly shaped or valuable items need to be specially dealt such as antique statues. You can choose to pack yourself which will keep costs down but if you’re employing the firm to pack, try to leave the packing to the removals firm, especially items that are fragile, as they won’t be covered by the firm’s insurance if they get damaged.
Top tips once you’re ready to move
Give the removals company a full written brief to include:
- A full inventory of everything to be moved and give a copy to the removal company.
- Don’t forget to include contents of the garage, the attic or loft and the garden shed
- Items to take special care of and those that need special packing such as valuable antiques and paintings
- Awkward items that may be bulky, heavy, need dismantling or have restricted access
- Any carpets or curtains that you’re taking with you
- Items you’re transporting yourself
- The layout of the new property and where each room is
Although the kitchen and lounge maybe obvious, bedrooms might not be so this will make it a lot easier to identify the right location for items. Make sure you clearly label boxes and even colour code for quick reference Avoid moving on a Friday, especially in the last week of the month. Most removal companies charge more for moves on a Friday and a surcharge for weekends
Forewarn your removals firm that you about to exchange contracts so you can book your van for moving Once you’ve exchanged, return paperwork promptly and confirm the booking
Agree a written timetable with the removal company On the moving day ensure the removal company has access to both ties. Warn neighbours and make sure your new property owners know your schedule
If you’re not moving far or don’t have a lot to move, it may not be worth hiring a removals firm. You may be able to manage the move in a few car journeys, however, it’s more than likely you’ll need a van. Book this as soon as you know your move date and go for the largest vehicle you can, and one with a let down tailboard to make lifting in and out easier!
Ask friends and family to help – the more hands the better. As you pack boxes, make sure you mark up where they are going when they get to your new home.
It pays to start packing non-essential items as early as you can, as you won’t have the luxury of a team of professional helpers. Then you’ll probably just be left with a few last minute items such as clothes, food and kitchen items to pack the day before.
Make sure you pad out each box with plenty of padding for protection and mark up any that contain fragile or hazardous items, indicating which way up they should go.
Pack the heaviest items at the bottom and the lightest on top and don’t overfill boxes. The last thing you want is the bottom dropping out, not to mention a slipped disc because they’re too heavy!
It may very well be late when you arrive at your new home and you won’t want to be searching round for the kettle, your toothbrush and your duvet! Pack all the urgent items you’re likely to need together.