Here are the key things to look out for when booking a removals firm – and the questions to ask when you make an enquiry…
1. A good local reputation
It’s always great if friends can recommend a removals firm they’ve recently used – but otherwise check out online review sites such as Trustpilot or Google Reviews. Look out for reviews of house moves of a similar size and nature to yours.
Beware when googling for removers – many of the top results are resellers who may be experts at digital marketing, but actually just sell leads to removers who may not have the best reputation. So read reviews of the actual remover before you buy!
What to ask the remover: ‘Can I read reviews of your service online?’
2. Directly-employed, uniformed staff
Firms that employ full-time teams of removal specialists are likely to be much more reliable. The staff will be properly trained, widely experienced and, because they represent the firm and are responsible for its reputation, they can be trusted with your property. Look out for uniforms – the best removal companies expect their staff to be smart as well as efficient.
What to ask the remover: ‘Do you use agency staff or direct employees?’
3. BAR membership
The British Association of Removers (BAR) is the main trade association responsible for promoting professional excellence in the removals industry. Most good firms are members.
What to ask the remover: ‘Are you signed up to the BAR code of practice?’
4. A proper survey and quote from an experienced Surveyor
A good removals firm will be happy to come to your house to do a free survey of your possessions and follow it up with a comprehensive written quote. The Surveyor should be an experienced remover who knows exactly what they’re talking about and will be able to offer honest advice on how best to tackle the move. If you go ahead, the same Surveyor will ideally be a main point of contact when overseeing the move itself.
What to ask the remover: ‘Do you offer a free survey at my home?’
5. A guarantee of your moving date
Once you know your moving date, it’s absolutely critical that the removal firm actually turns up – or you could face unpleasant consequences! A good firm will give a cast-iron guarantee of being there on the date – and will have the resources and contingency plans to ensure they won’t let you down.
What to ask the remover: ‘Can you guarantee my moving date in writing?’
6. The right insurance
Many standard household contents insurance policies don’t cover items damaged or lost in transit. A decent removals firm will offer insurance to cover this, and will also offer additional insurance for valuable items.
What to ask the remover: ‘Do I need to take out any additional insurance?’
7. Packing and unpacking services
Any established removals firm will offer a proper packing service, and can provide boxes and materials for any packing you want to do yourself. They should also be able to unload all your stuff at the new house in the correct rooms, set up your white goods, and do the bulk of the unpacking too. Ask about options when you make your enquiry and confirm costs with the Surveyor.
What to ask the remover: ‘How much is your packing/unpacking service?’
8. Storage facilities and the ability to handle complex moves
If some of your stuff needs to go into storage and some to a new property, you need to know that the removals company will be able to handle this extra level of complexity efficiently, and that they offer storage at a good price.
What to ask the remover: ‘Do you have your own storage facilities?’ and ‘Is it ok for me to move items to multiple locations?’
9. Awareness of parking regulations
Many firms can sort out parking permits for vans and lorries on your moving day – meaning there’s one less hassle for you.
What to ask the remover: ‘Would you be able to reserve my parking permits?’
10. Value for money
That doesn’t mean cheap – beware of any ‘removals firms’ (actually just ‘man-and-van’ types) who only take cash in hand (which may invalidate your insurance cover)! But reputable firms should still be competitively priced and will honour a quote. You may not realise this but removals firms also usually offer much better rates on storage than the big self-storage companies.
What to ask the remover: ‘Will you match an equivalent quote?’
11. The right stuff!
Any removal throws up unique challenges and tricky situations – but a decent remover will have no problems overcoming them because they’ll come with the tools of the trade and the right ‘can-do’ approach. Of course that means specialist equipment (cranes, hanging wardrobes, tools for moving heavy and awkward objects etc). But it also means experience, approachability and an unflappable approach to problem-solving.
So if you suddenly remember you have a large collection of wines in the cellar, or you need to get a piano up a few flights of stairs, or the main route to your new house is closed off for the day, your removals team will guide you calmly across the troubled waters to the other side!
What to ask the remover: Obviously you should ask about any unusual or tricky items such as pianos, collections or artworks. But the main thing to look out for is a personable, helpful demeanor – someone who will make your move as stress-free as possible.
All Master Remover firms are reputable, experienced professionals with their own teams of directly-employed, fully-trained staff. Find your nearest member here.