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Top 5 tips for moving home

Moving house is stressful enough without having to worry about whether your possessions are in good hands with the removers. Here’s some advice on how to find and hire reputable removals companies

1. Man and van or removal company?

Man and van operations or small removals firms might, on the face of it, seem like a good deal. But they are a bit of a gamble. Valuable possessions may not be treated with the care they deserve and the vehicle may not be suitable or well maintained.

For small removals, such as for the contents of an apartment or flat without bulky furniture or white goods, a man and van or small firm might suffice. Make sure you find a small removals company with plenty of good customer reviews and one which describes the level and type of insurance they offer. Membership of a trade association like the British Association of Removers (BAR) is a good sign of a reputable removals company. BAR-affiliated businesses must meet rigorous membership criteria and adhere to a Trading Standards Institute-approved code of practice.

Moving the contents of large homes is best left to larger removals companies. They will usually have a team of staff working on your move rather than one or two individuals. They are also likely to offer additional services, such as supply of packing materials, packing on the day and storage of your possessions, if needed.

2. Getting quotes for removals jobs

Get at least three quotes. Be wary of companies that give you a quote on the phone, it is difficult for them to assess your requirements without seeing the size of the job and the nature of the move. The good quality removals firms will send an estimator to your property.

The aim of visits from removals firms should be to get a number of comparable quotes.

Questions to ask include:

  • What type and level of insurance is offered? What is the excess for a claim?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • Can they supply references?
  • How will fragile and high value items, such as artworks or antique furniture, be handled?
  • How fast can the move can be carried out?
  • Where the depot is (more distance means higher fuel costs)?
  • What security arrangements are in place for items being stored?
  • Are there additional costs for evening or weekend removals?
  • Will an inventory be created and checked when your possessions are unloaded?
  • How much are packing materials and services?

3. Get the quote in writing and check availability for your preferred move date

Remember that the sentimental and monetary value of your possessions is considerably higher than the extra cost for a removals firm that you can trust.

Should anything go wrong, using a Which? Trusted trader means you have access to an independent dispute resolution service.

4. The cost of removals

A number of factors will determine the cost. The amount and type of possessions you have to move is one, but the distance, size of crew, speed of packing and so on will also have a bearing on the total cost. If you’re moving a long way, don’t forget that long distance driving legislation may mean breaks or an overnight stay.

Your removals firm should advise on how you might be able to lower the cost. You could source your own packing materials and do the packing yourself, for example, or enlist the family in helping to move boxes.

It is reasonable for a removals company to ask for a deposit in order to secure a slot in their diary. Make sure you have reviewed the quote, insurance arrangements and estimated completion time before you pay a deposit or instalment.

The outstanding balance should be paid when the work has been completed.

5. Unpacking

Unpack all your belongings as soon as you can so that you can check that everything is present and there is no damage. A reliable moving company will have a complaints procedure if there are any problems. You should also be able to make an insurance claim for any damage.

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