Moving to a new home is a daunting task, often being hailed as one of the most stressful life events you’ll encounter, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Hiring a removals company can help make the whole process a lot easier. Professional movers are experienced in the logistics of even the most daunting house moves; they move people up and down the country day in and day out, and they know how to make the process as stress-free as possible.
Most people only move house a few times during their lives, and so the services provided by removal companies can remain a bit of a mystery. That’s why we’ve put together this handy guide, so you’ll know exactly what to expect if you enlist the help of the professionals.
We’ll cover everything you need to know, like the different types of services removal companies provide, what you should expect to pay, and how to choose the best firm from the job. We’ll also cover important details such as insurance coverage, the current rules and guidelines for moving during the COVID-19 outbreak, and we’ll also provide you with a handy checklist for moving house to help you get organised.
- What Type of Services do Removal Companies Offer?
- How Much do Removal Services Cost?
- How to Save Money When Using a Removal Company
- What are The Benefits of Using a Removal Company?
- How to Choose a Removal Company
- What is a Pre-Move Survey?
- Are Removal Companies Operating During the COVID-19 Pandemic?
- Questions to Ask Your Removal Company
- Your Checklist for Moving House
What Type of Services do Removal Companies Offer?
Most established removal companies provide a wide range of services that go way beyond simply loading and unloading items. Here’s a list of the most common services that removal companies offer.
Most larger removal companies provide a packing service alongside their standard removal service, which is charged at an additional fee.
A specially trained team of packers will box up your items using their own packaging materials in a way that makes them safe and secure for transportation. Once they arrive in your new home, they also offer an unpacking service. Your items will be unboxed and placed in their correct new locations, either at your direction or based on a thorough labelling system.
There are generally two types of packing services; full and partial. A full packing service will include all items in your home, and a partial service involves only some of your items being packed, the rest will be up to you to box up before the removals team loads them into the van.
If you decide to do your packing, many removals companies can still provide packing materials for you to use, such as strong and durable cardboard boxes, tape, bubble wrap, and other materials to protect your items during the move.
Your removal company will be able to give you a good estimate of the number of materials you’ll need for packing, but on average, a 3 bedroom house usually requires around 25-35 medium size boxes.
Moving Large and Bulky Items
Many house moves involve large, heavy objects that require a team of people to lift and transport safely. Items like pianos, pool tables, and hot tubs are amongst the most common large items that removal companies deal with. Their specialist teams ensure they don’t get damaged during the process.
Furniture Dismantling and Reassembling Service
Many bulky items, like beds, tables, wardrobes, and desks, need to be dismantled before moving and reassembled in your new home. This can be a painstaking process if you’re not experienced, and so enlisting the help of your removal company will save you time and stress.
In some circumstances, you might not be able to fit all of your items into your new home, or you may be renovating and need somewhere to temporarily store some of your belongings until you can move them in. Many removal companies offer storage facilities to tackle this problem at an additional cost.
White-Glove Delivery Services
Removal companies will take the utmost care to make sure all your items are safe and protected during your house move, but some treasured possessions might need a more specialist packing and transporting service, for example, high-value items like fine art, antiques, and collectables.
A white glove delivery service comes at a premium price but gives you the peace of mind of knowing that your high value or irreplaceable items will make it safely to your new home.
A Full-Service Move
By opting for a full-service package, you’re ensuring that your house move will be as stress-free as possible. The removal company will take on every aspect of the move, including:
A full packing service: The materials are provided, and a specialist team will pack and label your items under your direction.
Loading and unloading of your items: A team will load all of your possessions into the removals van, and unload them into your new home.
Transporting your items to your new home: By using fully equipped vehicles, the company will transport your belongings to your new home, anywhere across the country.
Placing your furniture in the correct place in your new house: The team will unload and place all items like your sofas, beds, wardrobes, tables, and other furniture where it needs to be.
These are the minimum services included in a full-service move. Some companies may also include the following in their packages:
- Unpacking your boxes and putting items in their designated places.
- Disassembling and reassembling furniture in your new home.
- Getting rid of used and unused packing materials.
- Removing your unwanted household furniture or rubbish in your old home.
- Move-in and move-out cleaning services.
Many removal companies are more than happy to tailor their services to your specific requirements, so it’s worth enquiring with them if you need an extra service not listed here.
How Much do Removal Services Cost?
The cost of using a removals company will vary depending on quite a few factors. The company will take into account the following before giving you a quote:
- The distance travelled between your old home and your new home.
- Where you live in the country.
- The day of the week and the time of year you choose to move.
- How much stuff needs to be packed and moved.
- The type of packing materials you will need.
- Logistical factors like parking at the property, flights of stairs, and lift access.
To get started, you’ll need to contact your removal company and arrange a full survey before getting an accurate quote, but to give you an idea, here are some average costs of removal company’s services.
- Furniture dismantling services for a 3 bedroom house average at around £125
- A standard storage container of around 50sq that will fit in the contents of a one-bedroom flat or house costs around £35 per week. These are usually rented out on a 4-8-week lease, but shorter and longer options are available.
- Packing service for a 3 bedroom house with materials included costs an average of £250.
- A piano removal service will cost in the region of £100 and £160
- The average full-service removal for a 3 bedroom home is around £1,200. This is based on a distance of 50 miles between the two properties. Moves further afield will cost considerably more.
How to Save Money When Using a Removal Company
The time of year you move house will affect how much a removal company will charge. Summer is an especially popular time when demand is high, so expect to pay more between May and September. For this reason, moving in winter is a good way to save some extra cash. Weekends, as well as the first and last day of the month, tend to be more expensive, so moving midweek can save you money.
Moving home is a fantastic time to downsize on your possessions and clear out any old stuff that you no longer need. This is one of the biggest ways you can save money on your removal costs.
What Are The Benefits of Using a Removal Company?
Removal companies aim to make the process of moving house as stress-free as possible. While going it alone can undoubtedly save you money, getting professional help can speed up the process and allow you to focus on all of the exciting aspects of moving house, while the hard work is taken care of for you.
You’ll Save Time
without professional help means you’ll be spending a lot of time packing and unpacking, shifting boxes and unpacking at the other end. If you have work commitments or young children, dedicating time to a house move on your own is often an impossible task.
Your Possessions Will Arrive Safely
companies have specially designed vans and the knowledge and experience to pack and secure your items so they stay in place throughout the journey.
You’ll be Fully Covered by Insurance
All reputable removal companies have full insurance so you can have the peace of mind of knowing that if anything happens to your possessions during your move, they’ll be covered.
No Heavy Lifting
By enlisting the help of professionals you’ll avoid having to do any heavy or dangerous lifting during the moving process.
How to Choose a Removal Company
There are hundreds of removals firms offering their services up and down the country, and it can be hard to know if you’re choosing the right one. Luckily there are a few tricks to help you make the right choice.
Look for Accreditations
British Association of Movers (BAR) is an independent trade association that sets the standard for the professional removal industry nationwide. Companies that are registered with the BAR have to follow a strict code of practice that ensures high quality, reliable service for customers. Look out for the BAR logo on the footer of the removal company’s website.
are also several other bodies and accreditation schemes that operate in a similar way to the BAR, such as the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS).
Make Sure They Are Insured
Many reputable removals company will have both Goods in Transit, and Public Liability insurance in case of the unlikely event that something goes wrong during your house move. Never pay more for this type of insurance coverage; it should come as standard.
Read the Reviews
Be sure to thoroughly search through reviews from previous customers before deciding on a removal firm. Don’t just read the ones on the company website; sites like trustpilot.com let you search through impartial reviews so you can be sure you’re making the right choice.
Make Sure They Have Experience
There isn’t much better expertise than to choose a company with a few years of experience behind them. This will weigh in your favour more than one which is just starting up. This is especially true if you are moving high-value items or you have a particularly large or difficult move to contend with.
Keep a close eye out for any hidden fees in the terms and conditions, and ask if there might be any unexpected costs on moving day before proceeding with a firm.
It’s always best to get a variety of quotes before you decide which removal company to use. Try to compare 3-4 different firms and make sure you explain every aspect of your move so the quotes given are as accurate as possible.
The removals company you choose must be fully insured. There are two types of insurance needed and all reputable firms will have both. These are Goods in Transit Insurance and Public Liability Insurance.
Goods in Transit Insurance covers both yourself and your belongings from any damages or losses throughout the process of moving, usually up to the value of £50,000. It protects your belongings from:
- Theft during transit
- Loss during transit
- Damage caused during transit, either through an accident or
Always check with the removal firm to see how much their policies will cover.
It’s important to note that Goods in Transit Insurance only applies if the removals company have packed your belongings for you. If you choose to do your own packing, you won’t be covered. Goods in Transit Insurance should never come as an added extra; it should always be included as standard.
How to Claim For Loss or Damage Through Goods in Transit Insurance
- If you find any items are missing or damaged after your move, it’s important to alert the removals company as soon as possible.
- Take photos of any damages, and send photos (if available) of any lost items.
- The company will then inform their insurance providers and the provider will make a decision, usually within 30 days of the claim.
Using a Removals Company Without Goods in Transit Insurance
If you choose a company without this type of insurance, you and your belongings will not be covered for the duration of the move. It’s also a red flag; any reputable moving company should have Goods in Transit insurance, and it could be a sign that they are cutting corners in other areas of operations too.
Public Liability Insurance is not a legal requirement for a removals firm, but any reputable company should offer it as standard. Similar to Goods in Transit insurance, it covers you and your belongings for the duration of your house move.
If in the unlikely event that you, your family members, or anyone helping during the move is injured due to the fault of the company, Public Liability insurance will cover the costs of compensation and hospital treatment.
It also extends to all of your personal property during the move and covers the cost of repairing any damage or replacing any lost items.
Most Public Liability policies provide £1 million to £3 million worth of coverage. Check with the individual firm to see the type of coverage they have.
How to Claim for Damages or Injury Through Public Liability Insurance
- In the case of an injury, take the name and contact number of any eyewitnesses, and take photos of the injury and the scene where it took place. Keep any evidence of doctor visits and any costs paid out as a direct result of the injury.
- Contact the removals company as soon as possible and give them all the details of the damage or injury.
- You have up to three years after the accident to claim. Personal Liability claims are settled in a claims court. Contact a solicitor for advice on how to proceed.
What is a Pre-Move Survey?
Before a removals company can give you an accurate quote, they will need to conduct a pre-move survey. The company will send over a removals assessor who will look at the volume of items that need to be moved, as well as considering additional factors if necessary, eg. furniture disassembling and reassembling, the packing process for high-value items, logistical issues such as parking, stairs, and narrow doorways. All of these things can affect the cost of your move and need to be factored in before you can get a reliable quote.
Make sure that you can demonstrate which items you are taking and which items you are leaving behind before you invite a removals assessor to visit and provide a quote. Adding items on moving day can lead to additional unexpected charges and can cause delays.
Video Home Removals Surveys
These virtual pre-move surveys are an increasingly popular option for movers and removals firms in the last few years. Instead of having a surveyor visit your home, it’s possible to complete a walkthrough of your home and explain which items need to be moved just using your laptop, tablet, or smartphone.
This is a convenient way to still get an accurate quote while saving both you and the removals firm time and money.
Are Removal Companies Operating During The COVID-19 Pandemic?
Since the UK has been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the country remains in lockdown, many people are wondering if their house moves can still go ahead.
It’s a grey area that has caused a significant amount of confusion for both homeowners, renters, and removals companies across the country.
The official government advice states that “Where possible we are encouraging residents to delay their move, but a small number of moves may need to go ahead.”
“We would urge everyone to take all sensible precautions to ensure the move can happen safely.”
“There is no need to pull out of transactions, but we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times, including the specific measures for those who are presenting symptoms, self-isolating, or shielding.”
“Where the property being moved into is vacant, then you can continue with this transaction although you should follow the guidance in this document on home removals.”
“Where the property is currently occupied, we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree to alternative dates to move.”
So moving house can still go ahead where the new property is vacant, where it’s deemed ‘critical’ or where a new date cannot be arranged. Any other moves should be postponed until the lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Many removals companies have temporarily closed, but some are still operating. If you feel it’s appropriate to go ahead with your move, the best course of action is to contact the companies directly. If they are operating, they will likely have a COVID-19 protocol which they are following to keep everyone safe. Opt for a video pre-move survey and remember to adhere to social distancing, practice regular hand washing, and use PPE where possible.
Questions to Ask Your Removal Company
Since there are so many removal companies to choose from and their services can vary widely, it’s important to ask the right questions to ensure you’re getting the best service for your needs.
Here’s a handy list of questions to ask your removals company before you commit.
1. Do they have insurance?
As we discussed earlier in the article, every reputable removal firm will have both Goods in Transit and Public Liability insurance, so make sure they confirm they have both.
2. When will they conduct a pre-move survey?
It’s a good idea to do this as far in advance as possible, as you will only receive an accurate quote once this is complete. If you plan on shopping around, it’s best to allow plenty of time for alterative companies to conduct their surveys.
3. Who are their staff?
Firms that employ a permanent workforce are more likely to provide regular training, and their staff are more likely to take full care when packing, moving, and transporting your possessions compared with casual workers or temps.
4. What accreditations do they have?
If they are a member of the British Association of Removers (BAR) or the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS), you can rest assured that they offer a high-quality service, your possessions will be protected and they adhere to a strict code of conduct.
5. When should you pay?
Most removal companies will ask for full payment around 7 days before your moving day, in line with the standards and policies set out by the BAR. This ensures that your house move is protected by an advance payment guarantee, and if anything goes wrong on the day of the move (for example if a vehicle breaks down) BAR will provide an alternative so that the move can go ahead as planned.
Check which methods of payment the company prefers. Most reputable companies will take card as well as cash payments, and some may accept online bank transfers.
6. Is there a waiting time fee?
Some removal companies will charge as much as £50 per hour if there is a delay (for example, if you have to wait longer than expected to receive the keys to your new property). However, some companies will wave this fee entirely. Check-in advance what their waiting time policy is so you don’t get hit with any unexpected charges.
7. How many trips will the move take?
This will all depend on the amount of stuff you are moving, the size of the vans, and the number of vans and drivers who will be working with you on moving day. Larger moves can take multiple trips, so bear this in mind when planning your moving day schedule.
8. What is their cancellation policy?
Check the terms and conditions on your removal company’s website to see their cancellation policy, and ask them to go through it with you if it’s unclear or you have any questions. Delays are an unfortunate reality when you are buying and selling a property, so it’s good to be prepared in case you have to postpone or cancel at short notice.
9. What other services do they offer?
If you also need additional services, such as packing or storage, now is the time to enquire about how these work and how much they cost. You may need to allow extra time, for example, if you opt for a packing service, this is usually done one or two days before you move.
Your Checklist For Moving House
Moving house can be an incredibly stressful time, but a little preparation and organisation makes the world of difference. To make the whole process go as smoothly as possible, we’ve put together a handy checklist of things to do as your moving day approaches.
Two Months Before Moving Day
This is a great time to choose a moving day that suits you, and start to compare quotes from various removal companies. By planning 2 months ahead, you’ll have plenty of time to complete your pre-move surveys so you get accurate quotes from each firm before you choose the right one for you.
It’s also a good time to…
…Book time off work
As well as booking off your moving day, try to book time off before and after too, so you can focus on packing, unpacking, and settling into your new home.
…Research your new neighbourhood
Start by looking at amenities in your new area and learn about the local community through things like Facebook groups and forums.
Six Weeks Before Moving Day
With your moving date organised and a removals firm booked, it’s a great time to have a clear-out and give away or dispose of any unwanted items. The more stuff you take with you to the new property, the more you’ll have to pay your removal company, and moving house is a great chance to declutter and start afresh.
It’s also a good time to…
…Collect boxes and packing materials
Once you’ve asked your removals company to provide a packing service, they will supply the materials, but if you’ve chosen to do your own packing, now is a good time to start collecting boxes. There’s no need to buy new- most supermarkets will be happy to hand over their used boxes for free.
…Decide which services you’d like from the removal company
you need additional storage, a white glove, or furniture dismantling service? Discuss in detail what you’ll need from them so you can make sure you’ve budgeted correctly and they can plan accordingly.
One Month Before Moving Day
This is the perfect time to get your important documents in order and contact the relevant people to let them know about your upcoming move. It’s better to do this in advance rather than try to tackle it at the last minute when your to-do list has mounted up.
…Contact your utility companies and let them know you’re moving
them with your new address and request a final bill from each one.
…Get your important documents in order
Make sure things like passports, birth certificates, contracts, and deeds are all safely filed together.
…Find out who the current electricity, gas and water suppliers are in your new home
You don’t have to stick with the old providers; use a comparison site to shop around for the best deals.
…Plan for parking
If necessary, contact your local council to apply for a parking permit for your removals van for moving day.
…Start the preliminary packing phase
Pack away any items that you won’t need in the coming month, eg. out of season clothes, Christmas decorations, or gardening equipment.
…Consider booking a cleaner to do a ‘moving out clean’
…Purchase home insurance
Make sure to use a comparison site to shop around for the best deals.
One Week Before Moving Day
Unless you’ve requested a full packing service from your removals company, you’ll likely be in full packing mode by now.
Be sure to…
Make sure to label every box to make unpacking easier in your new home.
Call the estate agent or letting agent to confirm all the details of your move, like key collection dates and contract signing.
…Cancel any local services you might use
For example, newspaper deliveries and catalogue subscriptions.
…Redirect your mail
Call or visit the Post Office to set up a postal redirect service to your new address. This ensures you don’t miss any important mail.
…Contact the vets
If you have pets with a microchip, contact the vets to change the address.
…Find out important information about your new home
For example, electricity, gas and water meter locations, rubbish collection days, thermostat and fuse box locations.
…Update your address
For example, with your mobile phone provider, your bank and your driving license.
…Eat everything in the freezer
need to be fully defrosted before the removal company will transport it to your new home.
The Day Before Moving Day
Today is for tying up all those loose ends and doing the last bits of packing before the big move. Hopefully, you’ve booked the day off work and you can focus on ticking off your to-do list.
Now it’s time to…
…Pack the essentials
a bag for each family member with enough personal items to last for a couple of days. You’ll need things like spare changes of clothes, toiletries and medication that might be difficult to access until they are fully unpacked in your new home.
If you’ve requested a packing service from your removals company, they will likely be working in your home today so make sure you’re on hand to help direct them.
…Do a deep clean
you’ve not booked a ‘move out clean’ through a professional cleaner, finish the deep clean of your property.
The big day has finally arrived. If you’ve followed this checklist you should be feeling organised and prepared for the long and exciting day ahead.
Make sure that you…
…Present your removals company with an emergency contact list
This is important in case of emergencies or unexpected hiccups throughout the day.
…Keep hold off your valuables and important documents and make sure they travel to your new home in the car with you.
…Take note of any final meter readings
So that you can provide these to your energy suppliers once you reach your new home.
…Switch off utilities
your old home will be sitting empty, turn off electricity, gas and water mains
…Take an inventory
If you’re renting your new home, make sure to do a full inventory check, and take several photos of each room, including any existing damage.
Hiring a removals firm can be a real lifeline during a house move. Most companies provide a wide range of solutions to make moving house as stress-free as possible.
Whether you decide to enlist the help of a removals firm or you choose to go it alone, we wish you all the very best in your new home!