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How to Choose a Removals Company When You're Moving Home

Posted 29 July 2019

Need a trusted removals company? Our essential guide tells you everything you need to know about hiring a removals firm...

The removals industry in the UK is worth more than £900m every year, as buyers and renters choose a professional to help move their valuable and bulky possessions.

If you're moving home, the chances are that you will have considered hiring a removals company to help the move go smoothly.

But do you need a removals firm when you move? How do you choose the right firm for you? And what else do you need to know when hiring a removals company? Keep reading for answers to all these questions and more.

Do I need a removals firm? Can't I do it myself?

There's no obligation to use a removals firm when you move, so you can certainly move home yourself if you want.

However, unless you live in a small property or you have relatively few possessions, there are some convincing reasons to hire a professional:

  • They can pack fragile items so they are properly protected in transit
  • Your belongings will normally be insured (see below)
  • They can deal with heavy or bulky items which you might struggle to lift/move. This also means you can avoid injury as removal workers are trained to carry large items
  • They can fit your possessions into a large lorry whereas you may have to make several trips, even if you hire a van.

How do I find a removals company?

If you have a friend, colleague or family member who has moved home recently, then a good place to start is by asking for a recommendation.

If you can't get a personal recommendation then search locally or online for a company that can help.

It is worth checking whether a firm is a member of the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS) or the British Removals Association (BRA). If you choose a Guild member then you will benefit from additional consumer protection such as:

  • Membership of the Removals Industry Ombudsman Scheme
  • An approved Code of Practice
  • An Ombudsman Scheme approved inspection programme
  • An Ombudsman Scheme approved Quality Monitoring procedure

All NGRS members are regularly inspected to give you peace of mind that you're dealing with a trusted remover. You can download the NGRS app to find a Guild member near you, and the app also includes other useful features such as a Moving Calendar and an Augmented Reality feature.

Some companies are also members of the British Association of Removers (BAR). This means they have met the BAR's criteria on training, insurance, capacity and experience.

How much do house removals cost?

There are several factors which determine how much a removals company will cost:

  • The quantity of items being moved
  • The distance between the two properties (how far they have to travel)
  • How many crew members are needed
  • Whether you also require packing services.

Ask for the estimate to be broken down so that you can see how much you'd be paying for insurance, packing, the crew members' hourly rate, mileage and any storage costs. This will help you compare quotes more accurately.

Additionally, breaking down the costs can show you how you might be able to lower the price. For example, many firms will offer a discount if you source your own packing materials and help with the packing.

A simple, local removals job for a two-bedroom house is likely to cost you around £500, with an additional cost of around £200 if you also want the company to do your packing.  A more complex move for a four-bedroom house could cost you £1,000 or more.

Get at least three quotes

Most experts recommend that you approach at least three removal companies before making a decision. Not only can you compare the price (see above) but you can also gauge which of them is most trustworthy and is most likely to offer a good service.

Ideally, these companies will come and visit your property rather than giving you a quote over the phone. This is particularly important if you have bulky items, there is restricted access to your home, or if there are other factors that make the move more difficult (for example, you may have a very narrow staircase).

If you're relocating to a different part of the country, it may be worth getting an estimate from a firm based in the area you're moving to, as prices there could be more competitive. 

Remember to ask about insurance

Most removal companies will provide you with dedicated moving insurance against loss or breakages of your property while it's in transit. Whichever removals firm you choose, make sure that the company has adequate insurance cover and, also, what the time limit is on claiming on insurance after the move.

If you have any high-value possessions, check whether they need special packing and also whether they'll be covered by insurance. Some policies set a limit per item.

If you choose to do the packing yourself, bear in mind that this may save you money but it could also mean that the removal firm's insurance will not cover items that you have packed. 

Another option is to contact your home contents insurer to find out if your current policy will insure your property while it's being moved. You may be able to add 'contents away from the home' or similar protection which will make sure your valuable items are insured during your house move.

Next week: 10 removal and house packing tips you should know if you're moving home


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