Moving home in London soon? make a booking with one of our professional Movers.
So the date is set, or kind of, and you're starting to write up your moving checklist of things to do. Well, high on that list, regardless of whether you are moving from a studio, a one bed flat or a 4 bed house really should be find a reliable removals company.
It may seem obvious if you're the well organised type, but it's surprising how often the sorting out of the actual removal service gets overlooked and left until just before the moving date, or actually on the day itself in some cases.
Before the Move - How to Choose the best Removal Company
Whenever you move home there's always a lot of general admin to take care of in advance, which can be substantial for house moves that involve older people, so it's really little wonder that the actual logistics of booking the move itself sometimes get pushed down the mental to do list.
With hundreds of removal companies in London all keen and willing to provide a service, it's easy to think booking one will be quick and simple, but leaving it until the last minute means you'll be more likely to make a bad decision and if you're unlucky you could end up getting let down on your moving day.
So how do you differentiate the good removal companies and Movers from the less so? Rule number one, always try and take your time.
Firstly you could approach local removal firms directly either via their website or through a removals review site. This allows you to get a feel for each company in question and find out further details such as estimated removal costs, along with the terms and conditions. The problem is it takes time and can be hit and miss, and you also have to keep repeating the process with each new company you contact.
Another method, which is becoming increasingly popular, is to use a site that provides removal quotes from one or more registered and usually pre-vetted Movers. You can then make a decision based on who appears to be offering the best overall proposal that comes closest to meeting your requirements.
The advantage of using a removals quote website is that you submit a single enquiry, and then wait for the quotes to come to you. There are differences in the way these kinds of websites operate though. Some will open up there partner programs to almost any Mover that contacts them with very little in the way of vetting taking place. Whereas others (like us) prefer to just work with a smaller selection of well known and highly reliable Movers with a proven track record of providing a completely trustworthy service.
There are also several bidding websites like Anyvan and Shiply, which were first set up as a way to help long distance delivery drivers book jobs for an otherwise empty return trip. They operate as a kind of reverse auction where the business who offers the lowest quote usually gets the job.
In theory just going with the company offering the lowest price may seem like a good idea, but that kind of service is really more suited to the courier deliveries it was originally intended for rather than moving home.
Transporting a parcel and removals work are two very different occupations, and it's extremely difficult to provide an ongoing reliable and professional removals service on a shoestring, as accurately covered in this Guardian article.
The cost of moving home will obviously depend on various factors such as the size of your home, the amount of goods and belongings you need to shift - take a look at our removal van size guide to see roughly how much stuff you can fit in - the time and day you wish to move and other considerations like ease of access and whether you require help with the packing and the dismantling of furniture.
Moving costs can sometimes be reduced if you are able to move on less busy days or are able to have everything well packed and ready to literally load straight into the removal van on arrival.
Moving companies generally quote hourly rates for small moves such as a man and van service in London, and offer a more detailed quote for larger jobs such as house removals. See further information on moving costs.
Online reviews are always worth a perusal, whilst remembering that just like any other business even the best removal company in the world will have an occasional bad review, which could be for any number of reasons. Maybe there was a communication breakdown, or something happened that was someone else's fault, or a simple misunderstanding occurred, or the customer was difficult and just likes complaining (it does happen).
What you need to look for are the actual specifics of the complaint and very importantly how the removal company responded to it if they are able to do so. Also, look at the overall trend, is it a few negative reviews among mostly good ones, or are the majority bad and very detailed?
Quotes for Moving Home
When you receive your removal quotes you need to make sure they include all of the most important information. Ideally you want to see exactly what is included in the service being offered including details of any insurance cover, a breakdown of the total costs involved, how many helpers will be provided, how payment is accepted, and a reference to the removal company's terms and conditions (rarely required but important in case something goes wrong).
The larger removal companies that primarily deal with complete house and office removals will also mention if they are a registered member of one of the removals trade associations such as BAR (British Association of Removers).
Although there's no legal requirement for a removal firm to be a member of a trade organisation, it does at least help to demonstrate a professional commitment to a high level of customer service.
Always make sure you receive your final quote by email so you have a record of exactly what the cost will be, rather than relying on a phone conversation.
Good to Go
So you've done your research and received your quotes, and have decided on which removalist to proceed with. It's advisable to email the company in question confirming you wish to accept their offer and firm up the date and time of your move.
Make sure you receive an email acknowledgement back, and keep it for your records. You should also check you have the full contact details of your movers and keep them to hand as your moving day approaches just in case of any last minute issues.
And that is pretty much it. Most of the above is basic common sense, you just need to give yourself a little breathing space preferably a couple of weeks before your move to sit down and invest a little time in finding a good Mover. Lastly, have a quick look at the kinds of things Movers like you to know about before the big day.
Have a great Move!