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Choosing an International Removals Company

Zenyx Griffiths

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

2nd Aug 2017 (Last updated on 26th Aug 2022) 6 minute read

If you're looking to take the leap by moving overseas, you have an epic task on your hands. While it's easy to make the decision, the reality of it is not as simple. There's a lot of planning and organising that needs to be done.

You are going to need to enlist the help of a reputable, and trustworthy international removals company. Unfortunately, your sofa, bed and fridge freezer will not fit inside your suitcase!

Ensuring you choose the correct removals company is of utmost importance. After all, they will be relocating all your belongings for you. This is why Compare My Move only works with reliable and verified partners, with a proven track record of successful removal services. All our partners are insured providing you peace of mind.

In this article, we will be talking you through everything you need to look for when choosing between international removals companies.

This article will cover the following:
  1. 1. International Removals Expertise
  2. 2. Always Arrange a Home Visit
  3. 3. Freight Options
  4. 4. Tailored Service
  5. 5. Competitive Quotes
  6. 6. Insurance
  7. 7. British Association of Removers and The National Guild of Removers and Storers
  8. 8. Professional Experience

1. International Removals Expertise

It’s important the removal company you use are experienced in international removals. Although some of the steps in the process are the same as local home removals, many elements require specific skills, knowledge and experience.

There are many things you'll need to consider when moving abroad. By using a removal company with specialist knowledge and experience, the process will be much smoother.

2. Always Arrange a Home Visit

A reputable and experienced removal company will always arrange a home visit in the first instance.

You may get an estimated quote over the phone but they will only be able to offer you an accurate quote when they have visited your home. They will them be able to accurately assess the volume of your belongings.

They can also use the home visit as an opportunity to scope out any access issues. Specialist items, freight options, your budget and time frames will also be discussed.

Having a home visit is essential. If a removal company doesn’t suggest this, it’s best to avoid using their service. This can mean there is a big possibility of extra, hidden costs.

3. Freight Options

An experienced International Removal Company will always discuss all the freight options and types of shipping service with you when it comes to overseas shipping.

The likelihood is that, if you are moving outside of Europe, sea freight shipping will be the most logical and cost-effective solution for you. However, your removal company should also run you through the alternative options. These include:

Door-to-door road services should be offered by the majority of international removal companies. When you receive quotes from potential companies, be sure that they are able to offer you a few options and advise on the best service for you.

4. Tailored Service

No two home moves are the same. This rule is even more prevalent when it comes to international removals. A professional company will understand this. They should be more than willing to tweak and tailor the service to suit you and your needs and requirements.

From packing and storage services to international student removals, there are a lot of services to choose from. There should always be wiggle room when it comes to negotiating international removal quotes. This is especially if the service is altered or adjusted.

Customer service is important when you compare international moving companies. Good customer service is a sign of a successful and trustworthy company.

5. Competitive Quotes

When you use the Compare My Move comparison service, you will be matched with up to 6 International Removal Companies. They will offer you free, no-obligation quotes. Whether you're looking to ship goods to Australia or Spain, we've got you covered.

A removal company that wants your business will offer you a competitive price. However, it is important that you don’t just go for the cheapest option. You must go for the best all-around service and therefore, the most cost-effective.

6. Insurance

As part of the Compare My Move screening process, we check that Removal Companies have Goods in Transit and Public Liability Insurance. These are vital. It's important to discuss how you and your belongings will be covered during the moving process. The insurance the removals service has will cover you in the unlikely event of damage or loss.

We spoke to the International Manager at Clockwork Removals, one of our trusted Removals Partners. She offered this advice to those looking for an International Removals Specialist:

"When choosing an international mover, first check out the company's credentials and accreditations. See if they are members of the BAR Overseas Moving Group or FIDI. To be a FIDI Accredited International Mover, the moving company must comply with very strict quality requirements by having protection measures and insurance in place to protect the customer.

Secondly, do they offer comprehensive insurance options? Namely marine transit insurance which will ensure your goods are protected when they make the long journey overseas. Companies which offer a specialist export packing service are also really worth it. They will make sure your goods are packed securely with the correct packaging and will complete the customs inventory, and help with customs documentation.

Finally, ask who will be handling your goods at the destination. You want to ensure the high level of service is provided throughout every aspect of your move."

- Gemma Hendry (International Manager - Clockwork Removals).

7. British Association of Removers and The National Guild of Removers and Storers

The British Association of Removers (BAR) is the trade association for the removals industry. BAR has developed a code of practice that has been approved by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.

In addition to this, many removal companies are part of The National Guild of Removers and Storers. To be a part of the guild, the removals company needs to meet the Guild's Code of Practice. They help ensure the customer receives a high-quality service and is treated fairly.

If an international removal company is a member of BAR or the NGRS then you can rest assured, that they are complying with highly set standards.

We asked one of our trusted Removals Partners, Simpsons Removals and Storage what is the most important thing to look for when choosing an International Removals company:

"Always choose a registered BAR Overseas Group member to be sure of the highest standards with the added advantage of an advanced payment guarantee for your complete peace of mind. BAR members go through a rigorous audit of their businesses every year to ensure they continue to meet the standards required of them. No other trade association in the removals industry provides these guarantees."

Kirk Dugard (Project Manager – Simpson’s Removals and Storage)

8. Professional Experience

There is a lot about overseas removals that differ from residential moves. The processes will vary depending on where you are moving and there is the small matter of customs clearance to consider. Packing for overseas transport requires particular skills and expertise. A removal company with plenty of experience in international moves will be the best option to consider.

These are just a few tips for choosing an International Removals Firm to assist you in beginning the new chapter of your life. Be sure to use the Compare My Move Service. We can place you in contact with up to 6 of our verified and trusted partners. Whether you're moving to Hong Kong or South Africa, our partners can help with this.

Check out our Ultimate Moving Abroad Checklist to ensure you have everything ready for your relocation. Our article The UK’s 10 Best International Movers and Packers: Best International Removal Companies covers these great companies in more detail.

Zenyx Griffiths

Before Compare My Move, Zenyx once wrote lifestyle and entertainment articles for the online magazine, Society19 as well as news articles for Ffotogallery.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.