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The Ultimate Guide to Removal Vans

Adele MacGregor

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

29th Jul 2022 (Last updated on 27th Feb 2024) 7 minute read

Whether you are hiring a vehicle to move or are a moving company, you will be using a removal van for your move. Having an understanding of removal vehicles will allow you to plan for your move and know what to expect on the day.

By moving your items in a removal van, you are taking steps to protect your belongings. These vehicles will have the necessary equipment for transporting your items safely and securely.

  1. Removal Vans and Their Prices
  2. Types and Sizes of Removal Vans
  3. Renting a Removal Van by Yourself
  4. When Should You Hire a Removal Van?
  5. When Shouldn’t Your Hire a Removal Van?
  6. Alternatives to Self-Drive Removal Vehicles
  7. Removal Insurance Explained

Removal Vans and Their Prices

The cost of a removal van will depend on the type of vehicle and the service you need. Hiring a van yourself will be cheaper, but you may benefit from a removal company or Man and Van service. Keep in mind that the cost includes the vehicle(s), team, equipment, insurance and time. You are also paying for their experience and expertise in moving and packing.

Removal Company

According to our data, the average cost of a removal company for a 3-bedroom house is £806. The cost of your move will depend on your requirements. Removal firms will factor in the length of the journey and the size of the move. It will also depend on your location, with prices higher in London and other big cities.

Man and Van

Man and Van prices are often by the day or by the hour. According to CheckaTrader, you could pay anywhere between £35 to £93 an hour. Keep in mind that many of these companies have minimum charges and you may be asked to pay a deposit.

Self-Drive Hire

If you are renting a removal van, you will likely pay either a daily or hourly rate. This will depend on the company you use and can vary in price. It will also depend on what size van you opt for. This could cost anywhere from £43 a day for a Medium Wheel Base to £108 for a Luton Lorry.

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Types and Sizes of Removal Vans

The type of removal van you need will largely depend on how much is being moved. It also depends on the size of the items being moved and if there are any specialist items. Larger removals will need a bigger vehicle, a bigger team and extra equipment.

There are four main types of removal vans. These include:

Medium Wheelbase Transit and Sprinter Van

This is the UK's most commonly used removal van, suitable for smaller moves. A typical vehicle will have a loading capacity of 280-380 cubic feet. These will more than likely be a Ford Transit or Mercedes Printer. They are usually ply-lined, have a high roof and an easy loading platform

Long Wheelbase Transit and Sprinter Van

These are larger vehicles, typically with a loading capacity of 380-530 cubic feet. Long Wheelbase Transit vans can carry white goods and furniture. They hold approximately 30-40 boxes alongside other items.

3.5 Tonne Luton Van

With a loading capacity of around 550 cubic feet, Luton Vans are popular among removal firms. Many of the partners in our network will have these in their fleet.

7.5 Tonne Luton Van

This size of Luton Van has a loading capacity of around 880-650 cubic feet. This is suitable for an average 3-bedroom house move, fitting 40-80 moving boxes.

For more information see: A Guide to Removal Van Sizes

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Renting a Removal Van by Yourself

According to the government website, you can drive a van up to 3,500kg (3.5 tonnes) with a standard car driving licence. Van rental companies may have their own restrictions, however.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you are driving the removal van yourself:

  • Vans often have lower speed limits on UK roads
  • Vans have a maximum weight when loaded so be sure not to overload it or you could risk prosecution.
  • Make sure the goods within the vehicle are secured properly
  • Be aware of where you can legally park
  • Make sure the van you are renting has the correct insurance in place

Pros and Cons of Self-Drive Hire

Below we look at the pros and cons of using a self-drive removal van:

Likely to be cheaper than using a removal companyYou won't have professional help and advice - this could mean a higher risk accidents and breakages
You can work on your own timescaleYou could be fined up to £1,000 and get 3 to 6 penalty points for driving without the right licence.
Some rental companies will have an age limit and other restrictions

When Should You Hire a Removal Van?

There are a few scenarios where hiring a removal van would be beneficial. Below we look at the main reasons why someone would need to hire a removal vehicle.

Small Moves

If you don’t have many possessions or are moving from a small property, a self-drive van is ideal for a small move. You could hire a Man with Van to assist you, however, it would be cheaper to hire the van and drive it yourself. In this case, you may want to enlist the help of friends and family to pack and move the items.

Large Moves

For larger moves, you will want to look into hiring a larger removal vehicle. You must ensure that you are legally allowed to drive the van you opt you and that you are comfortable doing so. Alternatively, you can look at hiring a professional removal company. They will have the people and experience to ensure the move runs smoothly.

Student Moves

As many students live in dorms or house shares, they are limited to the number of items they can take with them. As a result, a student move is often a smaller move, meaning a self-drive removal vehicle would suffice. It is also a cheaper option for those on a budget.

Storage Moves

Hiring a van can be ideal for moving your items to or from a storage unit. Whether you are between moves or storing seasonal items, the contents of a self-storage unit will usually fit in a standard removal vehicle.

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When Shouldn’t Your Hire a Removal Van?

Although there are advantages to self-drive removal vehicles, there are some instances where it is not advisable. These include:

Nervous Drivers

If you are nervous about driving a car, driving a removal van comes with extra considerations and stress. In this instance, it is recommended that you don't attempt to drive a larger vehicle yourself.

Inexperienced Drivers

If you don’t drive often or have not long passed your test, driving a removal van would not be advised. In this case, hiring a removal company or Man and Van would be a safer option.

Large Moves

If you are moving a large number of items, you may struggle to complete the move alone. There are also safety considerations to be aware of, in addition to the time it will take you to move. If the items are heavy and awkward, hiring professionals will save you time and avoid accidents.

Moving Specialist Items

If you are moving items like art, antiques or large musical instruments, you may want to leave this to the experts. Attempting to move these items yourself could result in breakages and accidents.

Alternatives to Self-Drive Removal Vehicles

If hiring a removal vehicle yourself is not the right option for your move, you could consider the alternatives. These include hiring a Man and Van service or a professional removal company. Not only do they take on the hard work, but they have specialist equipment and experience. They will be insured and know how to safely handle items, protecting your belongings and home.

Another reason to hire a removal company is that many offer extra services to help with your move. These include but are not limited to:

  • Packing: Many firms offer a professional packing service, part-pack or packing specialist items. They may also be able to supply packing materials.
  • Storage: Some companies either have their own facilities or a partnership with a storage firm.
  • Dismantling and Reassembling: Some companies can dismantle furniture before the move and reassemble it at your new home.

For more information read: Why Hire a Professional Removal Company

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Removal Insurance Explained

If you are hiring a van, many companies will offer insurance or it will be included in the rental price. You must make sure that you have insurance in place before driving or loading the van.

Removal companies must have Goods in Transit and Public Liability Insurance before joining us as a partner. Goods in Transit will cover the cost of goods and the property during the move. The maximum cover is up to £10,000. Be aware that although we as a company insist partners have this in place, it is not a legal requirement.

There is also Hire and Reward Insurance which covers physical vehicles. This is a legal requirement for any removal van.

For more information on insurance see our Guide to Removals Insurance.

Adele MacGregor

Having worked at Compare My Move for over five years, Adele specialises in covering a range of surveying topics.

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.

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