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Before moving day, most reputable house removal companies will ask to send someone over to survey your property. This is to confirm the volume of your possessions as well as things like parking restrictions, the size of your furniture, whether it needs to be disassembled or not, and if specialist equipment is needed.
Your home survey is a great opportunity to ask some questions to find out a bit more about the company and their plan for your move. Here's a list of questions you should consider asking.
Most removal companies offer packing services. If your items are professionally packed it will minimise the risk of damage. Let them know if you need it though, so they can set aside enough time. Usually your packing service would be completed the day before your move, so be prepared for this.
Find out if the removal company’s staff are trained, as this will determine how well your possessions are taken care of.
If the removal company is a BAR member (British Association of Removers), this can provide additional reassurance that their company is reputable. BAR is the voice of the removals industry, so if your chosen company is a member, they will be held to a standard and are more likely to ensure your possessions are protected and the move goes smoothly.
Do not be put off if they aren't members of a trade organisation. Around 90% of removal companies in the UK aren't affiliated with anyone and are still capable of carrying out fantastic service.
Some removal companies will charge you if there are delays, as much as £50 per hour. For example, if you are buying and selling properties, there can often be a hold up with the solicitor on moving day. This can mean your goods are loaded on the removal van and ready to go, but you haven't been able to pick up the keys to your new house, causing a delay.
Unless you ask, they might not mention costs like this.
The removal company is going to be handling your most valuable belongings, so you need to know what their insurance does or doesn’t cover. They often don’t cover extremely valuable items, so you may have to get them covered separately. Don't be afraid to ask for a copy of their insurance policy - if they have it in place, they will happily let you see it.
We have previously published articles on insurance and removal companies, so take a look!
Depending on how much you need to move, the size of their van is important. A small van aiming to pack up a 3-bed house is going to take multiple trips and much more time. They can determine how big the van will need to be when they first survey your house and everything to be moved.
You will need to have the removal company’s full address and contact details in case there are any problems and you need to contact them. If they are a legitimate company, it is likely they will have an office, landline number, and a good website.
Another way to determine how legitimate a removal company is, is to ask about payment methods – if they ask for cash payment, they probably aren’t very reliable. Most reputable companies take credit card payments or cheques.
During the sale and purchase of a home, delays can occur which may force you to cancel or postpone the moving date. Understanding a removal company’s policy is important as they may charge for cancellations. This should be stated in their Terms & Conditions but don't be afraid to ask to confirm.
As with asking to see terms & conditions and insurance documents, there’s no harm in asking for a little discount. If you’d prefer to use one company over another but their removal quote is a little more expensive, be honest with them. You may be surprised to find they’d be happy to bring the price down. That way, they get the removal work and you get the removal company of your choice at a lesser rate.