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Five Steps to Chosing your Removal Company

We’d better start trying to find a removals company soon Sweetheart eh?  Can you get on that coz I’m up to here (Imagine hand held up to eyebrow height) with . . . . . . select from the following :- 

  1. The dogs
  2. The cat
  3. The Kids
  4. The car insurance
  5. The online shop “

So then, you’ve drawn the short straw and now you have to try and find a removals company that’s going to get you into your new home in a timely and efficient manner.  How are you going to do that then?  Well, I say, “Read on Macduff !!”

Have a Wander About


It’s a really good idea to have a wander around the inside of your dwelling with a clipboard and a pen and try to give yourself some idea of how much stuff you’ve got.  Go room to room and list out all the big stuff and have a stab at guessing how many box loads of smaller stuff there might be too.

Were some items assembled in situ?  Are they going to be able to be moved complete or will they need disassembly?  If some items need dismantling do you think you want to do it or would you rather get the removals company to do it for you?

What about outside?  Assuming the contents of sheds, garages and greenhouses are going with you, how much stuff is out there?  What about potted plants?  Garden ornaments? Garden furniture?  It’s important to consider these items as, for example, lawn mowers and other garden equipment doesn’t stack very well so it can be awkward to move.  For you, the customer what ‘awkward’ translates to is a need for more vehicles to attend to your removal than perhaps you were initially considering.

Okay, so with any luck, after 20 - 40 minutes of this you’ve got a better idea of what’s to go than you had before you did this exercise.  It’s more than you thought isn’t it?  Go on, admit it, it’s more than you thought, EVERYONE underestimates how much stuff they’ve got until they’ve got to move it somewhere.  No worries, informed is better than uninformed, give yourself a pat on the back, that was 20 - 40 minutes well spent.


House Prices

Forget middlemen.  With the information you’ve just gathered you could, if you wished, start filling in pro forma questionnaires so that you can click a button and then start magically receiving quotes in your inbox.

Really this isn’t a road you want to go down.  It’s very difficult for removals companies to come up with a sensible price based on what’s been put into one of these lists/ tables/ forms.  Issues around access at your current dwelling and at the destination dwelling are really important and potential customers ticking the ‘good’ box on these forms doesn’t tell the company receiving it all that much.  Lots of people also have particular items that really need to be discussed on a case by case basis with an actual human being.

Also you are going to have quite a few questions that you want answered regarding your removal around such issues as :- 

“What happens if our move is delayed by some technicality on the day and we can’t get into the new property in the afternoon or the next day?”

“Is all of my property insured whilst in your care?”

“Are there any limitations on your insurance?”

And so on.

So moving on then your best bet by far, for dwellings of 2 bedrooms or more,  is to phone a few removals companies in your area and ask them if they can send someone round to have a stroll around with you and chat about your move so they can give you a realistic quote.  Most outfits will be able to send someone out in the evening to pay you a visit and this way you’re getting an experienced eye assessing your needs and addressing all of the important issues.  Whilst doing this you can also ask the important questions you’ve got on your list and receive some straightforward answers which aren’t buried in 6 pages of T&Cs microprinting.

If your dwelling is smaller, say a 1 bedroom flat, perhaps you don’t need a visit.  Lots of removals companies are able to quote on smaller jobs by having you send them a short video walk around of your place where you point to the larger items and maybe say a bit about them.  Or maybe you could phone them up and simply list it all out.  Most companies will be able to get back to you with a price in a day or two.  Don’t forget to mention what floor your on and whether there’s a lift or not and remember that applies to the destination address too.

Arrange a home visit

New House

So how are you going to choose who comes around to visit you then?

Obviously if you’ve had a personal recommendation from a friend or colleague you want to get them over, that’s a no-brainer.  Do get visits from more than 1 company though because even if your friend is spot on and this particular outfit is really good they might have an availability problem on your removals day meaning they’re unable to book you.  Ideally you want to be in a position whereby you have 2 or 3 companies you’re happy with so that if availability does become an issue with 1 of them it’s not going to mean a last minute scramble for you to find someone else.

What if you don’t have a recommendation?  Well websites such as Checkatrade will be able to find companies in your vicinity, Google obviously, maybe Facebook can help too.

Read some of the reviews left by other customers, if enough people have said that a company was “friendly”, “efficient”, “helpful”, “punctual” etc etc give them a call.

You could hop onto the British Association of Removers website and enter your location in there and they’re bound to be able to find companies in your area.

Once you’ve found a few companies you’re interested in have a think about the type of outfit you want to do your removal.  What I’m asking you to consider here is that if you’ve got a 3 or 4 bedroom house you’re probably going to be looking at some of the medium to larger size players.  If you’ve got a 2 bedroom house or flat the medium to smaller sized companies are probably your best bet.  For smaller dwellings, like say a studio flat, medium to smaller outfits again.  (You might want to go down more of a ‘Man & Van’ route for smaller moves but be cautious here.  Things like beds will require 2 men to carry out so most man & van jobs end up being 2 men & van jobs in reality.)

Getting the Most Out of Your Visit


So when the assessor comes around they’re going to look at the access to your house and jot down any issues with it.  Once inside you can stroll about together and your visitor will make a note of everything that’s to be moved.  You’ll have your clipboard from step 1 with you and you might be thinking “why did I bother doing this when these people are going to be doing it again anyway?”  If so don’t worry, you haven’t wasted your time, your efforts so far at least mean you’re not constantly saying “oh wow, I really hadn’t thought about that at all” all the time!  Particular items that require some thought will be on your list and you can point at them and ask all the questions you want about moving them.  I’m talking about things like pianos, other musical equipment, statues, glass tables, corner sofas and so on.

Then the 2 of you can move onto what’s outside in garages and other outbuildings.  After a few questions about access at the destination address your assessor will head off to prepare you a quote.  (These visits typically only take a half hour or so, it’s not time consuming.)  Now, within a day or 2, you’re going to receive some quotes in your inbox that have been compiled by people who know what they’re doing, have seen the job first hand and have used their experience within the field to arrive at the best plan for your removal utilising the optimum number of vehicles and men. 

Getting the correct number of men and the correct number, and type, of vehicles in on the day is super important.  The best way of ensuring that happens is to have a home visit.  Efficiency and optimisation of these 2 things brings 2 important aspects of a removal under control, namely, getting the price right and getting the move done in a timely manner.  These are 2 things that you, the customer, want to feel confident about.  This brings me to the other benefit of having a home visit, you get to meet a member of the company you might use and judge the calibre of them.  You need to be confident that whoever you book for this important step in your life is up to it and knows what they’re doing.

Personally, if I’m trying to arrange something really really important, especially involving the family, then I want to be discussing it face to face with a human being.  So for this big step that you’re taking in your lives I cannot over stress the need for a home visit by a few people who know what they’re talking about.

Crunch Time

mobile phone

Great!  You’ve had a few visits, it’s a few days later and you’ve got 3 or 4 quotes sitting in your inbox.  So pick the cheapest 1, phone them up and either book it (completion date is known) or get them to pencil it in (completion date is not certain yet.)

Maybe you could do that but I’d suggest you read through all of your quotes carefully.  Ideally they should be specifying the number of men who will be attending your removal.  This is important, it’s no good if the company in question has slimmed down the cost by skimping on people.  Believe me, too few people on removals day to do the work always leads to undue and unnecessary stress and hassle.  They should also specify the number of vehicles they’re going to be using.  This is helpful to all concerned as the company you select will probably need you to do things with your own vehicle(s) on the day, ie save a space for them or maybe park them somewhere different to usual so they’re out of the way.  Having knowledge of what’s going to be showing up on the day really helps you with all this.

The cheapest guy in your inbox might only have 1 or 2 vehicles so if he pencils you into his diary you’re going to need to get an assurance from him that if someone else books that date he’s going to phone you and either :- 

  1. Assure you that he has sufficient capacity to still do your job on the date specified if you do decide to firmly book it, or
  2. Inform you  that “we’re really sorry, but you’re going to have to book with someone else.”

I know that we’re all super busy and have way too many things that we’re all trying to attend to.  Still, if you want this important moment in your life to go off okay then it is wise to invest some time and effort in it.  If you have 2 or 3 quotes that you’re happy with then it’s best to phone all of them up and get yourself pencilled into their diaries.  This is not a firm booking, it’s just a placeholder that gets you onto their radar and it means that when you phone up to say, for example, there’s been a delay and removals day has been pushed back by a couple of weeks they know who you are and can respond accordingly.  Hopefully moving you up to your new provisional date, or if that’s a problem letting you know about it.  If you do this and keep your chosen couple of outfits ‘in the loop’ they can do the same with you and then everyone knows what’s happening, all good.  In amongst these communications you’ll probably get an idea of who you feel most comfortable with and perhaps that will help inform your decision as to who to actually book with once completion day is firmed up.    

If you want to head off some of these availability issues there are 2 things I’d ask you to consider :- 

  1.  Try to arrange completion on a day other than a friday.
  2.  Try to avoid school holidays, especially the 6 week summer holiday.


I hope this article has been helpful to you.  I’m quite certain that if you follow the steps I’ve laid out here then you’re going to be in the excellent position of having a thoroughly decent and professional group of removals persons show up on your big day.  They’re going to whisk you off to your new home and get all your stuff in there, where you want it, undamaged and in a timely manner and all at a reasonable price.

“Best wishes and good luck in your new home!”

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