Reputation is everything
The first thing to do is search for companies that are active in your area. You should rely on recommendations from people who have been through the same process or an online search. Different companies cater to certain specifications; there are moving companies that specialise in shipping fine arts, and while most companies can’t transport pets to the UK, many do offer specialist advice on how to get your best friend into the country.
Once you have found a few companies that meet your personal requirements, check their reputation. Andrew Elliman, of AGS Movers, recommends that you “make sure the company is registered with the British Association of Removers (BAR) or the UK National Guild of Removers and Storers. Companies should also have certifications for quality, environment and security by the International Organization for Standardization.”
Get an accurate quote
Avoid the nasty surprise of a bill that is much bigger than originally quoted. After you have shortlisted your preferred companies, request a home visit to evaluate the size and special requirements of the move. This way, Andrew says, “you are guaranteed an accurate quote, with no surprises later in the process”.
“The quote you receive must be clear, detailed and easy to read, and should include VAT, timelines and any other added services”.
When evaluating the quotes, do not only think about the price. Instead, focus on cost effectiveness. The lowest rates may not be the best ones, and they may offer lower services or involve a lower level of responsibility.
Make sure the company you choose provides insurance and thoroughly investigate what is covered by the policy. Ideally, it should be as comprehensive as possible. “In the unfortunate event that some of your things get lost or broken on the way, you want to be covered. For this, a good, reputable insurance company is paramount”.
Check the included services
Always ask what is included in the price. Remember to inquire about terminal and port charges, if packing and unpacking services are included and whether the company offers a door-to-door service.
Another useful service to look for is temporary storage. In case your belongings arrive in your new country before you do, you want it to be stored somewhere safe. “It is important that storage facilities are secure and clean, with surveillance facilities and regularly inspected fire system”, says Andrew.
Always carefully check your contract. Make sure that all the services that should be included are mentioned and that the price is the same as discussed, without additional fees.
Finally, if it is at all possible, try to schedule your move outside of the busy period between June and September, as you may be able to get better rates.