Contrary to general belief, removal companies are not the money grabbing organisations they are sometimes made out to be - well not all of them! Companies generate their prices from a number of factors:
- The load size
- The distance to be travelled
- The type of furniture
- The number of men required for the job
To be able to get an exact quote, you need to provide the removal company with as much detail as possible. It is essential to have an inventory of what is to be moved. Often companies propose a visit your home to work out the size of the load. However, this is not compulsory, as good companies have the experience to talk to you and roughly work out how much you have to move. A full inventory from you will make this even easier.
You probably have no idea how much space your household contents will fill in a van and even less of an idea how companies prepare their quotes. However, you are probably very sure that 35m3 is going to cost you more than if you tell them you only have 31m3. I strongly recommend you resist this temptation. In this example the extra 4m3 of load will normally not significantly change the price, as the extra cost is loading and unloading time, so you don't gain much by misleading you provider. More importantly, a removal company is well within their rights to ask you to pay more on the day of the move if they are providing you with a different service than quoted for. With your belongings on the van and needing to move, you will not be in a very good bargaining position!
The worst scenario is the possibility that something will have to be left behind because there is not enough room on the van! Recently a client of ours (who had refused to give a clear inventory), was waiting in Montpellier for the removal van to take him back to Shropshire. He had clearly stated his load was, "no more than 15m3", and had paid a reasonable sum of £650 for the move. The removal company arrived with a van capable of carrying 35m3, upon which they had already loaded 15m3 from another client. The Client had over 28m3 of furniture, nearly twice the amount he had asked to be quoted to move. The end result was a second trip with another van. He had to store his belongings in a leaky garage for ten days and pay an additional £700 to complete his move.
An inventory achieves three important things
- The removal company knows exactly what is to be taken (especially if you note the size of each item). Remember here to include such items as pianos (that may need three men to move them), snooker tables and items such as sit-on lawn mowers and other fragile, bulky, heavy or strange objects (we have quoted for boats, cars, and even 48 'fragile' garden gnomes bound for the sun in Spain!).
- In the event of an insurance claim you can prove that the removal company was transporting the items concerned
- It helps when you unpack as you can see where each numbered box should go. Using a simple spreadsheet makes this even easier and you can then use the same sheet when sorting out your home contents insurance. The inventory should be detailed, but use common sense - one of our customers diligently reported 247 pieces of 'Lego'!
The exercise of drwaing up an inventory also allows you to think about what you don't need to take with you. After all, it is pointless to transport boxes of forgotten junk from attic to another. A move is a good opportunity to rationalise your possessions. By doing this, one of our clients managed to reduce their load from 34m3 down to 28m3. One victim of the cleanout was Mr. X's home gym that had been purchased five years previously and had never been used.
It is not just the load and distance that affect your quote. You must remember to let the remover know of anything at either end that could affect the job. If you are moving to or from a flat, you need to indicate how many flights of stairs have to be negotiated. I recently had a call from an irate remover complaining that although the flat was on the first floor, the client had 'forgotten' to mention the six flights of stairs to get there! The extra time required forced him to renegociate the price and the last thing anyone wants is that sort of discussion on the day of the move. You also need to consider things such as narrow roads (or even 'no roads') at either end. Some large lorries can't get to the same places as 4X4s! Check for overhanging trees that could prevent lorries passing underneath, even if we do know one company that we use that always carries a chain saw with them...just in case!
To help in your quote search, visit our expat deal site, ExpatOffers.com. The site features special offers on moving and other services.