Chapter 9: A Few More To Look Out For!

The more I’ve written the more I’ve thought of! So in this section I am going to cover all the areas that I have not covered yet.

Multi Quote companies- As you search on the internet, for anything really, but particularly for removals and storage, you will see a growing number of companies offering “instant quotes from removal companies in your area”. Be very careful when you get quotes from companies based on an online form:  don’t assume that they have been fully vetted to be on the site. Although some are better than others there are no real checks on the suitability of a company to carry out a full removal: they will just be interested in the commission. If something was to go wrong you would not be able to go to the multi quote company for help-they will not be liable. The more companies that register the more money they make as they charge each company for each lead.  As I’ve said before, the only real way to guarantee you a quality service is to get a personal visit and do as much homework as possible. All you are doing by booking with a virtual remover is exposing yourself to potential disasters.  It is very important that you check that the company vets the removers on its site, and makes sure they are members of a Removals Trade Association.

Auction Sites- Following on from the above, this is the newest type of Removal site. Although small at the moment it will only grow as it has in America. Basically you would post your move on the site and removal and haulage companies will bid for your move. You choose the bid and hope for the best. There are so many problems with using this type of site that I can’t begin to say, but I would liken it to booking your annual holiday and making your way there using public transport… You just wouldn’t do it. This type of site is great for haulage back loads and eBay but not household removals.

Logistics- By this I mean how the removal is timed, how companies fit in removals basically how they operate/arrange their jobs. I mentioned in the previous email about Fridays being the busiest day of the week as most people want to move on that day. That’s fine but there are only so many fully equipped Lorries and trained crews around. So for that reason you will find it hard to get a good remover if you are booking short notice. I know of companies that hire in vans and agency staff for these days; they will be able to charge a premium and offer a substandard service. Hire Lorries may not be suitable for domestic removals they may not be fitted with ramps and may come with no equipment, so the bad remover will chuck a few blankets in the back and maybe a couple of clothes carriers. The agency staff may be spread across several jobs and may not be trained to a high enough standard, and may not comply with Heath and Safety Law. So for your important day you may find a hire van pull up outside with a couple of staff that are unhappy and disillusioned with little or no equipment. Your day will be a real nightmare.

Most good removers will only take on the work they can do with the resources they have at hand so for that reason they will quite often turn work away, but how do you tell which established companies operate like this? All I can say from my own experience is that if I conducted myself like that I would certainly be removed from the Guild; they would not tolerate its members behaving like that. Also I would not expect to get the good testimonials I like to receive.                                                                                                 

When you book your removal don’t always assume you get the vehicle and crew for the day especially on small to medium jobs. Bad operators who have given a really low price are usually the main culprits here. You may find that they have booked 2 moves for that van for the same day and if you can’t give them access to your new property you may find your goods dumped on the front lawn ( a bit extreme? Well it happens) it could be a small print thing! What is for sure even if your goods aren’t dumped on the lawn is that your removal will be conducted at breakneck speed. Hardly the pleasant moving experience you were hoping for. There are a few exceptions to this rule depending on whether you already have keys to your new property and if it’s a very small move. Also storage jobs are usually flexible and the delivery can be worked out accurately and sometimes be combined with other moves.

Payment- I had a client cancel her move with us and book someone else this week because we take full payment 7 days in advance. She wanted to make sure the lorry turned up before she parted with any money. All she has done is increase the chances of a lorry not turning up! It’s a lot harder for a company to back out at the last minute if they have been paid up front and have sent a receipt and a confirmation letter to you. It’s just one more stress you don’t need on the run up to the move, wondering if they will turn up as they haven’t been paid.

We take many methods of payment including Credit Cards, Debit Cards, Cheques, Cash and even PayPal, so this outlay can usually be offset until the completion has gone through. It is also worth mentioning that if you pay by Credit Card your payment will be protected under the Consumer Credit Act, as long as the amount paid is between £100-£30,000. This gives you added protection, however you will often be charged an administration fee, usually 2%.

Dismantling- Most Removers will offer to dismantle and re-assemble items if asked to. Most will not be equipped or skilled enough to do any more than basic items. Insist on any dismantling or assembling to be put in writing and ask if the crew will be skilled at doing it correctly. The answer will almost certainly be yes, but at least you have raised it as a concern and your remover will know you will be expecting it done right. I have seen all sorts of botch ups over the years ranging from squeaky beds to the point of risk of serious Injury. Often the reason for this is lack of time especially when there is a delay for keys, so ask what the remover would do in this event.  

Identification- Identify your remover. Remember in true stories the lady who trusted the cheap remover with the leaflet through the door and had her whole home contents dumped in a field? Well this can apply to websites too. Check your proposed remover has as many contact details as possible especially an address. Websites can be created cheaply and removed quickly; phone numbers and emails can be temporary. Just be careful you don’t fall foul of these types of companies. Reputable companies will always advertise as many contact details as possible. If in doubt ask to make an inspection or pay a visit to their office/warehouse. You are within your rights and good removers will welcome this request.