How many times do you tell a supplier that you’ll be going with the cheapest quote?  Choosing a removals company can be a tricky decision – should it really be based on cost?

Surprisingly, fewer people than you’d expect really understand whether they’re comparing apples with apples… and, of course, there are always some apples that taste better than others!  In a series of articles, we’ll explain each component that makes up a quotation and why perhaps the question should not be ‘why are you so expensive?’ but, ‘why are you so cheap?’.  Here are our first few top tips for comparing Household Goods Moving quotations:

Has the mover sent a surveyor to assess the move?  Some companies provide quotations based on a list provided by the assignee. Whilst this is fine for a small move to around the corner, it’s not acceptable for overseas moves.  Essentially, that list is what the moving crew will collect – no more.  Are you 100% sure your assignee knows exactly how many boxes are going to be needed to pack up the kitchen?  Do they have intimate knowledge of exactly how much there is in each of their cupboards? The additional cost of just one carton on an airfreight shipment can make quite a difference.

Most movers will be accommodating (especially for a company move), with appointments available before or after work and sometimes on a Saturday morning.  It is important that everyone quoting on the move sees exactly what’s involved and has the opportunity to understand what’s important to the individual and their spouse/family during the physical move.  It’s also important to address any concerns and talk through the practicalities of the moving process – timescales and customs restrictions to name a few.

The pre-move survey is the most important step to a hassle free and successful move.  Each mover will pack and wrap slightly differently, use different size boxes and a varying range of packing materials.  Their crews will pack at different speeds and the operational culture of each mover will vary – some prefer to take slightly longer over the packing with slightly less men.  Others prefer to use more men in less time.  If the goods are being stored and the assignee has say 1000 cubic feet, this would require 4 storage containers – but if that 1000 cubic feet is made up of mostly furniture with very few cartons, it’s unlikely to fit into 4 containers and therefore require a 5th = more cost.

It is also important that the assignee takes their share of responsibility at this stage and ensures that all the goods to be moved are shown to the surveyor.  They will be provided a copy of the inventory taken and it is their responsibility to confirm this is correct.  If anything changes before moving day, the mover must know so that any additional costs can be approved before work has commenced and there are no awkward conversations afterwards.

These are just some of the factors that can affect the quotation and highlight why it is important for a professional surveyor to visit and assess the move to ensure that you are not billed for any surprise additional items.

Compare volume.  Every surveyor is different but most have been trained in the same way and volumes should be within around 10% of each other. Apps and survey tools have been developed to assist but they’re only as good as the individual using them – a survey still relies on the human eye.
Always ask for an inventory to accompany any quotation so that if the volumes vary hugely, you can easily see what has been included and what hasn’t.

On an international move, the volume can make huge differences in cost.  It may well be that everyone is quoting on a 40ft container and you’d think that would be a flat rate whether it’s full or not, but I’m afraid it doesn’t work like that.  The volume inside that container dictates the packing, wrapping times and man power at both origin and destination.  The only element that should be the same (or very close) would be the ‘Freight’ costs – this is essentially getting the container from A-B and will include charges such as haulage to and from the port, Terminal Handling Charges at origin and destination etc. These should be standard on each route.

 This  article was written by Andy Hawtin from GB Liners – one of my tried and tested removal companies.  For further details, he can be contacted at ahawtin@gbliners.com or on +44 (0)20 8574 1285