Choosing a good removals company

House moving image

Moving house is an exciting experience, but it can also be very stressful if it’s not properly planned in advance. Some aspects will be beyond anyone’s control, but forward planning makes a huge difference, and choosing a good removals company is especially important. Moving heavy furnishings like oak dressers would be beyond most people’s capabilities and there are plenty of other things to do on moving day besides dismantling bed frames and carrying boxes into a van for hours on end.

A good removal firm will unobtrusively relocate your existing belongings to a new address, freeing your day for cleaning, key exchanges and the inevitable phone calls with solicitors. These are the key things to consider when choosing your moving buddies…


If you’re moving on a Friday, reputable companies may be booked up months in advance. It’s worth asking if you can complete on another day, when availability will be better (and solicitors will also be quieter). Early in the conveyancing process, contact three or four firms who cover your current home area to enquire about availability - entry dates might slip, but a good company will be flexible. Schedule home valuation visits to assess how much stuff you’re taking with you, pointing out any fragile or bulky objects which might require special treatment. Don’t forget to open loft spaces and outbuildings, even stepping into the garden to highlight all the items coming with you.


The old adage ‘you get what you pay for’ isn’t always true in this industry. Smaller family firms routinely undercut national chains who have to recoup advertising budgets and the up-front costs of developing mobile apps. If you like a company but their quote seems steep, negotiate a reduction if you sign up there and then. Bear in mind headline prices may not cover additional charges like insurance or late key release fees. The cheapest quote could end up the most expensive after you add mileage charges or the cost of a second lorry – some firms refuse to carry house and garden items in the same vehicle. It may be cheaper to hire a van for a few days to transport your own patio furniture and troughs.


Long-established companies are usually dependable, providing they have registered premises and out-of-hours contact details. You’ll learn a lot from the valuation visit in terms of how respectful and professional the staff are, though the removal teams will comprise different personnel. Websites like Trustpilot help to establish past performance, but remember unhappy customers are more likely to add reviews than satisfied ones. Beware reviews written with a grievance – a one-star critique because a teapot got cracked in transit, for instance. A few scuffs and scrapes are inevitable, and you shouldn’t expect perfection.

Packing materials

A removal firm is often only as good as your packing skills. If you’re not paying them to pack your belongings (usually carried out the day before moving), ask your chosen company to deliver some cardboard boxes a few weeks ahead. They might even be able to supply hanging cabinets with plastic rails across tall cardboard boxes, allowing you to lift coat hangers out of your wardrobe straight into secure packaging. A typical three-bedroom house can sometimes require around a hundred removal boxes or suitcases, but never resort to carrier bags or bin bags, which tend to split and spill their contents everywhere.


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