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How do I choose a good removal firm?

I am moving house and need to arrange removal companies. Any tips?

Moving day can be incredibly tense so the more you can do to relieve stress levels, the better. I have seen many people underestimate quite how much they own and try to do the move themselves without a professional removal company. If you really don’t have many things then fine, but in most cases, anyone who has attempted this themselves wished they had outsourced it.

My first piece of advice is to arrange the move with as much notice as possible. Entrusting all of your possessions with a company is a fairly big deal so you don’t want to be scrabbling around last minute, begging just any firm to squeeze you in. Also, bear in mind that Fridays tend to be the most popular day to move, so you will often pay a premium for a slot on that day. If you’re on a budget, see if you can get a better rate earlier in the week.

Don’t underestimate the importance of recommendations. Personal recommendations are the best. Don’t necessarily be seduced by big household names with large marketing budgets as they’re not always as good as their reputation suggests. One friend of mine used a well-known firm and had her engagement ring stolen during the move.

When obtaining a quote, you should take comfort from a firm that asks lots of questions about your belongings and the properties you’re moving from and to. Some companies may also do site surveys to ensure there won’t be any access issues on the day. For example, if items need to be taken through windows rather than through a narrow hallway and so on. Also, ask them if they carry extra supplies in their vans or trucks. Some firms will only cater for the items you’ve briefed them on, whereas others will stock extra boxes and bubble wrap for last-minute items you forgot to mention.

Don’t forget to ask who is going to suspend the parking restrictions — whether this will be your responsibility or theirs. Adding parking tickets on top of removal costs are an unwelcome extra!

Jo Eccles is a property expert and director of SP Property Group SPpropertygroup.com. Got a question for Jo? Email: info@SPpropertygroup.com