in Moving Home November 14, 2019
Moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in your life, and therefore, choosing the right removal company can be quite a big deal.
After all, you’re letting go of every worldly possession you own, and once you wave goodbye to that removal van, you want to be 100% certain you’re going to see it again - with all of your belongings intact - at the other end.
It’s not unheard of for things to go wrong; belongings can get damaged, or the company you hire might not even turn up on the day - it’s what you’d call a nightmare situation.
That’s why, as an Edinburgh removal specialist with almost 20 years’ experience, I’m going to highlight the most important questions to ask an Edinburgh removal company, so you can have ultimate peace of mind when hiring the right company for the job.
1. Do you provide boxes for packing?While most homeowners tend to get their boxes from other sources (Amazon, storage units, friends and family), some Edinburgh removal companies can provide a complete solution for packing up your belongings, however this will vary depending on the company.
A reputable removal company will recycle the boxes, as they tend to buy them in pallets of hundreds at a time. As a rule of thumb, you can typically expect to pay £3 for recycled boxes, and £5 for new.
Recycled is the most eco-friendly, cost-effective option if you need to buy extra boxes. Afterwards, you can either keep the boxes, or they can be collected and reused by your chosen removal company.
2. Do you have any reviews or testimonials?I’d always recommend asking an Edinburgh removal company how long they’ve been around and if they have plenty of reviews and testimonials to back them up. However, don’t just look at the ones featured on their website; check third-party reviews such as Google and Facebook.
This is because it’s easy enough to fake reviews; even on the likes of Facebook. However, as a caveat, the more established a removal company is, and the more reviews are featured on social media and elsewhere, the more you know you can trust them.
3. Will my belongings be fully insured?I’d say on average, you can expect to be covered for £30,000. If your possessions are worth more, it’s definitely worth mentioning to your chosen removal company to see what they say and to make sure you’ll definitely be covered in the worst case scenario.
Most Edinburgh removal companies should offer free insurance - albeit for a capped amount. Enhanced insurance can come at an extra cost, and this is mainly so the company can protect itself, as there are limits to the insurance removal companies can provide.
4. Is there a guarantee you’ll turn up on the day?This is a fun one. I get on average around seven calls a week from people saying they’ve been let down by a removal company, and whether I’ll be available that day or even in a couple of days’ time. It happens.
Always check what assurances your removal company can provide to you that they’ll definitely show up on the day, along with whether there are contingency plans in place in the event of something like a breakdown.
Do they have more than one van? How many staff do they employ, and what happens if someone is ill? If they don’t show up on the day, will you get your money back? What about compensation?
5. Do you charge VAT?Following that question, there’s also the question of whether or not they charge VAT. Be wary of any Edinburgh removal company that doesn’t charge VAT, as that should signal that they’re quite small - maybe with just one van. Check Companies House to see if they’re registered.
It might be more attractive to hire a company that doesn’t charge VAT, but if they don’t, make absolutely sure that they have the manpower and contingency plans in place just in case something goes wrong on the day.
TIP: I also personally wouldn’t like to use a removal company if they weren’t paying PAYE i.e. tax and insurance to their staff. If it’s cash in hand, it could be illegal labour. Just be careful.
6. What size of van will you bring - and how many men?Now, from the size of the company, to the size of the van. This one really depends on the size of the job. Most likely, your chosen removal company will be able to estimate the size of vehicle needed when they visit your home, or calculate the amount of stuff you have from the information you provide.
This will also likely help them determine the amount of manpower needed for the move on the day. If it’s just one small or medium-sized van, you may only need one or two men - however, if you’re moving from a large five-bedroom townhouse, maybe you’ll need three or four.
An experienced removal company will normally have a range of vans and sizes, and will base their decision on factors such as the number of floor levels, rooms, and the size of your house. You may have some big items to move, such as fridge freezers or pianos.
TIP: You might also need a faster turnaround time, meaning more men to do the work in a shorter time frame. This is again something the removal company should establish with you, as it may be more cost-effective if you have two men working an hourly rate instead of one.
7. What about parking and permits?Parking in Edinburgh is notoriously difficult. While it is possible to acquire parking permits from the council there are a lot of streets where you just can’t get a permit because of double yellow lines, corners or rush hour restrictions for example. Having a permit also doesn’t necessarily mean there will be a free space on the day.
A good Edinburgh removal company should be able to advise how to overcome these obstacles through their experience and knowledge of the area.
TIP: I always recommend giving your neighbours plenty of notice beforehand, as a simple courtesy. You never know; if you’re nice, they might even let you use their space.
8. Will your staff be in uniform?You might be wondering why you’d want to ask this; it’s not just about the staff looking professional when they turn up on your door - it’s about knowing they are who they say they are.
As a removal company, having staff who are clearly visible as such, and a van with the company logo/colours on it can put customers at ease. Having a van with no name could mean you’re absolutely anybody - just some burglars with a van.
I’m sure you don’t even want to imagine the nightmare of signing all your stuff over and waving it goodbye, only for the actual removal company to show up 20 minutes later (Sorry if I’ve put that idea in your head now)!
9. What’s your cancellation policy?It’s always good to make sure you’re aware of the company’s stance on cancellations before booking. Usually, it’s 24 hours, but it can vary depending on your chosen company. A reputable removal company should have their cancellation policy clearly displayed on their website.
Always make sure you read the terms and conditions of your chosen Edinburgh removals company. Some of the smaller removal companies might not even have anything in place, whereas bigger ones could be anything up to a week, or five working days.
TIP: As a rule of thumb, the bigger the move, the more notice will be required.
10. How will I be able to contact you on the day?This is another good one that not everyone thinks of when hiring a removal company. I’ve found communication on the day is absolutely vital for both the customer and us as a removal company - and gives customers peace of mind.
Moving days are highly stressful; you might get delayed picking up the keys to your new place (in which case you’d probably be charged a ‘waiting time’ by your removals company), or something unexpected could happen. The removal van might break down.
Having that communication is essential to making sure things run as smoothly and as to plan, as possible. Ask for the specific contact you’ll be in touch with on the day - it should ideally be someone in the company’s office, rather than the driver themselves.
11. Will the van have protective covers for my boxes?Most reputable removal companies will be fully-aware that when they don’t use protective covers, there’s a much bigger likelihood of your belongings becoming broken or damaged in transit. Therefore, most will have some form of protective coverings or blankets.
Some companies won’t do this, but it’s really of the utmost importance that they’re adequately equipped, so definitely check this before hiring anyone.
Advice from a Man with a Van Edinburgh
The best advice I can give you is not to be too focused on price, rather than service. In other words, the cheapest service isn’t always going to be the best, or most reliable - but saying that, always get at least three quotes, and trust your gut.
It’s important to be realistic about the amount of possessions you need to move. We did a job in London where the customers requested two men and two vans. When we turned up on the day, they actually required four fully-packed vans and had drastically underestimated the volume.
If you’re unsure about how many boxes or vans’ worth of boxes you need to get from Point A to Point B, the best advice is to get your chosen removal company to come and have a look; it won’t be their first rodeo and they’ll be experienced enough to figure it out.
In most cases they should be able to tell just by looking at your house - even if things aren’t boxed up and ready to go yet, they should still be able to provide a good estimation of what’s needed for the job.
My final advice is It’s so important to choose a company you’re comfortable with, who can give you reassurances that yes, they’re fully insured and they’ll definitely show up on the day. Do your background research, too - check they’re an established company and have plenty of third-party reviews.
Good luck with your move - and if you would like to get in touch either for a quote, or for some free, impartial advice, feel free to contact us via our online form, or email email@example.com.