Moving abroad is a massive decision to take especially if you have a family to consider. There’s so much to think about that you really don’t want to have trouble with a dodgy removals firm as well. So here are 10 tips to help you make the right choice.
1. Firstly you should start organising quotations and comparing services a good six months before your planned move. Don’t leave anything to the last minute, you’ll be busy enough sorting flights and children’s schooling to be concerned unnecessarily with finding the right removals company. Consequently, under such circumstances, your chances of getting lumbered with the wrong removals company will greatly increase, Preparation is key.
2. When you are choosing your removals company for your international move the company’s location is not as vital as it would be for a domestic home removal. It makes commercial sense for domestic removals to select a firm located near to your current location. For example I chose an Isle of Wight removals firm for my recent move from the Island. However, if you are moving internationally, whilst you may prefer to employ a local firm for ease of communication, location should not be your primary concerns. Firstly you need to do some initial research. Does the removals company have experience of international removals? If so have they experience of removals to your country of destination, perhaps even local knowledge of your destination? Do they offer fully insured international packaging and shipping solutions? Do they specialise on international removals (always try to find a firm that does)?
However, the most important factor is do you feel comfortable dealing with your removals firm? This is your move not theirs. Helpful advice is always most welcome but do you feel they are listening to you? Are they flexible and open to your suggestions? Do they have a good customer service reputation?
3. There are always risks associated with international removals so beware any company that say they can guarantee no losses. If they use a reputable shipping firm no company can make such a guarantee. More importantly do they offer full insurance cover against any and all losses. Have they had to make many payouts? Do some digging around and ask them directly, an honest company will give an honest answer. Remember there are many differences between an ordinary UK removal where your possessions are simply loaded on to a van, driven to another house and unloaded. An international removal should consist of every item being export packed using extra strength packing materials and then stacked and shipped inside a Shipping Container. The main differences being the export packing and the knowledge and experience involved in Shipping, Customs clearance etc.
4. The important checks to make are to see if the company is a member of FIDI and has attained FAIM accreditation. Most importantly are they a member of the BAR overseas group (they should be). Only members of this group are covered by the IMMI pre-payment guarantee scheme.
5. If you are happy that the removals firm you have selected has all the necessary accreditation you should then seek an entirely free, no obligation quote. Avoid any company that says they need to charge for such a service. Remember that the cheapest quote will not necessarily provide the best solution for you. Also expect to have to wait for the quote to be arranged. If the removals firm is an experienced international removals specialist then they should be relatively busy. If they can do the quote straight away they clearly haven’t got much work on. Posing the question why not?
6.Never sign up for a removal on the spot, wait until you receive a proper written quotation with a packing list showing all your items, an estimated cubic volume, details of liability or insurance cover and the terms and conditions under which the Company operates.
7. Beware of estimators who cast aspersions or tell you bad stories about other companies in an effort to endear you to use their company. This is the worst type of marketing and is normally used to try and worry you and increase the chance of you choosing them. Reputable international removals firms normally have experienced estimators who will devote their time to telling you helpful information about your removal & explain their company’s service and reputation rather than talk about their competitors. Give your self plenty of time to talk to the companies regarding your move before you make that all important decision.
It is always advisable that you obtain more than one estimate, don’t listen to estimators who tell you that you will not get a better deal and you don’t need any other companies to come round.
Once the estimator has completed their survey detailing the goods you are planning to take with you, you should receive a written estimate within a few days, always wait until you have received the written estimate and have checked it thoroughly before you book your international removal.
8. The written confirmation should cover the most important points. There should be a list of items which you must check to ensure that the estimate covers everything you are taking; There should also be a cubic volume (this is important as many of the services included are based on volume and this is very useful when comparing quotations); Any special packing requirements for a particular item should be included; All costs have been included e.g.: destination terminal charges, unloading, and presentation to customs etc. Most important ensure that delivery to your residence and unpacking is included, if your residence is beyond the standard quotation radius of 30 miles from the port check that the extra delivery charge has been included either by stating an increased mileage radius or by naming the town where you are going to live.
9. When you select international removals company in the UK you should understand that whilst your contract will be with them it is likely that they will employ another removals firm (an international partner) to assist with your move in the country of destination. Therefore it is always wise to check that this firm is also a member of FAIM.
10.Finally, another extremely important element of the service you choose should be that you are given a named removals coordinator. The firm I recently chose assigned John to my removals to Canada. His advice and guidance was invaluable to me. So you need to be able to build a bit of a relationship with a person who is both familiar with your requirements and is your point of contact for resolving any and all issues pertaining to your international move.