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Are removal companies worth it?

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We are due to be moving the first week in April and because neither of us currently have transport and we have quite a lot of stuff, we are thinking of using a removal company. However, I'm aware that removal companies need to assess what they are moving in order to give a quote, which doesn't really help us work out whether we can even afford it.

Does anyone have any experience with removal companies? How much is the average house move? - Sorry if it's too vague a question.

Also, is it worth the money to hire a removal company or is it cheaper/easier to try and get a parent to hire a van? - my only concern with that is the number of trips it would take and whether the sofas would fit in a van.
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  • googler
    googler Posts: 16,103 Forumite
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    We hired a local independent to move 2 flats to 1 house over two days. The 'foreman' had built up a small, variable group of time-served movers who'd been doing the job for years. One of them started by strapping on his apron ....

    They turned up with their (hired) van, we took one look and said "They won't even get one of our flats in there".

    At the end of day one, I sneaked a look, and the first flat's contents barely filled one-third of the available space, fitted into the front of the van like a big 3D jigsaw, held in place with a criss-cross of webbing.

    Day 2 completed, everything emerged at the other end without a scratch, including my delicate HiFi bits and prized record collection.

    If you can get a good remover, I'd say they're worth their weight in gold.
  • CloudCuckooLand
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    Ask a local firm to give you a quote. They should do the quote for free. If their volume of work is still low, they may be keen for the work.

    Paid around £600. Doubly worth it as they carried some furniture up 6 floors! And down again on moving out.

    Might be cheaper with a man and a van, but you might need extra trips, as you say, and you have to do the lifting.

    Two hours to empty the old place, two hours to empty van into new place. Great firm, great guys. Will be using again. Worth every penny.
    Act in haste, repent at leisure.

    dunstonh wrote:
    Its a serious financial transaction and one of the biggest things you will ever buy. So, stop treating it like buying an ipod.
  • 9wizard9
    9wizard9 Posts: 120 Forumite
    edited 26 February 2010 at 12:12AM
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    Sofas would almost definitely fit in a van.

    Having recently moved two houses into one, I can give my view:

    I moved my house by hiring a van and moving it all myself. It took the best part of two days and by the time I took van rental, fuel and buying lunch for the people helping me move stuff into account I reckon it cost about £200.

    I could barely walk for a couple of days afterwards, and it was very stressful.

    Two weeks later we moved my girlfriend's house (from about 70 miles away). We got a recommendation from someone, and used a local (to where we were moving to) firm. They arrived at precisely the agreed time (to the exact minute) even though they had to drive 70 miles to get there. Within 90 minutes the house was empty, then we had a lesiurely drive to the destination - the removal van arrived about ten minutes later.

    An hour later all the stuff was offloaded and piled up in the right rooms.

    Total cost about £500.

    The extra £300 quid was well worth it - particularly as the fuel would probably have cost most of that to do it ourselves.

    Main tip is to pack everything in advance - we did have quite a late night finishing off before the move. But - I'm paying for professional movers for any other move I do - very cheap compared to doing it yourself, and you get insurance in case stuff is broken or stolen en route.

    Forgot to mention - we got several quotes, and a personal recommendation. The local firm (that was recommended) was way cheaper than either of the other quotes (one from a big national), and the guys were fab. If you can get a recommendation from someone else who has moved, all the better.
  • Doozergirl
    Doozergirl Posts: 33,922 Forumite
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    It is worth it. Some quotes could induce a coronary but I think we paid about £600 last time for a 5 bedroom house. We've moved, erm, nine times doing it ourselves with a van and on at least one occassion I have wanted to kill my husband. Another was the hottest day ever on record! Something always got broken. Oh, and I have suffered with a bad back now for over two years as a result of the last DIY job :(

    This time I cleaned the old house from top to bottom while they loaded it all up and I plied them with cans of pop. That was it for the hard work. When we got to the new house I'd already labelled everything up but I stood and directed once they hit the front door (which they took off the hinges and then put back again!). Frankly, it was bliss compared to previous attempts of scooping up bits of lego and batteries and desperately searching for a carrier bag or box to put the last bits in; then arriving frazzled at the other end having to do it all over again. The removal men gave me tons and tons of boxes and tape and bubble wrap and more if and when (I did) need it.

    Well worth the money if you get a decent quote. Check their insurances! They will come and give you a no obligation quote and any reputable firm will show you what's insured.
    Everything that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.
  • gazfocus
    gazfocus Posts: 2,383 Forumite
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    Thanks for the opinions so far. Our new house (if we get it) is 27 miles away from the current one and as our current house is 3 bedroom (and lots of furniture) it will take so long to move and so many trips.

    The advantage is that we're actually going to have a 2 week overlap where we will be paying rent on both houses so have plenty of time to move. I'm just not sure whether we could afford £500-£600 for the privilege of having someone do it for us.

    Each time I've moved in the past, it's been from furnished, student housing to more furnished, student housing so everything was moved with a few trips in my mums car, and even when we moved to where we are now, we had no furniture so it was all bought whilst living here (and delivered), but I can imagine it taking quite alot of van journeys (at 27 miles each way) to get the house empty.
  • lincroft1710
    lincroft1710 Posts: 17,775 Forumite
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    It is far cheaper to get parents to hire a van, but it far easier to get a reputable removal firm to do the job.

    I echo 9wizard9's comment about extra cost of removal co. being worth it. One thing you may not realise is that some house contents insurers will not cover your stuff if you move it yourself, so if you drop/damage anything you will have to pay.
    If you are querying your Council Tax band would you please state whether you are in England, Scotland or Wales
  • bodgerx
    bodgerx Posts: 190 Forumite
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    It is far cheaper to get parents to hire a van, but it far easier to get a reputable removal firm to do the job.

    I echo 9wizard9's comment about extra cost of removal co. being worth it. One thing you may not realise is that some house contents insurers will not cover your stuff if you move it yourself, so if you drop/damage anything you will have to pay.

    Are you sure about that? So they don't trust you with your own stuff? Surely that's whose possession it is in most of the time...
  • gazfocus
    gazfocus Posts: 2,383 Forumite
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    It is far cheaper to get parents to hire a van, but it far easier to get a reputable removal firm to do the job.

    I echo 9wizard9's comment about extra cost of removal co. being worth it. One thing you may not realise is that some house contents insurers will not cover your stuff if you move it yourself, so if you drop/damage anything you will have to pay.

    I don't currently have any contents insurance so that's irrelevant but thanks, it's handy to know that (not even something I'd thought of).
  • Garetha
    Garetha Posts: 981 Forumite
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    gazfocus wrote: »
    Also, is it worth the money to hire a removal company or is it cheaper/easier to try and get a parent to hire a van? - my only concern with that is the number of trips it would take and whether the sofas would fit in a van.
    When you move house you pay out large sums to many people:
    • Estate agents - don't come anywhere near earning their money :mad::mad:
    • Solicitors / Conveyancers - are expensive clerks :(:(
    • Removal companies - earn every penny! :D:A
  • 9wizard9
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    My insurers offered free cover (new for old) on contents whilst being moved by professional movers. Ironic really, as they all seem to have their own insurance. They wouldn't cover me moving it all myself though.

    If it's 27 miles, I'd say unless you manage to pack a van properly full each time, you'll end up paying as much to move it yourself. Two weeks overlap sounds great, but if you've got to hire a van to move stuff, you've either got to do it ina a day or two, or pay lots of rental fees for an extended rental.

    For the sake of a couple of hundred quid I'd pay someone. I guess it depends on how valuable and bulky the stuff you're moving is. I wouldn't have dreamed of it in my student days, but now I wouldn't dream of doing it myself.
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