Looking for a removal company? Any telephone directory will deliver a multitude of businesses under this description but how to chose the right from the wrong, the good from the bad, the cowboys from the Indians?
If the listing is 'Dave' with one mobile telephone number and no other contact details then caution should be taken. He may well be a one man band doing his best to start up his own removal company but this is not your concern. A traceable business address is the basic necessity unless you wish to risk losing all your belongings.
Check out credentials and ensure the company you pick is listed with all the relevant bodies. This is a good way of testing out their trustworthiness and no company worth their fees will mind showing you their paperwork. Recommendation is also a good way to go. Anyone that has used the services of a removal company and not experienced any problems will be quick to sing their praises as the whole moving process is stressful enough without difficulties tracing your furniture once it has left your sight.
Estate agents are often a way of finding companies such as those that carry out removals. Some come with recommendations but make sure you get genuine recommendations of the customers and not just the estate agents. You never know if it's Dave the mate getting a back hander for the customer tip offs rather than simply being a reliable service.
Sometimes it pays to check out the removal company premises if you have the time and they are not too far away. This can tell you a lot about the quality of the company. Of course, if it's in Dave's garage then again, beware. But if you can visit premises where you can see people's belongings are well looked after and treated with respect then you can be quite sure that yours will see the same sort of service.
While you are there, check out the removal vans themselves. Are they dirty, battered and generally not looked after? This could tell you something about how your property will be looked after too. Has the sign writing on the van been hastily painted over? This could give you a sign that they are a cowboy institution.
What do the workers look like? No, I don't mean are they tall, dark and broodingly handsome - although this would probably be all the credentials I would need and probably the same reason I so often get ripped off! I mean are they smartly turned out. You wouldn't expect them to be in pin stripe suits obviously, but are they wearing any type of uniform? Any type of overalls? Anything that distinguishes them from Dave down the road? Without personal care and attention to themselves and a little pride in their appearance, how do you know your home contents aren't going to get the same ill treatment?
What are the habits of the employees of your chosen removal company? Do they smoke? This may not be a question you feel comfortable asking but if they do so over your furniture and you are a non-smoker, you will be smelling that unsavoury aroma for a long time after moving into your new property.
Do they seem competent? Do they are maps or GPS or do they need to ask simple directions to the destination? Local area knowledge should be as good as the local taxi drivers and if they are taking your belongings further afield they should have the means to get at least most of the way their by themselves and on time.
And one other thing to look for when you meet the staff, either at your home or their business premises. Are they eyeing up the goods? It has virtually become an accepted thing that items get lost during a house move but this shouldn't just be accepted. If dodgy Dave has a nice little sideline going in antiques and he has an eye on yours you may wish to try a different removal company.
Moving expert Catherine Harvey looks at the points that divide the good removal company from the bad.