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A Guide To Move Consulations

A Guide To Move Consulations

Also known sometimes as a “survey” or a “home visit” general good practice for a moving company will involve having someone visit your home to (as a minimum) assess how much you want to take with you – the “volume” of your move. A professional mover focused on providing you with a good service will also use this opportunity to understand more about your requirements and make sure they have all the information they need to give you a detailed, fully inclusive price and to make sure you have all the information you need to be ready for and comfortable with your move.

What is a move consultation?

Also known sometimes as a “survey” or a “home visit” general good practice for a moving company will involve having someone visit your home to (as a minimum) assess how much you want to take with you – the “volume” of your move. A professional mover focused on providing you with a good service will also use this opportunity to understand more about your requirements and make sure they have all the information they need to give you a detailed, fully inclusive price and to make sure you have all the information you need to be ready for and comfortable with your move.

  • Show the move consultant around your home so they can see the items you wish to move
  • Answer their questions about the details of your move
  • Discuss your individual wishes and requirements for your move and possible solutions
  • Get tips and advice for the move
  • Ask any questions you have about your concerns for the move
  • Understand what happens next 
How long will the Move Consultation take?

This depends on the size of the property and your individual moving needs, as a guide this usually takes no longer than an hour in your home.

What to show the Move Consultant:  EVERYTHING!  
  • All rooms that will be moved
  • The LoftWill the Move Consultant look in the loft?
    You can expect the move consultant to view your loft if it is properly boarded, lit and has safe access. The same will apply for having a crew remove items from it on moving day. If this is not possible ask your move consultant on how they would recommend dealing with this area.
  • The GardenWhy is this important?
    Plants and garden items can be hard to stack/load tightly in a moving truck/container so you need to make sure the mover will have enough space available to move these safely. Think about: Garden furniture / Ornaments / sculptures
  • Sheds / Garage / Outbuildings / Basement
  • Allow them to look inside storage cupboards

DON’T FORGET to tell them if you are buying / obtaining any other items prior to moving day that you wish to be included in your move.
Why is this important?
It may not cost you much more to include but the planning team will need to make sure they send the right sized vehicle/container for your volume of goods””if you add to the inventory without telling them in advance it can mean you don't have enough space to take everything and this could cost a lot more time, money and stress on moving day.

What to tell the Move Consultant

Your properties
The move consultant can easily assess how they will get your belongings OUT of your current house because they are there, this isn't so easy to evaluate for your new house as they will have to base this on what you tell them. Make sure to tell them about any internal or external access issues including:

  • How close can the mover  park a large lorry to your front door (think steps)?
  • Think about: Are there any tight lanes, low bridges on the route to your property? Is there a long pathway?
  • If you’re moving to an apartment building how far is the internal walk from the front door of the building to the front door of your apartment?
  • Is there a lift or stairs involved?
  • Are there any obstacles (internal or external) that might be difficult for movers to negotiate?
  • Think about: Low doors / ceilings, narrow hallways, tricky corners or spiral staircases.

Why is this important?
The cost of your move includes an element for the amount of time it will take to complete. Access to properties affects the time it takes to undertake your move, for example the closer the mover can park the less time the crew spend walking between the house and vehicle, equally narrow hallways may take a little longer to manoeuvre large items through carefully.

It also affects any special equipment the mover might need  for example  if a sofa doesn't fit through a door you may require a window being taken out or a heavy item to a top floor flat with no lift may require an external elevator.

What might the Move Consultant ask me?

As well as answering your questions and finding out what's included in your physical move your move consultant will also want to understand your individual situation and what you want and need from your Moving Company to make sure they can give you a tailor made solution that is what you are actually looking for. They will want to get an idea of:

Your Budget

Why? The mover may have lots of different options for moving services that you can pick and choose from based on your requirements – you will want to make sure your mover is providing a solution that best fits your individual needs, not just a one size fits all service.

Be honest and realistic here. You don't have to give a lump sum in response to this question””try to explain to the move consultant what’s important to you and what elements of the move you might be willing to compromise on, for example having your belongings shipped on a slower vessel or taking less items might reduce your cost. 

Additional Services

A house move doesn't just involve packing, transporting and unpacking. Do you need any extra help? Think about:

  • Dismantling and re-assembling items e.g. climbing frames, trampoline or bunk beds
  • Hanging pictures, curtain rails, lamp shades, clocks and mirrors etc.
  • Cleaning the property you’re moving out of once it’s empty *this is great for rental properties where you are handing over keys and return of deposit relies on professional cleaning
  • Cleaning the property you’re moving into before your belongings go in
  • Unpacking your boxes into cupboards / drawers / wardrobes – Why does this help? If you need to be able to “˜live’ in your house ASAP a little extra help can allow you to hit the ground running quicker and get back to your normal life and priorities!
  • Relocation Services such as home search, school search, orientation, language and cultural training can be really helpful in preparing for and starting out your new life overseas with a little help from local experts.

Do you know when you want to move yet? Think about:

  • Flexibility: Do you need exact dates or do you have a window the mover can work to? Why is this important? The mover  may be able to offer better prices for certain dates when there is less demand.
  • Weekend working: Do you need to move on a Saturday or Sunday? Why is this important? Moving crew require higher wages for working unsocial hours therefore the cost of your move could be higher on a weekend than during normal working hours.

A note on Peak Periods:
School and seasonal holiday periods often mean demand for movers is higher as customers have more time for the move or can allow children to join a new school at the start of a term.
If you need to move during a peak period we would advise you to try to confirm your move dates as early as possible to ensure resources are still available. 

What should I ask the Move Consultant?

Your Concerns

Do you have any specific items you are worried about? Ask them to explain how they propose to move them and what protection will be in place and why. Make sure to ask this of all companies quoting so you can be comfortable it’s taken care of.

Special Items to think about:

  • Expensive TV or theatre equipment that might need to be crated
  • Antique furniture that might need extra wrapping
  • Delicate artwork or awkward specialist pieces that require specialised crates
  • Chandeliers or delicate light fittings that might require experts to take down/rehang

The same applies for any worries or questions you have about the moving process. The mover should be able to give you a detailed move plan with your quotation but the move consultant will be able to explain how the move will work and your different options.

Your responsibilities
Your mover can take care of as much or as little as you want them to. Be sure to clarify with the Move Consultant what you will be responsible for based on your discussions. Ask about:

  • Dismantling/reassembly of any items that will require this prior to moving
  • Parking for the vehicle (if special arrangements need to be made)
  • Packing””if you are doing only some of this clarify specifically which type of items the mover will pack and which will be down to you.

Your Quote
How do you want to see your quote? Do you want everything in one lump sum or would you like to see a basic cost with additional options for packing, insurance, additional services etc. so you can evaluate the costs before selecting which to options to choose.

Ask about insurance for your move, your move consultant will be happy to explain how the policy works and your options as well as what you will need to consider.

Shipping Methods:
Find out what shipping method is best recommended for your time and budget requirements, how long does this take door-to-door? Ask your move consultant to explain all your options.

Why is this important?
There are flexible shipping options available depending on your time constraints. Exclusive containers are the quickest option but may not be economical for smaller consignments.  Smaller consignments can utilise Less-than-container-Load (LCL) or Groupage Services. LCL can provide a faster transit time but Groupage services may be cheaper. In addition the cost of an exclusive load may be able to be reduced by choosing a slower vessel if you still need a full container load but time is not important.

Items to be moved:
{mosbanner right}Make sure to be clear with your move consultant on what items are and are not to be included in your quotation. If you are unsure at the time of your visit make sure to agree on the items to be included in your various options so you can easily compare the costs. Ask for an inventory of what’s included to be provided with your quotation and make sure you agree with it.

Why is this important?
A large chunk of international shipping costs are based on the cost of freight (transport between your origin and destination country). This is usually based on the volume or weight of your goods and the space booked will be planned around this (particularly with Groupage/LCL or airfreight moves). Any additions to this volume that your movers are not aware of prior to your move may result in significant increased charges and/or delays.

To pack or not to pack?
Did you know a container ship can move in up to 7 different ways when on the water? There is increased risk for moves travelling long distance internationally, that’s why professional moving companies crews are specially trained in packing & loading for overseas moves and the risks involved in order to ensure your belongings are carefully protected.

What happens after the Move Consultation?

Once the move consultant has all the information they need and you’re comfortable you have all the information you need at this stage your mover will be able to  produce a quotation for you which will be sent to you by either email and/or hard copy in the post.

Your cost is calculated from:

  • Your volume of goods
  • Special care items
  • Access at origin property
  • Transportation between origin and destination
  • Access at destination property
  • Packing / unpacking requirements
  • Any Additional Services you have selected

Understanding your quote and move plan:
Your moving company should be happy to talk you through their proposed service solution and ensure you’re comfortable with how they plan to handle your move and ensure they’ve included everything you require and where necessary to explain the costs and will usually endeavour to follow up on their quotation by phone.

The price should be what your mover believes to be a fair price for your move based on the costs detailed above, industry standard profit margins and the dates you require. However, the first price may not always be the right price for you and most companies would encourage you to come back to them if this does not suit your budget. It may be that your quote includes services you weren't sure if you wanted because you didn't know the cost yet, it’s fine to come back to them and have these adjusted now you have more information and an idea of costs.

If you feel you have been given a better price from an alternative Removal Company that would not be your first choice (if price wasn't involved) most companies will be happy for you to ask them to review their price.

  • If the service a competitor proposes is exactly the same they may review their costs
  • If the service is different but still acceptable to you and the price is cheaper they may help you review your service.

Be prepared to be asked to send in copies of alternative quotations so that your mover can help assess if they are like-for-like comparisons and why there may be difference in price.

A note on your Budget:
If the cost is out of your budget look at ways to reduce this for example de-cluttering and taking out some of the items to be moved or by advising on items you could pack yourself . Additionally if it’s under budget and you want to add in services you didn't think you could afford just let the mover know!

Kirsty Parsons works for UniGroup Worldwide UTS Bournes one of the UK's leading removal companies:

Download a PDF version of this article here to keep at home and refer to.