Cowboys, What to do
Why should I insist on using a professional accredited removal service?
If you go for a removal outfit that is cheap and cheerful you are risking a great deal. One of those risks is that they simply won’t show up on the date and at the time you arranged, this could be that they forgot, were doing something else, the list of excuses is endless, but it does happen a lot. This can be not only distressing but costly as well; you might have taken time off work, you may have to unpack things just to live until the removal company does show up, and then have to repack them again, time is money.
What often happens is that the removal company will give you an initial estimate that is temptingly low and then let you down at the last minute because they have another client who is paying a higher rate for a fast service, so they go where the money is and offer excuses and apologies to you, who booked well in advance, or else they may try to hike up the rate. Either way, not professional or desirable at all. Another less common occurrence when you go with a cheap outfit is that they move your possessions ok but they arrive in the new house with dirty marks and smelling bad, this can happen when the removal vehicle has been used to transport rubbish or rotting furniture or a day or two previously. The unfortunate house owner can end up with furniture and possessions that smell of mildew or filth now needing professional cleaning afterwards.
Another risk you take when hiring a cowboy outfit is that they could be house movers one day and burglars the next. Many people have found their houses have been broken into and their valuables stolen only a week or two after moving house, after all the removal company knew what they owned, where they lived, what the occupants looked like and what car they drove, all the information a burglar needs to rob a house undetected, even the phone number.
Any trader with less than honourable intentions is going to masquerade as a professional outfit, no doubt they will have a website, they may even have a new looking van which could have been hired or borrowed, (who knows, even stolen) But you can bet they will not be a member of a reputable trade organization and they certainly will not offer any kind of insurance. They won’t likely offer a packing service either and will be less than enthusiastic about giving a written quote with collection and delivery dates clearly stated as they know that this can be used in a court case and they will be expecting one or two of those sooner or later, and if they are more prepared for it than you are, they will often win those cases or get off on a technicality. It is always wise to ask to see professional credentials and testimonials.
As for the option mentioned earlier, getting some friends to help you and say, hiring a van. There are some points to consider when doing this; First of all, things can often crop up making it impossible for one or another to help you as promised on the day. How are you supposed to deal with it if one of them drops something expensive or irreplaceable? Have you factored in the cost of packaging materials? Unless you have been collection lots of strong boxes, miles of bubble wrap and cellotape the chances are you will have to go to a packaging company and pay a shocking amount of money for cardboard boxes and soft filler materials. These are much more expensive than you might expect and are pretty useless after they have been used.
The cost of hiring a van may also be a lot more than you expected and it can be virtually impossible to do it all in one day so that adds a lot to the cost. You may not be used to driving a big van, be stressed or late and could easily end up dinking the van either in traffic or, while parking, and there goes your deposit. All together when you add up all the miscellaneous costs and expenses, the stress and the risk involved in doing such an important task on the cheap you would be wise to decide against it and chose to search for a decent removal company every time.