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Pros and cons of using a removals firm

Weighing up whether to splash out on a removals firm to help you with your move? We go through the pros and cons to help you decide.

Words by: Nic Hopkirk

Senior Editor

Whether you go for the full packing and unpacking service, or a simple 'lift and shift' because you've already boxed it all first, there are pros and cons to using a removals firm.

Let's take a look.

The pros of using a removals firm

1. Your life will be easier and more convenient

If you’ve paid for a bells-and-whistles service, you’ll get to watch someone else pack – and unpack – all your belongings, without so much as breaking a sweat.

This may be particularly appealing if you’re making a major move with plenty to shift.

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2. There’s less to worry about

A professional firm will take full control of the transportation, materials, packing, loading and unloading for you – taking a huge weight off your mind when you need it most.

3. You’ll have more free time

The move will happen a lot quicker with the help of a big strong removals team taking the lead – leaving you more time for the wealth of other jobs that need doing around moving day.

Like dealing with solicitors, estate agents, locksmiths and utility providers for starters.

4. Your valuables will probably be safer

If you have antiques, valuables or lots of breakable items, a professional removals firm will have the proper equipment – and expertise – to move all your belongings safely.

So there’s considerably less risk of damage in transit. Plus, they're usually insured.

5. It leaves the lorry driving to the pros

If you don’t drive – or just don’t feel confident about being behind the wheel of a lorry or big van – then getting a removals firm makes particularly good sense.

And the downsides...

1. It's more expensive

The quote from your removals firm hinges on the date you want to move, the distance, and the size of your current home.

But whatever the cost, it could take a sizeable chunk out of your budget at a time when funds are already tight.

The average house removal cost for a one-bedroom flat starts at around £420.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, you can expect to spend £1,800 on removals for a 4-bedroom house in 2023.

How much do removals cost?

2. It’s a potential budget-buster

If you do decide to call in the professionals, you’ll need to watch out for unforeseen extra costs.

If your removals firm discovers they can’t get a wardrobe out of the door for example, they may charge an additional fee to dismantle it.

3. You’ll need to research insurance

When appointing a removals firm, you’ll need to find what insurance it offers.

A reputable moving company will have its own cover for your belongings during transit – but make sure you clarify that it’s included in the price you’ve been quoted.

4. More upfront time carrying out checks

When hiring a firm, you'll need to carry out certain checks such as: 

  • whether it’s part of a trade body, such as the British Association of Removers, which sets down certain standards and protections

  • what happens if you need to cancel or change the slot you've booked

  • what happens if torrential rain's scheduled for the day. Will they bring sheets to protect your furniture and carpets?

  • will you be charged extra if the job overruns, or is it a fixed fee?

  • whether the company's own staff or casual contractors will be handling the move. Permanent staff are likely to be more experienced and have a vested interest in doing a good job

  • what insurance the firm offers and if the cost is included in your quote

  • what size the van is and will you be getting the right-sized vehicle?

  • will you or the firm be organising the parking and permits?

While it’s important, these checks are another job to add to your list.

5. Relying on a third party

With all the checks in the world, there’s always the potential for bumps in the road when relying on a third party – such as them not turning up on time or failing to do the job to your level of satisfaction.

That said, if the firm has the right insurance in place, you should be covered for any damage that occurs during packing and transit.

We try to make sure that the information here is accurate at the time of publishing. But the property market moves fast and some information may now be out of date. Zoopla Property Group accepts no responsibility or liability for any decisions you make based on the information provided.