​How to spot a Cowboy Removal Company

​How to spot a Cowboy Removal Company

How to choose a removal firm

According to a survey carried out by Zoopla, Brits will move an average of 8 times in their lifetime.

It’s amazing how quickly you amass things; when you first move out, more likely than not, you’ll have no money, a rucksack full of clothes and very little furniture.  Therefore you’ll opt for the ‘student-esque’ look with a mattress on the floor, a milk crate for a bedside table and a broken up dresser for your clothes. 

The majority of your belongings are probably hand me downs which your parents have been meaning to take to the tip/charity shop for ages or some dreaded IKEA flat pack furniture.  So the likelihood is, you’re not overly precious about your things and it seems like a good idea to have your mate pop round in his old banger to help you move when the time comes.

But (hopefully) over the years you start making a bit more money and invest in your home furnishings.  You’re not sure how or when it happened but you now have enough to fill a 2 bedroom house.  Wow!  You’ve come a long way! In those first few years you probably never dreamed you’d have matching furniture, a kitchen table with a full set of chairs and an actual bed off the floor.

And now that it’s time to move again, this time you’re considering employing a Removal Company to help you transport your belongings safely.  You’ve worked very hard to be able to afford these things and you want someone who will take good care of them.  But who can you trust?


7 Behavioural Traits of a Dodgy Removal Firm

1.  Inconspicuous

Whenever engaging with a company for the first time, take the opportunity to Google the company.  Are there any Google Reviews?  If so, do you suspect a friend of the company has written them?  Are there bad reviews?  How did they handle them? 

Also try and locate a website, if you can’t find one it doesn’t necessarily indicate they aren’t trustworthy.  There could be a number of reasons for this; lack of time, IT Skills or awareness of the importance. However nowadays, with the ability to generate websites with minimal technical skills and for peanuts, there really isn’t any reason a company wouldn’t have one.  Do also look for a testimonial page, but bear in mind these can be fabricated easily with a bit of copying and pasting.


2.  Aloof

Do not book via the phone or the internet.  To do an accurate estimate for your household contents they need to do a pre-visit. Any reputable company will want to come and see so they can plan accordingly; organising the right size vehicle, number of boxes, number of employees and the amount of time that is going to be needed.  They don’t like surprises any more than you do, especially if you forget to mention that you have an American Style Fridge Freezer.  If they refuse to do a pre-visit walk away, even if they are offering an amazing deal.

3.  Coy

Ask for references and be wary if they’re not willing to give you any, avoid the question altogether or promise to email you the details later on and never do.  Any reputable company will happily share contact details of previous clients and if they waffle about data protection, make a quick exit.

4.  Multi-tasker

If you’ve arranged for a company to come round for a pre-visit, try to be outside to greet them.  This will give you an opportunity to check out the vehicle they may be using.  Is it clearly branded as a removal firm or does it say something like ‘The SODFather Gardens and Maintenance’?  This indicates that they may be moonlighting and don’t regularly do removals, therefore lacking experience. 

There really is an art form to removals which can take years and years to master. It’s not just a matter of getting a few burley blokes to bung things in the back of a vehicle!  Does the vehicle have blankets to protect your belongings or tie rails to secure larger items to the vehicle?  If these are not available or visible, retreat!

5.  Shabby

Also check out what they are wearing and the general look of the vans they use.  Yes, they’re doing a physical job, but a scruffy appearance could suggest that the company might not take pride in looking after your belongings.  If the vans look scruffy, do you trust your items will be safe?  Looks aren’t everything but they’re a good indication of the level of service you can expect.

6.  Loner

You managed to get an amazing deal, fractions of what the other companies were offering!  Result!   But on the day, one bloke arrives, alone, without any crew and expects you to help load and unload.  The penny quickly drops and you realise you’re paying for a bloke and his van and the savings you made were because you are doing half the work.  It’s too late to do anything about it now, so you get stuck in.
Do ask how many people will be employed for the day and how often the company has worked with them.  This will rule out the chance that they may have rallied strangers in the pub the night before.

7.  Reckless

Heaven forbid that something may happen to your belongings whilst being loaded, in transit or while unloading, but accidents do happen.  Check that the removal firm has appropriate insurance to cover any losses or damage, especially if they will be storing a loaded van overnight.  If they don’t have insurance don’t employ them.

As a Self- Storage facility we don’t offer a removal service, however, we come into contact with many local removal firms daily and are more than happy to recommend one to you, just ask your local store! 


Discover more how to articles on Safestore’s blog where you’ll find a range of topics; from home improvement ideas to innovative storage tips and more.  Or, if you’re looking to create more space at home we have a range of self storage options in over 100 locations – find your nearest store for a quote today.





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