When moving house, you might be able to deal with packing and moving your furniture and belongings by yourself if you’re on a tight budget. You could do lots of trips in your car (and enlist the help of friends and family), hire a self-drive van, or find a man with a van.
If you have lots of belongings, though, or you don’t have the strength, time or ability to manage the move yourself, you may need to search for removal companies that serve your area.
But should you opt for local movers, or national removal companies? Which are the best moving companies and what should you look for when deciding which company to go with?
Before you start…
Please bear in mind that removal companies set their prices based on how much stuff they need to move. They calculate their labour costs based on how many cubic feet of belongings need to be packed, loaded into the van and transported.
To keep your costs to a minimum and get the lowest removals price, declutter your house before you ask for any quotes:
- If you have items that you no longer need or want, now is the time to sell, gift or dispose of them.
- If you know that some furniture isn’t going to fit into your new home but you want to keep it for whatever reason, you could always put it into a self storage unit (and transport it yourself) so that it doesn’t have to make the move with you.
Removal companies should be able to give you an idea of the costs involved over the phone, but to give you a proper quote they will need to come to your property and see your belongings for themselves. If you’ve had a clear out before they arrive, they’ll be able to give you an accurate price.
What to look for in a removals company
Most people will search online for removals companies and see which ones cover their area. This is probably the best starting point - unless you happen to know someone who has recently moved house and can recommend good local movers.
Pay attention to the reviews, and to how they have dealt with any negative ones. Even the best moving companies get the occasional bad review, but if they handle it professionally and offer an explanation that makes sense and suggests that the reviewer isn’t being fair, then don’t rule them out.
You must check that they carry three types of insurance: Goods in Transit (to cover loss or damage en route), Public Liability (to cover breakages, injuries and damage that might occur at either end during loading and unloading) and vehicle insurance. Also check the amounts covered by their Goods in Transit insurance to be sure that your valuables will be fully covered.
Check that the removals van will be kitted out with straps to secure belongings, and blankets to prevent scratches and minor damage. If you opt for local movers, it’s better to choose a company that specialises in removals rather than one that offers a range of services or odd jobs.
How much does it cost to move house?
If you opt to hire a van to drive yourself, it will cost anywhere between £25 and £120 for the day, depending on which van hire company you use and what size van you choose.
Removals companies charge in different ways, so it really is a case of shopping around for quotes and finding the right one for your budget. Some charge a flat fee per hour, and then a further price for each mile travelled, whilst others just charge a flat fee per mile travelled. You’ll also be charged for the time spent packing and loading the belongings, so the more you can do to minimise and organise your belongings in advance, the cheaper the price will be.
There may be a separate charge for any furniture that needs to be disassembled and reassembled, such as wardrobes or beds.
On the basis that removals companies charge on the amount to be moved, and the distance to be travelled:
How much does it cost to move from a 1 bedroom house?
If you’re moving locally (within 50 miles), the average cost is around £350; moving further afield will generate an average cost of around £470*.
How much does it cost to move from a 2 bedroom house?
Local moves are, on average, £580; moves of 50 miles+ average roughly £690*.
How much does it cost to move from a 3 bedroom house?
Expect to pay around £800 for local moves, or £900* for moves of 50 miles or more.
How much does it cost to move from a 4 bedroom house?
The average cost of a move of this size is around £1050 for a local move or £1170* for further afield.
How much does it cost to move from a 5 bedroom house?
The average price is £1350 locally or £1500* for greater distances.
* Prices based on comparemymove.com’s moving house calculator.
Is it worth paying for packing?
Most removals companies can provide boxes and packaging, but these will be charged for. When they visit to give you a quote, they will be able to tell you how many boxes and what other packing materials you’ll need.
You can source moving boxes yourself - we have some great tips on where to get free cardboard moving boxes
. We also have packing materials including bubble wrap and boxes for sale in most of our stores.
As to whether it’s worth paying for packing boxes and materials, the answer depends entirely on how much time you have. If you have time to find boxes and are confident that you can keep your belongings safe with what resources you find, then you can save some money at an otherwise very expensive time! If you’d rather not have the hassle of finding strong, clean boxes then you may decide to just buy what you need.
What should I ask removal companies?
- How much do you charge per cubic foot?
- How much do you charge based on distance travelled?
- What insurance do you have in place?
- Do you provide packing materials, and if so how much will they cost?
- How do I pay you? (Beware of cash-in-hand jobs or companies that want full payment up front).
- What will happen if the sale is delayed? (If the sale falls through or you can’t get the keys to your new house when you expect them, some removals companies charge by the hour for delays..!).
- Are you registered with a trade association? Membership of The British Association of Removers suggests that they will be a reputable company, and the BAR would be able to offer a dispute resolution service in the event of problems.
- How many people will do the work? (If only one person turns up, you’ll need to do a lot of lifting!)
Always trust your instincts. All your worldly goods will be being handled and loaded by strangers - when a removals person visits to give you a price, you’ll get a feel for whether you trust them. If they seem evasive about costs or insurance, go elsewhere!