Find the right International Removal Company

10 tips for choosing a reliable international removal company (How to avoid rogue movers)

In Tips by Steven Kane

Choosing the right international removal company for your overseas move is one of the keys to ensuring a stress free experience.

At Wise Move you can rest assured we apply all of the following criteria when shortlisting our approved international removal companies.

1. Use an accredited removal company

Accreditation such as IAM (Int’l Association of Movers), BAR (British Association of Removers) and also FAIM (FIDI Accredited International Mover), as well as relevant ISO certification are positive signs you are dealing with a dependable removal company. Rogue movers or companies with an unscrupulous reputation struggle to attain any industry validation, and even if they could, certainly would not retain recognition such as this for long.

2. Avoid companies who request deposits

It is very unusual for an international removal company to request deposit or any kind of advanced payment to be made ahead of an international move. There may be an exception if your move is planned during the intensely busy Summer period, ie June or July, however this is by no means industry-standard and as a rule it is wise to avoid dealing with companies who request this. Once your packing dates have been confirmed and you have completed an acceptance form/contract this should be sufficient for any reputable removal company.

3. Use a removal company who operates legally

In most countries any legal company should be registered and be eligible to provide services in particular areas of trade. In the UAE this comes in the form of a Trade license (ask for a copy if necessary).  Not only does this mean you are dealing with a qualified company it also ensures you are contracting them on a sound, legal basis.  If a company is unable or unwilling to provide you with a copy of a relevant trade license – walk away.

4. Use a removal company whose core business is international removal

Whilst this may sound obvious it is very surprising how many freight forwarders/ Express package companies and even storage firms who offer International removals services. In many cases this is treated as a sideline with crucial aspects of the moving process compromised and often subcontracted, in particular the packers and crew leader who oversee the packing of your precious belongings. This often has a negative impact, especially when it comes to quality control and communication. Companies such as this often struggle to meet and manage the expectation levels of their clients. You only need to go online to read some of the horror stories

5. Utilise the power of the Internet

Do your research. If people have a truly terrible experience it’s increasingly likely they will post something online via a forum or on social media such as Facebook or Twitter. It is important to note; even the best removal companies have isolated problems, which can result in an unfavourable review. However multiple complaints about a particular removal company is probably not coincidental. Our advice again is to walk away.

6. Insist on a pre-move survey

It is impossible to understate the importance of an on-site, pre-move survey.  We cover the specifics in our article linked below, however since the volume of your goods will dictate the overall price of the move it is vital a representative from the removal company visits your home and makes a concise list of all items you wish to include. We would suggest the company provide you with this list since it will form the basis of their quotation to you.  A pre-move survey also provides you with an opportunity to discuss timings, logistics and paperwork. Any removal company unwilling to visit you in your home should be crossed off your list.

7. Obtain a few quotations

In order to make an informed decision it is important to gain some context. You would not normally buy the first product you see without comparing it with something similar and the same goes with moving. An ideal number is between 4-6 quotes. Any more than this can get confusing and is generally counter-productive.

8. The quote seems too good to be true

Once you receive your written quotation it is important to verify the price encompasses the full scope of your international moving requirements.
For example

  • Does it include port handling, delivery to residence, unusual access, unpacking etc.
  • What are the ramifications if the packed volume is higher/lower than the company’s estimate?
  • If you are paying for your own container is this categorically stated?
  • What is the timeframe and routing?

Whilst the international removals business has become increasingly competitive you are likely to receive differing (sometimes wildly) quoted prices. The important thing is to ensure you are comparing apples with apples; if one price seems too low or if the company is willing to offer substantial discounts then it is possibly too good to be true.

9. Ask questions / Use your instincts

During the initial stages of an international move people, generally, do not ask enough questions. Prepare questions before the pre-move survey and make sure any grey areas are addressed before you sign any contract. Most reputable removal companies are more than happy to address any questions or concerns you may have. If they cannot answer a specific question, for example; What is the import duty on electronic goods entering Russia?; but are willing to research and respond with clarification within 24 hours, this should not be necessarily viewed negatively. Rogue movers are likely to struggle with fairly routine questions or may attempt to avoid providing concrete answers. Once you have met with a few companies your instinct and comfort level should help to eliminate unscrupulous companies if required.

10. Visit their facilities

If you find you have narrowed your choice to 2 companies it may be worth visiting both companies in person to see their office and just as importantly their warehousing facility. You may even want to turn up unannounced. If the company is happy to show you around and everything appears to be clean and orderly then it is a strong indicator the company is being run professionally and efficiently.