20 Critical Questions You Must Ask Before Hiring Your Removalist
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This unorganized packing is (at least) not good for your health as you would have an upset wife giving you the ‘I told you not to mix drinking and packing’ look while you’ll be stumbling on boxes trying to find the kitchen knives. You can avoid all this hazard by asking for help. Even Batman needed Alfred every once in a while. Call a removal company. You sure would have to shell out some extra buck from your pocket but your packing would be done right and in half the time. Organising the new house would also become much easy as things will be in the boxes where they’re supposed to be.
But the ‘wife is happy’ level packing can only be done by professionals. Don’t hire any tom, dick & harry. Interview the removal company and persons who will be handling your belongings. Following are the twenty key questions you must ask before you hire your removalist:
- Are you a licensed company?
You don’t want your stuff to be handled by any random removalist. Make sure to do a background check on the company and check their license thoroughly. They could be an unlicensed firm or with an expired license. In both the cases, move on to the next removalist in the list. You might be able to get a discount if you hire and unlicensed one, but it won’t worth the risk. So, always hire a licensed removalist. Check whether the removalist is associated here.
- Since how long are you in business?
Experience matters. Trust me on this one! If they haven’t handled a good number of clients in the past, the chances of them messing up your delivery are more. Always hire a removalist who is well experienced and in the business since past couple of years at least. New business ventures will sure give you attractive discounts and various offers but keep this thing in mind – they’re inexperienced.
- Where’s your office located?
You might be thinking that in this digital age of emails and online contracts, why would you need their physical address. You’re right. You wouldn’t be needing it if everything goes well. But, just in case, you find things not as smoothly handled as you wanted them to be then you would need to contact the customer care. Sometimes, all you get is their ‘your call is important to us, please be on hold’ and nothing further. So it’s important you know where their office is, just to be safe.
- Will you do it by yourself or subcontract it?
Many firms will take your contract and then sublet it to a third party. It’s okay, as long as you are aware of it. If they’re doing it by themselves, good. But if they’re subletting it to a third party, then you should check their credentials, license, and experience. At the end of the day, that third party will be handling your stuff, not your direct contractor. So make sure you have every required detail about the third party.
- What kind of insurance do you provide?
Moving stuff from one place to the other is a delicate task. You have many possessions which are not only costly but fragile too. I am sure your removalist will take care of such items in the best possible way but sometimes mistakes happen. So ask your removalist what kind of insurance do they provide if an item gets misplaced or breaks while moving.They must provide a liability insurance. See if the insurance is good enough to cover the cost of your expensive fragile goods. Also, don’t forget to double read the terms and conditions of the insurance.
- Are your warehouses insured?
If your stuff isn’t much, then it’s possible that they would keep your stuff in their warehouse for a couple of days until they get another shipment which can also be shipped in your truck. Their warehouses are usually safe but you can’t predict some mishap, like fire. Ask them if they have insured their warehouse. It matters because if it’s insured and some mishap happens, you’ll get your money in time. But if your removalist has to pay from his pocket, then it might take him some time to recover from the loss and pay you. Better safe than sorry.
- Can you provide me the breakup of the quote?
Most of the removalist have standard quotes. They have a typical quote format for house moving, another one for office shifting and such pre-defined contracts. But it’s not necessary that you would require all the services that that particular quote cover. For instance, they might have added vehicle moving cost in the quote whereas you plan on driving to your new destination. So, always ask for a breakup of the quote provided by the removalist.
- What will be the mode of the payment?
This one should be asked up front as some people prefer cheque, some card, while other insist on paying in cash. This can become a matter of argument if not sorted before signing the contract. So always tell your removalist your preferred mode of payment and see if they’re okay with it.
- Do I need to pay advance?
Some removalists prefer 20% payment before and rest after. Some have a 50-50 ratio. Ask them this before signing the contract. You might not want to hand over a big amount before you get your work done. If you think they’re being unfair, negotiate. They won’t let a customer go over a certain percentage of advance. So you have the upper hand here, use it well.
- What if you miss the deadline?
Ask them this question no matter how much they stress on how they’re always on time. Say the good old‘just in case’ and ask them. You should make them clear about the penalties if they fail to make the delivery in time. In fact, ask them to add that in the contract. You can fix a certain percentage of a pay cut for late delivery. Make sure they agree on it and duly sign it. It’s not about cutting the fee but your removalist should have a sense of fear in case they don’t deliver in time. Do it to give delivery a push, not for the money.
- How many full-time & how many temporary employees will be handling my removal process?
This matters because daily wage employees might be inexperienced. At times it’s not possible to provide all full-time employees for heavy lifting and transporting work but ask them anyway. Make sure that the ratio is at least 50-50. Permanent employees are far more experienced, have handled the similar assignments and know what obstacles might come in the way. In short, they’re better prepared.
- Do you operate locally or inter-city as well?
If you’re planning to move locally, there’s no need to shed off extra bucks on a big company. Hire a local removalist and give the contract to him. Local removalists know the city better and are cheaper than the big companies. In addition to this, they’re always more approachable. Going through the terms and conditions with a big firm over a small or close-by delivery is not worth the hassle.
- Is your registered address a home office?
Ask this and you’ll get to know how big the company is. If you have a big project, then you would want to hire a removalist who has a full-fledged and well-settled business. If you find that the company is ‘home is where we work’ kind of a company, then you might want to look for another removalist who is experienced in handling big projects.
- What’s your specialization?
Every removalist is specialized in one thing at least. It could be furniture moving, car transportation, warehousing services, container transportation, custom clearance services, or any such facility. Choose the one that is best suited for your requirement. It’s always good to hire a specialist.
- What do you use as a packing material?
The safety of your belongings is directly proportional to the quality of the wrapping material that they use. At times removalists use old cardboard boxes to pack your clothing and crockery in order to save money. If you’re paying them well, there’s no point in using old material. Ask them for fresh cartons and wraps. Insist on using cartons instead of a cardboard as it keeps your material safer.
- Do you have the required equipment for loading?
Now a day there are several tools in the market which makes it easy and safe to seal, bind, hold and load the material. Gone are the days when manual labor was required to do the uplifting. Check if the removalist was equipment laced as it would get the job done in no time and your material will be comparatively safer.
- Do you have your own shipment vehicle?
Ask them if they own it or rent on requirement basis. It doesn’t matter much but it’s possible that your shipment might get delayed as removalist didn’t have a vehicle available for the agreed date. Them renting the vehicles might complicate things for you, so it’s better to go for the one who has their own shipment vehicles.
- Can you provide a temporary storage?
(This is a need-only basis.) Most of the removalist provide door to door service. They came, pack your stuff, load it in the vehicle, transport it to your new house, unload there and leave. But at times it happens that you’re ready to move but your new house won’t be ready by the time your goods reach its destination. In such case, you’ll need a storage facility to keep your stuff. Ask your removalist if they provide such services too (they usually do) and if it would be charged extra.
- What are the extra charges apart from the quoted price?
Many a time there are ‘miscellaneous’ charges which are hidden and not shown in the quote. It could be some sort of tax, mandatory tip, or anything which they haven’t mentioned in their quote. Always make it clear with the removalist that you won’t be paying a single penny apart from what you have signed for.
- Can you provide a reference, preferably of your recent customers?
A confident removalist will never hesitate to provide you the reference. Action speaks louder than words and this is the part where you’ll be taking the final test of your removalist. If he isn’t ready to provide you a with reference, it could very well mean that he didn’t have a customer who was happy with his services. Or, it could mean that he’s totally new in the business. Stay away from such inexperienced and under-confident removalists.
These 20 questions will help you judge your removalist better. When it comes to your house and households, always take two extra precautionary steps. A bad removalist can give you a migraine apart from the bad service. Your stuff is something which you have collected over the years of hard work. Never trust any random removalist with it. Always look for the best ones in town, compare the price, and interview them thoroughly before moving to the next step.
A well-researched removalist will not only deliver your goods on time, but it will take care of the safety part too. Hire the removalist whom you’re sure that he knows his game! Ask the aforementioned questions and talk to your removalist like you talk to yourchild’s pediatrician. Don’t we double check everything with him?