The 12-step house removals guide

Preparation is everything when it comes to a successful house move. We all know that moving house is rarely a stress free experience, but it’s also one that can be planned for in a very precise way. Engaging a great house removals firm is one vital step in making sure the whole process goes without a hitch. Here’s what to do.

1. Identify a trusted local removals company.

Ask friends for recommendations of firms giving excellent service, study comparison sites and look at companies’ websites to discover their trading background. It’s important to also read reviews about their house removals service on independent sites such as Trustpilot. Find out if they belong to the British Association of Removers (BAR), a trade association that imposes industry standards on quality of work and regulates members through a code of practice. If you’re moving to a different city, consider getting a quote from a removal company there as they may be more competitive. If you are looking for international removals you will have different needs to accommodate requiring research.

2. Compare quotes for removal services

Select three to four house removals firms to provide a free no obligation quote for the entire move. Clarify your requirements and give as much detail as you can to get the most accurate quote and save money. Ask each company to come to your home to assess the amount of stuff you need to move: this will determine the number of removal staff involved. They will also be able to work out the distances involved in the move and decide on the right vehicle in terms of load capacity.

They can also assess the access for their lorries, which is helpful if you live on a steep slope, a narrow road, or in a busy area – bear in mind that you might need to apply for parking bay suspension permits, suspensions outside your house or at the other end of the trip. Problematic stairways and access to items in the loft can also be considered during this visit. You may also want to discuss the costs of additional services such as help with packing or unpacking.

To help you to compare removal quotes accurately, ask for the quote to be broken down into sections to show the charges for packing, mileage, hourly rate and insurance. Find out whether the removal company lends packing boxes.

3. Complaints policy

Ask each removal company for details of this. If they are a member of the BAR, they will have an independent dispute resolution procedure in place and reputable home moving companies in the UK will be happy to discuss this.

4. Delays policy

Find out how each removal company will deal with delays and what support they can provide if this happens; ask what would happen if your move is delayed until later than planned, or the next day. Some home removals companies charge an hourly rate.

5. Removals insurance

Check the removals company’s insurance levels for your personal belongings and their public liability insurance. Be aware that their policy may not cover items that you’ve packed yourself. If you have expensive items, find out if they are also covered by the remover’s insurance policy. Remember to notify your own contents insurer about your moving date. Check that you will be fully insured during the move: you might need to arrange extra cover with them – also inform them of your new address.

6. A house removals service can include:

  • Packing materials.
  • A full packing service.
  • Specialist crates or boxes for transporting valuable items.

7. Plan ahead

Schedule your move as soon as you know your completion date to avoid disappointment as firms get booked up quickly. Popular moving home times include school holidays and Fridays.

8. Consider storage solutions

It may be useful to store some items for the short or long term, or if you are staggering a move. Many home removals companies have large storage facilities and offer self-store options.

9. Security on your moving day

You will be letting strangers into your home, so you need reassurance that your personal belongings will be in good hands. Find out how a firm’s staff are trained and ask if they are checked by the Criminal Records Bureau which ensures that employers are aware of any convictions held.

10. Quality standards

Find out if the removal company has a system for ensuring consistent quality, or if they have a quality accreditation.

11. Environmental approach

Ask if the removals service recycles packing materials after a house move and operates on environmentally sound principles to reduce its carbon footprint.

12. Once you have decided on a removals firm, provide them with a list detailing:

  • Specific items to be carefully packed such as pictures and antiques.
  • Furniture that may need to be dismantled.
  • Items that you will move yourself.
  • Curtains and carpets to be moved.
  • A plan of your new property with colour-coded or labelled rooms which will coordinate with your colour-coded or labelled boxes.

Here are some other tips for helping your house removals process run smoothly:


Sell or throw away items you don’t want in your new house at an early stage.

Start the packing process early

Order packing boxes from your removals company and get items that you don’t need every day packed up two weeks before moving day. Don’t skimp on buying bubble wrap and tissue paper, don’t overpack boxes and spread heavy items between boxes. If possible, measure up your new house and work out where your furniture will go.

Personal box

Create a box for holding vital documents such as passports, credit cards, valuables and keys which you can put in your car to transport on the move date and keep tabs on.

Essentials box

Pack a clearly marked box containing life’s essentials – tea, coffee, a kettle, snacks and even a meal which will be very welcome after the hard work of moving.

Inform utility companies.

Take care to inform your water, gas and electricity supplier about the date of your move. Take meter readings and photographs of the meters on the day that you move, in both your old and new property. Ask your local authority for a final council tax statement.

Other organisations to inform about your change of address:


Electoral roll

TV licensing


Bank and credit card providers

Investment funds and pension providers

Car insurer

Life insurance and health insurance

Telephone, broadband and mobile phone providers

Your employer

Other steps to take

  • Register with a new GP, dentist and optician.
  • Redirect your mail – the Royal Mail’s redirection service will redirect all mail to your new house for three, six or 12 months after you move. If your phone number changes you can ask your telephone company to inform callers of your new number for a set amount of time.
  • Finally, when you have moved in, you may want to change the locks to ensure your house keys are unique to you.

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