How to Compare Your Quotes
Once you’ve got all your quotes in, the next job is figuring out who you want to appoint.
- What are your moving criteria?
Firstly you need to decide what is important to you about your move, are you making your decision purely on price or are there other factors to consider? for example the time it takes your things to get there, how they plan to protect your special items, someone who can take the stress away from you, their choice of destination agent or additional services that can be bundled? We’ll come to all those individually below.
- Checking all quotes are like-for-like:
Of course our first instinct will be to look at price first, but be careful not to just look at the £ signs. You need to make sure the quotations are based on a like-for-like service. Check the following:
Volume: are all companies quoting on the same (or similar) volumes of goods? If one is quite far out it’s a good idea to try and find out why, the company might have included an area others haven’t (i.e. lofts or garden areas) – prices will be based largely on volume of goods, so if this isn’t the same across the quotes you wont be able to compare the prices. Call the removals company and let them know and they will either be able to explain why or correct their price.
Services: are all the removal companies offering the same services? for example full packing services, crating or special wrapping of certain items, are they arranging dismantling of any furniture, have they included a shuttle vehicle or outside elevator because of poor access? are they including parking fees (if applicable) or any other additional charges in their price?
Transit times: It can be easy to overlook transit times when comparing a quotation but when removal companies purchase space for your container on a vessel the price they pay can vary depending on the length of time it takes to get to destination, and the route it takes. In general slower vessels charge less for the space. If you’re not in a hurry for your belongings, this is fine and can be a way to save a little on cost – but bear in mind the costs you will incur being without your furniture and effects…will you have to stay in a hotel until your furniture arrives and you can move into your home? Will you have to find rented accommodation? Will you have to eat out until your cooking equipment arrives? It can all add up so compare the estimate of these costs to the money you are saving on a slower shipment – are you still saving?
- Comparing Quality:
It’s very easy for to portray a professional, high quality image, have a fancy looking website and slick sales people. But there are a few things to look at to make your own determination of if you will receive the level of service you are looking for.
- Independent Certification: Are they all members of the same professional associations
- Destination Agents: An international move is broken down into Origin Services (packing and loading, transport to docks) Freight (ocean or air transportation) and Destination Services (customs clearance, transport to your home, unloading and unpacking). There are generally 3 different ways companies offer Destination Services. Larger global companies may have their own owned overseas office who will provide destination services, others will be part of a global network (such as Bournes being part of UniGroup Worldwide UTS) where a group of independent companies form their own network to provide each other regular destination services. The third type is where an independent UK removals company will just select an overseas agent to handle destination services. In all instances it’s important to check that the destination agent is a professional company i.e. do they have the same quality accreditations that you would expect here. Removal companies with established relationships with destination agents offer the added peace of mind that they are experienced in working together so should provide a smooth transition and preferable rates.
- Comparing Price:
I’ve left this til last for a reason. I honestly believe that no decision should be driven purely on price. What you should look for is value for money based on what you can afford and what you are prepared to pay to meet your moving goals – are you looking for a cheap move or a stress free move? If you’re looking for stress free then going with the cheapest company who don’t have proven standards or a professional Destination Agent can increase the risk of damage, making claims can be time consuming and stressful, equally a non-professional mover might not be able to assist you properly with all your paperwork to ensure easy customs clearance etc… think about all these implications and if the difference in price is worth it or if you’d be more comfortable paying a slightly higher price for less risk.
- Insurance - Check what the cost of insurance is going to be, usually this is based on a % of the value of your belongings. Take this into account when you compare your total moving price – not just the removal costs. 1/2 a percent difference on a high value of goods can make a big difference
- Additional Services – dont forget to include any costs of additional services you plan to take, for example any cancellation waivers
All things being equal….
If when it all boils down to it you have companies offering you a very similar standard of service, level of quality and on the same volume but price is the only differentiator then i’m afraid there is no magic formula for deciding and it will be down to who you want to work with.
Who did you feel most comfortable dealing with through the process so far? Who has given you most confidence? are they offering any additional services which will make your life easier? Can you ask for any references from previous customers? Be careful searching online – yes it’s great to get recommendations BUT remember people tend to make more noise when they are unhappy than when everything has gone well. Every company will have issues and complaints, accidents happen and if they tell you they never do i’d want to see proof! How a company deals with a complaint or claim can be a good measure of good service, but if you avoided every company that had a once sided bad report on the internet you’d struggle to find a mover at all! If you’re worried – ask for references from previous customers, a professional company should be willing and able to provide these.
If one company is your preferred choice but you simply can’t stretch your budget to their price, then it is ok to go back to them to see if there is anything they can do. Can they offer certain dates for collection where they might be able to offer a discount? Do they have any other ideas to cut your costs?