Moving is one of the most stressful things you can do in life, yet most of us will choose to do it several times. Moving overseas or within a foreign country can be even more traumatic, creating frustration and even more stress. For the lucky ones, moving to SW France will be one of those journeys.
Amanda Davis, Operations Director at Safe Hands Haulage, highlights what can be done to help things run more smoothly.
Choosing a removal company
There isn’t a fixed price for removals so look for the right price, not the cheapest. You need a company that will turn up when they say they will, not drop all your goods and break them, and will pack the vehicle carefully to avoid damage in transit, especially when moving to SW France. Ensure they are registered with valid licenses to operate the vehicle. Any vehicle over an authorised mass of 3.5 ton, or a 3.5 ton with a trailer, requires an International Operator’s License.
Obtaining a quote
Sometimes a company will arrange a visit, but, depending on the distance, this is not always possible. In this case they will need an inventory of the items being moved as well as the collection and delivery addresses. An experienced estimator will know what additional questions to ask in order to allocate the correct vehicle. It’s important not to miss items from the list. It won’t make much difference to the price but it could mean that not everything will fit on the vehicle. The more time spent on the details at this stage, the smoother the move will be regardless of whether you are moving to SW France or another part of the world.
You may have decided to leave all the packing to the removal guys. If not, this needs to be started as soon as possible. Some companies will charge extra if they arrive and everything is not packed and ready to load.
Single skinned cardboard boxes are okay for a local move but not for goods going overseas.
Fill packing boxes to the max to keep their shape and make them easier and safer to stack.
Put paper or towels inside the box at the top and bottom for extra protection.
Mark the boxes with the contents and the destination room.
Tape the box on all the joints, especially the bottom.
Pack cups, vases and jugs upright, plates on their edge, all covered in paper.
If items are fragile, mark the boxes fragile but don’t mark everything fragile!
Cover paintings in bubble wrap, marking the glass side with the word glass.
Wrap bare canvas paintings in paper then bubble wrap.
Stand flat-screen TVs upright.
Check that the removal company will carry any liquids. If packed, ensure tops are on securely and place in plastic boxes in case of spillage.
The movers should be able to provide mattress bags and wardrobe boxes, most will bring these on the day of the move.
Booking a slot
As soon as you have a completion date book the removal company. Just because you have spoken about prices, it doesn’t mean they are available. Some companies will ask for a non-refundable deposit at the time of booking, some will ask for the full cost to make the booking, and some won’t take any money until your goods are being loaded onto the lorry.
Make it easier to park the lorry close to the house by cutting back overhanging trees and bushes beforehand, and parking cars elsewhere.
Ensure all medication, passports, documents, travel tickets, cheque books, bank cards and other important items are safely in your possession and out of reach, or they may end up on the lorry.
You may want to take kettle, cups and cleaning items in your own car, ready for arrival. Unless previously agreed, stay at the house to answer questions but keep out of the way and deter friends from coming over. Loading a large truck is hard work both mentally and physically, the best way to help is with a cup of tea or coffee.
Make sure you have access, if the removers arrive and can’t unload you will be charged extra. Make sure there is good access, save parking spaces near to the property and park your cars elsewhere. Stay at the property to give directions on where the furniture needs to be positioned. Unless you want to be hunting around for boxes, it’s best to label the internal doors to match the label on the boxes.
First published in the July/August issue of The Local Buzz
Images: Shutterstock and Safe Hands Haulage