How to Choose the Best International Removal Company for Your Move Overseas

by | Thursday 14th March 2024

Moving overseas brings with it a range of challenges, from logistical complexities to emotional goodbyes. One of the main hurdles to overcome is navigating the intricacies of international regulations and customs requirements, which vary significantly from country to country. Plus, coordinating the logistics of packing, shipping and unpacking belongings across long distances and potentially different time zones can be daunting. There are possible language barriers, cultural adjustments and unfamiliarity with local customs to consider, and leaving behind familiar surroundings is never easy.

To overcome these challenges, selecting the right international removal company is key, and it will help to ensure that you have a smooth and successful transition. An experienced and reputable removal company can provide invaluable support and expertise in navigating the complexities of overseas relocation. From assisting with customs documentation and shipping logistics to providing professional packing and unpacking services, the right removal company can streamline the moving process, alleviating much of the stress and uncertainty associated with international moves.

Understanding the Basics of International Removal

International removal refers to the process of relocating belongings and household items from one country to another. This process typically involves a range of services provided by a removal company to facilitate a smooth and efficient transition for those moving abroad.

Professional packing services ensure that belongings are securely packed and protected for transport. Removal companies use high quality packing materials and techniques to safeguard items against damage during transit. Removal companies manage the logistics of transporting belongings from your current location to your destination abroad. This may involve coordinating shipping containers, air freight, or other transportation methods to ensure timely delivery, as well as customs clearance.

By outsourcing the logistics of your move to experienced professionals, you can enjoy a smoother transition and focus on settling into your new home and surroundings with confidence.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an International Removal Company

There are a number of international removal companies out there, and you might find yourself spoiled for choice. Here are some of the key things to consider when you are choosing the ideal team for you and your move.

Reputation and Reviews

Online reviews and ratings play a key role in the decision making process when you are choosing international removal services. Reviews provide valuable insights into the experiences of past customers, helping you to assess the reliability, professionalism and quality of the service offered. By reading reviews and considering ratings, you can gain a better understanding of the company’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as any potential issues or concerns raised by previous clients.

Asking friends and family for recommendations, especially those who have first hand experience with international removal services, can provide valuable guidance and personalised insights. Personal referrals offer a level of trust and credibility that can help you to make informed decisions and feel more confident in their choice of removal company.

Accreditations and Memberships

Accreditations such as FIDI (Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux) and BAR (British Association of Removers) are prestigious certifications awarded to removal companies that meet stringent industry standards and adhere to best practices in the relocation industry. FIDI is a global alliance of professional international moving and relocation companies, while BAR is a trade association representing professional removal and storage companies in the UK.

Companies accredited by FIDI or BAR undergo rigorous assessments and audits to ensure compliance with strict criteria related to service quality, professionalism, financial stability, and ethical business practices. At United International Removals, we regularly partner with companies that are FIDI recognised.

At United International Removals we work with FIDI accredited companies in your destination country to ensure you receive quality of service.

Experience and Expertise

The longevity of a removal company’s presence in the industry is a key indicator of its experience, reliability and stability. A company that has been in business for a significant period has likely developed expertise and established a track record of delivering high quality services to its clients. Plus, longevity suggests that the company has weathered economic fluctuations and evolving market dynamics, demonstrating its resilience and ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

The regions or countries frequently serviced by the company provide valuable insights into its global reach and capabilities. A removal company that operates in a wide range of regions or countries demonstrates its capacity to handle diverse relocation needs and navigate international regulations and logistics effectively.

Insurance and Liability

Comprehensive insurance coverage is essential when enlisting the services of a removal company, providing peace of mind and financial protection in the event of unforeseen circumstances or accidents during the relocation process. Removals involve transporting valuable belongings across long distances, and despite meticulous planning and professional handling, accidents or damages can occur. Insurance ensures that you are compensated for any loss or damage to your belongings during transit or while in the care of the removal company.

It’s important to understand the terms and conditions of the company’s insurance policy to ensure they have the appropriate coverage for your needs. This includes clarifying coverage limits, exclusions, deductibles, and any additional services or options available.

Customs Clearance and Documentation

customs clearance when moving overseas

You need to ensure that your chosen removal company is familiar with customs processes for your destination country, particularly in light of Brexit’s impact on EU moves. With the implementation of customs clearance requirements post-Brexit, navigating customs procedures has become increasingly complex and time consuming. Removal companies must be well versed in the customs regulations and documentation required for each destination country to ensure a smooth and efficient clearance process.

This is particularly the case for overseas destinations. For example, Australia and New Zealand have very strict biosecurity measures which if not followed can result in delays and additional customs charges.

This includes understanding customs duties, taxes and import restrictions that may apply to specific goods or belongings. By partnering with a removal company experienced in handling customs clearance procedures, you can mitigate the risk of delays, penalties, or other complications at border crossings.

Services Offered

The range of services provided by a removal company is designed to meet your needs throughout the relocation process. These services may include professional packing, where experienced movers carefully pack belongings using high quality materials to ensure their safe transport. Additionally, removal companies may offer storage solutions for those who require temporary or long term storage for their belongings before, during or after the move.

Vehicle transport services may be provided for those who need to transport their vehicles to their new location, and pet relocation services are also regularly offered. By offering a wide range of services, removal companies aim to provide you with a seamless and stress-free relocation experience, tailored to your individual needs and preferences.

Speciality of the Company – European or Overseas Moves

When planning an international move, it’s important to consider the specific type of move required based on the destination. For mainland European moves –  such as those to France, Spain, Portugal and Italy, and other European countries – road freight options are commonly used. Removal companies may offer both part load and dedicated load services, depending on the volume of belongings and budget considerations.

For overseas moves to destinations – such as Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Canada, – container shipping is typically the preferred method. Removal companies arrange for belongings to be packed into shipping containers, which are then transported via sea freight to the destination port. Container shipping allows for the safe and secure transport of belongings over long distances and across international borders. Additionally, removal companies may offer container shipping services for overseas European destinations like Cyprus, Malta, and The Canary Islands, facilitating smooth and efficient relocations to these remote locations.

When selecting a removal company for an international move, it’s essential to ensure that they have experience and expertise in the specific type of move required. Experienced removal companies understand the unique challenges and requirements associated with each type of move and can provide tailored solutions to meet your needs.

Transparent Pricing

Avoiding hidden costs is essential when planning a move, as unexpected expenses can quickly add up and disrupt your budget. One of the best ways to prevent hidden costs is to obtain detailed quotes from removal companies before committing to their services. A detailed quote should outline all costs associated with the move – including packing materials, labour, transportation, insurance customs clearance fees – and any additional services requested.

By carefully reviewing the quote and ensuring that all potential charges are clearly specified upfront, you can avoid surprises and accurately budget for your relocation.

It’s essential to ask your chosen removals company about any potential hidden costs or additional charges that may arise during the move, such as fees for extra labour, delays or changes to the scope of work. Clear communication with the removal company and a thorough understanding of the terms and conditions outlined in the quote will help minimise the risk of encountering unexpected costs, ensuring a transparent moving experience.

Customer Service

Clear communication is important when working with a removal company, as this helps to ensure a smooth and successful relocation experience. The availability of company representatives for inquiries or concerns plays a big part in fostering effective communication throughout the moving process. Clear communication helps build trust and transparency between you and the removal company, allowing for issues or concerns to be solved quickly.

When choosing a removal company, it’s essential to prioritise those that prioritise responsive communication and make themselves readily available to address your inquiries, provide updates on the status of the move, and offer assistance when needed.

international removals by container ship

Common Pitfalls to Avoid

  • Though cost is important, opting for the cheapest quote may result in sacrificing quality of service or risking hidden costs later on. It’s essential to consider factors like reputation, experience and services offered in addition to price.
  • Failure to thoroughly review the terms and conditions outlined in agreements can lead to misunderstandings or unexpected fees. It’s crucial to carefully read and understand all aspects of the contract before signing to avoid any surprises.
  • Hiring a removal company without verifying their accreditations and certifications can pose risks in terms of service quality and professionalism. It’s important to ensure that the company is accredited by reputable industry associations and adheres to recognized standards.
  • Neglecting to discuss potential additional charges upfront can result in unexpected costs during the moving process. It’s essential to have open and transparent communication with the removal company about any potential extra fees or charges to avoid surprises and accurately budget for the move.

Questions to Ask a Potential Removal Company

What is your process for international moves? – Understanding the removal company’s process for international moves is essential to ensure they have the expertise and resources to handle your relocation efficiently. Inquire about their experience, logistics and any specific services they offer for international relocations.

Can you provide references or testimonials from past clients? – Requesting references or testimonials from past clients allows you to gain insights into the removal company’s reputation, reliability, and customer satisfaction. Positive feedback and testimonials can instil confidence in their ability to deliver quality service.

What does your insurance coverage include and exclude? – Clarifying the details of the removal company’s insurance coverage is crucial to ensure adequate protection for your belongings during transit. Ask about coverage limits, exclusions, and any additional insurance options available to safeguard your possessions against loss or damage.

How do you handle customs clearance and documentation? – Understanding how the removal company handles customs clearance and documentation is essential for international moves, particularly in light of post-Brexit regulations and other customs requirements. Inquire about their expertise in navigating customs procedures, preparing necessary documentation, and ensuring compliance with regulations.

Are there any potential additional costs that might arise? – Discussing potential additional costs upfront helps prevent surprises and allows for accurate budgeting. Ask about any potential extra fees or charges that may arise during the moving process, such as fees for extra labour, storage, or customs clearance, to ensure full transparency and avoid unexpected expenses.

Preparing for the Move

Preparing for your big move can be daunting, but our tips are sure to help.

How to Pack

  • Have clear packing strategies, such as using sturdy boxes, how you will pad fragile items and labelling boxes with their contents and destination room
  • When you are disassembling furniture, wrap items securely and organise belongings to facilitate easier unpacking at your destination.
  • Don’t underestimate the importance of packing essentials separately for immediate access upon arrival, including toiletries, medication and important documents.

The Importance of Clear Labelling and Inventory Lists

  • Clear labelling on boxes is key, as it streamlines the unpacking process and prevents confusion about the contents of each box.
  • Create a detailed inventory list to keep track of belongings throughout the move and facilitate accountability for any missing items.
  • Label boxes with the room they belong to and any special handling instructions, such as “fragile” or “this side up,” to ensure proper handling during transit.

Set Realistic Expectations Regarding Move Timelines

  • Discuss the typical timeline for each stage of the moving process with your removals company, from packing and loading to transit and unpacking, to help you to understand what to expect.
  • Understand that delays or challenges are a possibility, and setbacks that may arise during the move. This could be caused by weather conditions, traffic congestion, or unforeseen logistical issues.
  • Take the time to plan ahead and allow for extra time, particularly for international moves or moves during peak seasons when demand for moving services may be higher.

It’s Time to Choose Your International Removal Company

Choose best international removal company

Making an informed decision when choosing a removal company is key to ensuring a smooth and successful relocation experience. It’s important to thoroughly research and evaluate potential removal companies, considering factors such as reputation, experience and service offerings. While cost is undoubtedly a consideration, it’s vital to prioritise quality and reliability over price alone. By choosing a removal company with a proven track record of professionalism and customer satisfaction, you can mitigate the risk of encountering hidden costs, delays or other complications during your move.

Investing in a reputable removal company will provide peace of mind and assurance that your relocation will be handled with care and expertise, and this is where we come in. At United International Removals, we provide an unmatched international removals service for those relocating to Europe and beyond.

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