Household Goods Moving #3 - ‘You didn’t tell me about that!’

Household Goods Moving #3 - ‘You didn’t tell me about that!’

“We always take the cheapest quote”

How many times do you remind a supplier that’s your policy? But are you really comparing like for like?

Surprisingly, less than you’d expect really understand whether they’re comparing apples with apples… and, of course, there are always some apples that taste better than others! In a series of articles, we’ll explain each component that makes up a quotation and why perhaps the question should not be ‘why are you so expensive?’ but, ‘why are you so cheap!?’

Here in article 3 we finish up our top tips for comparing Household Goods Moving quotations and look at some additional charges:

Square pegs, round holes

So you’ve approved the quotations and the move has started, or even finished, the invoices arrive and it doesn’t match the original quotation. Why? What’s changed?

Additional charges are probably one of the biggest gripes we hear about when talking to prospective clients. Unfortunately, a lot of these charges simply can’t be helped but what can be avoided is the surprise of that extra invoice landing on your desk. When engaging with a mover, its worth asking for a breakdown of possible additional charges in advance and perhaps a brief summary of scenarios that could lead to these being charged.

Some of the most common charges are services such as transhipments, an outside elevator, parking permits or a long carry. These occur mostly at delivery when, during the original survey, perhaps a destination address was yet to be confirmed. At the end of the day, a 40ft shipping container is a big old beast to get into some places - sometimes it just doesn’t fit and making use of a transit van to shuttle goods into the new home is always preferable to 10 men carrying your assignee’s goods 200m down the road in the rain.

Once a delivery address is known, it’s important that the mover knows ASAP and can make arrangements to check the access and present any additional costs in advance of delivery day. Movers should seek approval for these additional charges before the work is carried out - it’s common courtesy more than anything else! They should also be prepared to provide you with some evidence, such as photographs.

For reference - additional charges at origin really should be accounted for in the initial quotation and highlights the need for a detailed pre-move survey by a professional surveyor. It would be reasonable to expect parking/access issues to be noted at this point and for them to be detailed on the quotation. If one quote shows this and another does not - it’s certainly worth double checking. Parking suspensions with some London councils for example, are far from cheap!

I’m sick of cardboard!

Delivery options. The majority of quotations will be ‘door to door’. This should include the packing, wrapping, loading of container, transport to the exit port, terminal handling charges, freight charges to port of entry, destination terminal handling charges, customs clearance, transport to residence, unloading, unwrapping, unpacking of cartons, assembly of items dismantled at origin and the removal of all debris.

However, quotations can be based on delivery to the port only, or to an agent’s warehouse. Some may not include unpacking of cartons (which can be a long process). It’s also worth noting that most moving companies will not place items away in cupboards when unpacking, so items are unpacked on to flat surfaces, which can obviously be a little messy! To assist with that, you may find that the mover has allowed for a ‘maid’ service to put items away in cupboards, make the beds, hang your clothes up etc. Again, this may be the difference between two quotations and could obviously lead to your assignee expecting a service that hasn’t been allowed for and left in a pretty stressful situation.

As a final note on additional charges, it’s worth mentioning ‘Demurrage’.

A shipping line allows the mover a period of time for the container to clear customs, be delivered and returned to the shipping line. 7 days is the norm and includes weekends and the day the ship actually docks, even if it’s 23:59! Any time over this is charged at a rate per day (usually £30 per day for a 20ft container and £60 per day for a 40ft) and increases by around 50% after another 7 days.

Most countries around the world will require the individual to be in country for the goods to clear customs, but if they cannot take delivery in time for any reason, the demurrage (also known as rental) can start to mount up. It’s also the responsibility of the mover to ensure all documentation is in place so that clearance can happen quickly and without delay.

If your assignee cannot take delivery, then goods can be stored at an agent’s warehouse to free up the container, but naturally this adds additional cost. Again, movers should be able to make you aware of these potential charges in advance of the move.

Thats all folks!

It’s probably fair to say that household goods moving isn’t especially high up the mobility food chain and, over the course of a 3 year assignment, it probably doesn’t account for a huge amount of the total spend. But get it wrong, and it could! Moving companies have been around for, in some cases, over 100 years and are a wealth of knowledge and experience. Whilst the attraction of relocation and mobility companies is obviously huge and with many benefits, please do engage with movers; seek their advice before releasing that RFP with a matrix that doesn’t make any sense; ask what possible extras could land on your desks. You can still outsource to an RMC, but perhaps request a couple of providers of your choosing are used for your specific account. A large amount of trust is placed in a moving company by your assignees - it’s only right that you at least know who they are.

Thank you for reading our articles. We hope they’ve been of value.

For further information please contact: Andy Hawtin on +44 (0)20 8574 1285 or Alternatively, find us on Twitter @gbliners

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