Man and van or removal company?
Newsagents’ windows and local newspapers are always full of adverts for the ‘man
with a van’ services, which offer everything from a way to shift that old sofa to
a complete move, often for a price that looks like a steal. But can you really trust
a stranger with just a mobile phone number and four wheels with your worldly possessions?
The cost often looks very appealing, especially if you are a budget, as many of
us are nowadays. But Derek Milner, who is proprietor of
Intransit Removals and Storage in Trowbridge, believes that the small upfront
cost could hide a whole slew of potential pitfalls.
“The use of a professional mover ensures that all your requirements are thought
of,” he says.
“Running the right size truck and right amount of staff is crucial to a successful
job. We also have all the necessary equipment to ensure safe passage of your goods,
and should something unusual happen, we are experienced enough to deal with it.
A professional company is normally a member of either the British Association of
Removers (BAR) or The National Guild of Remover and Storers (NGRS) and in both cases
this not only shows we are professionally-competent to carry out hundreds of removals
each year, but also we are regulated to do so yearly by them, with a visit to our
premises to check vehicles and storage.”
A man and van service we spoke to, who wished to be known simply by his first name,
David, agreed that he cannot provide everything that a large business can, but,
he was keen to point out what he thinks are the advantage of his service.
“Not everyone can afford a few hundred pounds to move house,” says David. “We can
work at short notice if we are free and just charge a flat hourly rate. It is no
frills and you pack yourself, but you get what you pay for. I don’t have extra insurance for moves, but I have
only rarely had complaints and only the odd breakage, which the client usually puts
down to bad luck.”
Martin Rose of the National Guild of Removers and Storers believes that the increase
in the use of these services is down to a misconception about the skills involved
in a successful move. He thinks it is essential to use a professional if you are
to have peace of mind.
“A lot of customers tend to buy on price as they think that removals is essentially
some big guys with big muscles and big vans moving stuff,” he says. “But there is
quite a lot of skill and planning involved. If the consumer buys cheap and the man-and-van
decides he has a better offer elsewhere then there is no comeback, unless the mover
is a part of one of the removal industry professional bodies. Not all these services
are bad and many businesses start out that way, but you can only be sure of what
you are getting if you hire a professional.”
Our advice? If you have a large load and valuable possessions then you should always
use a specialist. Otherwise, the saving you make using a man-and-van service may
be justified. But, talk to your home insurance company first and check that your
goods are covered.