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Questions to ask when choosing your international removalist

choosing an international removalist

Moving house is always a big deal, but moving abroad presents a whole new level of things to do and think about. Not only do your precious belongings have to arrive safely, but they also need to go through the customs process and a whole lot of paperwork that may not be in English. It’s always smart to begin planning early, especially when it comes to moving overseas.

When doing anything internationally, anything that can go wrong will go wrong, so early preparation really will save you from huge headaches down the road. Take your time when choosing a removal company and research as many options as possible. Compare several quotes from different companies before making your decision and ask for as much information as you can.

The sheer amount of variables can quickly become overwhelming for even the most experienced of expats, so here are some helpful questions you should ask before choosing a removal company:

1. How will the price be calculated?

An introductory quote may or may not be an accurate representation of the full amount you will be asked to pay at the end of the removals process.  Asking questions about your estimate is the best way to come up with a realistic budget for your move. A quote might just cover basic shipping costs, but you could be charged a range of hidden fees for extra services including packing costs, handling fees, storage fees and so on. It’s also a good idea to check exactly what fees will be covered by your removalists and what  you will need to pay separately. Are customs inspection fees, port fees and terminal handling fees included in your estimate, for example.

International moves can be priced either by weight or by the amount of space taken up in a container. This may affect your decisions regarding packing, so make sure to find out in advance how you’ll be charged.

2. Will you perform an in-house survey?

Getting a quote online or over the phone may be the first step in choosing your removals company, but that isn’t where the matter should end. A reputable company should send a member of staff to conduct as survey of your belongings in person, and provide a final quote based on their assessment. The representative will evaluate the amount of items that need to be packed and identify any items that could pose issues during packing. This ensures that both you and the removalists have an accurate idea of what to expect, as well as providing you with a valuable chance to communicate face to face. Decide in advance which items you want moved and which you don’t, so that the removalists will know what to pack and plan accordingly. You should also be open about accessibility within your home, including features such as stairs, narrow doorways and so on, that could affect the moving staff’s ability to work, or result in to extra fees being added to your account.

3. Are you a certified international removals company?

International removalists should be accredited and licenced businesses which meet industry standards. When dealing with things over several countries, it’s easy for things to get lost or for costs to buildup without an obvious point of responsibility. Making sure that you hire a reputable company will ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible and that you don’t get taken to the cleaners.

There are a number of organizations that offer accreditations to international removal companies, including the Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux (FIDI) and the International Association of Movers (IAM). Organizations for Australian companies in particular include the Australian International Movers Association (AIMA) and the Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA). A membership to these associations is a good indicator that you’re dealing with a reliable and reputable business.

4. Do you provide door to door service?

Generally speaking, there are three main services that companies may offer:

  • Door to door service: Your possessions will be picked up from your home in Australia and dropped off to you at your new home overseas.
  • Door to port service: The removalists will collect your belongings at your Australian address and deliver them to the chosen port overseas. You then need to organize transport from the port to your overseas home.
  • Port to door: You transport your things to the port, and the company takes charge from there.

Prices will vary according to the distance travelled. Also note that, even with a door to door service, the company may hand off your belongings to a local company.

international moving quotes

5. Who will handle my things overseas?

Unless the company has employees stationed overseas, it’s unlikely that they will be dealing directly with your possessions during the shipping and unloading process after leaving Australia. Most international removalists have an agent or partner company they work with to make sure your things get unloaded and delivered safely. Make sure to ask the Australian company who will be receiving your things on arrival, including contact details and whether they have an established relationship.

6. Who will pack my things?

Find out ahead of time whether the company will take responsibility for packing up your things. For liability reasons, reputable companies often prefer to have their movers do your packing with particular packing materials. If this is the case, make sure to clearly separate the items you do a want packed from the ones you don’t.

If doing your own packing, make sure to ask for a set of guidelines on how to do so, to avoid any surprises later that may affect shipping or customs procedures.

7. Will my possessions be insured?

Any reputable removal company should offer insurance. You never know what can happen to your possessions during transit, so make sure that they are insured properly. Check the policy to see what you’re covered for loss or damage. Insurance may be cheaper if you allow the company to do your packing for you, as it gives them control over how the items are packed, to prevent damage.

8. Will you help with customs?

Much of the stress that comes from an international move arises from customs procedures which can be very demanding, depending on the country. Some moving companies may offer assistance with customs paperwork and charges. You should also find out whether you need to be present for a customs check, or whether the destination agent can take care of it.

Moving overseas presents a whole new world of possibilities. Some people may embrace the unknown and take a minimalist approach to their packing, while others value the comfort of familiar items when they arrive in a strange place. There is no right or wrong when it comes to taking your possessions abroad, but it’s best to go through your household and decide what you really need to take with you overseas. Be ruthless, as the cost of moving your things aboard quickly builds up, but don’t hesitate to take anything that will ease your transition into life overseas.

International removalists are there to make things easier for you, and it’s usually best to take a step back and let the professionals do their job. Just make sure to do your research and choose a company that you trust.

Save money by getting quotes from up to 5 different international removalists (in one easy process)

From their global network of more than 1000 qualified international movers, Triglobal can help you to find the right international moving company for your overseas relocation.

Whether you are moving overseas from Australia, moving between two countries, or moving back home to Australia, Triglobal can help you save money by obtaining up to 5 separate quotes from different international removal companies. All international moving companies in their worldwide network are members of an appropriate international moving association.

After completing the form below, you will be notified which international removal companies have received your quote request, and those international removal companies will contact you with details of their quote for you to start comparing the best deal. By completing the form below, you agree to sharing your information and contact details with Triglobal and the selected removal companies.

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Australian Expat Investor Contributor

These articles have been written by an Australian Expat Investor Contributor. Please see their details in the relevant post. The views expressed in the article are his or her own and may not reflect the views of The Australian Expat Investor. If you are interested in contributing an article or story to The Australian Expat Investor please visit our contact page.

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