Moving house is a feat of organisational skill and planning prowess. From hiring a solicitor to getting the mail redirected, and everything in between. If you’ve been there before, you know it’s not an easy task and costs can add up quickly.

Hiring a removals company is arguably the most unknown of all the costs you’ll have when moving house. In this guide, Movehub will help you navigate the world of removal companies and their costs, so it’ll be smooth sailing on your moving day.

How are removal costs calculated?

Even this seemingly simple question doesn’t have one simple answer. There are a few factors to consider, but once you’ve identified them, you’ll soon be on your way to getting quotes you feel confident about.

First things first: is your move local, or long distance? Usually, local moves are charged at an hourly rate, with a 2-hour minimum, and extra charges for additional workers too. The average cost is around £50-60 per hour for a van and 2 workers, and then £25-30 per hour for every extra worker too.

If your move is simple, and within your local area, you should be able to tot up an estimated cost from these average figures, as a starting point for your planning and budgeting.

Long distance moves are usually calculated in a different way, and unsurprisingly, costs can vary a lot – it’s the classic ‘how long is a piece of string’ answer here. The two key factors in long distance removal costs are distance and weight/volume. These are things that are totally unique to every move, so asking your friends and neighbours about their removal costs won’t be much help for you unfortunately – every move is different!

You’re more likely to get a fixed price quote for a long distance move, compared to an hourly charge for a local move. Once a removal company knows the distance of your move, and the size of the shipment they will be moving, they can calculate a quote for you.

If you’re moving from Edinburgh to Cornwall, the price will be very different to a move from London to Birmingham. Equally, if you have a one-bed flat, the price will be very different from an eight bedroom mansion. Both factors will be equally considered when the removal company is giving you a quote.

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In both local and long distance moves, there are also a couple of potential extra costs that you may have to consider, which could be added onto your quote if needed.

Are you musical, do you have a penchant for antiques, is your mahogany sleigh bed your most prized possession? These are all things you’ll need to think about, because you may be faced with extra removal costs for speciality, fragile or bulky items. Items like pianos need extra care when they are moved, they must be padded and packed in a certain way and moved very carefully to minimize the risk of damage. You should check that your removal team have experience of doing this, and ask about the added costs involved.

Antique items, large or small, also require extra care and attention during a move – you should speak to your removals team about all the fragile items you have, and plan the best way for them to be transported. Moving bulky items like large beds, wardrobes or sofas is something of an inevitability in removals, and the team you hire will be experts in manoeuvring around tight corners and doorways.

If you have any pieces that look set to be particularly difficult to move, you may be faced with an extra charge. It’s important to also look at the access for your current property and your new one. If you’re not able to secure parking outside the properties, or there’s an awkward set of stairs up to your front door, this will also add extra time to the moving process, and of course, time means money!

The other extra cost element that you might incur when you’re getting your removal prices, is if you choose to add any extra services on top on the standard move out-move in. Some examples of these extra services are disassembly and reassembly of furniture, packing services, packing materials, and temporary storage

It’s up to you if you choose to add on any of these extra services – you may want to keep costs to a minimum and do the extra work yourself, or you may be happy to pay extra so you can focus on other things and save some time in your busy moving schedule. Like we said, every move is unique, it’s all about what works for you.

Now you know how removal costs are calculated, fill in the form at the top of this page to start comparing quotes with Movehub’s great comparison service.

How to keep removal costs down

Hopefully, our run down of the basics of removal costs hasn’t left you feeling too daunted. Although there are some removals costs you just can’t avoid, if you’re keen to keep budget to a minimum, here are some handy tips from Movehub’s experts:

Get a good range of quotes from both local and national companies. Don’t assume that the local firm will always be the cheapest. As every removal is different, you’ll get a good idea of the average price from your quotes, and you might find that the best price comes from a larger removal company.

Once you have a range of quotes, contact the removals companies and ask them to visit your property to give you a visual quote. Removals companies are experts in assessing the volume of your possessions and how long it will take to pack the van. They’ll also be able to check out any speciality items or access issues well in advance of moving day. No surprises!

For you peace of mind, check that your chosen removal company is part of the National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS) or the British Association of Removers (BAR). Ask if they are insured, and ask if their prices include VAT. Look at reviews of the company and make sure you feel confident they’ll do a professional job.

Be flexible with your moving day. If possible, avoid moving on a Friday. It’s notoriously the most expensive day to move. If you can be flexible with your moving day, you might benefit from a cheaper price if you can work with the removal company’s schedule and fit in around their other jobs.

Don’t spend hundreds of pounds on rolls of bubble wrap, tissue paper and boxes. Collect boxes for free from your local shops, and use old towels, bedding and blankets for packing and padding.

Contact your home insurer to ask if your possessions will be covered during the move. Some removal companies add insurance to their quotes, but if you know you’re already covered, you can ask for this to be deducted.

Declutter! There’s no point spending money on moving things that you don’t need. If you keep a good planning schedule, you can identify the pieces of furniture or other possessions that you don’t want to take with you to your new home, and sell, recycle or gift to friends and family them before moving day.