Why is the removal industry so often treated with suspicion and disdain?

Is it simply because we’re reluctant to trust anyone with our treasured possessions or is it just thanks to good ol’ ‘removal company stigma’? After all, don’t they tend to break, mistreat and sometimes even lose the things they’re supposed to be looking after, right?

Well, yes.

Some removals companies may leave your belongings looking like they did ten rounds with a RyanAir baggage carousel; although, if we’re being honest, it’s far more likely that your mum will rifle through your drawers, your sister will nick your favourite sweatshirt and your kid will break that fragile family heirloom.

But also, no.

In fact, most moving companies work really hard to deliver excellence and protect their reputation. Some have been in business for hundreds of years for a reason!

So how can you weed out the good from the bad?

Here are eight signs to look out for if you don’t want to get bamboozled by removals.

1. They don’t conduct a survey of your belongings

If your removals company gives you a lump sum estimate, based on a very broad overview of your house, office or belongings, alarms bells should be ringing.

For example, if you tell them you live in a 2-bed flat and they quote you £600, be ready for it to fluctuate on the day and possibly leave you out of pocket!


Because no two homes are the same, even ones that both have two bedrooms! Therefore, blanket-estimates mean pretty much nothing until the movers actually assess the scope of your removals needs.

To warn against this, you want to get exact quotes from the start.


By providing a full inventory of the stuff you need shifting. This can be time-consuming though, so look for companies that ask you for a quick and simple video survey of your flat. You can do it on your own schedule, as soon as you have 15 minutes to spare, and it helps you get an accurate removals quote from the get-go!

2. They don’t have clear terms and conditions

Ugh, no one likes terms and conditions but reading over them before contracting a removals company is essential. And guess where companies like to screw you the most? In their unclear, confusing and convoluted terms and conditions.

To avoid this, be sure to read over the terms and conditions carefully before hiring anyone. Maybe even read them twice. Then get someone you trust to take a look too, for good measure. This can clue you into how the company will conduct the move, and, most importantly of all, if, how and when they may plan on stinging you with additional costs. Boo.

3. They get you to do the heavy lifting…literally

Some moving companies will basically have you doing all the work for them if you’re not careful. (Unless you went for the most bargain basement moving deal, this definitely won’t have been what you signed up for.) And if you end up doing all the hard work to save you some extra dosh, you might as well have just hired a man with a van instead of a removals company!

So, make sure your movers are, you know, doing the moving for you.

Hot tip: It will cut the stress even more if they pack, disassemble and reassemble your furniture for you too!

4. They are terrible communicators

Can’t get a hold of them from the off? Not clear what they’re even going to be doing? Keep changing the time and date of the move to suit them?

Transparency and good communication in your removal relationship, as in your marriage, are perhaps two of the most important things to look out for.

5. There’s no contract

In any business agreement, you need to sign a contract. Again, this is where a removals relationship starts to mirror a marriage once more.

How else are you going to tie them into doing the work for you, and doing it as promised?!

So while there may be no in sickness and in health clause with your movers, if they seem reluctant to get your payment and penalty details on paper, cancel your arrangement faster than a Kim Kardashian wedding.

6. They have no insurance

Insurance is what protects both parties from potential problems, both foreseen and unforeseen.

If a company doesn’t have insurance, that’s a huge red flag.


Well, it’s likely that they regularly cut corners and don’t want a handful of pending insurance claims holding them back from conducting any future dodgy business dealings.

When hiring a removals company then, look out for goods and transit, as well as public liability insurance policies as a priority.

7. They use a mobile number and their email address is ‘’

If their setup screams unprofessional (see: that aforementioned email address), then it almost certainly is.

Legit removals companies–i.e. not just a man in a van–will have landline numbers, proper email contact details (like, for example) and a well-put-together website.

(As an aside, when you call a landline and hear a funny tone, that’s a sign that it’s actually diverting to a mobile, so be careful!)

Of course, this doesn’t mean that all small businesses are unreliable (not everyone can work from a landline or afford a branded email domain at first), but it does mean that you need to limit your expectations with companies that seem small fry.

If you are planning a huge international move for your entire office then probably go for a removal company that has years of experience. If you’re just moving down the road into a new flat then you’re probably good to go.

Terrified by this list of ways removal companies can screw you over? You should be!

Just kidding.

The vast majority of removals companies, as noted way back in the beginning, work hard to do things right, conduct business properly and win custom. You just have to be alert to potential red flags, that’s all!

However, if you’re feeling overwhelmed with the removal company search process, head over to buzzmove and check out their pre-vetted, pre-approved selection of removals companies to choose from. What could be easier?