How NOT to do Removals

I found several removal stories online of other companies confessing of times when things have not quite gone the right way. And the first thing I thought, after laughing out loud, was that most of them were simply down to silly mistakes that could’ve been easily avoided by doing removals the right way.

  1. “We emptied a house in London, filled two vans and sent the family off to their new home in Devon while we filled a third van. We found their cat asleep upstairs, so popped him in the van as well. We expected a tearful reunion between the family and cat when we got to Devon, only to discover that it wasn’t their cat.”

The simplest thing would’ve been to contact the customer and ask them a) whether they had a cat, and b) what the arrangements were for its relocation. Even if it were their cat, they may have asked the neighbours to keep it. Whatever the case, before a long drive, always check before you leave that you’ve taken everything that was asked to be taken, and anything left behind is done so on purpose.

  1. “Three of our removals guys were sent to a job on the King’s Road. They turned up at the address and explained to the cleaner, who answered the door and spoke little English, that they were there to move its contents, and started loading the lorry. The client called me later that morning to ask where the removals men had got to; only then did I realise that the King’s Road they had gone to was the Chelsea one, not the correct address in Richmond. By the time the error was realised, they had cleared the entire first floor. One person who was delighted was the cleaner as it meant she could give the ground floor a thorough clean before they put all the contents back into place and headed off to the correct address.”

This is a case of miscommunication and incomplete information. In this business, you ALWAYS need the full address of all locations involved, no matter how familiar you are with the area. Do you know how many Church Lanes there are? Having this information alone would’ve been enough, but then you have someone unexpected meeting you at the address too. The removal crew calling the office (or the customer) to ask about the cleaner being the point of contact at the current address would’ve cleared things up. We prefer to have the owner/bill payer be on site but understand if they can’t be in multiple places on the same day. For this reason, we check whether we should be expecting someone else on the other side of the door before we even send our crew out.

  1. “One of my first moves was a London office where the manager told me they needed about 30 crates and had no furniture. I turned up, on my own and with my one truck, and they had nearly 600 crates.”

Why do you need to do a survey? Case in point. ‘Nuff said.

  1. “Some customers can be overly ambitious. One lady wanted to move the contents of her Scottish farm to a top-floor flat in the Barbican, in the City of London. Included in the haul was a Massey Ferguson 130 tractor. She hadn’t thought through the fact that there was no way we were going to be able to get that in the flat.”

When conducting a survey, certain questions are asked such as what size property will you be moving to? A very simple question and answer would have led our surveyor to advise that the customer be realistic about what to take to the new home – more importantly, what would fit. Sometimes people are so attached to their possessions that they cannot imagine letting them go until someone does the maths and tells them it’s not possible to take everything with them, at least not all to the same place.

People depend on professionals to be prepared and ready to handle the hectic moving day, but we’re all human and some things can go wrong no matter how hard you try. Sometimes, there’s nothing left to do but laugh at an unpredictable situation.

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