Hiring your removals company is a key decision when you’re moving house. It can make the difference between a costly disaster, and a smoother, cheaper experience. It’s such a busy time and house moving can bring a lot of stress. A good moving firm should be there to make things easier, not more problematic. So use this checklist to make sure your hire the right kind of company.

Experience matters. Some of the most attractive offers and best prices you’ll find, particularly on the internet, are from new outfits. People who have jumped on the bandwagon, realising there is money to be made in removals. After all, they’ve got a van, and how hard can it be, right? Well sometimes new firms are good, but maybe you don’t want to be the guinea pig. There’s a lot at stake: your valuables, all your worldly goods, and of course your peace of mind. So look for companies with not just a pretty website and keen prices, but also plenty of experience. They should be a member of a professional association, so going to the relevant association’s website and finding a list of reputable removal companies is a good starting point. Bigger isn’t always better: you may get a better deal and more personalised service from a local man with a van than a national chain. But you want one who is accredited, insured, experienced and reputable.

Personal recommendations count. If in doubt, ask around. A genuine company with experience will have genuine customer testimonials they can show you, and these are often on their website too. But even better is asking people you trust; friends and family. Your neighbours, particularly ones who have moved in recently. Don’t rely solely on what the companies tell you, because they’ll be selective at best. The cowboys will be downright deceitful. Go with real people you like and whose opinion you value.

Cost is king. No-one wants to spend a fortune if you don’t have to. So shop around for the best quote. As with all such purchases, it’s best to avoid the very lowest quote and the highest too: going for the average, or slightly lower than average. Taking into account the other checklist items too, this will help you get good value for money from a trustworthy business. Make sure all the costs are clear and included; that taxes and insurance aren’t going to be nasty little surprises added on to your final bill. Which brings us on to …

Avoid the rocket science. Some removals companies will present you with a massive opus of packages, conditions, policies and clauses. Now come on, this is not rocket science. What you want as a customer is clear, straightforward explanations of what service is on offer and how much it’s going to cost you. Don’t get bogged down in complex terminology, because it’s usually a smokescreen to hide something. The best companies will be transparent: even putting all their pricing on their websites.

Don’t buy the hard sell. Alas, there are removals companies who have adopted the seedier double glazing sales technique – a hard sell; a procession of wearing you down with a three hour pitch and fake negotiations with their bosses. Don’t fall for it. Yes, a removals company should visit your home and assess your removal needs to give an accurate quote. But the meeting should be business like and to the point, not a timeshare-type presentation. It’s also good to choose a company you like, and feel you could work with. So watch carefully when you meet and avoid the all-too obvious hard sales tricks designed to make you part with too much money.

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