Homebuyers hoping to move before Christmas are running out of time to arrange their removal company with many firms already booked up.
Removal companies are struggling to meet the increase in demand from homebuyers this winter, with many already close to capacity, according to research from Bankrate UK.
‘With shorter days and bleak weather, the impending festive period is historically the least popular time to move home,’ said Nisha Vaidya, mortgage adviser at Bankrate UK.
Removal companies are struggling to meet home mover demand for the Christmas period
‘However, with each stage of the home buying process taking longer than usual and the stamp duty deadline looming, there appears to be a trend of homeowners actively pushing to complete before Christmas.’
Google searches for ‘removal companies’ are at a five-year high, with interest spiking in early September and continuing to grow in the lead up to Christmas.
‘It is undoubtedly true to say that across the UK, our industry is extremely busy at the moment,’ said Ian Studd, director general of the British Association of Removers.
‘The normal patterns of activity have gone completely by the wayside this year, with the last three months becoming the peak period when normally this is during the summer.’
Many of the removal companies This is Money spoke to had little to no remaining booking slots left available in December.
‘We are fully booked, other than last minute cancellations,’ said a spokesperson for removal firm Daleysmove.
‘Where we can, we are offering these last minute cancellation spots to customers who are essentially on a waiting list for availability.’
Removal firm, We Move Anything, resorted to drastic measures, hiring more vehicles and staff to try and cope with the December moving spree.
Despite these measures, a spokesperson for We Move Anything said: ‘We’re now fully booked until 21 December, we have two slots left for the 22 and 23 and after that we’re finished for Christmas.’
Google trends data shows google searches for ‘removal companies’ are at a five-year high according to research by Bankrate UK.
Charles Rickards, marketing and finance director of the removal company, Aussie Man & Van, said that sales are up 30 per cent compared with the same period last year.
‘We are flat out like a lizard drinking,’ said Rickards. ‘We have one or two slots available between now and Christmas and we are now offering slots between Christmas and New Year, which has historically been a very quiet period.’
Need to move before Christmas?
With many home buyers often contacting a removal company at the last minute, they now risk being without transportation if they fail to book well in advance of their moving date.
‘Don’t leave it to the 11th hour,’ warned Ian Studd.
‘This is an incredibly personal and stressful event where you’re inviting people into your private space to handle your most personal possessions, so book ahead and do your due diligence before choosing a removals company.’
Lyndsey Wallbank, of removal company Pickfords, advised customers to book a slot as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.
Industry professionals advise booking ahead and thinking about insurance cover for your belongings during transit
Wallbank also advised all home movers to consider insurance cover for their goods during transportation.
‘Handling goods increases the risk of damage and your contents insurance may not cover your furniture while it is in transit’ she said.
Charles Rickards advised home movers to choose a removal company with a good reputation by checking Google and Trustpilot reviews.
He also suggested checking that the company is a member of the British Association of Removers which sets a standard for quality and compliance for removals companies throughout the UK.
If you are trying to book a removal company at the last minute then don’t despair.
‘Customers might have to hold their nerve but keep calling removal companies to ask about last minute cancellations,’ said a spokesperson for Daleysmove.
Which packing service should homebuyers opt for?
Home movers need to be aware of an array of different packing services offered by removal companies and ensure the offering is suitable.
‘Customers can choose to pack themselves or the removal company can pack everything, or perhaps just their fragile items,’ said Lyndsey Wallbank.
‘If you are getting three quotes, make sure that you compare apples with apples and don’t choose just on price.’
Charles Rickards said that those opting to save costs by hiring a van and doing it without the help of professionals often tend to regret it.
‘If you are not used to the rigours involved, it might be a day you will want to forget,’ said Rickards.
‘Packing yourself beforehand and getting the removal company to move the boxes and all the furniture is a better option and will reduce costs significantly.’
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