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Top Questions for Moving Companies Before Choosing One

Home » Moving Tips » Top Questions for Moving Companies Before Choosing One

When you’re looking for a moving company, your budget should not be the only concern.  Many removalists have hidden charges, are unreliable and may do a no-show on moving day or are outright scammers.  There are many questions you should ask your movers to make sure they are not dodgy. Ask these questions to make sure you’re hiring a good removalist.

What are your rates?  How do you charge them?

A good removalist will make their rates readily available.  It should be quite clear what they charge per hour for what type of service and how many men.  They should also say if it includes or excludes GST.  Find out when the rate is charged.  Is it from the depot or from when they get to your door?  Do they stop charging when they finish the job or when they are back to base? 

A good follow up question is if there is a minimum and how they charge after that.  Some companies charge in 15-minute increments, some in 30 minutes and some round up to the full hour.  Make sure you know exactly how you will be charged.

V-move’s answer: Our rates are here (LINK TO PDF with rates)

They all include GST.  We charge the rates for the labour only (from when they arrive until they finish working and collect payment).  Our minimum charge is 4 hours for packing jobs, 1 hour for van jobs, 2 hours for 2 men and a truck, 3 for 3 men and a truck and 4 for 4 men and 2 trucks.  After the minimum booking we charge the rates pro-rata in half hourly increments.  We always round up to the next half hour.

When do you start charging your hourly rates?  Is there a minimum booking?

Some moving companies start charging their hourly rate from when they leave the depot until they return.  Others charge from when they start the job until they finish delivering the last item.  It’s good to know how this will work out so there are no nasty surprises.

If your job is small (under an hour) it’s good to know what the minimum charge will be.  This means that you have to pay that amount even if your job is completed under the minimum time.  Please remember that removalists may charge a different minimum based on the number of men or type of service.

V-move’s answer: we charge our hourly rates starting when the men arrive at your door to when they finish the delivery and are taking payment from you.

Our minimum charge is 1 hour for any van jobs, 2 hours for 2 men and a truck, 3 hours for 3 men and 4 hours for 4 men.  The minimum charge for packing only jobs is 4 hours.

Do you charge a call out or return to base fee?

When you get your quote, make sure that you know what the call out or return to depot fee is if there is any.  Not all companies charge this.  However, the ones that do should make it clear what it is.

V-move’s answer: We have fixed call out and return to base fees for all Sydney suburbs since we service every suburb from Blackheath to Tamarama, from Kurrajong Heights to Palm Beach and from Berowra Heights to Camden.  They can all be seen here: (link to call outs)

Can you give me a fixed price?

You might prefer a fixed price to an hourly rate to avoid the hourly rate from blowing up.  Asking for a fixed price is a reasonable request.  Many moving companies should be able to do this for you.

V-move’s answer: Yes, we do!  If you have a 3-bedroom house or larger we offer fixed quote inspections for free.  There is no obligation to book with us.  We also offer fixed price inspections for regional NSW moves (for example to Gosford, the South coast, etc) and for interstate moves to VIC, QLD, SA and ACT.  As for small jobs such as single item pick ups and deliveries we can give you a fixed price if you send us photos.

Can you email through a formal quote?

Whether the organisation paying for your move needs a formal quote or you want a written quote for peace of mind, you are entitled to one!  Some removalists only do verbal quotes either over the phone or in person.  They may or may not stick to these when the job is finished.  Even if you book an hourly rate, ask the moving business to email you the terms of the quote.  They should be able to do this if you need them to.

V-move’s answer:  Yes we can.  Please complete our quotation form here: https://www.vmove.com.au/get-quote/ and we will email a quotation or offer an inspection within 24 hours.

Do you have extra charges?  Any fees for a fuel surcharge, heavy or special items, stairs?

Beware of the hidden charges!  Nothing could be worse than assuming you know the hourly rate and how much your move should be, and your removalist slaps on a hidden fuel surcharge or stair fee!  Make sure you ask if there are any charges you should be aware of.  Check the quote and the Terms and Conditions, if the charges are not listed there, you can contest them.

V-move’s answer:  We have no stairs or fuel surcharge.  We only charge for special or heavy items.  These are the main ones:

  • Double door or French door fridges if they are going up any stairs (no fees apply)
  • Pianos ($150 for upright +$30 for every step up +$20 for every step down).  Different charges apply to baby grand and grand pianos.
  • Snooker or pool tables
  • Potted plants that weight more than 80kg and/or are taller than 2m.
  • Spas
  • Marble, concrete or stone items above 80kg
  • Over the balcony moves need 3 men and have an extra charge of $150.

If in doubt, please send a photo to [email protected].

How do I pay?  Can I pay cash directly to the driver/removalists?

Moving companies have such different policies when it comes to payment.  Some have a formal invoice process and only take payment through the office, others only take cash in hand.  It’s best to find out what the payment methods are and who to pay to before you move.  So, you can arrange payment in advance and not be caught out on moving day.

V-move’s answer: We accept cash or card (though all cards incur a 2% surcharge) paid to the driver or supervisor as soon as the job is complete.  If you want to pay by cash, please pay the driver or supervisor of your move.  We do not accept cash in the office unless you are buying and picking up boxes.

If a deposit has been made and/or you are a repeat customer, we also accept EFT transfers.  Flexible payment options are available for repeat and commercial clients. 

Are you insured?  What happens if there are damages?

Every decent moving company should have some form of insurance.  The most common types are business insurance and public liability insurance.  This insurance may not be comprehensive or fulfil all your needs.  Businesses often require workers’ compensation and other insurance.  Any removalist should also be able to cover damages if they caused them.  Under Australian Consumer Law, removalists are responsible to cover damages done when they move your things.   So even if they say they don’t have insurance, it doesn’t mean you can’t claim damages.  A good moving company will also have a system in place for you to claim damages and a policy on how to deal with it. 

V-move’s answer: We are insured and we do cover any damages caused by our men.  Our policy is simple: when you have a claim, take a photo and email it to [email protected] with a short description of what was damaged and how the men damaged it.  Our supervisor will talk to the team to find out what happened.  We will then assess the damage, find out if our men are responsible and offer compensation accordingly.  We strive to complete all damage claims within 24-48 hours of receiving the evidence. 

What happens if you cancel my booking or if your team doesn’t show up on moving day?

There are dodgy companies that cancel or do not show up on moving day.  Check that there is a contact person available for your moving day that will be responsible if there is a no show.  Also check what their policy is on cancellations and no-shows.  They should be able to compensate you if they aren’t able to move you on the day they had promised or send an alternate team as soon as possible.

V-move answer: We do not cancel bookings!  We only book available trucks.  If there is a breakdown or if a team member is not available, we will hire a truck or amend the service and give you a discount accordingly.  We never cancel jobs.  If for some reason your team is not there at the appointed time you can call us on 0474 220 573 and we will track your team for you.  They may be delayed by traffic or were unable to reach you as the phone number provided may be incorrect or disconnected.  If there are any delays, we hold ourselves accountable.  With V-move your move will happen! 

Where can I find your Terms and Conditions?

Moving can be a tricky business: there are high stakes if the movers are late, don’t show up or damage your property.  You want to know what they have in place and be assured that they will take care of you.  A good moving company will have its Terms and Conditions publicly available.  When looking for a mover, read the Terms and Conditions carefully.  Check that they have policies for the services they provide, cover for damages, any and all fees and charges, and anything else that is important to you.  Do not hire a removalist that does not detail their charges or fails to mention how they cover damages or claims they have zero responsibility for damage to your goods.

V-move’s answer:  Our Terms and Conditions are readily available here: https://www.vmove.com.au/terms-and-conditions/

Do you hire subcontractors?  Where do your subcontractors come from?

Many companies outsource labour to subcontractors.  This is not necessarily a bad thing.  There are big companies that hold their subcontractors to the highest standards.  They ask them to have all forms of insurance as well as bind them to a legal contract.  To ensure that the company you choose is a good one, make sure that they know where their subcontractors are coming from.  Also check that the company will still be responsible if the subcontractor doesn’t show up, damages something or changes the time of the move.

V-move’s answer: Yes, we do have subcontractors who we train and treat as part of the team.  Our subcontractors receive the same training as the rest of our team and are held to the same standard in terms of accountability and work ethic.  We choose subcontractors who we have worked with personally on large jobs from your local area.  Our insurance covers any sort of damage caused by our subcontractors.  When we use subcontractors, we do not subcontract away our responsibility to you on testing issues such as punctuality, payment and so forth.  We are still the final port of call on all issues when you choose us. Our subbies are so great that our customers can’t tell when it’s a vmove loyal or a vmove subbie. We treat them as part of the V-move family, warts and all!

Do my moving team get a break?  Will I get charged for their break?

On moving day, you want your team to be well rested but you don’t want to be charged for every smoking break they take.  Nor do you want your move delayed by an hour if they go out for lunch without warning.  Ask if the movers get a break and if so when it will be.  Is the response reasonable?  If so, book ahead!  On moving day, if your removalists take breaks outside what was originally agreed make sure you take this up with them or the office when making payment especially if you the charge is hourly.

V-move’s answer: our teams have their allocated break between the morning job and the afternoon job.  If you booked them for the whole day, we encourage the teams and customers to agree to a small break at a time that is mutually convenient.  We will not charge the hourly rate for any breaks under 15 minutes. 

What happens if the weather is terrible?  If it rains?  If it’s 40 degrees?

Sydney can have very unpredictable weather.  Between storms, bushfires and heat waves, your move can be adversely affected.  Nothing is more stressful than your movers cancelling on you last minute because it is raining.  Ask what their back up plan is.  If your move must happen that day, you want to make sure that the moving company will either compensate you or push through rain or shine.

V-move’s answer: Our policy is to never cancel.  We have trained our removalists to work through storms and through heat.  If there is heavy rain, please leave rags for the removalists to wipe their shoes when coming in and out of a house.  Please also give our men the time to wrap your belongings carefully to avoid damage.  If it is very hot, please turn on the air conditioning and allow the men to drink from their water bottles.  If the weather is so extreme that it is better not to move anything, e.g. storm flooding with a muddy sloped access, we do recommend postponing the move.  If this is the case, we will not charge a second call out fee only the hourly as if the move was being completed on the same day. 

Should we tip our removalists?

Some companies may have strict payment policies and request you don’t give any cash to the team.  You might offer to give them a 6 pack instead!

V-move’s answer: Only if they deserve it!  Of course, you can tip our men in cash or otherwise if they’ve done a good job.  They like to know when they’ve performed well, and so do we.  If our men have impressed you, please leave us a review on Google or Product Review.

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