Preparing for the Move
Plenty of expats arrive in their new home with little more than a suitcase or two. Many, however, choose to bring more along, or their employers offer to pay for their move abroad. In these cases, consider working with an international removal company to alleviate the stress of moving abroad.
The price of moving depends on the how much is being moved, the value of the goods, and the distance they are to be moved. If possible, ship only the truly indispensable items and try to buy when you arrive to abate some of the cost.
Many necessary items can be tracked down once you arrive in Croatia on classifieds websites or from other expats who are looking to downsize before relocating again. A great resource is the foreign embassies in your new country, as they often put together newsletters with small classifieds sections for their communities.
Basic shipping costs are usually based on the volume (in cubic feet or meters) that your packed goods will take up in a shipping container. Volume is calculated by multiplying the length, depth, and height.
For example, a full size refrigerator/freezer that is 3 feet (.91 meters) wide, 2 feet (.6 meters) deep, and 6 feet (1.8 meters) high would be 36 cubic feet (1.01940 m3).
A standard two to three-bedroom house will require a 20-foot container, while I larger home might call for a 40-foot container.
One benefit of a larger shipment is that the greater the overall volume for shipment, the lower the rate per cubic foot, and vice versa.
Removal cost also depends on the point of origin and final destination. Certain regions are expensive despite a shorter distance. For instance, Europe tends to be relatively expensive to ship to.
Common Additional Costs
Note that the final price is almost always more expensive than even the best estimates. Be knowledgeable about basic costs and budget more than the cost of the estimate.
- Access at collection or delivery may be difficult so a smaller van has to be brought in or hired.
- Collection or delivery on higher floors, with or without a lift. This requires extra men and additional costs.
- Parking permits may be required at collection or delivery addresses (the customer usually has to arrange these - a local council will advise if they are necessary).
- The final destination might be several hundred miles from a port.
Shipping Options: Ground, Sea or Air
The three basic options are to ship by ground, sea, or air, or a combination of the three. Most companies offer all options, so inquire about the price difference and decide which method is best for you.
Moving with only ground travel is uncommon unless moving a short distance. This is much slower than flying, but also much less expensive. This method is often done in conjunction with sea or air shipping.
Shipping by sea may take several weeks, and sometimes up to two months, but costs are less than shipping by air. Generally, your possessions will be packed into containers at your home. They are then transferred to a port where they are loaded onto a steamship container, which is then loaded onto the boat as cargo. Upon arrival, the container must pass through customs. International movers will assist you with custom forms and clearing your goods.
Moving household items by air can be much more expensive, but it remains a popular option. You might find that shipping costs outweigh the price of staying in a hotel, renting a furnished apartment, or buying new furniture at your destination. Some companies will use containers to ship your goods, but generally, they will be transported in heavy cardboard boxes.
Airfreight costs are usually based on either the actual gross weight of the consignment or the volume weight, depending on the shipping company.
Evaluating Shipping Options
To decide which shipping method is best for you, consider:
- Volume - This is important for road and sea shipments.
- Weight and Volume - Evaluating the weight is important for air shipments.
- Final Destination - If you are moving across the globe (e.g. from the USA to Australia), you might want to ship the majority of your personal belongings by sea and a small portion of necessary items by air.
- Moving Schedule - How soon do you need to receive your personal belongings at your destination? Do you already have accommodation (temporary or permanent)? Will you need to store some items until you find permanent accommodation?
- Budget - Who is paying for your move? Your company or yourself? What is your allowance for the move?
To save money, you can ship your items with other people' belongings. Known as "group age," your personal belongings will be shipped with the personal belongings of one or more customers. While this offers considerable financial savings, it can take much longer. Usually, the shipment is sent to a central location warehouse with later shipments being made to a country specific destination.
If your shipment is large, or cost is not an issue, direct shipping is a better option. The truck will contain your personal belongings only and will go directly to its final destination without stopping at any other warehouse.
You-pack / We-drive Service
Another option when moving your goods is to do the packing yourself. This can save you money and ensure your items are given the care they deserve.
The process is simple:
- Find a company like 123 Movers or Moving Orbit that will work with international movers. Make sure that they will move your belongings to Croatia.
- A moving truck or storage container is delivered to your house for you to pack at your leisure.
- Once packed, you arrange for the company to pick up the truck or container.
- The company moves the truck or container to the new residence.
- You unload the truck and move into your new home.
- The company picks up the container or truck.
Finding a Reputable Company
Reading online reviews can help you choose a good moving company. Check out sites like Yelp, Qype, & MoverReviews.com, as well as Good Migrations, a search and review website focused specifically on international movers. Of course, asking friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family for recommendations is also a great idea.
Basic Questions to ask during your Meeting:
- How long has your company been in business? While a new company isn't necessarily a bad choice, experience is valuable.
- What is your safety record?
- Can you put me in touch with former customers? Good tour companies should have no problem supplying references.
- What is the full company name, address, phone number, and website?
- What equipment do you provide? How many movers am I guaranteed?
- Can I see proof of your local/interstate/international moving license and insurance?
- What paperwork is necessary? Do you handle customs for all items?
- What is your cancellation and refund policy?
It is advisable to get at least three estimates in writing. A verbal agreement is not enforceable, so make sure to have the estimate and details written down. By comparing multiple estimates, you will determine an average price for your move and find a company that best matches your needs. Getting estimates from a few companies will also give you an idea of the different services they offer. This can help you negotiate with your preferred company.
Use the Recommended Service Partner tool below to compare prices and receive free quotes.