Moving companies are easy to find, but it can be difficult to find one you trust. Most offer several service packages from low-priced moving boxes from one place to another, to complete packages where they box, ship, and unpack. If you are really ready to do it yourself, many moving companies sell boxes and packing materials and rent moving trucks (véhicule utilitaire). Prices vary widely, so shop around and get estimates to find the best service for you.
The price of moving depends on the how much is being moved, the value of the goods, and the distance to be moved. If possible, ship only the truly indispensable items and try to buy when you arrive to abate some of the cost.
Basic shipping costs are calculated on the amount of volume (Cubic Feet) that your packed goods will take up in one of our shipping containers. Volume is calculated by multiplying the length x depth x height.
An example would be 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).
20 foot (6 meters) container total cubic capacity = 1172 cubic feet (33.2 m3)
40 foot container (12 meters) container total cubic capacity = 2392 cubic feet (67.7 m3)
A standard 2 to 3 bedroom house or condo should fit into 1 x 20ft container. A larger 4 to 5 bedroom house would need 1 x 40ft 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. A full load from the Spain to France can cost 5000. For comparison, a full load from the Australia to France is €6,700.
Note that the final price is almost always more expensive than even the best estimates. Be knowledgeable about basic costs and budget a buffer between what you think it will cost and what you can pay.
The three options are to go by ground, sea or by 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 then flying, but much less expensive. This method is often done in conjunction with sea or air shipping.
To move by sea takes about 6-8 weeks, but costs less then traveling by air. If moving by sea, your household goods will be packed into containers that are usually loaded at your residence. Once your home is packed into the containers, they are then shipped by rail or transport to the port where they are then loaded on to a steamship container. The container is then loaded on the boat as cargo. Once your goods have arrived in the new country, the container is unloaded and must pass through customs. International movers will be able to help you with the custom forms and are responsible for clearing your goods.
Moving household items by air is becoming increasingly popular, despite a much higher price tag. Heavy cardboard boxes are normally used to pack your goods, although some air freight companies will use containers. You may find that shipping items by air is less expensive than renting a furnished place or living in a hotel.
Airfreight is calculated on either the actual gross weight of the consignment or the volume weight, whichever is the greater. Weight is expressed in kilograms. To calculate the volume weight of a given item we multiply the length, breadth and height in centimeters and divide by 6000 to obtain the volume weight in kilos. For household goods the volume weight generally exceeds the gross weight.
To save money, you can ship your items with other people's belongings. Known as "groupage", 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 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.
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:
Feedback from people who have used the company are invaluable. While online reviews can easily be found by googling a company, you can trust other expat experiences and ask questions on the forum France. MoverReviews.com is a specialized site that also offers helpful information and reviews. Remember to speak with people you know like friends, neighbors, co-workers, and family as they are all valuable resource. Ask around to find out which companies have the reputation as the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Though there are many offers for movers online, but it is often in your best interest to establish face-to-face contact with your moving company. This will help you avoid the most common scams. In addition, most companies offer an online estimate, but that number is only a rough idea of the final cost. By working with a company in your area, you can set-up appointments for a house visit to do an in-home estimate that will be far more accurate.
Establish if the company will be doing the move themselves, or if they will be sub-contracting out the job. In general, avoid hiring a moving broker. Most consumer protection laws related to the movement of household goods only apply to Motor Carriers and not to Household Goods Brokers.
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 find what an average price for your move will really be, and find a company that best matches your expectations. It will also inform you of the different offers and advantages different companies offer. This can provide you room to negotiate with the company of your choice.
As any expat knows, the key to a successful move is all in the preparation. By readying yourself for any possible bumps in the road ahead of time, you can rest assured you’ll be prepared to handle anything moving throws at you.
Removal Services Scotland has put together ‘The Ultimate Family Moving Guide’ in partnership with EasyExpat.com - so whether you're a moving pro or a first timer, our handy guide can take the stress out of your next move to France.
When you move internationally you are taking a big step. Lots of things are changing and you have a million things to think about and take care of. If you are able to select a top of the line moving company that moves for a modest price, it can take a big weight of your shoulders in busy times.
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