Removal companies traditionally have a hard job of packing and moving thousands of cubic metres of furniture, books, clothes and china and glassware each year. After Estate and Letting Agents, Conveyancing Solicitors, Property Surveyors and Mortgage Lendors, Removal Companies are the 5th supplier to be contacted by customers when moving home, and they are very often forgotten about until the last minute when the house move is only a few days away.
The survey revealed that furniture removal staff, have a unique insight into the property industry, due to the fact that they have to deal with problems at the very end of the property purchase process.
Problems such as end of the month completions, late hand over of keys, uncertainty of the exact completion date until the last minute, busy Friday completions and many other complications were cited as the most problematic issues experienced by removers on a daily basis.
The following graph shows the problems highlighted by removal companies when asked, "Which of the following problems do you or have you experienced whilst working in the removals industry?"
Problems and issues between exchange of contract and completion
75.9% - Short Notice Completions
79.3% - Late hand over of Keys to new property
55.2% - Same day exchange and completion
55.2% - Completion falling through at last minute
75.9% - Delays with exchange and completion
86.2% - Uncertanty of when the completion will likely take place
82.8% - Busy Friday completions
89.7% - End of the month rush of completions with several clients at once
Nicki Sutherland of Monkey Removals in Lincoln who took part in the survey, commented, "Moving is very stressful and all of the above issues make it so upsetting for some of our customers. From a business point of view, it has the potential to cost us time and money. The most prominent thing however is the distress solicitors cause to their clients."
As well as the extra time and effort it takes to make sure the customer's move goes as smoothly as possible when problems occur, the extra costs to the customer can sometimes cause the most stress. Stephen Terry of Anglo French Euro Removals in Maidstone, Kent says, "One client we currently have in storage has had 3 provisional moving dates booked with our company and had to cancel all of them at late notice. The main problem is finding something else for the guys that were booked in to conduct the move. Also this client is elderly and getting more stressed by the day!"
Jane Finch, a Relocation Consultant and owner of a new social network for the Property and Relocation Industry called Moving etc... TV says, "Because most people don't have their completion day confirmed until the exchange of contracts, this causes removers many logistical problems which can quite easily be avoided. With better communication between conveyancing solicitors and the customer's removal team, some of the above issues could be reduced."
Jane points out that many local councils now require 7 - 14 days notice to suspend parking outside a property and with only a couple of days notice to book a move it is not always possible to plan properly. Therefore customers should try to book their removal company at least 2 - 3 weeks in advance of their moving date, if possible. This potentially means requesting this same period of time between exchange and completion from your solicitor. That way it will give you enough time for your movers to plan and help you coordinate the logistics of your relocation from one property to another.
Finch admits that there are many problems that need to be sorted out internally within the removals industry, but many more problems are caused because of the knock on effect of the chaotic buying process. "For example, removal companies are often short staffed when fully booked or have too many staff when not busy. The knock on effect of some of the problems highlighted can cost both the remover and the client a great deal, both in time and money. Removal companies can't plan ahead because the job doesn't book until just a few days before completion. Then lots of customers all want to book for the same day, meaning movers have to let customers down!"
One remover based in Scotland commented in the survey, "The majority of our moves are booked with less than two weeks notice, 65% are booked with less than 1 weeks notice. This results in more removals being undertaken without a survey, so no chance to check parking, volume or access, etc."
Another major problem facing removal companies is the regular occurance of late hand over of keys sometimes even after 4 or 5pm on completion day. Berin Riley of Move-it Channelmoving in Ashford, Kent says, "Frequently, (late hand over of keys) causes financial losses, as clients rarely will agree to extra charges after the event. Unloading at 10pm is not uncommon in these circumstances but we need the vehicle to be emptied to honour the next day's bookings."
Other property professionals and the general public might think that removal companies are just moaning about the problems and not dealing with them properly, but according to Russell Start, the Managing Director of Pickfords Removals, the largest removal company in the UK, these are very real issues which need to be addressed and not overlooked any longer. "25 years ago, the time between exchange and completion of contracts used to be anywhere between 14 - 28 days. This gave the customer enough time to plan their move, notify their utility and telephone suppliers, book their removal company and move in with relative ease. Now we very often see exchange and completion happening on the same day, which can create operational challenges and stress, anxiety, and sometimes additional costs to the client."
The results of the survey prove that a longer period of time between exchange and completion is required, along with clarity and transparency, which are desperately needed in the property market. Finch suggests that better planning and awareness is needed by conveyancers, who might not realise the impact of rushing through a property completion for their client.
Moving etc... who carried out the survey would like to see several changes made within the property transaction process so that it starts working for everyone, both customer and supplier alike. If you would like to discuss the survey details or possible changes to the property industry further, please contact Jane Finch at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Moving etc... TV was created so property and relocation professionals can talk openly about the property industry, offering best practice tips for buying and selling, market out their products and services whilst giving hints and tips for moving home.