Guide to Choosing a Removalist

Our comprehensive guide to sourcing quotes, avoiding hidden fees and choosing which removalist to trust.

Guide to Choosing a Removalist

Quick links: Requesting quotes   Avoiding hidden fees   Choosing a removalist

So, you’ve made the decision to move house and now you need a removalist but find yourself asking a number of questions; How do I hire a removalist? What’s the best way to get an accurate quote? How much will it cost me to move? How do I choose who to go with?

Moving your home can be an arduous task, however, with some planning and organisation you can help make your move a smooth and successful journey. At Muval, we believe requesting a quote shouldn’t be a difficult task, if you follow our guide to request a removalist quote you will be moving in no time. Our service does all of the below for you, but if you're going it alone, here's some information that might help.

What is the best way to get removalist quotes?

We're biased, but Muval is an excellent way to source instant quotes for removalists. Simply enter some basic information about your move, and our system will populate relevant quotes instantly from our list of pre-screened and vetted removalists in your area.

When is the best time to request a removal quote?

It’s somewhat easy to go online and request to receive quotes from various suppliers, or websites who send your details to a number of companies and ask them to quote for you, leaving enough time and planning in advance will really make things easier on you.

It’s important you provide yourself enough time to begin your preparations and start that time-consuming task of packing, organising your utilities etc! We recommend that you start requesting quotes about 6 – 8 weeks before your moving date, that way you have a detailed list of costs and have time to complete your preparations. Often the more notice you can give, the more you may be able to save money too.

The peak moving house season stretches from October to March, and prices usually go up during this period. So, if you have some flexibility with when you're looking to move, we recommend trying to move outside of peak period. Similarly, weekends can often attract higher rates, so try to move mid-week if you can!

What information do I need to include in my removal quote?

There are a number of items that need to be considered to ensure there are no hiccups when the removalist come to move your home. The key items to consider are locations, moving date, items to be moved, price, insurance and building access.

  • Locations – Be clear about where you are moving from and where you are moving to. Even if you don’t know the exact address you will move into, but you know the city or suburb, you can always get an indication of price based on that.
  • Addresses – Giving the actual address will mean the removalist will be able to provide an accurate quote. If the address hasn’t been secured, you can always opt for a storage option, whereby your goods can be moved and stored, until the point you are ready to move in, and your goods delivered to your address. If this is not likely to happen, you may be best using a shipping container storage method, and specifically requesting this so that your container can be removed from the truck, stored in a safe location, and then picked up and delivered to your new home.
  • Moving Date – Always state the day that you will be moving to your new house and provide other optional days if able. The more flexible you can be on your move date, the greater chance you have of saving money. Often, most removalists tend to ensure that the whole truck is utilised, and Muval supports the removalists by ensuring all the space on a given truck, for a given route is utilised. By adding on, or matching up with other people’s moves, there can be a great deal of savings to be had.
  • Items to be moved – Provide clear descriptions of how many boxes, the size of the boxes, furniture you're moving or bulky items and their dimensions (including estimated weight). Provide an inventory list with photos to help the removalist to quote accurately based on your belongings. Alternatively, using a simple inventory calculator (like the one on Muval) which takes the guess work out of how much you space you might need.
  • Price – Give your removalist an idea of your budget if you have one. Where this can help is if you have a price in mind, a good removalist will be able to optimise the best and most affordable way for you to move. Being flexible with dates, reducing the amount of space you need by selling things or donating them, packing things neatly and efficiently. All this will help with the price.
  • Insurance – Are you okay with the standard insurance or are you looking for a little more cover? In general, there are two forms of insurance cover for moving your goods. First, most reputable removalist companies will have ‘Goods In Transit’ insurance, which is a basic cover that protects your goods in the instance of a truck accident or similar. Secondly, is full insurance, which covers all of your belongings from any and all damage, including accidental damage. It is imperative that you both ask and receive a copy of the insurance policy terms. Don’t just assume your goods are covered, or that ‘Goods In Transit’ insurance will cover you also.
  • Building access – One of the biggest mistakes most people make is not providing a clear description of their homes. It is important to provide the removalist with these details to ensure they can actually complete the job on the day and are well prepared for what is required. Things to consider; do you live in an apartment? How can you remove bulky items from your home? Where can the removalist park? Does your house have stairs? If so how many? Where are the items being delivered to? What’s the best entrance point to your building? Are there any restrictions on your property? What are the heaviest items that need to be moved, and where do they need to go through?

What does good look like when requesting a quote?

To help provide an idea of what an excellent request for quote for moving to a new house looks like, please see an example below:


I am looking for an accurate quote to move our home, so I have collated moving inventory with images and quantities for your reference.

Could you please provide us a quote based on our inventory and the below information:

Location: We are relocating from Brisbane to Sydney

From Address: Unit 4, 456 Wyong Street, Caringdale 4170

To Address: 123 Burwood Road, Eastwood 2118

When: We are moving in November

Moving dates: 8th or 9th November

Items to be moved: Please see inventory list

Price: Please keep this as low cost as possible

Insurance: We would like additional insurance, please advise levels of coverage available

Building access:


  • Our unit is an older 2 storey building
  • We are on the second storey with stair access only – there are 10 stairs
  • It’s straight down and out onto the street 5 meters away
  • The entry to the building is accessed off Langham place


  • We are moving to a townhouse with on grade access
  • All items are being stored in a garage
  • No stairs and no ramps

Thank you for your time.

Avoiding hidden fees

It is highly recommended you understand the extent of the additional charges that you might be billed in addition to the original estimate that was provided. Make sure you clarify these with the removalist when you request your quote.

Look at the list below of the applicable charges that you should be aware of, this will help you ensure that the quote given to you by the local and Intestate removalists will hold.

Long Carry Charge

You’re done with the move. Now you want to enjoy your new home and perhaps make a start on some redecorating. Then you receive your final invoice and you wonder what the heck “long carry” is?

A long carry is a charge that may appear on your bill if the movers have a long distance to carry things from your home to the truck, or vice versa. For instance, during the move you’ll find that your movers can’t park their truck in front of your house. Because of this, the movers would either walk and carry your items. Wonder why you’re being charged?

The moving company will have a set distance that they will carry items with no additional charge. The reason why they charge this fee is to cover the lost time spent carrying your items. The longer the time that they require carrying your item, the longer your move will take and that might potentially cause cancelled jobs or movers showing up late to their next customers, and that would potentially mean a loss for the business.

The solution: Ask the local and interstate removalists during their visit the information regarding the set distance they have that would not incur an additional cost to you. Next is to ensure proper parking within the agreed reasonable distance is available at the time of the move.

Charges for inconvenient locations

If you are moving in a high-rise building or a walk-up apartment, you might need to check with the local and interstate removalist if there are any additional charges should they need to transport your goods via an elevator. Include this information in your moving checklist and write down a set of questions you should ask when getting a quote. The reason they charge this fee is because it requires the movers to take an additional step in the process of loading and unloading your items into and out of an elevator rather than moving directly from a home to the truck. The additional step takes longer and more energy on the part of the movers, so the fee is not unexpected.

The solution: Ask for a quote and relevant information then include this in your moving checklist as a guide for your moving budget.

Appliances service charge

When moving major appliances, customers are not aware that a simple favour of asking their movers to help them disconnect the appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators and washing machines and to then reconnect at the new home would cost them additional fees. The reason behind this is because those are not part of the moving job description. I suggest to carefully read the fine print in the contract that you sign so you will know how much these charges are.

Assembling/Disassembling Fees

If you want to save time and hassle from the influx of new things to do in your home, let the experts assemble and move your furniture.

Check if this is a service offered by your moving company and ask them for a quote. It’s easier to have people do the assembling and disabling of furniture such as book cases, beds, entertainment units, etc. so you can focus more on the bigger things around your new home.

The solution:  Keep an inventory of items that need to be disassembled. Again, ask and negotiate.

Bulky or Heavy Items Charge

If you have any items that require special handling or instructions, ensure that you have informed the local and Interstate removalists.  This is important not only because of the fee but the items will also need the necessary equipment and protective materials to have them moved. I’m sure you don’t want these items to be left behind and be shipped in two parts which would mean a greater expense.

Some items that may require special handling might include: a grand piano, chandeliers, or a pool table, or spa.

Extra service charge

Conduct your due diligence by reviewing the contract and talk to your movers to understand what is included in the amount that you are paying.

Each local and Interstate removalist differs in how they charge customers. They each will have their own policies, so you need to make sure that you have taken everything into consideration prior to making your booking.

P.S. Check the cancellation policies of the removalists companies too, this will help you avoid cancellation fees.

Choosing your removalist

Now that you've collected your quotes, it's time to make a decision about which removalist to move with. When you're trusting a company with all of your belongings, don't just leave it to price.

Check recent reviews in detail

While review websites like Product Review or Word of Mouth do a great job at giving us a star-rating for most services we might use, the devil can often be in the detail. Moving companies can undergo big changes in how they run their businesses in respond to external cost pressures. For that reason, a company with a good star rating might have made recent changes that mean their service has changed.

To ensure a company is still living up to the standard suggested in its overall star rating, take some time to read through recent reviews from customers on a third-party review site. When reading, pay special attention to the names of customers and their accounts. Customers who have taken the time to set up a profile on the third-party review site, leave their name and write a decent-length review are likely to be more credible. We recommend third-party sites, as reviews can be too easily manipulated on a company’s own website.

Ask if they own their own trucks

This one is important, particularly when using an interstate removals company to relocate. Labour costs are a significant part of a removal companies overhead costs. To minimize these costs, companies can often use subcontracted labour to complete jobs. This can be fantastic for you, because there are many owner-operators out there who do a great job and who take a considerable amount of care in their work. But, it can also mean that you don’t know who you’re going to get on moving day.

What to look for: if a company has a lot of 5 star reviews, but a decent amount of 1 star reviews as well (with nothing in the middle range of 2, 3 and 4 star reviews), it can be a sign that their service is inconsistent due to using subcontracted labour. There’s no harm in asking a company if their removals staff are on their payroll, and if they own their own trucks before booking with them.

Ask about complimentary storage

Many moving companies also have a storage aspect to their business. As a value-added benefit, many companies will throw in a few weeks of storage for free (particularly with interstate moves) if you ask for it. If there’s going to be a delay between your move out and move in dates, this is a good thing to know.

Make sure you check what sort of insurance is offered

Understand the types of insurances that are available for your move. Most companies will standardly include Goods in Transit insurance and Public Liability insurance. The former means you’re covered if the truck is involved in an accident or stolen; the latter means you’re covered in case the company is found to be legally liable for damages to your premises.

Both of the aforementioned insurances do not cover scratches or accidental damages to your belongings during loading and unloading or while the truck is traveling. To insure your items against accidental breakage, you’ll need to take out a separate removals insurance policy that covers this. However, it’s a good idea to check your home and contents policy first to see if it covers moving, as some list moving house as an “event” that is covered as standard.

To help in any insurance claim, make sure you have an inventory list or detailed summary of the items you are moving. If you have the time, pictures or a video of the items help too.

Book a backload

This one is specifically for people looking to move interstate. The cheapest way to move interstate is by utilizing backloading. Backloading is when your items fit in the available space on a truck or in a container travelling interstate, OR in the return journey of a truck that’s already gone one way. Companies like Muval make finding cheap interstate removals easy and save you the bother of calling multiple companies looking for one that has space when you need it. It’s also better for the environment and for road safety, because it’s helping to keep the number of trucks on the road to a minimum!

Article by: James Morrell
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