Hire a van or use a removals company… what are the advantages of renting your own van when moving home?
You can hire a van for all sorts of reasons; you may have to transport goods, or decided to clear your shed or garage. You might be carrying out renovations and prefer to take the rubbish to the tip in a van rather than going through the rigmarole of booking a skip. In the UK, you can hire vans of all shapes and sizes to suit your needs, with most of them available on a daily, weekend or weekly basis. You can even hire certain vans by the hour if you only have a single load or a very short trip.
But what about moving home? Is it a good idea to hire a van or would it be better to use a professional removals company? There are benefits and drawbacks to both, the obvious ones being:
• Hiring a van is the significantly cheaper option
• A removals company knows exactly what they’re doing, meaning less stress for you
• Hiring a van means you have total flexibility of when you move and how long it will take
• A removals company will have all the necessary packing materials, equipment and insurance to keep your belongings safe in transit
Hiring a van is certainly going to be the cheapest option when moving home. If you are planning a small move to a property quite close to your existing home you are probably talking about spending £750 on a removals company, in comparison to hiring a tail lift van for about £160 for two days. Yet there are things you should consider in order to make your move as simple and hassle-free as possible.
Bear in mind that if you opt to ‘move-it-yourself’ that is exactly what you’ll be doing. There won’t be any experts waiting in the wings to help you pack or load and unload the removals van. You will have to buy your own packing materials and ensure that any precious items are carefully packed and protected during transit.
Unlike a removals company, you won’t have any goods in transit insurance, so if anything breaks, you’ll either have to learn to live without it or spend money to replace it. How many times have you heard about people accidentally closing the boot on their flat screen television?
You’ll need help
Unless you are a large – and strong – family, you will probably have to rope friends and relatives in to help you move. Bear in mind that unless you are planning on hiring a van and moving on a weekend, you might struggle to find people able to take a day off work to help.
The majority of us will have a lot of belongings to move so you may have to do a couple of trips to and from houses before you can call it a day, which means that if you are moving hundreds of miles away, the best option will be a removals company.
It takes planning and teamwork to ensure that things are put in the hire van on one side, taken out carefully on the other and put in the right place. Label your belongings carefully or you will be spending a lot of time manoeuvring around boxes, furniture and clothing that have been dumped in the nearest available space rather than being placed in the rooms they belong.
Make sure you park as closely as possible to your property to minimise both damage to your goods and tiredness. You’ll want to load large furniture first followed by any other furniture. It goes without saying that heavy boxes should be placed at the bottom, with lighter boxes on top. Certain fragile items may be better transported in a car, limiting the possibility of breakages.
Have you booked your hire van?
Don’t simply assume that you can call a hire company and get a suitable van for the day you want; many hire companies will only have a small selection of the larger vans in their fleet so make sure you book your hire van well in advance.
Get used to the hire vehicle
Not many of us will have driven such a large vehicle on a regular basis, so it is always worth taking it out for a test run after you pick it up from your chosen hire company. Bear in mind any low bridges or narrow roads that you may come across and if necessary, plan an alternative route.
Always pay attention when reversing into a parking space or manoeuvring into narrow roads or tight spaces and pay attention to your mirrors and any blind spots; if possible, ask someone to act as a guide to help.