Scores of people in SA move home every month, many of them using bakkies, trailers or a hired truck and their own manpower. But many others need the help of professional movers – especially if they are relocating to a different town or country.
“And if that’s your situation, you will want to find ways of keeping costs down while also ensuring that your belongings will be moved or stored safely and securely, says Gerhard Kotzé, MD of the RealNet estate agency group, who offers the following advice to those about to relocate:
- Get ready. At least two months before your move, start going through your home, garage, shed and storage unit for every single item that will not be needed in your new home and can be donated, sold or sent for recycling. “You should aim to reduce the number of items to be transported by at least half, because weight and bulk is a big factor in determining the price of a long-haul move – and there’s really no point in paying to transport something that you don’t use or that won’t fit into your new home.”
- Find a mover. Check out the Professional Movers Association website (www.pmamovers.co.za) for a list of reputable companies that follow the AMOSA quality standards for national movers. If you’re moving overseas, you should also look for a company that is a member of the SA International Movers Association (SAIMA). These companies are independently vetted financially and required to comply with a strict code of ethics, he says.
- Get quotes. You should contact three different moving companies and ensure that their representatives visit your home so they can make their estimates as accurate as possible. “You should also double check exactly what is included in each quote, such as insurance, for example, or packing materials, so that you can make a fair comparison.”
- Plan it right. Try not to plan your move for the end of a month or during December or January. “At other times of the month, or during winter, when the moving companies are not so busy, you will usually be offered a better rate,” says Kotzé.
- Start packing. Buy some moving boxes (preferably recycled) or reusable plastic crates, and wrap and pack as many small items as you can yourself. “This will reduce the time the movers have to spend packing, and hopefully reduce their charges as well. If you also number and colour-code all boxes and items of furniture to match a colour-coded plan of your new home, it will assist the movers to unload your belongings in the right rooms.”
And finally, he says you need to make sure that your possessions will be properly insured while in transit, as road and weather conditions, hijacking, robberies, strikes and riots can interfere with the performance of even the best moving companies.
“You will usually require a special policy for this, and will need to organise it with your short-term insurance company and pay the premium in advance of your move. Alternatively, if your moving company offers you a goods-in-transit policy, make sure it is compliant with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) Act. This is another good reason to make use of a professional, registered company.”