What are your options for removals to France?
As soon as you know that you are relocating, you will need to consider the most suitable way of organising removals to France. Given the relatively small distance between the two countries, you have a few choices here: you could use a British Association of Removals (BAR) registered moving firm, a small ‘man with a van’, or even take the option of renting a van yourself.
Choosing the right option for you
The key to choosing the right option for removals to France comes from planning early. You need to make sure you know exactly what you want to take with you.
Assess the costs of each option considering this, as well as the amount of time you will need to spend packing goods if you do choose to do this yourself. It can be very difficult to know exactly how much space your goods are going to take up. Even if you don’t take the heaviest goods with you (beds, kitchen appliances, for example), you still might find that everything takes up a larger van than you think. If you do decide to take the ‘DIY’ removals to France option, perhaps renting a larger van than you think you need could be a good option.
Decide exactly what you need
It’s also really important that you consider all your belongings and work out whether you actually need to take everything with you. Now is the time to sort out your clothes and possessions and have a good sort out. After all, you are starting a new life in France and you may well decide to purchase new furniture items. You will need to balance the cost of purchasing new furniture against the cost and effort of transporting the goods to France. France has many modern furniture companies and, of course, the ever present Ikea. This is as well as brocantes (flea markets) and second hand furniture stores and numerous vide-greniers (attic sales).
It’s important to assess the costs of each option, as well as the amount of time you will need to spend packing goods if you do choose to do this yourself.
Using a moving company
If you decide that you wish to use a moving company to relocate your belongings to France, you will have plenty of options to choose from. The best place to start will usually be personal recommendation. It’s a good idea to speak to anyone else that you know that has already done removals to France – or failing that, search online forums to see what people say about specific choices.
We would definitely recommend that you only look at companies registered with the BAR, or the International Association of Movers (IAM). We would recommend speaking to at least three different companies.
Getting a quote for removals to France
To receive a quote from a moving company, they will send a surveyor to your home to assess the belongings that you want to include. They’ll calculate volumes and packing requirements before a written quotation is issued. The ‘survey’ is also an opportunity for you to find out more about each company. Important things to cover include:
- Do they have their own vehicles and packers?
- Do they offer a groupage rate (including two lots of belongings in one haulage to the same region to keep costs down)?
- What kind of insurance do they offer?
The quote you will receive for your removals to France will be based on many factors:
- Size of the load
- Distance you’re shipping them
- Type of items
- Number of staff involved
It’s really important that you supply as much information as you can, including the details of your new address and which room your goods should be moved into.
This will be hugely beneficial when the company is packing and unpacking your goods against an inventory. Likewise, it’ll be handy against an insurance claim, if this unfortunately becomes necessary. Moving between countries is a huge challenge, but having an experienced company to help you will go some way to making it easier.
An experienced removals company will take the worry out of the transportation of your goods when you have so much else to think about.
Using a ‘Man with a Van’
This will be a much cheaper option than using a traditional moving company. It can be advisable to take this option if you are not taking large or bulky items, but you still feel that you cannot do it alone.
When choosing the right ‘man with a van’, it’s important to ask for recommendations. This could either be from friends or on forums. You should also thoroughly assess their credentials – including their insurance and their experience of removals to France. Ideally, they will have driven in France before.
Find out as much detail as you can about the moving service provided – how far does this go? Will packing materials/boxes be provided? Can you speak to any of their previous customers? If you do decide to go down this route, do make sure that you have a written quotation that includes every part of the service you will be provided. After all, it wouldn’t be great if they simply drop your boxes at the front door of you new home in France, and then drive off.
The DIY option
If you are incredibly organised and are not taking too much, doing the removals to France yourself can be a good choice.
However, before you begin you must consider all of the costs that may arise – above and beyond the cost of the van and petrol. It’s also a good idea to think about the added stress that may come from doing everything yourself. Could some additional help be worth paying extra?
Despite this, if you decide that this option is for you, you can make the journey with all your belongings into a bit of a holiday and explore your new country on your way to your new home. And, of course, you will feel real satisfaction when you have safely moved all your goods to your new French home.
Buying a property in France is extremely exciting, but it can be nerve-wracking: in what ways is the process different to the UK, how do you cope with the language difference, what fees should you expect and just who is the notaire? That’s why we’ve put together our France Buying Guide, to help you through the process, step by step.
Written by experts, it covers every stage of buying, from viewing to contracts and fees. Get your copy of the French Property Guide by simply filling in the form below.