France is pretty close to the UK and there are plenty of removal firms going both ways - as well as several options: to use a BAR registered removals firm, a “man with a van” or simply rent a van yourself. All of this will of course depend on how much you have accumulated whilst living in France! Remember too that many people sell their French houses with furniture and other items included in the price, or they may negotiate a separate price for everything. It’s important to weigh up the cost of removing items against perhaps leaving them where they are and getting a few extra pounds in your pocket!
Planning early will help you make the right decision. Take a good look at what you are planning to take back and bear in mind not only costs, but the aggravation factor of, say, packing up everything yourself and under estimating the bulk – this is very easily done!
There are plenty of removals companies going to and from France every day. Recommendation is always a good starting point. Do you know of anyone who has used an overseas removals company that you could ask? If not, look for ones who are members of the BAR (British Association of Removers) overseas moving group and find out about their experience and knowledge of moving to France. Aim to get 3 movers to quote for you. They should visit your home and calculate volumes and packing requirements before offering you a written quotation. Make sure the company has its own vehicles and packers and ask if they offer a groupage rate. Sometimes firms double up if they have another assignment to the same region and this will keep the cost down.
Consider if you really need to take everything. Now is a good time to have a sort out and chuck out. This will save on removal costs as well as lessening the amount of packing. Some firms offer a service whereby unwanted items are transported to a local charity for you. Weeding out is always beneficial!
Rates quoted will be based on many factors: the size of the load, the distance they have to go, the type of items, the number of men required for the job. Supply as much detail as you can to the company including details of your new home and where items are to go once there. Then once you have decided exactly what you are taking, make an inventory for yourself. This allows the company to know exactly what they are taking and will help you when you unpack with each box properly numbered and ticked off against the inventory. It will also help in the event of an insurance claim since you will be able to prove the company had the items concerned.
Man with a Van
The advantage of employing a “man with a van” is that it will be much cheaper. If you are not taking back large bulky items but still feel you cannot do it all on your own, this is a good option. It is important to go on recommendation here. Make sure you know how far his service extends to and whether he supplies packing materials/boxes etc. Ask if you can speak to any of his previous customers. A good one will be more than happy for you to do this. Get a written quotation and make sure you know what is included. You don’t want him to simply drop your boxes at your front door back in the UK and drive off!
The DIY option
This is a good option if you are the organised type and do not have heavy items to move. Do however consider that costs can mount up, so you should really weigh up the pros and cons of this as opposed to hiring a “man with a van”. You may find the extra help as above is worth a few pounds more. Factor in the cost of van hire, petrol, tolls on French motorways, perhaps roping in friends to help who have to be fed and watered and the sheer hard work of it all!
To sum up, the process is pretty much the same moving back to the UK as moving to France. There are plenty of charity organisations such as Emmaus in France who will be happy to take your unwanted items. Also consider joining in a “vide grenier” or attic sale which are very popular in France – and will ensure that you only bring back items you really want to.
These days there are plenty of people moving back and forth from France and prices for removals are very competitive. We have a number of recommended removals companies on our books – do get in touch to find out more!