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Home » Avoid Moving Nightmares: How to Find a Credible Overseas Removals Company

Avoid Moving Nightmares: How to Find a Credible Overseas Removals Company

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Moving abroad is an exciting but challenging endeavor. One of the most crucial aspects of an international move is selecting a reliable overseas removals company to transport your belongings safely and efficiently. With numerous options available, finding a reputable company can seem daunting. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the essential steps to ensure you choose a trustworthy and professional overseas removals service.

  1. Start Your Research Early

Begin your search for an overseas removals company at least 3-4 months before your intended move date. This will give you ample time to research, compare options, and make an informed decision without feeling rushed.

  1. Seek Recommendations and Read Reviews

Personal recommendations are invaluable when choosing a removals company. Ask friends, family, or colleagues who have moved internationally for their experiences and suggestions. Additionally, consult online forums and expat communities for insights from those who have recently relocated to your destination country.

Read reviews on independent platforms such as Trustpilot, Yelp, or Google Reviews. Look for patterns in both positive and negative feedback, paying attention to comments about reliability, communication, and handling of belongings.

  1. Check for Proper Accreditation and Memberships

Reputable overseas removals companies often belong to professional associations that maintain high standards for their members. Look for companies affiliated with organizations such as:

  • FIDI (Fédération Internationale des Déménageurs Internationaux)
  • IAM (International Association of Movers)
  • BAR (British Association of Removers)
  • AMSA (American Moving and Storage Association)

These associations typically require members to adhere to strict quality standards and codes of conduct.

  1. Verify Licensing and Insurance

Ensure the company is properly licensed to operate in both your current country and the destination country. For international moves, companies should have an FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) number if operating in the United States.

Adequate insurance coverage is crucial. Ask about the company’s liability coverage and whether they offer additional protection plans for your belongings during transit.

  1. Assess Experience and Expertise

Look for companies like Burke Bros Moving Group with extensive experience in international moves, particularly to your specific destination country. An established track record in handling overseas relocations indicates a better understanding of customs regulations, documentation requirements, and potential challenges.

  1. Request Detailed Quotes from Multiple Companies

Obtain quotes from at least three different overseas removals companies. Be wary of estimates provided without a thorough assessment of your belongings. Reputable companies will typically offer:

  • A free in-home survey or video survey to assess your items
  • A detailed, itemized quote outlining all services and costs
  • Clear explanations of any additional fees or potential charges

Compare quotes carefully, considering not just the price but also the scope of services offered. The cheapest option isn’t always the best when it comes to international moves.

  1. Understand the Services Offered

Different companies may offer varying levels of service. Determine what you need and ensure the company can provide it. Common services include:

  • Packing and unpacking
  • Customs clearance assistance
  • Storage options (at origin or destination)
  • Vehicle shipping
  • Pet relocation services
  • Specialized handling for valuable or fragile items
  1. Inquire About the Moving Process

A reputable company should be able to clearly explain their moving process, including:

  • How they pack and protect items
  • The expected timeline for your move
  • The method of transportation (sea freight, air freight, or a combination)
  • Tracking systems to monitor your shipment
  • The delivery process at your destination
  1. Evaluate Communication and Customer Service

Pay attention to how the company communicates with you during the quote process. Are they responsive, professional, and willing to answer your questions? Good communication is crucial for a smooth international move.

  1. Check for Hidden Fees

Be cautious of companies that provide vague or incomplete information about costs. Ask about potential additional charges such as:

  • Customs duties and taxes
  • Port charges
  • Handling fees
  • Storage fees
  • Insurance costs

A reputable company will be transparent about all potential costs upfront.

  1. Understand the Claims Process

Despite best efforts, damages can occur during international moves. Ask about the company’s claims process:

  • How long do you have to file a claim?
  • What documentation is required?
  • How long does the claims process typically take?
  • What is their policy on reimbursement or replacement?
  1. Consider Storage Options

If you need storage services, either at your origin or destination, ensure the company can accommodate this. Ask about their storage facilities’ security, climate control, and access policies.

  1. Examine the Contract Carefully

Before signing any agreement, carefully review the contract. Pay attention to:

  • The scope of services
  • Pricing and payment terms
  • Cancellation policies
  • Liability and insurance coverage
  • Delivery timeframes
  • Any clauses about unforeseen circumstances or delays

Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification on any points you don’t understand.

  1. Prepare for the Survey

When the removals company conducts their survey (in-person or virtual), be prepared to:

  • Show them all items you intend to move
  • Discuss any items requiring special handling
  • Point out items you won’t be taking
  • Ask questions about the packing and moving process
  1. Check for Red Flags

Be cautious of companies that:

  • Demand large deposits upfront
  • Refuse to provide a written estimate
  • Use high-pressure sales tactics
  • Have a history of name changes
  • Lack a physical address or proper contact information
  1. Plan for Customs Regulations

A reputable overseas removals company should be knowledgeable about customs regulations in your destination country. They should:

  • Provide guidance on restricted or prohibited items
  • Assist with necessary documentation
  • Offer advice on how to minimize potential customs delays or issues
  1. Consider Specialized Services

If you have unique items such as antiques, artwork, or musical instruments, ensure the company has experience handling these. Some may offer specialized crating or packing services for delicate items.

  1. Understand Transit Times

International moves can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the destination and method of transport. A reputable company should provide a realistic timeline and keep you informed of any changes or delays.

  1. Prepare for the Unexpected

Even with the most reputable company, international moves can face unforeseen challenges. Discuss how the company handles unexpected situations such as:

  • Strikes at ports
  • Natural disasters
  • Political unrest in transit countries
  • Pandemic-related restrictions
  1. Trust Your Instincts

Finally, trust your instincts. If something feels off about a company, even if you can’t pinpoint why, it’s often best to explore other options. Your peace of mind is crucial when entrusting your belongings to an overseas removals company.


Finding a reputable overseas removals company requires thorough research, careful consideration, and attention to detail. By following these steps, you can significantly increase your chances of selecting a reliable partner for your international move. Remember, the right company will not only transport your belongings safely but also provide valuable support and guidance throughout the complex process of relocating abroad. Take your time, ask plenty of questions, and choose a company that instills confidence and trust. With the right overseas removals company by your side, you can focus on the exciting aspects of your international adventure, knowing your possessions are in capable hands.