Moving locally or abroad: get it right

All you need to know about changing base on the Côte d’Azur 

MovingRecent research from Bosch Power Tools claims the average Brit moves house about eight times in their lifetime (and, as indicated in a separate study, spends more than five years with a hangover) for a total cost of £28,952, or £75,972 for Londoners. Most Britons move 52km and settle for good about 100km from where they were born. This means that throughout their average life span, removal vans drive about 400km, packing and unpacking their boxes.

There’s more changing house in the US, where about 1 in 6 Americans move each year and, according to the Census Bureau, the average American moves approximately 14 times in his or her lifetime, while Canadians move about 10 times, and Japanese only four.

Regardless of where you fall in to the statistics, no matter which country you are moving in and no matter what distance, there’s no escaping the fact that moving
is the third most stressful life events after death and divorce.

It’s not just the logistics of moving from Point A to Point B that’s taxing, there
are boxes to be packed, internet providers to be switched, car registration to be changed, new schools to be looked at – and just what do you do with the kids on moving day? You can’t put them in a crate.

Putting it all in perspective, Roy Cox, well-known in the removal business on the Riviera, offered this: “A specialist antique dealer once said that possessions are only things and they will not love you back."

Step 1: Get organised

• Make a list of jobs that need to be done in weeks leading up to move.

• Get several quotes and then book movers in advance.

• Get rid of the clutter before moving. three piles: Keep - Maybe - Bin.

• Remember that you may be limited in volume of what you can put in rubbish. Plan to put out a little each day.

• Don't forget to get meter readers in both new and old places. Arrange for electricity before moving.

• For a list of who to inform about your move and when, see the "See also" box below.

• Make sure kids and pets are looked after on moving day. It will be stressful enough ...


So you have decided to hire a removal company for a large local or international move ...

Questions you need to ask. By Delahaye Moving

• Choosing a removal company to entrust your most valuable and sentimental belongings to is not an easy task, particularly since many appear to offer a very similar service. Firstly you should ask your friends and colleagues who they moved with and if they have any recommendations. If that fails, look in the Riviera Reporter.

• You should begin by obtaining 3 written quotations as removal costs can vary greatly, but do keep in mind that the cheapest is often not the best.

• When making the initial phone call to request a quotation, for an international move it is prudent to use a firm that is affiliated with the Le Déménageur Specialisé - Chambre Syndicale du Déménagement, British Association of Removers (BAR), Federation of European Moving Associations (FEDEMAC) or Association of International Movers (AIM) and preferably with a good knowledge of, and experience in, France. You may also ask for references from previous customers who have had a good experience with the company.

• When talking with the surveyor, it is critical that you identify and show all items which are to go, including contents of any attic, garage and garden shed. Ask “How will you pack my belongings? What packing materials will you use? How long will it take? If you have special requirements such as transport of pets or cars, can they handle this? Ask that all the promises they make are put in the quotation.

When you receive a quotation, read it carefully. Does it cover all of your requirements? Does it allow specific delivery dates (a cheaper groupage service can take months for delivery)? Does it include any special requests such as bespoke individual crates for fragile artwork or furniture? Does it include costs for any extras required such as outside elevators? Does it acknowledge any access difficulties or just say something like “assumed good access and ground floor delivery”? Does it include parking permits and any special permissions (elevator)? Do all the quotations offer the same service?

• If you need storage, you should also question the storage facilities being offered to you. How secure is the storage? Is it alarmed? Will your goods be containerised? Is it a solid brick building or a metal building where temperatures can vary more dramatically? Are there competent warehouse staff?

• Remember that service quality can vary dramatically between companies, whatever is promised. Check what you are told; ask to see any warehouse before you agree to store there to ensure the company actually has their own warehouse and it is in a good condition.

Local moves: DIY

Most removal companies agree, for a small, local move it’s cheaper to move yourself. So if you’re going from Menton to Mougins, consider this:

• Check household insurance to see if policy covers self-moves.

• Parking permits must be applied for at the mairie and there are often time restrictions in residences.

• Label the boxes so you know where to put them when you arrive at your new home.

• Pack to the top of the box, but not so it is bulging. Do not buy cheap cartons, they break, crush, and only cause damage.

• Don't be clever and fill a lampshade carton with books, you won't be able to lift it. Books should be packed in book boxes.

• Packing should correspond with the size and risk of the object. Regular furniture under blankets can be transported locally but high value items often require special-made cases or crates.

• Inspect access to your current and especially new address: a low bridge or tree, a tight turn.

• You can drive a 24m3 box van with a permit B driving licence but even though the van may hold all your belongings, it's often allowed only 1 tonne (or less) of payload, including driver and passenger. Fines can be high and you'd have to get another vehicle to offload the excess weight before moving on. Tail lifts decrease permitted weight by 400-500 kg.

• Weights can be and are often checked on the A8.

• Toll charges and petrol add expense to your move.


M-Day: The prep work

• A few common sense requirements you can do: defrost the fridge and dry it out, empty water from any other items to be transported, water damage can ruin other items.

• Put all the things you want to take with you in a safe and secure place: keys, passports, travel tickets, clothes etc so that they don't get packed into a box.

• Try and find installation and technical documents for anything that has to be dismantled.

• Note any items that cannot be transported due to laws/regulations, eg: foodstuffs, weapons, and make sure they are kept separate since if a shipment is stopped and found with illegal items, you may face delays or fines.

• When moving day comes and the representative and the men arrive show them round the house, explaining all the important issues you discussed and confirmed on the quotation.