House Clearances are usually requested when one of the following happens; Someone is taken into care, someone dies or moving and downsizing. There are other reasons, but theses are the top 3.
These can carry high levels of stress and unhappiness, particularly if you choose the wrong house clearance company and there are many to choose from! You may have lived in the house for many years yourself, and don’t want to see its contents wasted or dumped. You could be liable to a £5000 fine if rubbish is fly tipped and traced back to you and councils have developed new ways of tracing rubbish and will prosecute in the majority of cases.
So how do you find a reputable, insured, environment agency registered and responsible house clearance company? Fortunately there are ways to make this easily achievable and here are some tips to help you make the right choice when picking a house clearance company.
1. Using a search engine i.e. Google, Bing, etc and go visit some web pages and form a list of 5 that work in your local area.
2. Look for testimonial pages or customer reviews where you can verify good service levels. However, be aware that many people don’t write reviews, and some companies write their own! If you can’t see the reviews on Google, then Freeindex and Yelp are good places to look.
3. Speak to the house clearance company and arrange for them to visit you FREE of charge to discuss your requirements. If they refuse to visit free and just want to quote you over the phone, move on to the next one. Any reputable company would want to visit to see if there is any value in the items to be removed, to off set this against the cost of the clearance.
4. Ask to see some written testimonials when they visit you and phone some clients. But again, be aware that not all companies have this, or like potential customers calling established ones. If this is refused, don’t be offended.
5. Ensure they have third party liability insurance in place AND have a upper tier waste carriers licence issued by the environment agency. The latter is vital to ensure that you avoid fly tipping fines from disreputable clearance companies who dump your rubbish and don’t care if its traced back to you. Insurance is vital if you need to claim from them should they accidentally smash a window or put a foot through your loft. Ask for a copy of the insurance certificate, and you can check the status of their Waste Carriers here. If they are removing your rubbish, they need an upper tier license. If they only have a lower tier one, they can only transport their own waste.
6. Look at their clearance vehicle and the way they dress. If they have a scruffy old van and don’t look too tidy themselves its fair to say that their service will also fall short of your expectations. Tidy van and uniformed staff usually equal a tidy and efficient clearance.
7. Ensure you get a fixed and firm quote in writing e.g. email and at least 2 alternative quotes to compare it with. Don’t accept verbal quotes as these have a habit of increasing once they start the work. “Sorry ma’am, didnt realise there was quite so much so it will cost more” is a common tale. Any reputable company will gladly write you a quote on headed paper.
8. Don’t pay for the clearance until its finished. If they insist on payment up front, move on to another company.
9. If you think you have special items that could be worth something go and get them valued at a local auction house. Many auction houses do this for free. Don’t rely on the honesty of any house clearance company to tell you that vase in the loft full of string and spiders is a ming dynasty treasure. They won’t, or may not even know themselves! Not everyone knows how much everything is worth.
10. Finally, before they leave check that they only take what you have designated for clearance, and that it is all taken. Once they’ve departed it may be too late to get items back, or more taken.
Remember that anyone with a van and a strong back can call themselves House Clearance professionals and a good website isn’t a guarantee of good service or fair play. If they are a proper company, and have a proven track record, your chances are higher of having a successful clearance. Approach your house clearance with caution and armed with these tips, you should have a successful outcome.