Eight of the best luxury home removal firms
There is certainly no shortage of removal firms out there and finding a suitably experienced high-end operator is a task in itself, so here’s eight of the best, together with insider tips to make sure your next move goes hitch-free…
The Rolls Royce of removal firms, Cadogan Tate has been around for more than 40 years offering what it calls “premium house and office relocation services”. Its offices in London, Paris, New York, Miami, Los Angeles and the Cote D’Azur endorse its prestigious reputation favoured by many wealthy clients. In January this year, the company added the Obamas to this exclusive list, when one of the company’s branded vehicles was spotted outside the family’s newly-rented 8,200-square-foot property in Washington DC.
Top Tip: Delicate or fragile paintings usually need bespoke packaging suitable for the size and condition of the work. Ensure you get art specialists to check your paintings before deciding on the appropriate packaging and transportation.
T: +44 (0) 20 8108 7145
By far the oldest firm on this list, Bishop’s Move has been around since 1854. The sixth generation of the Bishop family continues to run the company, which over its 160-plus years has moved prime ministers, art and antiques for the V&A Museum and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby in 2013. The Archbishop’s move to his official Lambeth Palace residence took around a week to complete, requiring 12 removal men using four vehicles.
Top Tip: You should always wrap antique silverware in acid-free paper to avoid tarnishing. Similarly, when packing paintings, card should be placed between the painting and the packing crate, or grease-proof-style paper when packing oil paintings.
T: 0800 107 8422
Ward Thomas Removals
Ward Thomas Removals was set up 30 years ago by Anthony Ward Thomas with just one van and a whole lot of determination. Anthony founded the company after being unable to find a remover who could do a good job and introduced high standards and devotion to service to the removals industry, which was not previously known for such qualities. Ward Thomas Removals operate across London, the home counties and the UK as well as Europe and even further afield.
Anthony is also the founder member of the Master Removers Group, which aspires to offer the very best standards when it comes to moving. Customers can rest assured that Master Removers have a proven record of absolute competence, in-depth knowledge of the technical aspects of moving and storage, as well as an established local reputation.
Top Tip: Book your removals company as early as possible. Not only will this help guarantee you are able to move on the specific day you require, it will also ensure that you are booking with the right company. Look out for the BAR (British Association of Removers) logo – the difference between a professional BAR-approved outfit and a part-time man-and-van is vast.
T: 020 7038 0449
Simply Removals is the one of the youngest companies on this list, having been going for only a decade. However, in this brief period, they’ve moved David Cameron and his family both into and out of Number 10; (it took more than five removal vans to help the former PM move out last year).
Earlier this year they helped move in the owner of a house boat moored in St Katharine Dock by Tower Bridge. The property was valued at £3.7 million – the most expensive house boat in Britain. It came with a table tennis table, trampoline and table football the previous owner had left behind.
Simply Removals has over 100 staff, all trained to take the utmost care during packing and transportation.
Top tip: It’s vital to treat all belongings as priceless, which means wearing gloves where necessary and packaging valuables safely and securely.
T: 020 3613 0943
For those moving in or to the North East of England, Ramshaw Transport covers the entire region, from York to Durham, the Humber to the North York Moors to the Pennines, and everywhere in between. The company is also experienced at moving families from London.
Operational Director, Andrew Smith says his proudest moment was when he was hired to move the 100,000 antique books from the library of Durham Cathedral during a restoration project. “The books were so delicate that we had to build dedicated frames to transport them so there was no risk of damage. After all, some of these books are unique and don’t exist anywhere else in the world.”
It took the Ramshaw crew 10 working days to carry out the move, using between 12 and 14 members of staff every day.
Top Tip: Antique books should be packed tightly and with plenty of padding to ensure they don’t shift in their boxes during transit. They should also only be handled with appropriate cotton gloves to avoid the acid in packers’ skin causing any damage to the paper.
T: 01388 832 997 /0800 772 0701
Founded in 1958 by a Norfolk auctioneer named Noel D Abel, Abels remains true to its roots. The company still specialises in transporting antiques, from full house moves down to transporting valuable items from the auction house to your property wherever you are in the UK. In 1985, Abels expanded to Hertfordshire to serve the London market; in 1988, they received the Royal Warrant. As property guru and former actress Fiona Fullerton once wrote: “Abels are the only removals company with the Royal Warrant, having moved various members of the Royal family into and out of certain palaces and offices.”
The company is also one of the few removal companies to receive an Investor in People Award, testament to just how seriously it takes staff training. As Fullerton adds: “One gets the impression that Abels breeds loyalty in its staff. They pride themselves on the superior training their staff receive and the charming, diplomatic skills of their men.
“They understand the emotional upheaval that the customer is experiencing and do everything they can to alleviate that stress.”
Top tip: Start planning your move as early as possible. That way, you’re not left phoning in a rush and trying to book tradespeople or parking too late in the process. Don’t forget that London boroughs need plenty of notice to book a three bay space – the amount of space needed for most standard moving vehicles.
T: 01842 816600
Four Square Removals
Four Square is a small removal firm operating out of offices in Henley on Thames and West London. Proof that you don’t always need to hire an old or expensive firm for your move, Four Square’s regular clients include a world-famous TV chef and the Houses of Parliament – where the company’s vans are subject to sniffer dog inspection before they can enter.
Of the TV chef, owner Steve Thomas says, “They just came into our storage depot one day asking about moving boxes. We got talking and we ended up doing all the moves for their kitchen goods business.” Steve can’t name the chef, because anonymity is important for this client, who is often hounded by the press.
Top tip: Many wealthy clients value anonymity. If that includes you, consider hiring a firm that doesn’t have branded vehicles. That way, the media will find it harder to discover who’s doing your move. As a bonus tip, Steve adds that any good removals company should increase the amount of their Goods in Transit insurance for a high value move. So be sure to ask how much they’re covered for and whether they’re prepared to increase that coverage for you if you need more.
T: 0118 934 5994
Fantastic Removals trades on its reputation for convenience. You can reach them 24/7, even on weekends and bank holidays. Insurance is included in their quotes. Every one of their removal vans comes equipped with GPS tracking, while every removal porter they hire is fully vetted and CRB checked.
Top Tip: Packing fragile items can be difficult. If you’re electing to do it yourself, gently shake the box as you pack it. If the contents move, add more padding until they stop moving when you shake. Remember to tape the boxes shut. And to fill the boxes to the top – with more padding if necessary – so the top won’t cave in. Alternatively, be sure to ask your removal firm about how well they train their staff for packing fragile items.
T: 020 3746 7798