Moving to a new home can be an exciting yet stressful time. With so much to organize, one of the most important decisions is choosing the right moving company in South Africa to safely transport your belongings.
But with so many options, how do you select the best mover for your needs?
Factors to Consider Moving Companies in South Africa
Here are the key factors to consider when researching and comparing moving companies in South Africa:
Reputation and Reviews
The reputation of a moving company says a lot about the quality of service you can expect.
Start your search by asking friends, family members, and colleagues if they have recommendations or warnings about specific companies.
You can also check out online reviews on platforms like HelloPeter to see feedback from past customers.
Look for movers with consistently good ratings and reviews over a long period of time. Be wary of companies with no reviews or a lot of very negative feedback.
Experience and Specialization
An experienced moving company that specializes in certain types of moves will be better equipped to meet your needs.
For example, if you’re moving to or from a high-rise building, choose a company that regularly transports items up and down many flights of stairs or elevators.
Ask about the types of moves they have expertise in, such as local vs long-distance, office relocations, piano transport, etc.
An experienced mover is less likely to encounter unexpected problems.
Consider what services you need from packing supplies and packing/unpacking assistance to storage and furniture assembly/disassembly.
Then choose a moving company that offers all the services you require.
The right mover for you also depends on how hands-on you want to be. Full-service companies will handle the entire move so you don’t have to lift a finger.
Others provide the truck and movers but no packing materials or labor. Know your needs.
Licensing and Insurance
Legitimate moving companies should be licensed and insured. This protects you in case of damages, injuries, or other issues.
Ask to see the mover’s license and proof of insurance, and verify they are valid and up to date.
Ideally, choose a company insured for the full value of your items. This means that if items are lost or damaged, you can be reimbursed for their replacement cost.
Cost and Estimates
The cost of your move will depend on factors like distance traveled, the number of items, truck size, packing supplies, and additional services.
A reputable company should do an on-site evaluation of your belongings and provide a written estimate outlining all costs.
Be wary of movers that give you a quote sight unseen or that seem abnormally cheap compared to other estimates. Make sure to get estimates from multiple companies so you can compare.
Availability and Responsiveness
Choose a moving company that can accommodate your preferred moving dates and demonstrate responsiveness from the very first interaction.
You want movers who reply promptly when you call and are focused on understanding your needs, not just selling you on their services.
If a company doesn’t call back or communicate reliably from the start, just imagine how frustrating things could get on a moving day.
Availability and responsiveness are signs of good customer service.
References and Recommendations
Any reputable moving company should be happy to provide references from past customers.
Take the time to actually call or email a few references and ask how their experience was.
Also, see if family, friends or neighbors have recommendations based on good experiences with movers.
Personal recommendations from people you know and trust often carry more weight than online reviews from strangers.
By keeping all these factors in mind as you research options, you can feel confident you are choosing a reliable moving company in Johannesburg or elsewhere in South Africa that is best suited for your relocation.
Questions to Ask Moving Companies Before Hiring
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of potential movers, you’ll want to interview a few companies before making your final hiring decision.
Here are some key questions to ask:
How long have you been in business?
The longer a moving company has been operating, the more experience and expertise they have.
Newer movers may not fully understand industry best practices or have robust systems and processes. An established company is preferable.
What training do your movers/packers receive?
Look for companies that put employees through formal training on safe lifting techniques, driving, packing specialty items, and customer service basics.
Well-trained staff are more likely to handle your items with care.
Will your moving company charge me VAT?
Most professional moving companies in South Africa will charge you 15% VAT on top of their quoted fees. The total cost with VAT included should be clearly specified in their estimate.
A VAT calculator South Africa can help with the math.
What percentage of my items do you cover under insurance?
Ideally, you want full value protection at no extra cost that would replace items at current market prices if damaged or lost. If coverage is limited, see if additional insurance can be purchased.
Do you have storage facilities, and what are your rates?
If you need short- or long-term storage, find out if the mover owns their own facilities or partners with warehouses and what fees apply.
Getting storage and moving with one company can simplify logistics.
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Reputable companies will provide full refunds if you cancel with sufficient notice, typically at least 48 hours in advance.
This protects you if plans change close to moving day.
Can you provide references from past customers?
Any established, quality mover should be happy to put you in touch with past clients who can speak to their experiences first-hand. Speaking to references is invaluable.
Tips for Moving Day
Once you’ve asked all the right questions and selected your moving company, make sure the moving day goes as smoothly as possible with these tips:
Perform a final walkthrough – The day before the move, walk through your home to check for any items that still need to be packed. This prevents late-night scrambling.
Clear a path – To avoid delays, make sure movers can access doors, hallways, and stairwells without obstruction from clutter or furniture. This enables efficient loading/unloading.
Be on-site – Stay on the premises throughout loading/unloading, regularly checking in with movers. Point out fragile items and where heavy boxes should go. Guide them if challenges arise.
Confirm delivery time – Make sure to confirm when to expect the moving truck at your new home. Then re-confirm with the movers and update them if plans change close to arrival time.
Check off inventory – As each piece comes off the truck at your new place, physically check it off the movers’ inventory list before it goes inside. This prevents lost items.
Inspect everything – Carefully inspect all items for any new damages before movers leave. Document and photograph any issues and have them sign off. This makes insurance claims processing easier.
With the right moving company in South Africa looking after your belongings, a clearly communicated plan, and preparations in place to oversee the loading, transport, and unloading, you can feel at ease on the moving day.
Taking the time to research and ask questions upfront ensures you choose a mover that delivers quality service and value.
Protect Yourself from Rogue Movers
While most professional movers in South Africa deliver excellent service, there are unfortunately a few unscrupulous ones you’ll want to avoid.
Here are some warning signs of potential rogue movers:
- No Physical Address – Avoid companies that only offer a PO Box or virtual office with no real premises or truck fleet. This makes them hard to track down if issues arise.
- No Licensing or Insurance – Run if a company can’t provide documentation showing valid licenses and insurance. This leaves you unprotected.
- Vague Pricing – Insist on a binding estimate in writing outlining all costs. If pricing seems unclear or movers dodge giving specifics, it often leads to surprise fees.
- High Deposits – Reputable companies may require a small deposit but rarely more than 20%. Excessive non-refundable payments could mean losing money if unsatisfied.
- Verbal Agreements Only – Rogue movers may refuse to sign an official contract, allowing them to overcharge you later or hold items hostage. Always demand a contract.
While the vast majority of moving companies operate ethically, it pays to know the warning signs of potential scams.
By thoroughly vetting movers using the criteria in this guide, you can avoid disaster.
Moving comes with its fair share of stress. Finding the right moving company in South Africa allows you to relax knowing your belongings are in good hands.
To recap, make sure any mover you consider:
- Has a long history of satisfied customers
- Specializes in your type of move
- Provides all the services you need
- Is properly licensed and insured
- Gives you a complete written estimate
- Is responsive and focused on your needs
- Comes recommended by people you trust
By keeping these factors front of mind as you evaluate options, you’ll be equipped to confidently select a moving company to seamlessly transport your life’s possessions.
Here’s to happy moving ahead!