Moving to your new home in Crete from UK or Eire should be exciting, but many people find the process of moving and relocating their worldly possessions very stressful. Planning ahead for your move and choosing the right removal company can remove many of the headaches and make the process much easier. These same guidelines also apply for removals by Ex-Pats from Crete back to the UK or Ireland.
Firstly, decide whether you would like to transport goods yourself or hire a professional removal company to do the job for you. If you regularly travel to and from Crete by car or van it may be feasible for you to transport a small volume yourself. However, the cost of fuel, ferry crossings and the inconvenience involved in doing this usually makes it worthwhile to let a specialist removal company do the job instead.
Next you should decide whether to pack the goods yourself or to ask the removal firm to do so. Most removal firms will give you the option of performing your own packing prior to transport. This will slightly decrease the overall cost, but remember that removal companies are experts in packing goods for export, and sometimes the peace of mind of having their team pack your goods for you is well worth the extra cost. If you do pack your goods yourself, remember that they will need to be packed more thoroughly than they were packed for moves within the UK, because of the distance they will be travelling. Delicate items must be packed in tissue paper and bubble wrap before going into heavy-duty (double-walled) boxes. For larger items, all surfaces should be protected with bubble wrap or specialist packaging materials like “furniguard”. The removal company should then use blankets to separate the items when they are packed on the vehicle. The order in which the goods are placed on the vehicle is also critical for preventing damage during transit, and experienced overseas removal firms will be confident in loading vehicles correctly for long distance transport.
It is important to ask your removal company whether they will be taking your goods by road or by sea container, because there will be significant implications for the length of time it will take for your goods to arrive. Sea containers can take up to 16 weeks to arrive because they do not travel directly to their final destination, but stop at many ports along the way, including ports outside the EU. Delays at ports are very common (Piraeus is notorious), making it impossible to know when they will arrive. Overland transport is much faster, typically arriving in Crete within 6-7 days of leaving the UK or Eire.
If the company will be using a sea container to transport your goods, make sure they intend to deliver the goods to your home, not just to the port. There are countless stories of British families having a container full of goods arrive at their nearest port, and being told that they have an hour to empty the container (themselves) before it will be taken away! A good removal company will have a team on the ground to deliver the goods to your door. Ensure that this “team” are trusted, regular employees of the firm, not just any men that they can find on the day – there will be implications for the security and condition of your goods.
Be clear about the amount of paperwork you will be required to complete, particularly the documentation required to release your goods when they arrive in Greece. If the vehicle transporting your goods will be leaving the EU en route, your goods will be required to clear customs on arrival, which involves a significant amount of paperwork which often has to be completed by you, in person at customs. If the vehicle will stay within the EU for the entire journey, there will be significantly less paperwork, which can usually be completed by the removal company.
Find out if the company is intending to transport your goods through the entire journey themselves, or if they will be subcontracting the work out to other suppliers. Most removal companies don’t actually travel to Crete themselves – instead they “sub” the work out to other transport firms, including general hauliers, who may not use specialised vehicles for furniture transport. If they do travel to Crete themselves, find out how often they come to Crete, in order to get a guide as to how flexible they will be with collection and delivery dates. Also ask about the size of vehicle they will be using – large air-ride trucks are designed for long-distance transport. Small vans do not have the same suspension systems and will subject their loads to more movement and vibration. This is fine for transport over short distances, but it can make a difference to the condition of goods transported over a long distance.
Many properties in Crete are difficult to access – steep ascents, narrow roads and tiny lanes are very common! Make sure your removal company has experience in dealing with these challenges, and is equipped to access your property. If they intend to hope for the best and figure it out when they arrive, you may find that they can’t get close to your property.
Ensure that the removal firm is a member of a governing body such as the British Association of Removers (BAR) or National Guild of Removers and Storers (NGRS). Members of these organisations are required to maintain very high standards, and as a result you can rely on them to provide a professional service. Unregulated carriers are not subject to such scrutiny and can operate however they like.
Ensure that the removal firm is properly insured. Most established removal companies will be automatically covered by “limited liability” insurance up to a predefined total value, usually between £25,000 and £75,000. However, this figure can be very misleading – although the total claim limit is very high, your goods will only be covered for up to £40.00 per item or per box, and claims can only be made if the damage was caused by negligence on the company’s part, which can be very difficult to prove. For full repair or replacement value cover you need to take out “standard liability” cover, which is usually charged as a percentage of the value of the goods transported (usually less than 3%). If you use a specialist overseas removal company damages will be very rare, so some people decide that they can do without the insurance cover. But for most people, the extra peace of mind provided by standard liability cover is well worth the cost, because it eliminates yet another worry and makes the process more stress-free.
The process of Ex-Pats moving to and from Crete with UK or Ireland can be easy and stress-free if you plan ahead, ensure your goods are well packed and properly covered by insurance, and use a trusted carrier in your relocation between homes.
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