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Now don’t get jealous karenuk, tange, seagulls lost horizon and you other Ciao Dr Who addicts, but I have a huge Dalek collection, and next to my mistress, they are my pride and joy. Not even my Son, who’s a brainwashed Dr Who fan, gets to touch them. I even have a two handed Davros before the company, Dapol, realised that Davros only has one hand, and had to withdraw the entire range and make new ones. So, who was I going to trust when we moved from Woodbridge to Aberdeen?
GET MY GUN!
Well being ex army we’ve moved around a lot and have some experience of removals crew. We’ve gone through the experience of having stuff nicked, missing, broken, bashed and dented. I shan’t name names as I’m always careful of being done for defamation, libel or slander, but having had the experience of 7 different removals firms I would need a magazine of 6 rounds to demonstrate how many I was satisfied with! That was what we thought would be our last move since leaving the army a few moons ago. This was with Pickfords and they were fantastic. Nothing went “missing” and not a thing was broken.
I REALLY DID MISS HAGGIS MUNCHING
There comes a time in every Scotsman’s life when the swirl of the kilt, the call of the bagpipes and the smell of a decent chippie and a haggis supper becomes too much and he recovers from his lapse in marrying an English lass and settling in England and moves back home. Besides over 600miles should be a safe distance to put between us and the inlaws! So we did the usual thing of getting a few quotes from removals firms, Pickford’s included.
Now to get from Woodbridge, Suffolk to Aberdeen is no mean journey. We can do it in about 11 hours, without the restriction of an HGV licence and their laws. So the removals firms all said they’d have to do it in 3 days. Day 1: Load up and drive. Day 2: Drive Day 3: Deliver
We went for the cheaper option of packing ourselves, not just because of the price, but because from our past experience we knew packers weren’t that careful and we didn’t want any unnecessary damages. Now I’d have thought a local firm would be cheap but they came out with the dazzling price of £4000. I did look in the mirror, but couldn’t see GUM on my forehead. The price is because being a local crew they’d have to take all their crew with them and pay for food and accommodation, etc. Or is it because the Managing Director who came to see us drove a huge flash car! Another national firm would also take their own crew but would charge us only £2500. But then the nice man from Pickford’s came to see us and my wallet was taken off the cardiac monitor.
THE NICE MAN FROM PICKFORD’S
They’re all nice people at Pickford’s. I firmly believe that if all people in an organisation are courteous and happy then it is a true representation of a firm. Without any sales patter (which I hate, I’m a no-nonsense, get to the point sort of chap, except when writing on Caio when wordage and entertainment is all important) or false promises he effortlessly guided us through the planned schedule of our move. I shan’t go into a guide on how to choose a removals firm, as there are already some excellent ops under member advice, which I found most useful. Instead, I’ll give my opinion and experience of Pickfords. The estimator came to have a look around our house. Checking for access for the crew and items that may need special care, such as an intricately carved elephant table that is Mrs B’s pride and joy. He calculated how much “stuff” we had and accordingly gave a quote. We were giving some advice about how to pack and which lettered boxes were to be used for items such as books, kitchen ware, clothing, etc. He described the timings for the move, and was the only firm that actually asked us what times we would like the crew to arrive and depart. As Pickford’s is a national firm, he explained that they would use local crew at both houses and there would be one driver, thus keeping costs down. So, the total bill (including VAT) came to £1786, which was their summer holiday rate. Had we moved in the winter, less busy months the price would have been a few hundred pounds less. We could have taken out Pickford’s Insurance policy for a further £266, but checking with our own household insurance, I got exactly the same cover for £40. We had to pay the total bill at least 7 working days in advance of the move by cheque. There would have been an extra charge had we paid by credit card. In case of events such as the house sale falling through, we could have taken out a cancellation waiver fee of £152, but I really was sure we had to flee from the inlaws!
Shame really because I liked it there, but the chippie didn’t sell haggis suppers! Pickfords delivered our boxes, packing tape and plain white and soft packing paper, so Mrs B got to work carefully packing our prized possessions, whilst I idly wasted away my life on Ciao earning a huge amount from the premium fund (not! Although I did get a £3 questionnaire to do). 70 boxes later Pickfords arrived. Their lorry was huge and had side doors so that the whole lorry could be opened out. They then unfolded a clever ramp so they could go straight into the lorry. Although they had trolley’s they preferred to manually lift the boxes and furniture. What impressed me and Mrs B is that they were all smartly dressed in uniform and always courteous, even calling us sir and madam. They even tolerated the Mistress and the kids running around and made a fuss of them. We had three crew members, once of whom was the driver who’d drive all the way to Aberdeen on his lonesome (a really nice chap called Keith who is an asset to Pickfords).
An army marches on its stomach
We provided tea and toast before they started, and copious amounts of tea and biscuits throughout their pack, yet they never loitered about over tea breaks. Our four bed-roomed house, loft and shed contents was loaded into the lorry within three hours. There was no damage to the building, despite a very narrow staircase and tight corner. We could have taken out a £25 per building insurance cover, but elected not to as we’d used Pickfords before and there was no damage. They even accommodated waiting for the hoover whilst we vacuumed the house for the new owners. And of course they happily packed the last box for us with kettle, mugs etc. The crew always carry extra boxes for any last minute packing.
How much to tip
It’s always a difficult subject. In restaurants, I use the 10% guide, but this would have been £178! So we gave each £5, and a further £5 each at the other end (and more choccy biscuits and tea, etc). All seemed happy, especially Keith who got £10 and one of Mrs B’s elephant prints for his mum (we had to keep him sweet otherwise he’s have had Mrs B’s elephant table as his mum also collects elephants!). I would be interested to learn how much other people tip removals firms crew as we’ll be moving out of rented accommodation one day into our own pad and I don’t want to appear a meanie next time!
TWO DAYS LATER IN ABERDEEN AND CHRIS HAS OVERINDULGED ON HAGGIS SUPPERS – WHERE’S THE RENNIES!
We were greeted enthusiastically by Keith as we showed him round our new house and where things were to go. Unfortunately, there was no local Pickfords crew available and we had two agency staff. Although they were smartly attired and very jovial and friendly, they did manage to scrape and dent the upstairs wall (hope my landlord isn’t reading this!). However, this was the only damage and they were careful about positioning the heavy furniture so we wouldn’t have to move it later. None of the furniture was marked, scratched or dented and under Keith’s watchful eye and supervision our worldly goods were reunited and miracously fitted into a three bedroomed house. As we packed our boxes we were responsible for unpacking them. So the crew neatly stacked them against walls in their respective rooms. It’s taken us a few weeks to unpack them (hence my absence from Ciao) and nothing was broken, so well worth using Pickfords again, after all their slogan is “The Careful Movers” . A very apt and well-deserved slogan.
Ciaoer I’d recommend Pickford to: Has to be Proxam to move his vast and impressive beer collection from his cellar!
excellent op - I will be contacting them shortly - thanks!
tange 24.10.2002 19:43
Can't believe I didn't read this earlier...and YES I am very jealous!
janna 07.10.2002 13:52
Glad the move went well. The last time I moved (about 5 yrs ago) I hired a van & did it myself. Bad move - I had to do several journeys to get all my stuff moved. Then after all the unloading etc. I was totally knackered!!