The chances are you don’t move overseas that often so maybe you are not sure how it all works and know the right questions to ask. We on the other hand move people every day so hopefully this helps.
We know we are by no means the only good company in the international moving world, but we also know there are quite a few less than desirable moving and shipping companies that will get your things and then hold it hostage for more money. Hopefully the notes below will help you choose a great company.
1/ In the USA, all companies performing international moves must be licensed by the Federal Maritime Commission and have a FMC license number. To check to see if a company is licensed click here. https://www2.fmc.gov/oti/ We are licensed as EuroUSA Shipping Inc and UPakWeShip. It is important to use a licensed professional in case anything went wrong you can contact the FMC dispute and resolution committee to help and advise you.
2/ Google reviews. No one in a service industry has perfect reviews but check that the company has more than 4 out of 5 stars.
3/ Do they sound like they know where you are going? Do they seem knowledgeable, are they aware of customs procedures and can answer questions?
4/ Can they email you a picture of your shipment when it arrives at the terminal? OK rubbing it in a little here as I am not sure anyone else apart from UPakWeShip sends you a picture, but we think it’s important to show you that we care and put your mind at ease.
5/ Do they have their own office at the destination to take care of you when you and your shipment arrives? Having your own office is a great plus as it maintains service levels and shipping costs and stops other companies or agents charging you more money at the destination for made up extra charges before delivery. If they use an agent and don’t have their own office overseas, Google the name of the agent and check the reviews. Sometimes there can be financial disputes between companies and your shipment is placed on hold until they get it sorted out. This will not happen if you are using the same company both ends!
6/ Do they specialize in the area you are moving to? We specialize in UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Others might specialize in Mexico, Canada, Asia, Africa etc. but there is no point in going with a great company that specializes in Asia if you are moving to London!
7/ Do they answer the phone? Is there more than one person working at this company? We are OK with supporting small businesses, but you don’t want your precious belongings sitting in the middle of the Atlantic when the owner operator has an argument with a bus!
8/ How many years have they been in business? It takes time to get established, build credit, become stable. Don’t book with a new company, why take the risk when there are plenty of established businesses. I know we are showing our age, but we started up in 1988!
9/ We know price plays an important part of the decision but if you are not getting a warm and fuzzy feeling about the people with the best price, don’t do it! Your personal things deserve better! Make sure you ask for all inclusive pricing. You don’t want any extra surprises. Customs exams and x rays would always be extra as no one knows what these costs would be if any, but pretty much everything else should be included. Insurance is always an extra and anyone that says insurance is included in your quote means the insurance is worthless.
10/ If you want to pack your things yourself you can, don’t let some moving and packing company talk you into believing that you won’t get through customs at destination if you pack it yourself. If that was the truth we wouldn’t be in business. There is no more risk if you pack it yourself, but the mover makes a lot of money charging you to pack your things.