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Old 12.09.2011, 13:36
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What to offer the removal men?

Somewhat trivial question, but want to get off on the right foot with the removal company when we move next month.

In England, the protocol for the removal men is cups of tea every hour or two, along with a regular supply of chocolate digestives. And bacon rolls, if somewhere nearby does them.

What's the equivalent thing to offer removal men here? Can't really do coffee, as the Nespresso machine will be in its new home by then. I'll make sure there's plenty of bottled water for them to help themselves, but is there anything else? Is it usual for me to offer to pop up the bakers and pick up a job lot of sandwiches for lunch, pastries, etc?

I like removal men to feel taken care of; it'll stop them being depressed once they see the number of books they have to pack.
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Old 12.09.2011, 14:34
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

I had a selection of cold bottled drinks (water, sodas, juices) in the fridge, left instructions to pack the coffee machine last and told the crew to please help themselves. Once the coffee machine was packed I provided thermoses of hot coffee and hot water for tea.

Brought in a tray of fresh bakery goods for Z'nuni. Left out a tray of cookies and nibblies throughout the day.

Asked the foreman about lunch - he said that the crew would probably prefer to take a break elsewhere, so I didn't provide it. But I think offering to do so was appreciated.

Good luck with the move!

Last edited by meloncollie; 12.09.2011 at 16:50.
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Old 12.09.2011, 16:30
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

That sounds ideal, meloncollie, I'll do something similar. The packing estimator has just been and gone, and the good news is that it'll all apparently fit into a 40ft container. The less good news is that he thinks it will take them 4 days to pack and load everything!!!

So a lot of juice and nibbles, then. Oh well, it'll be a good use for the disposable plastic picnic cups I otherwise need to chuck.
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Old 12.09.2011, 18:00
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When we moved here, we had our stuff packed and it took 4 days for a 3 bedroom plus library house. 80 boxes of books. Good luck with the move!
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:28
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

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The less good news is that he thinks it will take them 4 days to pack and load everything!!!
4 days sounds a lot. We had packers when we moved within the UK and they took a day to pack the whole house up (3 bedroom house). Does it take longer because its going abroad? There were 3 packers. We had quite a lot of stuff too. Maybe you have a lot more, but we just have so much junk.I'm a horder. I reckon it was a 7 tonne lorry. Just curious as we'll be (hopefully) moing to switzerland.
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Old 12.09.2011, 21:41
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

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4 days sounds a lot. We had packers when we moved within the UK and they took a day to pack the whole house up (3 bedroom house). Does it take longer because its going abroad? There were 3 packers. We had quite a lot of stuff too. Maybe you have a lot more, but we just have so much junk.I'm a horder. I reckon it was a 7 tonne lorry. Just curious as we'll be (hopefully) moing to switzerland.
Absolutely takes longer going abroad. We've moved loads in the UK, with a full pack each time, and the usual time is 1.5 days (4-bed house, lots of books, complicated engineering-y garage). When we moved over here, it was... ummm... 2 full days of packing and loading, I think. (Then a day driving, and a day unloading.) The extra time was taken up with the movers having to produce a full manifest of everything packed, and number each box as they went along to match the manifest (all for Customs, you see). This was for the biggest possible unarticulated removal lorry. We had a 3-man team packing, and 2 unloading here in Switzerland.

The guy today said three days for pack, and one for load; there would be a lot of dismantling in that, as it's a container pack (we're going to the US) and they want to save space/ don't want stuff to get smashed about. In the UK, it was always hubby who did the dis-assembling of beds, tables, etc, but the removal guy was talking about his team doing it, and including things like the IKEA bookshelves which have never been dismantled before for moving.

But marvellous - it's a paid-for relocation, so if they want to do all the work, great! I still think 4 days is over-egging it slightly, but we'll see. I'll report back.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:04
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

I gave them some cool drinks and a 50 each at the end
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:05
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

Did the same as meloncollie. Had sandwiches and cold drinks ready for the 10 am and 4 pm break, and gave each one a good tip at the end of the day.
They were perfect, they worked really well and wel very helpful.
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Old 12.09.2011, 22:06
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

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Old 13.09.2011, 12:07
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

Well this thread is a real eye-opener!

We did all our own packing when we came to CH, and drove the stuff over ourselves in a hired van.

Now another move is on the cards, although not sure yet whether it will be within CH or abroad. Would you believe I had no idea firms would actually pack your stuff for you! I feel incredibly naive...

No more trying to cram belongings into assorted boxes...can it really be true?!!

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Old 13.09.2011, 12:22
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

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No more trying to cram belongings into assorted boxes...can it really be true?!!

Definitely - I don't know the prices here (corporate move) but in the UK it adds only a few hundred to the bill; that's for a 4-bed house full of books and kids' toys. For us, it's a 'never go back' thing compared to the chaos of packing your own mismatched boxes begged from supermarkets over a period of some months. We just live in the house entirely normally, then a team of moving locusts turn up with exactly the right strong, stackable boxes, with proper wrapping paper so as not to get al news-printy, then they swarm over and pack the whole house in a day or under. The hardest part, first time round, is learning to stop hovering and feeling like you should be helping.

Overseas European moves take a little longer to pack as they have to complete a customs manifest as they go along, and this container move will apparently take even longer. Oh well. I'll make up a small camping kitchen box of essentials, and as long as they leave the beds and the TV until last (to keep the kids out of the way), it'll be fine.
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Old 13.09.2011, 13:05
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

Sounds like a dream come true! After the horrors of last time we'll definitely be doing it this way next time around
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Old 13.09.2011, 13:24
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

The really big problem is getting the men to write on the outside what is in the box. You need to establish they write down at least which room the stuff came from. It sometimes takes weeks to unpack and finally find the TV remote control, or keys to the kids bikes.
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Old 13.09.2011, 17:52
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

I have to say we went for the cheapest packers we could get (within the UK) and the only labeling there was, was 'living room', 'bedroom'.... took us a few days to find our phone and remote controls . Def pack/label those yourself... But as you say, moving abroad, they have to be more thorough due to customs, so it must be better. Good luck with the move kodokan.
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Old 13.09.2011, 17:52
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

I have to say we went for the cheapest packers we could get (within the UK) and the only labeling there was, was 'living room', 'bedroom'.... took us a few days to find our phone and remote controls. Def pack/label those yourself... But as you say, moving abroad, they have to be more thorough due to customs, so it must be better. Good luck with the move.
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Old 13.09.2011, 18:09
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

Thanks guys - and we know all about the move 'hiding' things like remotes. We've just counted, and this will be our 8th proper removal company move (plus a couple more economy self-services before that).

The trick with the removers doing the packing is to realise that they do it differently to you and I. If I'm packing, I do it by category - 'In this box, I shall put books; I'll take these ones off the shelf, and then go and get the ones beside my bed, oh, and those couple in the bathroom...' So I spend ages wandering around the house, stopping to read magazines/ look at photos, etc, because I come across things I forgot I had.

I also need to pack like a Tetris puzzle, because I never have enough boxes and have to completely maximise each tiny piece of space.

Removers don't do this. They pack by geography - they walk into your lounge and start packing from left to right: book, book, magazine, TV remote, lamp, used coffee cup, pen, wine coaster...' They stop when that box is moderately full, shove in half-a-tree's worth of paper, then start again. They also are more than happy to use an entire box for each of the weird-shaped things, like lamps or kids' Fisher Price toys, whereas I would go 'aha, I could pop a towel down there, or use that small cushion off the spare bed, etc'.

So the trick to finding anything at the other end is to know where it was when the movers started packing. We didn't know this the first time - hence the 'used coffee cup', which actually happened - but now know to walk around the house the day before, putting stuff in at the right place even if it's just dumped in a pile on the floor.

Stuff like remotes, keys, etc - masking tape them to the TV/ bikes!

Edit: these movers have already given us a wodge of 'do not pack' stickers, otherwise they'll end up packing things like the router and TV box that have to go back to Swisscom...
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Old 13.09.2011, 18:13
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

Interesting info. I wonder if it could be an idea to take a quick photo of each room before they start as well, then you could more or less retrace their steps at the other end.

Probably a good idea to do it on the phone though, so you don't have to set the computer up first in the new place
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Old 13.09.2011, 18:23
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

After one move within the UK I ended up unpacking a huge box which was simply labelled 'vase'. Couldn't for the life of me think what was in it as I knew I didn't own a vase that large - it turned out to be a large bouquet of half dead flowers, still in the vase which was still half full of water and all lovingly encased in several trees worth of paper - and not a drop of water was spilled during the move!
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Old 14.09.2011, 09:55
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

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The really big problem is getting the men to write on the outside what is in the box. You need to establish they write down at least which room the stuff came from. It sometimes takes weeks to unpack and finally find the TV remote control, or keys to the kids bikes.
Yes this can be a real challenge. When we moved here from Belgium the guys labelled all the boxes in 'English'. Probably would have worked if any of them could actually speak it but they were al Flemish speakers with only the boss speaking a bit of English and reasonable French. We ended up with some quite weird things. One box was labelled peppers (garage) we coulsn't work out what it was but when we opened it it was full of the paper we'd left out for recyling. We also had a 'Tante' which was the tent, a black sack full of rubbish and a sugar bowl full of sugar which was carefully wrapped up (but nothing spilled).

I agrre with the others re drinks and snacks. I also gave them a beer at the end of each day and a tip for each of them at the end.

It's true that packing for export is more time consuming than for a local move. The guy who came to us estimated four days for packing and 2 days for loading (4 bed house with garage and shed) I thought he was bonkers but they needed every second of that time and were quite pushed towards the end.

I would also advise you to be clear about the arrangements on the day of loading.
We lived at the end of a small close and on the first day of loading this absolutely massive lorry (biggest you can get without a trailer) arrived at 6.15 am and blocked the whole entrance to the close.Driver was Roumanian and didn't speak much English and no French at all.
Packers arrived at 7.45 by which time neighbours were a bit fraught as they couldn't get out to go to work and I had to call a friend to pick up my son for school. Lorry had to reverse out onto main road to turn around and then reverse back in during peak traffic causing lots of beeping,
swearing and very long tailbacks. By the end of all this I was a nervous wreck just burst into tears. I's probably just as well we were leaving as I don't think we were very popular at the time.
If I'd realised what they were planning I could have arranged for the neighbours to leave thair cars on the main road the night before.
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Old 14.09.2011, 17:27
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Re: What to offer the removal men?

Ah, hadn't even thought about the men writing in Frenglish. Think I'll just tell them to use normal French, that'll be a lot easier.
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