Essex Removal Company, A J Stephenson Removals


Welcome to my Blog Site...







My Company A J Stephenson Removals, are founding members of the National Guild of Removers and Storers, and are Ombudsman approved. With over 30 years experience in Removals and Storage I am happy to offer help and advice regarding any aspect of moving you may have. I have written a unique report on removals titled "The Top Ten Removals and Storage Disasters to Avoid"! which is Free and available from my website, or by following this link. I have reciently been awarded the `ACE` Award (Annual Certificate of Excellence) from the Guild, for our consistant customer satisfaction record.







I will post regular blogs regarding different aspects of moving, please follow me and you will recieve these updates as they are posted.





Please look at my website for help & advice and much more.





I Hope you enjoy my posts!





Thanks for your Interest. Alan Stephenson



Wednesday, 2 May 2012

News Blog on award winning Removal companies Website!

Ive recently added a news blog to my website, see it here  http://www.ajstephensonremovals.co.uk/news-blog  Now I'm no expert on these things but I wasn`t sure if I could duplicate posts both on here my Blogger site and on my website? I didn't want to upset any robots or spiders so I decided to keep the new posts on my website only and just do the odd random post on here, like this one.  Maybe someone can tell me differently?

Anyway since my last published post from my blogger site on 15th March I have posted 2 new blogs from my news blog. The first was to celebrate Jo`s 10 years of service with A J Stephenson Removals the other was also staff related and was titled Can you deliver a quality removal service with unskilled removal men?

Both these posts are in recognition to the staff I employ and their hard work and dedication to me and my company. As any business owner knows you are only as good as the promise you make and you need quality people to deliver and in my case they give a bit more. Failure to deliver on what you say you will do, is a road to ruin. In my case I am confident promising the world as I know my staff will deliver it time and time again. 

This is underlined by the fact that we have not only won the Most Loved removal business in the UK award, (and made it to page 8 of the Gazette as a result!), but we are regularly on the top ten list of the Guild of Removers website for most recommended removals companies. This top ten list accounts for the top 3% of the Guilds membership, understandably prime real estate. We are currently at number 10 but hope to creep up for April. We were number 8 in February. See the current positions from this link- National Guild of Removers and Storers Mover of the Month

That's enough drum banging for now! its all well and good putting it all down to the staff who deliver your service but the thanks must also go to our customers who kindly fill out the feedback cards for return to the Guild. You can see them on our removal testimonials page, aswell as some talking reviews on our new Video Testimonials page for both removals and storage services.
I am very lucky to have such great staff and customers. I am very grateful to them all.

So whats next? Well Summer is just behind those clouds! There`s  loads of exiting things ahead for the year, the Queens Jubilee the Olympics (Ive got tickets for the synchronised swimming!)  and of coarse the Rotary Club of Billericay Mayflowers anual Summerfest event on the 17th July 2012. Last year we ran a competition to guess the number of tapes in a crate, and we raised over £100 for Rotary.  This year we will have an equally fascinating competition the details of which are yet to be decided. So why not pop down and see what were up to and hopefully we will have good weather this year!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Who is the most Loved Removal Company in the UK?



Its official! We were voted the most loved removal business in the UK according to the Best of`s National 14 days of Love competition in February. I know we deliver outstanding service and our staff are fantastic, but this was really a pleasant surprise. Most of our clients have either been recommended to us or have moved with us before and I am so grateful to them for giving the feedback that has made this a reality.


Andrew Hurrell Owner of the Best Of Billericay said-
"Billericay’s premier removal and storage business has been officially revealed as the Most Loved Business in Billericay. If this wasn’t enough, AJ Stephenson has also taken the national title, receiving the most on line testimonials in the country for a removal business in our national Valentine’s campaign to find Britain’s favourite local businesses."











Having been moving people for nearly 30 years in Billericay and the surrounding areas, its a real honour to receive this award. My staff are not only trained in Removal skills they are also customer service trained and I think this is the key. We make sure that our customers are guided through the process from start to finish and I know we often go beyond the call of duty. I cant remember the last time we had an unhappy customer.
Proudly receiving the Award
The combined trophy


Id like to thank Andrew and the Best of for providing the forum for us to achieve this award, and also for his help and support.   This all comes in the week where we found out that our unique moving report "The Top Ten Removal and Storage Disasters to Avoid" has been adopted by the National Guild of Removers and Storers Limited, in their current training seminars.

If you want to be part of our attempt to win next years title, I would be delighted to pop round to see you and provide you with a quote for either removals or storage where you too will have the opportunity to put your comments down for others to see on either our customer feedback forms or direct onto the Best Ofs website.  You can see all the reviews that contributed to this title on our removal testimonials page and many from before that.

 



                                                           

Monday, 20 February 2012

What kind of mover are you?

Moving home is not as straight forward as you may think, or not as the case may be!  There are many variations and considerations when moving. Listed below are some of  the various types of moves and any potential problems associated with them.

Completion Day Moves

Moving locally- This is the most common type of move. On the moving day the funds will come up through the chain starting with the first time buyer and depending on the length of the chain and the length of solicitors lunch! could mean you don't get yours keys until late in the day. Your remover will need to have you packed and loaded by about 1pm but may not be able to unload until later in the afternoon for this reason most will charge waiting time charges and some will offer a waiting time charges waiver, we offer this and it is usually around £35 + VAT. This will cover these costs should they arise.
The other problem we come across on completion day is waiting for the new property to vacate. Not everyone books a professional remover some opt for a man and van or even worse decide to move themselves. This usually involves a delay as the workload is usually underestimated and can severely delay the move, causing one of our major frustrations. There is a more detailed account of this happening  in my report on Removals & Storage, called "The top Ten removals and Storage disasters to Avoid" Chapter 7 "True Stories"

Moving Long distance- All the above are still true but as there are implications regarding driving hours and nights out we try to avoid the unexpected. If your move is roughly between 40-200 miles away we will usually load on completion day and park the vehicle inside our warehouse for security and set off early the following day. This will involve the client finding accommodation for one night or just roughing it with a pump up mattress! this is a very popular option because it avoids the delays associated with completion day and most clients of ours that have done this have felt that it is much more relaxed and allows them to give the property a really good clean ahead of all the furniture & effects arriving.

For moves over 200 miles we will generally load on completion day and travel up staying overnight usually outside the property. The crew will usually stay with the vehicle in the special sleeping area of the lorry ready to unload the following morning. Essential items can be unloaded when they get there such as beds & essential supplies. Its very important that you make arrangements for the keys to be made available should you have a delay on your journey and very important that you don't wait around at the old address waiting for the money to transfer, instead once you have cleaned the property, drop off the keys to your estate agent and get on the road. If you don't you may be too late to collect the keys for the new property and your remover may have to wait until the following morning when the Estate Agent opens possibly adding additional costs.

Moving from or to Rented

This type of move is becoming more common as people find they are unable to get mortgages and so rent while they save for deposits etc, by definition this type of move is better for removers as there is no delay for the completion and release of keys, however there are still potential delays. The main one is the delay caused when the handover is done on the moving day, this can be up to 3 hours long and some agents will not allow any items moved in until they have completed the hand over. It is always a good idea if possible to get an overlap between properties, this will allow time to get the handover done the day before moving and also if it is a big move will allow removal of goods over a longer period of time which could reduce your moving costs and will certainly reduce your stress. By arranging an overlap and maximising the flexibility of your move you are more likely to get the remover you want.

Moving into or out of store

Loading into containerised store involves more work than the usual completion day or rented move as the removal company will have to wrap the furniture and complete an inventory both of which add time to the process. We offer containerised storage and it is very convenient as the storage containers are brought to your property on a specialist vehicle and are lifted off with a forklift. This method reduces the handling as when the items are returned the forklift loads the containers back on to the lorry. So in effect your goods are handled twice instead of 4 times like you would  if you went into a self store site. Loading containers also takes longer than loading loose into a lorry. For theses reasons we always try to load most if not all of the goods the day before completion. When delivering from store we very rarely deliver on completion day as there are potential delays, we often deliver days or even weeks after completion as many clients take the opportunity to carry out work on the new property without all the furniture in the way.

Whatever your type of removal we will be happy to assist and offer advice to make your move as smooth as possible.  Either call 01277 653268 or email info@ajstephenson.com  or visit http://www.ajstephensonremovals.co.uk/

Monday, 12 December 2011

Late Exchange. Have you got a `LEG` to stand on?

Late exchange of contracts is probably the most frustrating part of moving house, for both customer and removal company- The whole home removal process takes months of planning, involves a huge amount of stress and yet in the final week and even the last few days there often seems to be a delay in contracts being exchanged. There is no point trying to work out why this happens but it does seem to happen on an all too often basis.
For the removal company they usually need to confirm provisional bookings seven days before moving day by taking full payment. This enables them to plan the resources they require for the week ahead in an efficient and professional way.
(The danger of paying in full without having exchanged is running the risk of losing all or a percentage of the costs, if the date was to change or the move were to collapse. Some removal companies offer a postponement/cancellation waiver should something change in the last few days but only if the move has exchanged, we offer this service, along with other customer protection schemes.)

The customer needs to plan and arrange a whole host of things for moving day, so when the removal company calls for confirmation and payment the week before removal, if exchange hasn`t happened the stress levels are about to soar. So what happens next?

The remover in this event will either offer to wait an agreed period of time to give a chance to exchange contracts. Or offer a Late Exchange Guarantee `LEG`. (if they have it available) Without the `LEG` there is always a proviso that being- if another client that requires the same resources on the same day were to call and have exchanged contracts, then they would call their provisional client and give them the option to confirm by paying or to lose the date. This whole process benefits no-one, is messy and very stressful and so for that reason we have come up with the `LEG` this is how it works.

Subject to availability a `LEG` will be offered from the date of payment due, to an agreed date and time and will be subject to a charge of between 4%-5% of the removal fees plus VAT per day. Once agreed and accepted the payment would be taken for the `LEG` and a confirmation certificate would be sent by email to confirm the arrangement. See a typical example below

Mrs. Smith is due to pay for her £800 + VAT removal & packing service but has not exchanged contracts. She was told by her solicitor that exchange would happen the next day at about 11am. She doesn't want to pay for her move in full just in case she loses some or all of this money should she not exchange contracts. A `LEG` is agreed for 1 day to expire at 12noon the following day, this costs her £38.40 inc VAT and buys her time and more importantly removes the stress of potentially losing the date to someone else.

The risk for the remover is that if after the `LEG` is issued another booking comes in for that day that has exchanged contracts and needs to know immediately if it can be done. The remover would have to say that that slot is held and may only become available when the `LEG` has expired. This may not be acceptable to them and they may go elsewhere. In the meantime the client with the `LEG` may come back the next day and say the exchange has not happened and the move needs to go back a week. The remover will end up with nothing.

Unless legislation can be improved to lengthen the exchange and completion gap the `LEG` seems to be for now the best alternative.



Thursday, 10 November 2011

Im Moving House, do I pack the drawers?

One of the most common questions we get in the office is "do I need to empty the drawers?" This question is asked almost on a daily basis. So I have put together below the different cases for and against packing the drawers. There is of course a way to avoid this dilemma and that is to get your removal company to pack for you, this will pass the dilemma back to them (along with many other issues), leaving you to focus on the more important things! Our packing service is unique in the area, our packing girls & boys will either just pack the fragile items or will carry out a full service where they finish off by making the beds and hoovering up. You can tailor make the service you require.
The other advantage of having the packing done for you is that we generally do it the day before you move so your not surrounded by boxes for weeks before, your fully insured and you havn`t got to worry that you have done it correctly. I have written an industry unique report on removals and storage called "The Top Ten Removals and Storage Disasters to avoid"  which has a chapter all about the pros and cons of packing, follow this link to read it- Chapter 5 "packing and packing materials"
Back to drawers- The most common drawers are Chest of drawers, however there are lots of other drawer types with different methods of moving. listed below are the main types.

Solid chest of drawers- generally you can leave the drawers loaded as long as its just clothes or bedding etc, if the chest is too heavy the crew can take out drawers if they need to.
Chipboard chest of drawers - Generally you will need to pack the drawer contents as the weight may put pressure on the cabinet joints and may collapse.
Dressing tables-  Generally the same as above however there needs to be extra care required especially if the two sides of the dressing table are poorly bridged. A tip for carrying dressing tables that are weak is to carry them upside down with the drawers taken out.
Divan Beds- you need to pack the contents of the bed drawers as the bed will be stored on its end on the lorry and smaller items will fall out, also it will be to heavy. The only exception to this rule is for large bulky items such as duvets.
Desks- By definition the drawer contents will be paperwork and stationary and therefore need to be packed. You can if you really want leave the contents in, if the drawer can be removed during transit. If you know in advance that you want to leave the drawers packed due to a filing system etc, you could put a carrier bag over the drawer and then tape the contents in.
Filing cabinets- If the cabinet is being moved from ground floor to ground floor you can generally leave the contents in as the cabinet can be put on a sack barrow. If the cabinet is being moved up steps you will need to pack the contents, unless the drawers come out.
Wall units/Sideboards- Unless the contents are fragile you can usually leave the drawers packed.

As with all the above there are 2 important issues to remember, firstly if you unpack drawers unnecessarily you will be increasing the volume of the load and this may have a bearing on moving and storage costs, and secondly you may be making work for yourself.

If you have any questions or queries about any of your drawers or anything else for that matter, just give our friendly office a call on 01277 653268 or visit our website and read our removal moving guide which gives invaluable information for your removal preparation.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

What happens when the Removal lorry is too big?

Horses for courses is a very good motto when it comes to the subject of access for large vehicles. We receintly carried out a domestic removal from Billericay to Chard in Somerset, which in itself is nothing out of the ordinary. However, on this occasion when the lorry arrived at the lane they needed to deliver in, there was no way it would fit!
The crew found the house but it was about a quarter of a mile down the lane! What now?
Under normal circumstances when the move is arranged these problems are discussed but our customer was renting and didn`t know the exact property. We quoted based on reasonable access, this was obviously not that. The other point is how does a customer know if the vehicle will fit or not?
There was no point in playing the blame game there was a lorry to unload, and a big one at that!
The first person to arrive at the scene said "you wont get up there with that!" -useful info!  The second was a plumber in a van who after being questioned by the crew said he knew someone that may be able to help, someone who does removals and has a small van. He would give him a call and let us know.
We were going to have to trans-ship the load! For this operation to be a success it needed to be just the right van, big enough so there are not too many shuttle runs, but not too big, for obvious reasons!

The crew waited and pondered their dilemma. Shortly after the plumbers call, Matt called and said "this is your knight in shining armour!" Matt`s company (O & H Removals of Chard-Somerset) turned out to be a reputable remover in the area who knew the lane we were in, and said he was on his way.  That's what you call a result!
Not only was his van was perfect for the job, but he got there quick. The next problem was the trans-ship area, no problem, luckily there was a club/pub at the end of the lane and the owner agreed to us using the far side of his car park to use. I don't think we were the first to need it. He even came out with a cup of tea for the crew!
Perry Street Club-Chard

When you trans-ship it involves carefully unloading the host lorry into the shuttle van, using the care and attention you would in a standard move, this takes time, it also requires a clever strategy to ensure the van is being constantly used to shuttle. This was achieved and the move was completed albeit delayed by about 3 hours.

The trans-ship In progress.

There were only 4 trips required, it could have been far worse, especially if he turned up in a panel van. Steve and Dan even got into the spirit by taking up a few items themselves-



Finally I would like to thank O & H removals and also the staff at the Perry Street Club for their help in our hour of need.  I don't think the customer was aware of how bad the situation could have been if we hadn't had the help we received.
The story could have had a nasty twist as Matt's wife was due to give birth any time so he may have had to shoot off at any time! I'm sure the crew would have tried to persuade him to leave his van! 
Hope it all went well Matt.



 

Monday, 13 June 2011

With so many packing options available when moving house, why consider packing yourself?

When moving house many people will consider having professionals pack for them. This is a very sensible decision as it is an extremely hard and backbreaking job, that can often overwhelm you   especially towards the end.  It’s usually too late when people realise they have made a mistake.
Packing your house up into boxes is an extremely skilled job and very hard work, items will be  uninsured if you find there are a few breakages when you unpack.
 One of the main problems of packing yourself is that you will find that you need to leave large amounts of packing until the last few days such as kitchen and bedroom items. This poses a problem as you will invariably run out of time and possibly packing materials as well. Your removers will not take kindly to being greeted by half filled boxes and a delay waiting for the last items to be packed. They may even charge you additional fees for any delays as a result. In our unique moving report “the top ten removals and storage disasters to avoid” chapter 5 about packing illustrates this in great detail.
Some of our packers- Jane,Julie,Wendy & Lisa.

If on the other hand you opt for a packing service, you will usually be faced with 2 options- Full packing and glass and china packing. We are in an enviable position where we can offer a much wider range of options to suit most needs. Listed below are the packing options we provide and a brief summary of what’s included.
Standard Full Pack -Packing all household items into boxes & bags.
Premium Full pack -As above plus garage, shed and curtains if required.
Standard China & Glass Pack -All china Glass items including everyday china, cookware, lamps, pictures & mirrors.
Premium Glass & China  -As  above but with the kitchen and utility included.
Standard Unpack -Boxes & bags unpacked onto surfaces or floor, and removal of old packing materials.
Premium Unpacking -As above but including placing of items to customer specification, making beds and hovering up!

So for example if you find that you are too busy to move you could book yourself into a hotel for a couple of days leaving instructions and a key with our head packer and leave the rest to us.  You won’t even have to make the bed when you go home to your new house!
This is not everyone’s cup of tea but it is more common than you would think. Some people are just happy to have some help and choose to have a standard china & glass pack benefitting from the added insurance protection that’s is included.
For information on any of our packing services visit our website for information on our packing services.
(If you think you have the right qualities to join our friendly packing crew please apply on our removal jobs page using our application form.)