Everything that you ever wanted to know about moving
Moving is an exciting, but also relatively difficult undertaking. Sorting and packing things, deciding on new furniture, finding packing materials, seeking out a suitable moving company, temporary storage of belongings… Today, professionals can help us with most of that. How can you prepare for moving, what all do you need to think about in advance and what do you not need to concern yourself with? Richard Vavřín and Martin Kapal, sales representatives at STĚHOVÁNÍ Praha, answer all of the important questions that you would like to ask and should ask before moving.
Martin has been working in the sector since 1993 and has been a sales representative at STĚHOVÁNÍ Praha for twelve years. He is responsible for communication with customers, formulates and prepares proposals and final orders and ensures their implementation. Thanks to his extensive knowledge, he is able not only to foresee potential problems, but also to save clients time and money.
Richard has been working in the sector for nearly twelve years. He started at STĚHOVÁNÍ Praha as a mover and has served as a sales representative for the past three years. He is responsible for communication with clients, order pricing and ensuring that moving is carried out successfully. He enjoys moving museums, galleries and heavy loads, as well as trips abroad.
Prepare your move a month in advance
How quickly are you able to organise a move? Can you help me move today?
Martin: If we have that possibility, we will always help. I can easily move a customer from one hour to the next. But it can sometimes happen that people want to move in a week, for example, and that just isn’t possible, as we have a full schedule. Therefore, it is better to prepare everything in advance.
One of our long-term clients had a problem with water leaking in the cellar where they had their things stored. That was an acute situation and it didn’t matter if we had time off or not; we had to help. We reorganised our capacities and went there. Thanks to that, we rescued furniture and other things from the cellar, which was full of water.
Setting aside crisis situations, how long in advance should customers prepare for a move?
Martin: It starts with an in-person meeting or preparation of a price offer. Most people deal with everything at the last minute and that’s also true of moving. It’s better if they reserve sufficient time for it. They’ll research the market and invite one of us to have a look at the situation. We will then figure out what the process will be and what will be needed for the move. The customer will tell us their requirements, and we will make a recommendation, based on which a schedule and price offer will be formulated. Therefore, people should start preparing for their move about a month in advance and set a fixed date roughly 2-3 weeks before moving.
Is there a difference between moving on weekdays and on weekends?
Martin: There’s no difference in price, but the workload is different. We have weekend services and given capacities. If, for example, it involves a popular timeframe, such as the end of the month and that’s also a weekend, customers should order earlier. In the case of moving abroad or to another city, essentially the same rules apply. You won’t be making a mistake if you make arrangements a month and a half in advance.
Don’t shy away from consultations and arrange a meeting. You will know the price in advance, precisely to the koruna
How is moving priced?
Richard: It depends primarily on the quantity. If the move involves more than just one washing machine, for example, we go to the client and discuss everything, present the schedule and then give the client a price. We will have a look at what needs to be moved and if there isn’t much, we can price it on the spot. If it is a larger move – a whole company, for example – then we will first perform an inspection and then send an offer to the client.
Martin: That’s a form of protection for both parties. We know what will be waiting for us, how many people, vehicles and packing materials will be needed, and the customer will know the level of difficulty and price in advance, precisely to the koruna. If you don’t have a lot of things and it’s one room, it’s possible to make an offer from the office over the phone. But if there is more, it is better if we come to have a look at it and we try to do that as well. We are not a company that would say "it will cost this much” and the final price is twice that. That’s not going to happen.
During the inspection, are you able to estimate how many boxes will be needed for the move?
Richard: Of course. We show customers what kind of boxes we have, how many boxes will be needed and what to put in which box. Toiletries go in certain boxes, clothes in others. We show them how to properly pack, how to fill boxes and so on.
STĚHOVÁNÍ Praha also lends boxes and other materials for moving. What are the conditions?
Richard: As standard, we lend moving boxes 14 days prior to the move and leave them with clients for 14 days afterwards. In exceptional cases, we can leave boxes with the customer longer (for example, when a customer moves and soon after goes on a business trip). Lending is free of charge. There is only a symbolic fee for delivery/pick-up.
How is remote pricing done?
Martin: In the current situation or in the case of moving from abroad, we do the inspection by having the customer take photos. Thanks to our experience with photographs, we can estimate what awaits us. I’ve also made a video call, but we prefer photos.
How many movers are necessary to move a studio apartment and how many for a 4+1?
Martin: The minimum crew is two, who can move the client out of a studio apartment in a morning. A larger apartment takes 3-4 movers all day. And it’s true that the longer people have lived there, the more things they have.
Richard: It still depends on the scope of the work. Some people have basic furniture or built-in cabinets moved, some have a small child, some pack their own boxes, or they have it done on a turnkey basis – so they have their whole household packed; that’s a job for six people over two days, for example.
When a whole family moves, how long does the actual moving take?
Martin: One working day in most cases. If we move only personal belongings and they have new furniture, we can do it in half a day. A whole apartment takes a full day; a two-storey house, two days. You can move a family with a huge house in three days.
Richard: It also depends on volume. You can increase the number of people and vehicles, but a house still has only one door through which things can be moved.
From toys to dishes and toothbrushes. If you have professionals backing you up, you don’t have to even lift a finger when you move
Can you completely pack everything for the customer?
Martin: Yes. Complete packing of a residence is becoming an ordinary part of moving. We pack glass, books, toys… Previously, people only wanted help with moving. Then demand for boxes and storage facilities increased and today we also do packing. We’ll come one day, pack up the residence, completely prepare it for moving and the next day we will move it. However, it’s possible to pack up and move one person in a single day. We will agree on what we will pack and how it will happen at the first meeting. Then the question is whether customers also want us to unpack – but that doesn’t happen very often and I don’t recommend it. It is better if people arrange everything according to their own needs.
Do you also disassemble and assemble furniture?
Richard: Yes, we do disassembly and assembly of furniture. It’s not a problem with existing furniture – if it’s not necessary to hire a carpenter (which we are able to do). It’s worse with completely new furniture, but we do what is needed.
Martin: We rarely say the word “no”.
Do you also operate storage facilities?
Martin: Yes, storage facilities are part of our complex. We provide storage records, take responsibility for orders and agree with customers whether they want to store their belongings for a week, a month or for however long they need.
Do you have insurance?
Martin: Insurance is part of our services. We are insured for CZK 20 million in the base amount. We have insurance not only for everything that we move, but also for the premises where we move (because you can also damage the surroundings, such as the elevator). If we move something more expensive, we handle that individually. The client usually gets insurance for, say, a week. This is done when moving a gallery, for example.
Do you provide transport to salvage yards and landfills?
Richard: Yes. We offer two options for disposal of old furniture and other things. We transport things to the salvage yard if the client has permanent residence in the given area. In that case, however, the client has to go with us and present his or her ID card. Or there’s a landfill, which is the easier option for the client, because he or she doesn’t have to go there with us.
How much does transport to a landfill cost?
Martin: It depends on the volume and the type of material, whether you have plastic, a mix of materials, wood, electronic waste… The cost of disposing of mixed waste is currently around CZK 3,000 per tonne, tires around CZK 200 per tire.
Do customers ensure parking for you?
Richard: It rarely happens that a client orders moving services so far in advance that an official reservation of space can be made. In Prague, you have to apply for it a month in advance. We’re glad if someone ensures a space for us on their own accord, but we usually count on there not being a reserved space and we will have to deal with it somehow. Based on that, we also adapt the vehicle that we dispatch for moving. If we know that moving can be done with one larger vehicle, but it’s in a narrow and busy street, such as Londýnská, we prefer to divide it into two smaller vehicles.
Has it ever happened that you couldn’t find a parking space near where you were moving?
Richard: We once parked 200 metres away. But we have various kinds of equipment such as hand trucks and special moving skates on which we can cart things over longer distances.
When is payment for moving made?
Martin: Most commonly after the move. Whoever wants, can pay by bank transfer; advance invoices are also issued. A company usually pays half in advance and the remainder is settled after the move. Ordinary customers know the price in advance; they know how much they will pay and then pay either in cash or by card after moving.
What should customer pay attention to before moving even begins?
Martin: That’s easy – consult with us. We do this every day, so we think about things that would never occur to other people. For example, measuring doorframes and making sure that the couch will pass through them. Or they don’t know that we do disassembly and can lend them boxes. I show them our offer of packing materials, boxes and other materials that we will bring to them, and the clients are then pleasantly surprised. During consultations, we advise the clients and discuss everything, and moving is thus not only easier, but can also be less expensive.
Moving around Europe can be easier than it seems
What all do you handle when moving abroad?
Martin: It’s easy in the European Union – you don’t have to deal with anything. If the international moving involves Switzerland or Norway, for example, there is some necessary paperwork. In most cases, however, a simplified accelerated system applies to moving and it is better if the client is present at the border and ensures customs clearance. When you move, you take a variety of things, including plants, for example, and a problem can arise when it’s prohibited to bring something into the given country. However, moving personal belongings, which should be duty-free, is easier than transporting goods that are subject to customs duties and taxes.
Have you ever encountered any problems at the border or have you been prohibited from bring something in?
Richard: If you know when you can cross the border and when not – which is especially true in the case of Switzerland, because the borders are closed at night - watch out for that and agree with the customer in advance so that there aren’t any problems.
Do you move overseas?
Martin: We do that rather in the form of preparation. We don’t operate much overseas, because then you pass responsibility on to someone else, and that is terribly complicated. We load everything up here, pack it in a container, transport it to the airport or to a ship, and in America another company unpacks it. And there arises the problem of who is responsible for any damage that may have occurred. That is resolved by the fact that the other company hired us. We prepare everything, completely pack it, bring it to the agreed place and they take it over. We operate in Europe.
Richard: It’s problematic. I remember moving to Iceland, where we were just one of those links in the chain. There was already a problem with the shipper, which was supposed to bring the container that we were supposed to load and someone else had to unload it in Iceland. Conversely, we often take care of unloading for companies that move to the Czech Republic.
Martin: That is often done by large firms that have representatives here who can come to the place and double check everything – how we do it, if everything is okay – and then take delivery.