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Stayorgo

Shipping - where to start??

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    So we’re hoping to move to Australia in October and need to get thinking about shipping etc as I have a feeling time will fly quick!! 

    Plan is to take personal belongings,   Furniture, bikes, general stuff etc. I have a load of questions....

    Where do we start we finding shipping companies? 

    When should we ship? 

    What can we or can’t we take? 

    Will a shipping company pack it up for us? 

    What else do we need to think about? 

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    Shipping takes six to eight weeks, and longer if you're unlucky.  It's really up to you to decide how you want to manage that.

    When you arrive, you'll be in holiday accommodation for the first four weeks or so, so you won't need your stuff during that period. But when you're ready to move into your new home, it'll be tough to manage without it.

    For that reason, my personal preference would be to send the goods off three or four weeks before you leave.  You're taking the risk that your goods will arrive before you're ready and then you'll have to pay storage costs, but I think it's easier to manage without stuff while you're still in the UK and can borrow from family and friends, than camping in a new home in a strange country when you arrive.


    Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

    "The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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    We are in the process of arranging shipping from the UK to Oz at the moment (we haven't decided on a company yet). I wouldn't panic about the timescales too much, all the companies we have spoken to have said we have plenty of time to arrange it and we only have four weeks left until we leave the UK. So you should be fine time wise. I don't know if this will help but this is what we've found in our limited experience so far...

    You will find there are tons of companies out there (just do a search) and unfortunately they all seem to have mixed reviews. I think I've read terrible reviews for all of them having lost items, damaged items, and being a nightmare to deal with afterwards. We haven't found any company that has stood out as being better to be honest. I think it's pretty much a blind gamble as damage etc could happen to anyone, so just take out insurance. Be aware that they mostly (all?) contract out the moving, so you could have any removal firm turning up to move your stuff at either end. I'm not sure you have any control over this, so even if you read all the reviews about the shipping company it is likely to be an entirely different company that turn up to actually handle your belongings. 

    Most of them seem to offer a packing service. Also consider whether you want to have a shared shipment or sole. Shared takes longer and from what I've read can potentially lead to more hassle, but again I only have knowledge of stuff read online and a few people I know who have shipped overseas. Shared is cheaper of course.

    In an ideal world you would send goods far ahead of time, but it's not always feasible for everyone. For example we don't have the luxury of UK storage, people we can move in with or a spare bed/mattress so there is no way we will be shipping it and sleeping on the floor in the UK for four weeks. Ditto with things like dining table, sofa, TV, and so on. If you're happy to live in an empty house, aren't shipping all your stuff and can manage with just some and then somehow get rid of it just before you leave, or have somewhere else to live before you leave, I guess it could work ok. None of that applies to us. We are well aware that this means our stuff might turn up weeks after we arrive, and we'll just have to deal with that and buy a bed etc in Oz if that's the situation. For us this is a better solution than having a very unpleasant four weeks in the UK - we have enough to do in the next four weeks without putting up with sleeping and sitting on the floor, not having a TV, etc! I did that once when I moved house (stuff was in storage and we decided to save money and just try and wait for it)  and honestly made me really miserable - I got no sleep and hated being in the house.

    Other things to think about:

    - Additional fees at the Oz side which aren't included in your shipping quote, usually listed at the end and marked as excluded.

    - Restrictions on stuff that may be carrying soil - such as garden equipment - you'll face extra charges when it arrives if this isn't all thoroughly cleaned off before shipping. 

    - Most will give you a quote based on some estimations you give them, and then come round to assess the amount of stuff you're moving to get a more precise measurement for space. So you'll get a final quote then.

    As I said, not sure how helpful this is seeing as we haven't actually shipped yet but maybe it'll give you a few tips.

     

     

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    On 14/06/2018 at 02:33, Stayorgo said:

    So we’re hoping to move to Australia in October and need to get thinking about shipping etc as I have a feeling time will fly quick!! 

    Plan is to take personal belongings,   Furniture, bikes, general stuff etc. I have a load of questions....

    Where do we start we finding shipping companies? 

    When should we ship? 

    What can we or can’t we take? 

    Will a shipping company pack it up for us? 

    What else do we need to think about? 

    Google for shipping companies in the UK. There are probably about 6 or 7 main ones, lots of other smaller more local companies also. 

    Call them up, see if they come out to quote and if so, book a few of them in. Once they have come out and given you a quote, see what one you prefer and go with it. 

    Have a clear out of stuff you don't want to take and a good idea of what you do want to ship for when they come out to quote. Pointless shipping stuff you don't want or use or having them quote for it and will only throw away or rehome once in Aus. Don't pay to ship those things, recycle or sell them before you leave. 

    Ask the shipping company the sort of things you can't take. You can ship most household furniture/belongings but for some items a treatment fee will be charged if customs in Aus decides it needs it. And expect to pay a lot of even a small item if that is the case. TBH its mostly common sense and if you have a house full of standard stuff bought from stores, it should be fine. If you have a house filled with one off artefacts from Africa or South America you may want to double check those. If you are shipping bikes or garden stuff, you will need to clean and disinfect fully before shipping.

    Shipping companies usually pack for you. Expect them to perhaps only half fill boxes and the volume to increase therefore over what you may yourself pack. 

    FWIW, we sold most of our furniture and only shipped personal effects, our bed, a blanket box, desk and a chair. Didn't ship white goods, other furniture. Did ship all my kitchen ware, crockery, pans, cutlery and everything else. Its taken me 25 years to accumulate all that stuff and no way could I replace it in a few weeks. Shipping the kitchen stuff was an absolute must for me. Other end we hit a few op shops and Ikea for some kitchen stuff to tide us over till our belongings arrived. We really didn't need much tbh and made do those first few weeks. Bought things we could use for camping, picnics and outdoor use once our things arrived. Furniture we bought as and when we found something we liked and then if we wanted to we upgraded to something better quality at a later point (did this with our sofas, bought an Ikea one to get us going, then a full suite for the living room once we bought our house. Ikea sofa now in family room for kids). Other stuff we bought from Gumtree locally once here (Welsh dresser, dining table and chairs for example, still have them 5 years later). 

    One thing I will say is get an independent shipping insurance with either Letton Perciaval or IYM. Don't use the shipping companies own. Time and time again people struggle to get a claim sorted when using the shipping companies own insurance and often find they don't get decent compensation or are waiting many months and the case is being argued. An independent insurance will settle the claim quickly and properly. You can read no end of sob stories on here from people who had to make claims from their shippers and are unhappy or having to argue their claim for weeks/months. I've yet to read one bad review for the independents, they always get good feedback. Shipping companies will of course try to talk you into using their own. You don't have to and an independent can be sought out. 

     

     

     

     

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