“ Domestic and commercial removalist services. „
Moving house is an expensive business, you know. So, when it dawned on us that we had to transport all of our vast quantities of stuff (lets face it, mostly books) from Newcastle upon Tyne down to Cheltenham, our first thought was that we would hire a van on the cheap and do all the hard work ourselves to save some cash. It didn't take long for reality to bite, however: he has a bad back, I have a bad knee, we lived on the first floor above some narrow stairs, we had several items of heavy furniture, and we had barely managed to get our new telly into our flat the previous year without breaking it (or ourselves for that matter). That settled things, really. We would have to hire in some men who knew what they were doing and live with the cost!
Fortunately, my Significant Other found this to be an excellent moment to announce that the company he was leaving had a previously untapped staff perk: a list of various shops and services that would offer employees a discount upon showing his work ID. We saw no reason why we shouldn't exploit such opportune goodwill at this late stage, and went about plundering it for any removals companies. The list gave us four choices, with varying discounts and offers available to staff: Pickford's, and three smaller, local companies, including Quicksilver, the subject of this review.
Having never used a professional remover, I was to be honest pretty clueless about what to expect and how much I should be paying, so I thought it best to stick to the discount list and get quotes from each of the four companies in turn. My first stop was Pickford's, the only name on the list that I recognised. Their quote system involved filling in an online inventory of your house contents (which turned out to be a surprisingly difficult thing - have you ever tried to estimate how many boxes of stuff the contents of your cupboards would take up?), providing details of your move, then emailing it in and waiting for them to turn that inventory into a quote. I saved a copy of the inventory and sent it to the second company on the list as well, and was all set to give the same details to the third company, but rejected them because they only did regional moves. The fourth name on the list was Quicksilver removals, an independent, family owned company based in Tyneside. They wouldn't accept my inventory, but instead arranged for a member of staff to come around the following afternoon to make an assessment of the contents of the property.
The Quicksilver representative turned up right on time, and turned out to be a smartly dressed man in a suit, which threw me slightly. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, but a manager making these sorts of routine house calls rather impressed me. Even more impressively, he surveyed our flat in a mere ten minutes, and could tell me straight away what size van would accommodate our needs and how many standard size boxes we would fill; it had taken me over an hour to fill in the inventory for Pickford's, so I was expecting this process to last much longer! When I explained the distance that we would be moving, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Quicksilver offered a storage facility, where my vast quantity of stuff could be held for a very reasonable £16 per week between collection and delivery; this meant that we wouldn't have to do both in one day, a huge advantage given the distance we would be travelling. The quote - £1200 including a week's storage, the dismantling and reassembly of our two largest bookcases (which wouldn't fit down the stairs in one piece), and the 5% staff discount - was confirmed to me in writing the next day. This was admittedly rather more than I was used to spending (on anything), so I waited to see what the other companies I had contacted would offer me.
Pickford's never gave me a quote, despite acknowledging the receipt of my inventory. Company number two quoted me £950 based on my less-than-professional assessment of the quantity of goods I owned, but couldn't get anyone out to do a proper assessment for days or offer a storage facility after collection.
Given the immediacy of my move, I decided it was best to go with Quicksilver; my impression of them thus far was one of professionalism, reliability and helpfulness, and although their quote wasn't the cheapest, they had all the services I required and were available when we needed them. I was also a little bit worried that if I chose to hire company number two the price would escalate at a point where it would be too late to change my mind. I would have liked to get them out to professionally assess my house so I had a more comparable quote, but time was of the essence and they weren't prepared to try and accommodate me.
We arranged with Quicksilver to collect our things the following Friday morning - yes, I really wasn't kidding when I said we didn't have much time! At that point I was getting worried that no one would be able to fit us in at such short notice, but Quicksilver were great. They already had a company move booked for that day, but went to great lengths to rearrange their schedule so we could be fitted in, and kept in touch with us throughout. In the end, they had to give us a 4pm appointment rather than the morning, allowing themselves an hour before clocking-off time to empty our flat. In end, due to the awkwardness of our belongings and the dismantling procedures, they took until 6pm. Quicksilver rules state that work carried out after 5pm attracts an overtime rate, but because this late work was a result of their underestimation of time, we weren't charged any extra. The workmen were polite and friendly, and knew exactly what they were doing - and it only took one of them to casually carry the telly we had struggled with downstairs!
With our goods and chattels driven off into the night, we were left in our suddenly empty flat with just enough things to last us over the next few days and a pile of cleaning materials. We spent the most thrilling Saturday ever spring cleaning the flat (I hope to never have to wash net curtains ever again...), then left on Sunday morning to drive to our new home. Sunday night was spent in a romantic stopover in a cheap Travelodge just outside Birmingham with our remaining things crammed into my little car outside. There may have been a slight overestimation of how much my car could actually take, but nonetheless we crawled safely into Cheltenham on the Monday, collected the keys to our new flat, and moved in. We had arranged for Quicksilver to deliver on the Tuesday, and indeed they rang us bright and early that morning to announce they were about an hour away.
A different crew turned up this time, but they were no less friendly and helpful that the miracle workers that had somehow fitted everything into their van four days earlier. There had been a couple of minor casualties in the move - the metal frame of our laundry basket was dented, and one plastic box full of books had collapsed, though fortunately no books were injured in this incident - but everything else was as good as when it left Tyneside. Some of that will be testament to my paranoid tendencies to use liberal amount of bubble wrap and tissue paper in my packing, but I think it speaks volumes that they were able to transport more delicate items like our TV and PC without boxes and without damage. Even my creaking old laptop survived unscathed. They really knew what they were doing when they packed the van, and took great care with our things.
Overall, we were very impressed with the service that we got from Quicksilver. They may not have been the cheapest, but I doubt we could have done any better in terms of the result, and their storage facility was a huge help in making the move less stressful. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Quicksilver to anyone wanting commercial or domestic movers in the North East of England.
Newcastle upon Tyne