Moving Essentials: 5 Reasons to Request a Pre-Move Survey

Whether it’s a local move or an International move, to the other side of the world, it is really worth investing the time to meet companies you have shortlisted at your residence. Start the process early, ideally 4-6 weeks prior to move date. Here are 5 key reasons.

Establishing the Correct Volume


The volume of your goods is going to dictate the price. It is important to take the time to show the surveyor all areas of your home including basement, balcony, garage, even the garden shed etc.

Depending on the size and scope of your move, the pre move survey can take from 10 minutes to 1 hour, but it’s a good idea to sit down with the surveyor once you have finished the walk around address questions and concerns you may have. This will tell you a lot about the moving company you are dealing with. If you have done your research, try to keep the number of pre-move surveys to 3 or 4. Anymore than this and it becomes hard to keep track.

Discuss Logistics

The volume and timeframe of your move influences the type and mode of transport. The pre-move survey is your opportunity to discuss this in detail face-to-face with the surveyor. For international moving the following issues information should be made available to you.

  • How many days to pack and load the goods?

  • Unless storage is required at origin, will the container be brought to your residence?

  • What is the transit time?

  • What day of the week does the vessel sail?

  • How many days prior to the sailing does the container need to transported back into the port (this is known as the cut-off)

These factors have an important impact on the final delivery date of your shipment and if you are on a tight schedule, this planning early in the process is essential. Good moving companies do not leave things like this to chance.

The pre-move survey also offers the surveyor an opportunity to view any awkward, heavy, oversized items and also the access to your home. An extra long carry to an elevator, or handling items via multiple staircases, or shuttling the goods from a residence in a built up/restricted area to the container can add time and cost to a move and so it is important the surveyor notes this and provides recommendations.

Prepare and Plan for Worse Case-Scenarios

Before the pre-move survey it’s advisable to walk through your home in advance, opening cupboards and drawers, checking in the room under the stairs or the spare room where you keep all your clutter (don’t worry, virtually every home has one). Give some thought to what you are going to dispose of or sell. Ask yourself what you will do with items you are unable to sell.

If you end up deciding to ship the items you originally intended to sell then the volume increases and this could add (considerably) to the cost of the move, especially if a 20ft container becomes a 40ft container. It is better to be realistic and ask the mover to quote both options. This can avoid nasty surprises on move day. It’s better to know what you need to remove from the shipment, in order to stay within your budget/allowance weeks ahead of your move rather than when the container is being loaded a few days before your departure, when your options are limited. A good international moving company will help you plan for this and it starts during the pre-move survey.

Clarify Paperwork

Again it’s a good idea to deal with this face-to-face, early in the process. The moving company deals with packing lists and shipping documents, but it will be up to you to complete insurance forms, customs documents which may involve you obtaining official documents at origin from your local embassy or consulate. A good international moving company should be fully aware of what is required and should be able to guide you on this. Start this process early.

Avoid the Stress of Miscommunication

Most problems and stress during an international move can be attributed to miscommunication; usually early in the process. This is the ideal time to make it clear to the international moving company what you expect, and what your requirements are. Don’t be afraid to reinforce this point to the surveyor during the pre move survey. Also insist these arrangements are reflected in the written quotation. If they are not included then insist the quotation is resubmitted.