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Price comparison shopping comes to removals

Jun 19, 2013
The domestic moving industry is witnessing a step change in the way its customers buy its services this month with the launch of the first ever removals price comparison site

The site claims to deliver booked removal jobs directly to moving companies rather than current lead generation sites that simply supply enquiries.

The idea is the brainchild of ex-lawyer Becky Downing who had the idea after experiencing a particularly distressing move herself. He co-founding team also includes Ben Austin (Product Director - an experienced B2B entrepreneur), and Gavin Wiseman (Marketing Director and experienced B2C entrepreneur).  

The site is intended to benefit moving companies and the moving public alike by guiding customers to high quality moving organisations, providing them with a simple and familiar way of comparing prices and by providing service quality reviews from previous customers.  In turn the moving company benefits by reducing its marketing costs, receiving only booked jobs, having access to the latest price comparison technology at no cost, and benefiting from an extensive PR and TV advertising campaigned planned for the public launch.

“We have invested a lot of time in understanding the industry and where removal companies are coming from,” explained Becky. “As part of this we have personally participated in removals jobs and spoken to as many people as possible in the industry.  I personally undertook the BTEC course in home removals estimation, which is where I met Chris Smallwood of Britannia Anchor Removals.  Since then, Chris has been instrumental in helping us refine an algorithm that will generate accurate quotes, and that will work in favour of removal companies.  We're not in it for a quick buck.  The whole point of RemovalStars is to benefit both removals customers and companies.  We will continue to prioritise feedback and learning from the industry to ensure the site works optimally for the industry.”

It is free to join for any moving company although the company says it will be vetting every applicant to ensure that only those companies that have impeccable credentials will be accepted.  Any company that fails to maintain the level of service required will be expelled.  Participating moving companies will be paid seven days before the move takes place with making its money by taking a 13% commission.  As most movers are lucky to make 13% profit on a job this does need to be taken into account when populating the site with costing data.

“We will be operating a completely different business model from your typical lead generation sites,” explained Becky.  “We will expect removal companies to provide real quotes, and not unrealistically low quotes - this will be strictly monitored by our team - this not only levels the playing field for removal companies but ensures that customers are presented with a truthful picture of what they can expect to pay for a decent removals job.”

In recent years we have all become used to buying motor insurance, airline tickets, utilities, holidays and much more from price comparison sites: why not removals?  The argument has always been that removals are too complicated, that no two moves are the same and so online pricing is too imprecise to be of value.  But that depends on the detail built into the algorithm that’s doing the calculation and the sophistication of the system for collecting job specifications.  Participating companies are required to honour all quoted figures as long as the customer’s inventory remains accurate and the job specification does not change.  Of course, there is nothing to stop any company from sending out a surveyor to confirm the details and, as they will by then have a confirmed job, many will be willing to do just that.

There will be plenty of moving companies holding their heads in horror at this latest idea.  They have already had to endure what they see a relocation companies taking their market share and broker companies intercepting their rightful enquiries and selling them back.  In both cases the industry was slow to react then cried foul. But this just might be different.  This might be the model that really works especially for those companies who are prepared to be early adopters and keep their noses clean sufficiently to gather an impressive clutch of positive reviews.  Before you dismiss it as a fad and return your head to the soft sand, maybe you should give it a try.  For more information contact Debbie Downing on or drop her a line at


Top: The Removalstars management team - Ben Austin (left), Becky Downing and Gavin Wiseman.
Bottom: Becky Downing and Chris Smallwood

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