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Why price comparison is revolutionising removals

Sep 25, 2015
Now that price comparison is taking hold in the removals industry, what sort of impact can we expect? It works for books, smartphones and DVDs, but does it work for a removals job? And who stands to benefit most, if at all? Marc Benger, Co-founder and Director of Compare My Move explains.

As consumers, we take price comparison for granted. Who hasn’t benefited from cheaper car insurance or a better broadband tariff thanks to the power of Internet technology that instantly presents you with all the product information necessary to make your purchase?  

Lessons from the personal finance market  

In the high-margin personal finance industry, price comparison has revolutionised how the market works. Once dominated by a small cartel of the biggest companies in the world, price comparison has become a boon for innovative niche providers and challenger brands. Why? Because price comparison is completely meritocratic, which means a level playing field no matter how big you are. 

Removals services – just like insurance, pensions and savings – are not commodities. Customers want to know more than just the price, and they want to know quickly. But there are even more compelling reasons why removals services are well suited to price comparison and why removals firms would be wise to get involved from the outset. 

Long duration between using a removals service 

According to the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, the average turnover of a UK property is now 23 years. That’s three times longer than during the big housing boom of the 1980s. Even those who move fairly regularly don’t move frequently enough to keep track of changing removals prices, service offerings and providers. The net result is that the average removals customer has almost no idea what costs to expect for the service they require, until they start researching it. This is massively increasing their reliance on price comparison to support their understanding and provide additional helpful resources. 

The emotional tinderbox of moving day  

It doesn’t get more stressful than moving house and the focal point for that stress is typically moving day. Decades can pass between occasions when a typical customer uses a removals firm. Couple this with the undeniable fact that many potential customers in your area have no idea of your reputation. Both of these things heighten their desire to find a reliable, independently vetted removals operator rather than a cowboy who’ll let them down. Price comparison plays a crucial role in this process, by keeping rogue traders strictly off limits to provide extra reassurance to the buying public. 

Organising removals: the last thing to get done 

Organising a removal is an important task, but it’s seldom given more priority than other pressing issues such as mortgage arrangements, legal process and school entry. No one ever thinks about car insurance six months through their annual coverage, which is why these kinds of financial services products are the single biggest success story of the price comparison age. When people need a quick quote about something they don’t really understand, there is nothing better than price comparison and that’s a big part of the opportunity for removals operators.  

A wide variety of removals services and providers 

The removals industry has developed a host of services for every need. These can range from the simple man-and-a-van, to long-distance transport integrated with short-term storage services, and even luxury ‘concierge’ providers offering prestige packing and unpacking. This again increases the necessity of a 24/7 online comparison engine that presents detailed service information, as well as the headline price. Customers ultimately want as much insight as possible to base their decisions upon.  

The 50%-local rule for finding a removal firm 

When people move, it’s sometimes to a new part of the country or a new part of the world. In such a scenario, they’ll know more about removals firms in their current area than removals firms in the area they are moving to. They don’t have to be rocket scientists to understand that this gap in their knowledge means they are missing out on a potential opportunity to save money. Price comparison gives the buyer immediate insight into both local markets related to their move, effectively doubling the addressable market for removals firms that take part.

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