House Clearance: DIY or hire the experts?
Clearing any property whether it is your own in readiness for moving, getting rid of the old for the new or that of a deceased loved one, family member or friend can be an extremely stressful and challenging task to undertake as there are so many things to take into consideration and indeed do when carrying out a house clearance from start to finish.
One of the very first things to consider is whether to do the clearance yourself or hire a house clearance company to do it all for you. There are pros and cons to both which you must weigh up before deciding what will be the best route for you to take.
DIY House Clearance
Go at your own pace – Clearing a property yourself will allow you to undertake the task at your own pace, resulting in less chance of something valuable being discarded, accidentally broken or important paperwork getting lost during the process of the clearance. Working at your own pace will also give you more time to carry out the clearance on your days off. Some house clearance companies only work set days at set times which may clash with dates and times that you’re unable to be available for.
Get the family together – The clearance of a property can be an ideal time to get the family together and spend some quality time with each other.
Make some money – You could hold a garage or garden sale from the contents of the property. Inform neighbours and make tea, coffee and some snacks. Garage/garden sales are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and can be a financially rewarding way to get rid of unwanted household-ware.
Labour intensive – Removing items of furniture from a property whether small and manageable to large and heavy items is physically tasking even for young strapping lads.
This labour intensive work can be made even more intensive if the items of furniture need broken up to fit into a skip (or several) or packed into a van, transported to a recycling centre and then disposed of.
Most modern recycling centres require you to separate the waste first before disposal. For example, wooden materials will typically go into a container marked “wood”, cardboard “cardboard” etc. This can not only be physically demanding – going from one container to another – but also time consuming.
Even boxes of packed bric-a-brac, books and other household-ware such as linen and clothing can be awkward and heavy to manage, especially on your own.
The real cost to you – In many cases it can actually prove more cost effective to hire a house clearance company rather than carrying it out on your own. When doing it yourself, you may have to hire a van, a skip (or several), take an unpaid day off work (or more) and even pay someone to help you, all of which can amount to over several hundred pounds.
For example, the average cost of van-hire ranges from between £35 to £80 depending on van type, usage terms, hire time and area. Skips are even more expensive; ranging from anywhere between £80 and £150, and that’s just for an ordinary small sized skip!
With skips you will also need a permit from your local council if there is no driveway to park the skip at, which will have to typically be arranged at least 1 full day before actually hiring a skip depending on the speed with which your local council processes and issues their permits.
Without a permit a skip-hire company will refuse to park one on a road or public path as doing so will result in a heavy fine and other penalties not only to them but you yourself too.
Some skip companies can also charge extra based on the weight of contents in the skip and will refuse to take away any overloaded skip which would result in you having to take items back out of the skip to dispose of separately.
You cannot dispose of certain items via a skip either. These items are TVs, computer monitors, fluorescent light tubing, chemicals, fridges and fridge freezers, car batteries and car or bike tires. You would have to individually dispose of such items separately yourself, which could mean several trips to your local household recycling centre.
Time consuming – Clearing a property is very time consuming be it a part clearance or a full clearance, especially if the property is cluttered or includes sheds, garages etc. to clear also. Only an experienced and professional house clearance company can put an accurate time-scale on such a task.
If you’re doing the house clearance yourself, the time in which it will take for you to clear the property depends on the size of the property itself, what needs to go, what needs to stay, how many helping hands there will be, just how many hours or days you can put into the task and the methods of disposal you will use.
Emotional distress – If the property belonged to a loved one, a family member or a friend and you’re tasked with clearing it on their behalf; then emotionally you will naturally feel distressed.
Dealing with the loss of someone close is tough enough; having to then go through their possessions, affairs and discarding with items that would have once held some form of attachment to your loved one, family member or friend can be even more distressing.
Hassle factor – If you yourself are clearing a property from start to finish the burden of decision making, organising and completing the task at hand rests solely with you which can prove a great deal of hassle especially if there are many things to do in order to complete the clearance.
House Clearance Experts
Save time – An experienced and professional house clearance company should be more than adept at tackling most types of clearances within a few hours – from standard houses to large properties depending on what needs to be cleared exactly.
Such an organisation will deploy a number of experienced and knowledgeable staff – typically ranging from 3-4 men – who will use their expertise to not only save you the customer time but just as importantly they and their company time too.
A professional company will also be able to give you a realistic timescale to complete the clearance and in most cases be able to stick to it and even complete the job in advance of the time quoted.
Save money – An experienced and professional house clearance company should be experts at reducing their costs and thus be able to pass on savings to you the customer.
They typically reduce their costs by recycling as much household waste as possible by way of donating things to charity, separating recyclable waste from non recyclable waste or selling on any items with any potential resale value.
Remember, however, that what you constitute as having some resale value may not always be shared by a house clearance expert. There is very little money to be made in second-hand goods these days as the depreciation aspect of even ‘modern’ or ‘recently new’ household-ware is staggeringly high due to cheap mass production. For example, you can buy a new microwave for under £15 at an Asda or a Tesco so people tend to buy new and not second-hand anymore.
By keeping their operating costs as low as possible a reputable house clearance company will be able to provide you with a reasonable quote that should provide a good value for money service. Considering the cost of skip-hire, van-hire and indeed man-power among various other DIY costs your better house clearance companies will – in comparison – actually save you money.
Save the environment – Well, not quite, but a professional and reputable house clearance company will certainly do their best to help the cause. With waste management costs for any waste carrier being so high (an all-time high according to various researches) recycling as much as possible really does pay.
Although time consuming, all such companies will do their utmost to make sure as much as possible does get recycled from any house clearance undertaken rather than end up at a landfill site.
Any company that carries waste be it household waste or other waste are permitted by law to be registered with the Environment Agency and must carry a Waste Carriers Licence issued by them.
Avoid using any company that does not hold such a licence nor is registered with the Environment Agency as they are likely to be the kind who fly-tip which is a criminal offence and using such companies can land you with a hefty fine. Also avoid any company that does not have a recycling policy.
Peace of mind – Whether you decide to go DIY or hire a company to carry out the clearance there will always be an element of hassle or distress for you to contend with. However, an experienced and professional house clearance company will shoulder most of the hassle/distress aspect for you such as organisation, disposal, man-power, probate even and timescales etc.
A professional company will take care of everything for you from start to finish in a quick, methodical, efficient and discreet fashion – leaving the property empty and clean of everything that needs to go at the end of the clearance and you fully in peace of mind.
Where to look, who to choose – There are thousands of house clearance companies throughout the UK (many will be operating in your own local area), companies that range from the well established with a reputable name to one-man-and-a-van type companies.
Where to look and who to choose can be a job on its own and needs carefully researched in order to stay clear of the many “cowboy” companies that are in operation.
Because of the sheer number of companies out there and the nature of a house clearance and what it involves it can be like a lottery finding that winning quote and indeed service that can satisfy your requirements fully.
Trust – The image of a Del Boy-like character of Only Fools and Horses’ fame, although a loveable TV screen favourite, is an all too familiar one when thinking of a house clearance company.
One automatically thinks of a rouge-like figure out to make a quick few quid from conning antiques and valuables out of unsuspecting folk, and that’s because such characters dominate the house clearance industry unfortunately, which tarnishes the reputable and professional companies out there. Sadly there are more of these “cowboy” companies than trustworthy ones.
Hidden costs – In the services sector there is always the prospect of some hidden costs or extras and the house clearance sector is no different. The better companies will get as much information from you as possible in relation to the house clearance and will be able to provide you with a quote based on this information and stick to that quote.
The less reputable ones, however, will find ways of trying to get more money out of you and unless you’re fully versed in the intricacies of waste management then you can easily be manipulated into handing over extra cash.
There are also many inexperienced start-up companies operating that may think they have their costs covered only to find out they have undercharged for a clearance after completion or during the clearance.
Try to use companies that have clear policies with regards to their prices and have at least been operating for 10 years or more. The better companies will happily state how long they have been in operation for.
Fly-tipping – This illegal activity is quite common and the scourge of many a local authority who via the tax payer spend millions a year on cleaning up waste dumped in streets, fields and back alley-ways by illegal traders. A reputable house clearance company will be registered with the Environment Agency and hold a valid Waste Carriers Licence, and also be able to produce waste transfer stubs. Using a company that fly-tips your waste can result in a heavy fine for you.
Conclusion – Whether you decide to do the house clearance yourself or hire a company to do it for you the most important thing is getting the job done in a manner that suits you and anyone else connected with the clearance of the property.