Removal men/women work in small teams of between two to six, led by a foreperson, who is also usually the driver. On receipt of the removal estimator's instructions at base, they drive the removal van or lorry to the collection location.
Items are packed and loaded in an order that ensures safety and security. Procedures may vary according to the different types of vans used. The furniture removers may have to dismantle large items of furniture and remove doors, door frames or windows to get items through.
Once the packing is finished, the team drive to the new location and unload the items, following instructions from the customers. Because moves are usually on the day when ownership of property is exchanged, arrival and departure times may be critical.
Some removers may go to the house a day or two before the move to wrap and pack delicates such as china, glass, pictures and antiques. These may be specialist packers who may not take part in the actual move. In other cases the removal team may help to pack possessions, ensuring that some continuity and assistance with unpacking may be given.
Packers may also pack furniture in special wrappings and packing cases for sending overseas by ship or plane. This is a very specialised role and requires additional training.
Basic hours are normally 39 to 40 a week, but actual working time varies to fit the time a job takes. Overtime is common and many moves take place at weekends.
The job may involve early starts to give maximum time for loading, and late finishing in order to complete the job. Delays are often likely for legal reasons or because of a chain of moves.
Long moves cross-country, or to a European country, may involve periods away from home and overnight stops in lodgings or sleeper cabs.
Removal men/women normally wear overalls.
To be a furniture remover, you should:
There are removal companies and depots of major removal companies throughout Britain, though most are in large urban areas. As many also offer storage, their bases are often on industrial estates on the edge of towns.
Companies handling international removals offer the possibility of overseas travel. Some have acquired depots in Europe and may offer work abroad.
Promotion may be through further training to specialist packer positions or to foreman/woman. This post is normally foreman/woman driver which may involve taking a training course and test for an LGV licence.
Experienced removers who can handle mathematical calculations and visualise the space furniture and possessions will take up when packed into a van, may become removals, or sales, estimators. They visit customers' premises to provide them with quotations covering price and times.
Self-employment is possible by buying or leasing a van and offering a removal service. Other prospects may be in the storage side of companies or possibly moving into management.
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