Man & van or removals firm?


Moving house can get expensive so when movers see adverts offering van hire for as little as £25 per hour, and man and van services for not too much more, the cost savings can be very appealing. But is it wise to trust bigger moves to just a man with a van?

For very small moves and single item moves the man and van option is probably the best way to go, in fact removal firms would be unlikely to want to these types of jobs. Larger jobs, however, need a lot more consideration. Firstly, how large are they? Estimating the amount of stuff you have is a lot trickier than you may think. Experienced removal firms are usually more qualified at calculating the volume of items and size of vehicle required to move them. It is a common a fault of most movers that they underestimate the volume of items they actually have.

Another consideration is the level of support you’ll need with the actual physical moving of items. With hiring a van and going it alone, or just using a basic van and man service, you will probably have to cope with this yourself. Fully trained removal teams have the skills to make moving large bulky items through not so large doorways and windows look a lot easier than it is. They also benefit from having the correct trolleys and equipment, which again will increase the efficiency of the move. An experienced removals team should also be able to load their truck in a manner that will use all the space available and ensure that your belongings are securely fastened for the journey.

Without doubt the Man and Van services have the advantage that they can usually operate at much shorter notice and with more flexible charge structure, often charging out their time at a fixed hourly rate. Using such a service though you’ll probably also need to face up to the prospect of packing everything yourself and probably having to get involved in the fetching and carrying. This is again a task that although can be dealt with by the mover needs some careful consideration and planning, and an area that the fully trained removals firm are likely to be faster and more efficient at.  As with most things the professionals make it look a lot easier than it is. Removal firms with well trained staff will clear out a house and load a van far quicker than the average person could. A mover must realistically look at the time, physical effort, and logistics of dismantling and packing of items for a large house move.

Now obviously cost is an important determining factor in deciding how your move is done. It’s advisable to think long and hard as to the level of service you need. Try to give thought to timescales and the amount of furniture you will be moving. Are you happy (and able) to lend a hand or is you time better spent organising where things will fit in your new house? If you have a large house and plenty of furniture the stress of moving it all could be great.  You’ll be surprised at how tiring the process can be. A man and van service may initially seem the cheaper option but consider the full scale of the job. Would two or three journeys in a smaller van be a better solution than hiring a removals firm with a truck? Would sourcing your own packing boxes, dismantling all your items, packing everything into boxes yourself be the most efficient use of your time during what is likely to be a busy time for you?

Each individual’s circumstances are different, and each perception of value varies too, but here are some pro’s and con’s to consider:


Man & Van


  • Cheap
  • Offer up-front fixed rates
  • Readily available at short notice
  • May be better at gaining access to small premises


  • Use small vehicles
  • You will probably have to pack/move items
  • May not have full insurance
  • Multiple journeys may be required


Removals firm


  • Large fully equipped vehicles
  • Fully trained staff
  • Usually associated with trade organisation
  • Fully insured
  • Wide range of service available
  • Specialised moving equipment


  • Usually pay a premium price
  • May be a minimum call out charge
  • May need to book well in advance - especially at peak times
A Guide to Office Removals ()