Can you give me an idea of the cost of a house clearance over the phone if I give you details?
I'd be very pleased to help but I do need a lot of information. The cost of carrying out the work depends on all sorts of factors such as distance, ease of access, the type and quantity of things to be removed and so on. I have occasionally given an estimate based on written details and photographs, but what I always recommend is that you allow me to visit the property and see for myself exactly what you'd like doing.
That way, we get to know each other and I can give you an absolutely firm and guaranteed quotation and, if any items had any value, then we could agree an allowance based on that. There is no charge and certainly no obligation attached to asking me to visit!
Do you buy furniture?
No – there’s very little market these days for anything but fairly outstanding items. I do make an allowance for the possible value of any furniture or other items I remove as part of a house clearance, but I can’t just buy furniture on its own.
There is furniture in the house that I think is quite valuable. Should I sell it beforehand or will you buy them?
It will certainly be better to sell them yourself (such as on eBay or on a post card in a supermarket) to avoid the charges I have to make to cover my costs, but only if you have the time (and energy!) to do this – it’s a time-consuming process.
I own a property which I let and students have left it in a mess. Can you clear it?
This is something I do frequently for Letting Agents. The property can also be cleaned if required, the cost depends on the condition in which it has been left.
Will you take away just an old mattress?
Yes, but if you could manage to get it in a car, perhaps with the help of a neighbour, and take it to your local Recycling Centre (address in the Yellow Pages) it wouldn’t cost you anything at all.
The house I need cleared has had the water and electricity cut off. Can you still clear and clean it?
This is frequently the case. It does mean cleaning is more difficult and therefore a bit more expensive but it can still readily be done.
I want a house cleared but want to keep the price down. Is there anything I can do to minimise the cost?
It would certainly help if you could do some of the groundwork, if cost is an important aspect. Bagging smaller items and clothes in black sacks helps, but it's essential to keep like with like to help with recycling. Empty liquids from bottles and jars, keep wood and metal items separate and dispose of unpleasant items and specialised chemicals at the local Recycling Centre. And, if you preferred to sweep the floors and generally tidy up afterwards rather than leaving it to us, then that would help, too.
Some furniture and other items must be left in the house. How can I be sure you’ll not take them away by accident?
Make sure I note them when I walk round to give you the quotation, but in addition you could make extra sure by putting clear stickers on these items.
Some furniture will be difficult to get downstairs and I’m worried that the wallpaper will be damaged.
Where furniture has no value and is just taken away as wood, it is often carefully broken apart in situ and carried away as flat panels for recycling. In such cases there is no problem in getting it downstairs, but if it has to remain whole then at least two men are used and, if necessary, thick padding is wrapped on corners in case of accidental contact. We've even temporarily removed handrails in difficult cases.
The old gas cooker needs taking away as well. Are you competent to do this?
Again, this is a frequent request and I use a Gas Safe registered gas specialist to do the disconnection and ensure that there is no gas leak and provide a Certicate of Gas Safety.