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Man and Van: What You Need to Know

posted: 30/06/2021

Whether you need to relocate to a different part of the city or you’ve bought a wardrobe and wish it delivered to your doorstep – there are many reasons why you might require the assistance of a man and van. However, all cases are not alike, and sometimes you may not actually need this but a full-scale removal service instead. And, believe it or not, we often get calls from people who haven’t evaluated their situation properly and request the wrong service. So let’s examine the man and van services under the microscope to help you make the right choice when the time comes.

1. What Is the Difference Between a Man and Van and a Regular Moving Service?

Both are services one uses when they wish to relocate their place of living or working. However, man and van services are designed to cater to smaller-scale relocations, usually within the city limit. They require the use of a van instead of a lorry, and fewer movers are needed to do the job. Regular moving services are used for more elaborate removals, where expensive items are being transported, as they offer better insurance coverage.
We must make an important distinction – man and van providers offer only this specific service. Depending on how big they are, moving companies, like Top Removals, can perform both regular and man and van relocations.

To better illustrate the distinguishing traits of each service, we have prepared an easy to understand comparison table. For the purpose of this side by side observation, let’s assume the man and van services are provided by a specialised company and the regular removals – by a larger moving agency.

FactorsMan and VanRegular Removals
Type of property➤ For smaller properties like a 1-2 bedroom home or a tiny office space.➤ Suitable for all sizes of properties, however, this service is ideal for larger office buildings, houses and 2-3 bedroom apartments.
Distance➤ For short-distance moves, usually within the city limits.➤ Both for short and long distances. If you plan to relocate to another city, you need to request a standard moving service.
Number of movers➤Typically, the man and van service is run by 2 people – one who drives the vehicle and one that helps with the loading.➤Removal companies can dispatch large moving parties if needed – 5+ people. (for packing, unloading, etc.)
Type of vehicle➤ Small or medium-sized van;
➤ Not all companies can provide more than one vehicle.
➤ The capacity of the vehicle depends on how many boxes and furniture you need to relocate.
➤ Most companies have at least one or two larger vehicles like Luton vans or lorries.
➤ The auto park is newer and the vehicles are better equipped.
Duration➤ One-day removals.
➤ Especially suitable if you have to relocate fast or on the same day.
➤ The time depends on the distance and the load.
➤ From one day to a couple of weeks ( if you are moving cross country in the US or Australia, for example)
Insurance➤ Not all service providers offer insurance coverage.➤ Generally, all moving companies have some sort of insurance policy. The coverage usually depends on the type of services you’ve booked.
Specialised lifting equipment➤Depends on the type of company. Specialised man and van companies usually offer only the basic harnesses or lifting belts.➤ Larger companies are better equipped especially when it comes to lifting expensive items like vintage furniture or musical instruments.
Included services➤ Initially, the man and van service included only the actual transportation of your belongings. Therefore, some companies may charge you for loading and unloading.➤ For large-scale moves usually, there is an on-site survey included in the initial price. You can expect your movers to load, transport and unload your belongings.
Additional services➤ Man and van service providers do not offer packing and unpacking, or wrapping materials. Site surveys are also not a common practice.➤ You can rent crates, schedule packing and unpacking services and require the needed boxes and materials. Depending on how big the removal company is, there are various additional services you can benefit from.

It is important to note there is an exception to every rule, and the moving capacity varies from company to company. It all depends on how diligent the employees are and what the owner’s quality standards are set.
We have specifically left the price out, as the cost is based on many different factors. More about how much it will be to book a removal company you can find in our detailed price table.

2. How to Choose the Perfect Man and Van Company?

You pick the right company by doing research. It is as simple as that. The basic things you need to look for are:

  • Reliability – Check their Facebook page and website. Search on the web for articles or mentions of this company. Check the location of their office and directly contact them.
  • Reviews – Not all companies have a well-maintained website. That doesn’t mean they are bad service providers. To distinguish trustworthy agencies from fraudulent ones, rely on platforms like Yelp or Trustpilot.
  • Insurance policy – Seek companies that offer full coverage that won’t scam you. Bear in mind if an item is damaged because of the way you packed it, the movers usually won’t reimburse your losses.

Regardless of the city, the man and van services are a preferred niche by many scammers. So you need to be vigilant and ask a lot of questions. Require information about:

  • The type of vehicle they use
  • How many movers will arrive at your property
  • Experience with similar relocations
  • You can even ask them for referrals from other customers.
  • The insurance agency they work with and the policy coverage
  • Hidden expenses, taxes and additional fees

moving vans in London3. What Type of Van to Use?

Usually, people that provide man and van services in London have in their possession only a single small or medium wheelbase van. In such a vehicle, you can fit either around 40 boxes or 15 boxes, a washing machine, a fridge, and a double bed. If your move is bigger than that, you might want to look around for a vehicle with more cubic feet of space. For example, Luton vans can fit the belongings of an average 2-bedroom property. But if your move is bigger than that, you will either need to hire multiple vans or benefit from a larger vehicle like the 7.5-tonne box van. If you want to know more about the specific vehicles used in the man and van service, check out this detailed table.

4. How to Prepare Your Items When Using A Man and Van?

There are many things you need to do to be certain the relocation will go as smoothly as possible after the van arrives. The main ones are:

  • Pack and secure all your belongings – make sure your items are packed and prepared to be loaded in the van. If you’re not 100% ready with the packing, this can slow down the whole relocation process and can result in you being charged more by the mover. If your removal company can offer you specialised packing materials or moving crates, it will save you a lot of time and effort.
  • Label the boxes accordingly – as we have stated in these packing tips, you can use different colours for each type of room at your new home. This will help your man with a van to unload all boxes in the right rooms, saving you some time and effort later. As it is explained in our ultimate office moving guide, labelling is especially important when you are relocating a business.
  • Take care of the parking – usually, the parking should be arranged by you in advance. It is best if there are parking spots available right in front of the old and the new property. Otherwise, if the van is parked far away, the relocation duration will increase and result in additional costs for you.
  • Have a plan and share it with the professionals – it is important to have good communication with the person who provides you with a man and van services in London. That is why the first thing you should do after the van arrives at your place is to share your vision on how you expect the whole moving process to happen.

5. When to Use a Man and Van Services?

moving truckThe man and van services can be beneficial in many instances. Here we have listed the most frequent situations in which such service will help you:

  • If you want to move a single item.
  • If you want to move fast and on the same day.
  • If you are relocating to a fairly close location.
  • If you want to save money and do the heavy packing and lifting by yourself.
  • College and university students that want to have an efficient dormitory move within city limits.

As you can see, these types of removals are not for everybody. You need to avoid hiring a man and van if:

  • You want to transport valuable items like expensive pieces of art, vintage furniture, etc.
  • You are moving with too many boxes. Sometimes it is better to book a regular domestic removal service and put all of your items in one big lorry
  • than to spread your things in 4 or 5 random vans.
  • If you want your belongings to be professionally packed. As we said, the man and van offered by specialised companies rarely can provide you with quality packing services.

And there you have it. Now that you’re familiar with these tips, it’ll be easier to evaluate your needs and communicate them with your relocation or delivery experts.

What is your experience? Have you used a man and van service before? Tell us in the comment section below, and feel free to ask any related questions. Our Top Removals experts will gladly answer them.


Stephanie Cooper

Stephanie is a content marketing specialist for Top Removals for the past several years. She has extensive experience working with moving companies and knows her audience. Stephanie creates engaging and useful content helping the customers of Top Removals with their struggles and providing them with the most accurate insight.

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