Even if you’ve chosen furnished accommodation in Ireland, chances are that you will still be shipping a few household items through an international shipping company. Entrusting a company you’ve never used with your sentimental and valuable possessions can be nerve-racking, so it’s important to vet shipping companies thoroughly.
Most international shipments will arrive without incident in the time-frame quoted, but sometimes things go awry. Here are some questions you need to ask your moving company so that you understand all the ways your shipment could go wrong, and how your movers will handle it:
1. What’s the longest my shipment could take?
Most companies will give you a standard shipping time estimate, usually about 8 to 10 weeks. But this delivery time can be drastically affected by government regulations, the priority of other shipments, and even the weather. It’s best to know a worst-case time scenario from the beginning.
2. How do your subcontracts work with international shipping?
International shipping companies frequently use subcontractors around the world to deliver shipments locally. It’s important to ensure that your shipping company only works with one or two local delivery companies and does not simply entrust your delivery to the hands of the lowest bidder. However, if a problem arises with one of the subcontracts, such as their inability to move your shipment when anticipated, you would want to know if your original shipping company has the ability to renegotiate their subcontract or to find a new subcontractor. Make sure you understand their policies and procedures concerning subcontractors.
3. Who is responsible for customs documentation in international shipping?
Before your shipment is released to you, it will have to pass a customs inspection in Ireland which includes corresponding documentation stating that your shipment contains only household items which will not be sold commercially. Though you will most likely need to provide evidence of your residence in your former country as well as your intention to remain permanently in Ireland, do make sure that your shipping company will be responsible for submitting those documents along with the correct forms to customers agents. They should be your partner and representative through the customs process.
4. Can you deliver to my specific address?
This question is especially pertinent to anyone moving to a rural location, as many lanes and small roads in Ireland are impassable for large trucks. Discuss your specific address with your shipping company and find out whether a smaller shuttle vehicle will be required to make the delivery on your road, which may, in turn, incur an extra cost or delay delivery.
5. What else could delay my shipment?
International shipping company representatives are aiming to sell you their service, so they will paint for you a best-case scenario. Your questions should help to uncover the worst that could happen in delivering your shipment. Talk to them about their claims process for lost or damaged items, their avenues of recourse if your shipment is delayed for an outstanding amount of time, and problems that might arise in customs. Mentally preparing for delays and setbacks will help you find patience in the process if there are problems with your shipment.
Along with these questions, you’ll also want to ask for references from your moving company, and you should spend some time digging into their reputation online. You should always meet one of their local representatives in person, and you can ask them the same questions as above to see if they offer the same answers as their corporate counterparts.
Even when you’ve found a company that seems like a good fit, make sure you get at least two other quotes from competing companies, using the same vetting process for each.