Interview with Head of Operations Menno Martens

Interview with Head of Operations Menno Martens

Menno has held a number of leadership roles across the moving and relocation industry in his 18 year career. He runs our video survey department, helping to ensure great customer service and high conversion rates to clients in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands.

So Menno how did you get into the moving industry?

In my final year at university I was assigned to write a business plan for a local moving company. Once I had successfully completed my assignment and graduated, the owner of the company asked me if I had any plans to start my career. I said I hadn’t given it any thought yet so he handed me the keys to one of the trucks, and said I could work my way up starting from today. I spent a good 3 years on the road before progressing into project management and surveying. What I learnt was invaluable.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve moved?

Over the years I have moved many antiques, grand pianos, vintage cars and even small aircrafts, but the strangest thing I have ever moved has got to be an 8ft gold-plated Elvis statue.

How has the industry changed since you first started in moving?

The industry has changed considerably since I first started. We did not think twice about climbing wobbly loft ladders, and did many more things in violation of today’s H&S legislation.

In your opinion how has technology helped the industry?

Technology has obviously helped the industry an enormous amount but I guess you would have had to be there to realise just how much. Just think about having to courier all documentation across to your destination office to facilitate customs clearance. Nowadays most documentation can simply be scanned and e-mailed across in a matter of seconds. And of course the progression from handwritten survey reports to PDA’s, then tablets and now.

Key insights in to buzzsurvey

Customer questionnaire

We think it’s important to get the customers feedback because, after all, the app is all about making their lives easier. Each time our surveyors finish a survey the customer is given a few questions to answer.
Here’s how the results currently stand:
Rate your surveyor – 4.87 out of 5
Video Quality – 4.66 out of 5
How likely are you to recommend a video to a friend? – 4.75 out of 5

Surveyors of the Week

Each week one of our team is awarded surveyor of the week. This is to drive quality, instil some healthy competition, and recognise/reward consistency.
The award is based on how personable, professional, knowledgeable and how sales-minded the team are, not to mention accuracy. A special congratulations to Paul Howard, Andrew Kelly and Sam Jones who have won not once but twice!

Top 11 International Removals Companies Based on the Facts

It’s often hard to know who is the best fit for your needs, and this choice is made even harder by the sheer number of international removal companies around.

Your first port of call is obviously the Internet.

But when you’re browsing through company site after company site, it’s hard to see the wood for the trees.

Therefore, it only seems right that the moving specialists break it down into simple terms.

Look below at our table of eleven leading international movers so that you can see who does what.

Data presented is correct and fact checked at time of publish. If you have any issues with the data provided please contact

>>> (Related) Need to book an international removal company for your move? Find and compare international  removals quotes in under a minute…

These eleven companies – PSS, John Mason International, Anglo Pacific, Moving Home Company, Eagle Relocations, Excess International, Pearsons, Gerson, Abels, Britannia and White and Co all offer:

  • international shipping (air, sea, freight)
  • customs guides and documentation
  • insurance
  • overseas export wrapping
  • excess baggage
  • handyman services
  • move manager

If you wanna know what makes them special based on value for money, services, reputation and how they go that extra mile, look below.

Anglo Pacific
Moving Home Company
Eagle Relocations
Excess International
John Mason International
White and Co


Based in: Croydon

Partners in:

  •         Currency exchange
  •         Overseas banking
  •         Working holiday
  •         Health and travel insurance
  •         Flights
  •         Pet shipping
  •         Expat protection and migration cover
  •         Jobs abroad

What makes them different:

  •         36 years’ experience
  •         Excess baggage
  •         Free home video survey
  •         Free estimates
  •         Furniture shipping
  •         Carried out 4,536 moves last year


>> Don’t have time to waste? Compare international removals quotes for free in just a few simple steps…

John Mason International

Based in: Liverpool and London

What makes them different:

  •         The company was founded in 1884 by Mrs Mary Mason in Wavertree, a township then on the outskirts of Liverpool
  •         Free Australian visa assessment
  •         Free New Zealand visa assessment
  •         Currency exchange
  •         Departure services
  •         Move management
  •         Destination services
  •         Migration services
  •         Trade shipping services
  •         Boat storage
  •         Caravan storage
  •         Motorbike storage
  •         Self storage
  •         Moving checklist
  •         Moving guide
  •         Country customs guides
  •         Guide to moving down under
  •         Free home video survey
  •         Free estimates



Anglo Pacific

Based in: London

What makes them different:

  •         Shipping household & personal effects around the world since 1978
  •         Theatrical removals
  •         Exhibitions forwarding
  •         Trade shipping
  •         Personal effects shipping (such as clothing and jewellery etc)
  •         During that time, they’ve delivered more than half a million consignments of personal & household effects worldwide
  •         Random site visits are carried out by our quality control personnel to ensure our standards are constantly maintained.



Moving Home Company

Based in: London

What makes them different:

  •         Over 30 years’ experience in international removals
  •         Offers regular relocation shipments to numerous destinations overseas
  •         Removers transit and storage insurance (policy features include: cover Europe-wide, archive storage is included and covers reconstitution expenses, new-for-old cover is available (not applicable to liability policies), terrorism cover is available, errors & omissions extension as standard, cover for worldwide liabilities as shipper and packer is included
  •         Marine insurance (benefits include complete flexibility on the excess (deductible), multi-currency facilities, high policy & consignment limits, excess baggage risks, cover at destination)
  •         3 shipping option: FCL (full container load), LCL (less container load) and airfreight
  •         They offer a move consultant to guide you through your move from start to finish
  •         Seven steps moving abroad guide
  •         Environmental Policy

Eagle Relocations                        

Based in: Watford

What makes them different:

  •         A family firm for over 50 years
  •         Assistance in warehousing, distribution, pick and pack, airfreight, sea freight or customs clearance
  •         Concierge services / shopping
  •         Overseas insurance
  •         Moving checklist
  •         Experts in the fields of logistics
  •         Operate a separate division to handle commercial cargo
  •         Give you an inventory of all your goods for your records
  •         Chosen as the BAR Overseas Mover of the Year 2018 Finalists


Image result for carbon neutral removals

Excess International

Based in: London

What makes them different:

  •         Custom forms
  •         Insurance
  •         International storage
  •         Tracking and regular updates of shipments location
  •         Collection and delivery of items
  •         Unpacking of belongings at your destination address


     National Quality Assurance - ISO CertificationImage result for carbon neutral removals


Based in: Warwickshire and Cleveland

What makes them different:

  •         Over 100 years move management history
  •         Over 25,000 successful moves carried out across every continent
  •         Dissembling service
  •         Unpacking and reassembling at destination
  •         Storage in transit (SIT)
  •         Additional insurance
  •         International relocation network
  •         No detail is too small – everything is guaranteed to be taken care of
  •         Obtains permits
  •         Marine insurance
  •         Quotes approved to the highest international move standard


 Gerson Relocation

Based in: Hertfordshire (Head Office) and Northants

What makes them different:

  •         Global mobility programme services
  •         Visa and immigration coordination
  •         Area orientation
  •         Airport collection
  •         Services accommodation
  •         Temporary accommodation
  •         Home search – rental
  •         School search
  •         Settling in
  •         Cultural training
  •         Expense management
  •         Language training
  •         Partner support
  •         Tenancy management
  •         Lease renewal
  •         Departure services
  •         Advisory support
  •         Immigration coordination
  •         Destination services
  •         Digital solutions (digital relocation tool suite lets you manage storage inventories, finances and budgets and even the specific task you’ve given to your assignees)
  •         Move management
  •         Group move solutions
  •         Pre-move virtual survey
  •         Graduate programmes
  •         Local area guides


Abels Moving Services Ltd

Based in: Cambridge, London, Daventry, Thetford (Head office),

What makes them different:

  •         60 years in business
  •         Own managed and operated fleet of soft ride removal trucks
  •         Run their own full time employed packing crews
  •         Purpose built house for training purposes
  •         All staff regularly DBS security checked
  •         All staff go through packing courses
  •         All packing teams return for yearly training to hone skills
  •         All crews are trained on customer care
  •         Holds Investors in People award for its training
  •         Highest quality recycled packing materials
  •         Relocation services
  •         House cleaning
  •         Furniture repair and restoration
  •         Piano handling, packing, transport, storage and shipping
  •         Charity donation of unwanted furniture and possessions
  •         Dedicated office move manager coordination removal
  •         Vehicle storage, transport and shipping
  •         European moving using own fleet and crews
  •         24-7 contact
  •         Holding FIDI-FAIM-Plus accreditation as audited by Ernst & Young
  •         Global network of audited partner companies
  •         Member of Harmony Relocation Network
  •         Full turn key move management
  •         Pet relocation
  •         Guidance on moving pets abroad
  •         Guides on moving back to the UK
  •         Financial guarantee
  •         Corporate guide to expatriate employment
  •         Transferring money overseas

Abels was also the first removals firm to gain a Royal Warrant. The crest next to the Abels logo at the top of the page signifies that Abels has a Royal Warrant and operates By Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen for Removals and Storage services.


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Based in: Redhill

Partners in:

  •         Corporate Relocation
  •         Cleaning Services

What makes them different:

  •         Country Information
  •         Emigration Blog
  •         Moving Tips



White and Co

Based in: Southampton

What makes them different:

  •         Providing European Removal since 1871
  •         Over 30 vehicles travelling to Europe each week
  •         Has over 19 branches that cover all major European destinations
  •         Part of an international removals network – Giving access to the national and global resources to move you to any country worldwide
  •         Two months’ free storage
  •         Storage at destination
  •         UK storage prior to an overseas move
  •         Fabric and upholstery cleaning services
  •         Marine insurance
  •         Full financial protection for pre-payments through the overseas group of the British Association of Removers
  •         Environmental Policy



International Removal Men of Mystery: Abels

The world is becoming a smaller and smaller place as the opportunity for people and businesses to relocate around the globe rises exponentially.

It’s easy to take for granted the “global village” we inhabit today. But what makes this possible is, in no small way, the tireless work of international removals companies shipping homes, offices, antique collections – you name it! – all around the world.

Today we talk to Neil Pertoldi, International General Manager at Abels Moving Services Ltd, to learn more about the life and times of an international mover.

From 36-ft totem poles and the road-less Indonesian jungle to staff barbecues and customer service, Neil shares his experiences of an industry that can rightly be seen as an integral cog of the global economy – but which is given a bad reputation by a small minority of “cowboy” practitioners.

Where does the name Abels come from?  

The company was founded by the Abel family and so named.

How many years have you been around?  

The removals company has been operating since 1958.

What have you learnt along the way?  

That’s a challenging question as, just in life, we are constantly learning, but our culture has always been to offer a quality service and provide what we promised.  However, with an ever-changing rule book from government, agents and customs officials all around the world, and of course a diverse customer base, we have to evolve and adapt the service provision all the time.  I.e. We used to need to clear goods into most of Europe prior to the EU agreement, it looks likely we will be heading back to those days once again!

How do you train your staff?  

We bring all our new recruits into the business for a week of practical and classroom training.  They hone their skills on our possessions, not on our customers.  Every year crews return to our own training school for refresher training. We’ve recognised the need for apprenticeships since the late 70’s up until the current day. All employees regularly attend off site team building events to bring all departments closer.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever moved?  

From a 36ft totem pole, Concord engines / landing gear and cabin parts, armour-plated cars, Spitfire, Messerschmitt and Hurricane WWII planes, 4000-bottle wine collections, ornamental half-ton elephants, cows etc, Philips Radio Communications – 360,000 components, 25 suppliers, 981 radio transmissions stations to be received, collated, customs cleared, packed and shipped to in-forestry locations throughout Indonesia where there was no road access. The list is endless. 

Do you have any accreditations that you’re particularly proud of? 

We’ve held the Queens Royal Warrant for Removals & Storage Services since 1988, the 1st removal company to do so.   FIDI-FAIM-Plus, 1st removal company to gain Investors in People, ISO 9001 Quality Management / 14001 Environmental Standard / 18001 Health & Safety Management.

What kind of events / celebrations / awards do you do in-house for your staff?  

Christmas party, monthly summer BBQs, crew breakfast mornings, employee of the month and year, best idea prizes, long-service awards

How has buzzsurvey helped your business?  

It’s given another club in the bag to fulfil our customers’ needs.  

What service do you offer that most people aren’t aware of but is very beneficial?  

You’ll be surprised to hear that many customers are surprised that we can provide storage services. With many customers needing to move out of their home prior to moving into a new property, this is a vital service.

Do you do anything for the environment?  

All our cartons are made from recycled card, used packing materials are sent for recycling, printer toners are recycled, unwanted furniture from customers is collected and donated to charities that can then sell it to help sustain their efforts, our removals trucks are on a renewal program to bring them into Euro 6 (the cleanest diesel engine available), all vehicles are well maintained to ensure they comply with omissions standards, lighting through our offices and warehouses has been upgraded, office products are recycled. By achieving ISO 14001 it has made us revisit all we do in this area of our business.

What’s the most common error people make when moving abroad?  

Often leaving the contact with a moving company to the last moment and not budgeting into their home move. Which can easily add to the stress of moving.

Why should anyone choose Abels over another international removal company?  

We would not wish to be disparaging about any other mover.  We know just how hard we all work in an industry that is sadly unregulated and without real barriers to entry, leading to “cowboys” giving the majority of professional companies a bad reputation.  With Abels, the small parts make up the larger picture from: full-time employed (not subcontracted) crews, the training regime, the historical culture of workmanship to do the job right from the start, modern purpose-built air-ride vehicles that are reliable and transport possessions safely and carefully, experienced office support staff throughout the journey, a low claims ratio, a worldwide network of like-minded entrepreneurial partner companies audited to the same standard, high-strength packing materials, main-vessel-operating shipping lines (not the NVOCCs that offer cheap but unreliable shipping times and poor-quality containers that often leak, smell and are dirty).  We remain small enough to care but certainly large enough to cope, in the best traditions of a family-owned business which has been audited and assessed for decades by outside bodies, ensuring our standards remain the highest.

Buzzmove Top 11 International Removal Companies

6 things to think about before moving country for work

Blogger: Rudy Parker

I’ve made a few international moves in my career, but the ones where I learnt the most were to the USA in 2005, to take my MBA and then a subsequent move back to the UK, in 2015.

This was a move with my wife, Catherine, who works, my daughter, Charlotte, age 9, and my son, Jack, who has disabilities, who was 6 at the time.

My Son, Jack, in the dining room of our house in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 2015

1. Ensure as early as possible that your paperwork is in order

It required a mountain of paperwork to get my US Visa, including difficult tasks like demonstrating that I had a certain, rather large amount of money, in my bank account.

Further down the road, when I finally got my US Permanent resident card (‘Green Card‘), it was even harder. I’m a lawyer by training but because there were so many hoops to jump through, I had to hire an Immigration lawyer to help navigate this process, at considerable expense!

Right now my American wife, Catherine, is having to go through this same process, the other way around; this includes showing HM Revenue and Customs documents, Department for Work and Pensions documents, DVLA, TV Licensing; Utility bills, Bank account going back one year, and so on. Of course, we need an expensive lawyer again to work through this.

Where’s my car gone? I need to get to work right now!

2. Watch out for the weather

My second shock was rather more prosaic; I was just not prepared for the weather in Boston.

In the winter, it gets down to -10 C and that’s -20 C or more with windchill. You also have big snowstorms. For example, during the last winter, I was in Boston, in 2015, over 14 feet of snow fell in the city. In the summer, you NEED air conditioning in your apartment. It gets up to 40 degrees C and it’s also humid in the city. Try not to move during a snowstorm or a heatwave. Make sure you have the right clothes prepared.

3. Do whatever you have to, to save time

Corporate employee relocations have experienced a paradigm shift in the last 50 years.

In the 20th century, the husband usually was working and wife, who did not work, would manage a lot of the challenges of moving.

Today, more often than not, you are dealing with 2 parents, who both have to manage demanding jobs, throughout this corporate relocation.

Therefore, anything that will save them time (above all time) and money (less important ), is an absolute necessity.

Make sure you employ all the help you can get.

For this, we used a corporate relocation company to manage our move for us. We also used a veritable army of staff. It ensured that this mammoth task went relatively smoothly.

4. Make sure you employ technology to your advantage

We live in a digital world for a reason. It’s fast and efficient. We used every type of technology available to us; from DocuSign to sign all our documents (including the sale of our house in Boston) to Skype for all those foreign calls, to using a video survey tool to track where all our furniture was; particularly useful when you are moving from a standard 2,200 square foot house in the USA to a standard large garage sized house in London and you have to put half your furniture in storage!

To watch a video on the introduction to video survey click here

5. Be as flexible as possible

Some people think working from home is for slackers.

But when you’re moving home, you’re trying to pack, get the removals guys round to survey your house, organising real estate agent,  renovating the house so it will be sold quickly, getting the passports and visas for the kids… the list really does go on!

So imagine on top of this having a commute that will waste precious hours and by the time you get home after a long days work, you’re just exhausted and don’t even want to think about organising the move.

That’s why it’s so important to have a flexible working environment.

There is no way we would have managed this move so effectively without remote working.

On top of organising the move, I had 2 weeks training  Austen, Texas and I travelled back to Europe a number of times to run conferences there. There was a Sales kick-off in Las Vegas and numerous trips back and forth to London to orchestrate the move.

Throughout this, my company allowed me to work remotely, running demand generation for EMEA, from Boston, USA, for almost 4 months.

If I didn’t work remotely, I would have never been able to handle this move successfully. Let me spell this out to sceptics; I successfully managed demand generation in Europe for a medium-sized (1000 employees) cybersecurity software company, for 4 months, 3,300 miles from the office, in another country, and with a 5 hour time difference!

6. Be prepared for setbacks

When moving, we first had trouble selling our house in Boston.

We had to change real estate agents mid-move which was a major hassle.

On top of this all, Catherine and I were both managing demanding jobs.

To make matters worse, I also had my passport stolen in the UK and had to get a replacement in the USA. That was tricky and required outside help (again!).

What does this tell you?

When you’re moving an entire family, with 2 working parents, it’s a lot of work and not everything will go to plan.

Want to avoid the drama?

Make sure you are prepared, be flexible and get as much help as possible to cut your crazy workload.