How to Arrange a Perfect Move

Interview with Filipp Kashpar

If you just came to Russia, most probably you have on a 2-3 year contract, and you have a good stretch of time ahead, so you don’t have to worry about your next move. Besides, who knows, you may fall in love with Russia (or some beautiful Russian man or woman) and never return home! However, if your stay is coming towards an end, you must be looking for a solution on how to move out your personal effects and household goods with a minimum of time and financial losses. Below are a few things you need to do in order to organise your move in the most efficient way.

The market of moving companies in Moscow is overloaded with companies but most of them do not handle international moves. If you need one that has experience handling international moves, that means one that can handle custom clearance, the number of companies comes down considerably. The most obvious way is to find one is to open the IAM (International Association of Movers) website and check the list of members in Russia. The site is a bit complicated; you need to find ‘Member Directory’ in the ‘Membership’ column on the right side. You will be surprised how many registered movers there are in Russia. Choose as many as you want and send them emails, with quotation requests. Essential information you need to supply is origin and destination addresses, your contact information and approximate volume of your household goods (or a list of items).

Note that all major moving companies provide a free survey service in order to calculate the volume of your shipment and predict possible difficulties and extra costs (such as for acquiring documents from the Ministry of Culture for paintings and other valuable items of art). The Surveyor is a ‘visiting card’ of a company. You can get an impression of how professional that company is by how the surveyor looks and acts. The first companies that will send you their proposal most probably will be the most organized when it comes to operational processes. If you have to wait too long for reply, it may mean that managers are either overloaded or disordered. This is a bad sign.

Once you receive a quotation, check the list of services very carefully as you may notice some of them may contain hidden extra charges. Some of these charges – such as customs’ or port charges will take place in any case so make sure the cost is either included or at least mentioned. Others, such as customs’ examinations are possible but may also never take place.

Fragile items may need wooden crating in order to avoid transportation damages. If a mover has not included crating for your TV, statue or paintings, it would be better to ask how much all this will cost. Do not count on insurance, as it never covers full replacement costs and not everything can be repaired. Once you have calculated the cost just choose your winner.

Once you’ve chosen a mover and agreed on a packing date, there is nothing else to worry about. Packers will bring in all the packing materials they need for the job. You will only need to provide the move manager with scans of your documents and notarized power of attorney so that a custom broker could represent you at customs and handle all the formalities without your presence.

Once you arrive at your destination, a local moving company partner will contact you in order to obtain documents required for import formalities. Each country has its own customs rules and requirements, so it depends on where you are doing. But usually the most complicated part is in Russia.