What it is Like to Move in China

May 18, 2016

One thing majority of us have in common is that we will have to move at some point in our lives and for expats this is an inevitability, maybe to the point of it being routine. Every time you move you are likely to face different challenges or issues that you may have never run into before. So naturally when it is time to move either within China or back home to the motherland, you may be concerned about either the distance, travel time or the quality of the moving services you’ll receive in China.

First off, if you have not read our previous articles related to moving in China(internationally and in general), do so now. They are listed below:

How to Prepare for a Move
How to Choose a Moving Company
International Moving Tips

If you are moving with a pet:
How to Prepare Your Pet for Move

If you are moving back home:
How to Deal With Reverse Culture Shock

What to Expect
Now that you are caught up let’s discuss what you should expect when moving in China and what the typical moving process may be like. There will definitely be some variation in the experience and quality that you will have depending on the moving company that you choose. Below are the typical steps for a move in China and what to look out for.

This is probably the first time that you will have personal contact with your mover. During this step of the moving process the surveyor will either come to your home or discuss with you over the phone over the things that you would like to move and would like to leave behind. This step is a very crucial step in the moving process as this is when estimated resources are calculated and as a result, the volume calculated fro this step has great influence on the next step, your quote. 

If your surveyor is either unwilling to conduct a survey for you or appears to be inexperienced, this is a red flag!

After your survey is completed, your survey will go back and put together a quotation for you. This quotation should be a summary of the volume of things that you need to move and if there are any specific requirements from your end. This is also an important place to make sure the your requirements are clear. Also do not be afraid to ask questions either. A knowledgable, professional moving company should be able to answer many of the questions that you will have whether you are moving locally, domestically or internationally. 

This is also a good time to make sure that it is inclusions and exclusions are clearly explained to you as some companies will quote low then bill higher later on.

Naturally moving companies in China will expect for you to negotiate with them on the price. So this is an expected step when moving in China.

After everything has been negotiated and settled on. The move will begin on your desired date. As mentioned above make sure to make all of your pre-move preparations, which your chosen company should remind you of. 

When the team arrives, a supervisor should show up along with them packing crew. The supervisor is there to ensure that the packing process is going to plan and to ensure that everything is accounted for.

When the supervisor first shows up, he or she should first go through your home with you one more time to verify what things you would like to move and which things you would like to stay where there are. Immediately after this check, the packing crew will start the packing your things for you. 

At your destination, a similar process will occur where the supervisor will walk through the new home with you to make sure that your items get placed in the room or exact place that you want it to be in.

Bonus: Follow Up
This really isn’t a bonus but it is because not every moving company will do this. Some will complete the move for you and disappear after you have paid. If the moving company that you chose is truly professional, then after your move you should expect to be contacted for feedback regarding your thoughts on the moving process.


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