How to move on a Budget

When preparing for an international move, there are several consideration to take into account one of which is budget. When planning a move, the volume of goods you intend to move is key and directly associated with cost. The more volume you have the higher the cost will be for shipping those items.

How to move on a Budget

So, let’s investigate the way moving companies and shipping modes work and find out How you can move on a budget.

How does volume work?

Overall moving charges are based on per cubic meter or (CBM) worked out by 1m x 1m x 1m. For example, a medium-sized 3 seater sofa works out to be approximately 1.50 CBM. Visualising size will help you greatly in terms of what you can and can’t take if there are restrictions on budget.

Try to establish the per cubic meter cost and make sure to only include items which justify the shipping expense, in other words - items which are worth more than what it would cost to buy new at your destination. For example, linen baskets, Ironing boards and old pillows are relatively inexpensive items when it comes to replacing them, however, inclusion in the move can increase shipping costs significantly.

How to determine what shipping modes are best for you?

There are three main methods of transporting goods air, sea and road. We will leave road transportation for another day. Air can be costly when sending large amounts, however surprisingly in small volumes can be surprisingly affordable. Shipping anything less than 0.5 Cubic Meter or 150 KG worth of goods, you will find air can be the better option.

We would generally recommend a courier/express company for such shipments i.e DHL, FedEx or even Emirates Post. Depending on routes shipments can take 3 – 7 days to reach for express couriers.

For shipments more than a cubic meter, Sea is usually the way to go. There are two shared container options, LCL and Groupage. We would normally recommend the Groupage alternative if you are on a budget. LCL tends to involve third party agents which usually adds to the cost and a certain level of control is taken out of the hands of the mover.

Groupage is a container that the mover has put together and is in direct control of when shipping the goods since the moving company would deal directly with the shipping line. Once a shipment arrives, the container is taken delivery by the moving partner at destination who would oversee the delivery directly to your new residence.

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Cost comparisons

For most of Europe, UK is usually the point where containers arrive to be delivered all over Europe, as the UK has great infrastructure in transportation and relatively easy customs clearance process compared to other European countries. For our demonstration, we will focus on Europe.
Shipments less than 1 Cubic Meter.

Courier services will generally charge somewhere around 20 – 25 AED Per KG for a Door to Door shipment to London. If you had a shipment 80 KG shipment this could work out to be around 1,600 AED or 20 AED per KG. Whilst the same volume on a Groupage would cost about the same or higher with the downside that it could take a couple of months to arrive.

How to move on a Budget

Groupage and LCL shipments are often wrapped and palletised before being loaded into the shipping container

Groupage shipments

Shared container services such as groupage allow the client great flexibility when it comes to customizing your budget to the move. You only pay for the volume you take.

There is a limitation with Groupage, usually, at around 15-18 Cubic Meters (depending on final destination) or more, we tend to find that groupage shipments start to match or exceed the cost of your own 20ft container.

This is normally due to the excessive handling(and the related charges) involved with groupage. In addition to this 20ft containers can be delivered directly to your residence bypassing the need for extra labour.

Groupage is a great way to ship items from 3 CBM all the way up to 15-18 CBM, if you need more space generally a 20ft Container would serve you better. Groupage shipments to the UK generally cost around 800 AED per Cubic Meter (Depending on the company).

There is usually a minimum charge for shipping of 2,000 AED, anything less volume doesn’t change the costs as there are fixed costs involved just to send the crew out and paperwork.

How long does a groupage shipment take?

There can be a good deal of waiting around when groupage is involved. Shipments leave when the container is full. This maximises the economy of the container and enables the mover to offer you a competitive price. 

You may need to be flexible on the timeframe, however; patience must be exercised as shipments can wait up to 30 days in the UAE, added to that 4-5 weeks sailing and of course customs clearance and delivery which can take 2 – 3 weeks, possibly more for countries in eastern or south Europe.

If you are planning to take more things consider a 20ft container, which to London is approximately 18,000 AED for a full load, which can hold up to 30 Cubic Meters, which works out to be roughly 600 AED Per CBM.

We hope this short guide on moving smaller shipments has been of help. Please bear in mind that prices can fluctuate. Also, feel free to read our (real cost of moving) article if you want to know more about avoiding unforeseen costs.