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Using removals services in China

When you’re moving apartments in China, the first thing you should do is seek help. Don’t try to be a hero and move all your stuff in a single taxi ride. If you can fit all your belongings in a single rucksack or suitcase, fine. But most of us can’t, so swallow your pride and find somebody to help you.


Removals companies

Firstly, note that there are many different types of removals “companies” in every city in China. These fall into several categories (most expensive first):

  1. International removals companies, offering full range of professional services. They’ll come in, pack your apartment up for you and unpack it at your new place.
  2. Local removals companies – may or may not pack for you, but will certainly send a team to do the heavy lifting.
  3. Drivers who you can hire to bring a van to drive you between your old and new place. May be willing to help with some lifting.

Consider which will fit your budget and willingness to get your hands dirty, then ask friends or colleagues for recommendations – they will likely have done this before and can give you advice.

If you’re going to go with an actual removals company, remember that your friend’s or colleague’s needs may have been different from yours, so weigh up your needs and consider how the removal company charges.


Fees and prices

Removals charges will usually be based on a combination of the following factors:

  • Distance from your old house to your new one.
  • Time required.
  • The size of van you wish to hire.
  • If you want furniture and home appliances moved, the removals company will also consider size of these appliances.

Normally if distance does not exceed 15 kilometers, a standard-sized van will cost around 200 yuan each time. Of course, rates vary from city to city. If the distance is in excess of 15 km, an additional charge of about 4 yuan per km is applied. 

Note that you may also be charged extra for:

  • Distance from van to apartment – an extra charge of around 1 yuan per meter may apply if the movers have to move your items over a distance exceeding 20 meters.
  • If you need the van to stop at a third location, an additional charge of around 50 yuan will apply (and again for any subsequent additional stops).
  • If there is no lift at your new apartment, only stairs, the company will charge around 10 yuan for each floor their staff have to ascend.


Useful Chinese words and phrases

搬家              bān jiā             removal  
距离              jù lí              distance
工人              gōng rén          worker 
家具              jiā jù              furniture
电器              diàn qì          home appliances


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