How to select a reputable business to clear a home or Estate of unwanted items

Clear Space has been helping people clear homes and Estates for over 10 years and in this time, I have watched closely the many new businesses that have started up and not long after, ceased operating or claim to be reputable.

In 2023, there’s been another wave of new entrants to the estate clearance industry.  Whilst it’s easy for them to justify their experience, trustworthiness and credentials simply via words or pictures on a website or Facebook page, there are some critical components they should have in place, that you should verify, before allowing them on to your property, even to do a quote.

Especially given a lot of these businesses have evolved from just attending garage sales and picking over the items, providing gardening services or that do general yard clean ups & rubbish removal.

Following are a series of questions you should ask.

  • How long have they been operating? 
    Simple ask them.  It’s also easy to check -, use this ABN look up link to see when the business was registered and therefore, how long they have been operating.  If you can’t find an ABN listing for the business, that can be a red flag.
  • Are they police checked?  Can they produce it and importantly, is it clear?
  • Do they have necessary insurances in place such as Public Liability and Professional Indemnity?  PI/PL insurance is designed to manage risk, and gives you the client, peace of mind that should something happen whilst you’ve handed across your property and its contents, there is coverage in place for any financial loss, personal injury, property damage or loss of contents.
  • How many homes have they actually cleared in the last 3 months?  This is an indication of their experience, ability to meet the agreed finish date and react necessarily to any unexpected variations.
  • Can they provide genuine testimonials? Not just those they have self-posted or got their relatives to write, but people you can speak to personally.
  • Are they registered for GST?  If not, their total annual revenue is less than $75,000 which indicates a small business that doesn’t clear many homes annually.
  • What reports will you receive at the end of the project? It’s very important, especially if you are an Executor, that the entire contents of a home are documented and their ultimate destination traceable before being removed.
  • Can they truly recognise all valuable items?  In every home, there is always a number of items that are unique and/or valuable. Being able to recognise these only comes from having years of experience, patience and the necessary contacts to have the items correctly valued and ultimately, sold for the maximum price. 
  • What will happen to the proceeds from the sale of items? 100% of the value of all items when sold must be returned to the client, by being paid in to their nominated bank account. It really is the only justifiable outcome.
  • Beware of cheap quotes and quotes given without someone visiting the home in person. As the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”. A cheap quote usually indicates not being thorough to uncover all sellable items, many donatable items not getting to those who need them, no attempt to recycle & reuse, too much going to landfill and items found unexpectedly not being reported or returned to the family. And most likely and importantly, the proceeds from the sale of items being kept by the business.

    Before you give someone a home’s address, let them in the home, even explain the circumstances you face, do some homework first. A little time spent up front can save a lot of grief and result in much better outcomes for all involved.
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