A Comprehensive Guide to Choosing a House Clearance Company

How to Choose a House Clearance Company

Choosing a House Clearance Company isn’t something we have to do very often. In fact, research shows that we only choose one on average, in our lifetime. If you need some tips and advice on how to clear a property, check out our guide on How to Clear a House.


Without experience how do we know what to look for? We’ve written this guide to help you. 



“Be clear about your deadlines when meeting with your house clearance company.”


It is very likely you have a deadline to meet; completion before the next rent is due, an exchange of contracts or just ASAP so the property can go on the market.


A local house clearance firm will understand this and help you to meet your targets. They will try to get your work done before the deadlines. A matter of urgency for you is the same for them, if they are an understanding house clearance company. They may have some suggestions to help meet or extend your deadline if necessary.



“These things will get you the most accurate quotes.”


Before calling a house clearance firm to come and give you a quote you can do some small amount of preparation.


If you feel like you can’t do these steps don’t worry. Ask your chosen house clearance company if they can help you organise. An experienced company should understand what you are going through having seen it before and be willing and offer their help. That’s what they’re for!


  • Take items that you want to keep – or put them to one side – This helps avoid errors with quoting and carrying out the work.
  • Have a deadline in mind – they should be able to accommodate but give as much time as possible, there are busy periods.
  • Have a key kept locally if you live far away – A good company will be happy to collect the key from an estate agent, neighbour or keysafe to carry out an assessment and even do the work. 
  • If you are an executor, prepare relatives by telling them your plans early – This saves delays later in the process.

Service Area

“Choose local over national.”


Some house clearance firms are national. Even when you search “house clearance Stafford”, some of the top results will be national companies operating out of London or God knows where. They may well be experienced. Likelihood is they will subcontract the work out to a local man with a van or send a team of labourers out to do the clearance. 


A local company will have a more hands on personal approach. Be more economical naturally and know where to recycle and donate items locally benefiting charities and sending less to landfill.



“Inspect reviews carefully, some companies use tricks to make you think they are well thought of.” 


Lots of reviews suggest they have paid for a service to leave fake reviews. Lots of short reviews also suggest this.


Make sure the reviews mention the name of the people doing the clearance. This suggests they are genuine.


Free Quotes

“I have never heard of a house clearance company charging to give a quote.”


But there is something to be wary of here. A genuine house clearance company will not usually offer to begin work immediately. Red flags and alarm bells should ring instantly if this is offered! High pressure sales is usually part of this scam. An attempt will be made to convince you that the work should commence very quickly, removing your right to reflect and consider your options. 


Preparation is needed in order to dispose of items responsibly, unless the plan is to fly tip or go straight to landfill, without helping local people in need or charities.


Very often house clearance companies are called out to quotes where customers expect it to be really cheap, free or want to be paid for their unwanted items. That is unlikely to ever happen. There is far more to a proper clearance than just taking the stuff out to a van. Most of the work you will never see. 


Caring and Understanding

“If you need a house clearance, the likelihood is that you are going through some kind of change in life”


You may be downsizing, moving to supported living or you may have lost a loved one. These things are so difficult to deal with without the additional pressures and hard work of getting rid of unwanted items.


Flexible Service

“A good house clearance company understands that you may be going through a challenging time in life.”


They will have useful suggestions and offer to help in other ways besides the clearance. House clearing is much more than taking away your rubbish.


Ask for the things you need. A good house clearance company will go the extra mile.


Can the company handle the size of your clearance?

“Ask about other work the house clearance company has undertaken similar to yours.”


If they are experienced, they may well have some anecdotes or stories about how they dealt with people in similar situations. Remember you want an experienced person doing this work for you.


Disposal Methods

“Minimum-to-landfill is the aim of any good house clearance company.”


You can rest assured that you will get the best value for money, others will benefit and the environment won’t suffer.


The likely destinations for your items will be; charities, auctions, sold on and recycled. Any money made from the sale of your items will likely be taken into account when calculating your quote. Reducing your cost. Remember it takes time to arrange the sale of goods so don’t expect to make a profit. House clearance companies have to work to move literally tons of items so they will be sold cheaply to those in need.


Valuation of Items

“You may think you have some valuable items amongst the things to be cleared.”


That may well be true. If you have valuables to be disposed of a good clearance company will be able to appraise what things are worth. Some things may surprisingly have value while other things may have been valuable once but not in the current market. If you do have valuable items and your house clearance company has appraised them as such they may offer an auction service.


Purchasing Services

“ Ask companies which approach they take.”


This is an option your house clearance company may offer. It is more usual however for value of items to be taken into account while assessing the work and naturally defrayed from your quotation. Ask companies which approach they take. They may instead offer the auction service mentioned earlier. Some companies may just flat refuse to defray or purchase items of value.


Waste Carriers’ Licence

“It is essential to ask to see a waste carriers’ licence.”


A Full Waste Carriers License is issued by the government, and enables companies to carry out all kinds of waste removal services including House Clearances.


If you are in any way unsure that the company you are going to use holds a full and valid Waste Carriers License, you should walk away. If they don’t have this, they aren’t serious and you are very likely to regret hiring them.


We hold a Full Waste Carriers License. Our license number is CBDU443722 and can be checked on the governments database here.


Comparing Prices

“Prices for house clearances vary a little. Instead compare on confidence”


The market is quite competitive and most companies will be very close in price.


Inexperienced house clearers or those that aren’t specialists like man and van companies may quote low. Not realising there is more work than they thought, abandoning your job before it’s complete. Or asking for more money. You may end up paying more with the cheapest quote.


In this industry like many others, you get what you pay for. Remember you are hiring a house clearance company to ease your burden. Cheaper may mean more stress and work.


Compare on confidence. After meeting with the different representatives, who are you most confident will finish the job, be respectful and responsible.


Payment types

  • A good clearance company will accept multiple payment types.
  • Avoid those who are cash only. There is less traceability.
  • Expect to pay a little upfront. Good house clearers will have fees to pay for dealing with waste. Fly-tip by-night traders don’t.

Types of Clearance Companies

Outlined here are the pros and cons of the various types of house clearance companies. 

Local House Clearance Company


  • Knowledge of best local charities.
  • More items donated or recycled.
  • Experienced and calm.
  • Environmentally very responsible.
  • Complete job, nothing left to get rid of afterwards.


  • May be in high demand.

National House Clearance Company


  • Experienced and calm.

  • Complete job, nothing left to get rid of afterwards.


  • Less environmentally very responsible due to the distances travelled by these companies.

  • Less knowledge of the best local charities.

  • More items may end up at landfill.
  • Can be expensive.

Auctioneers House Clearance


  • Will remove some items and sell them on your behalf potentially saving money.


  • Less items will be donated or recycled.
  • Hidden auction and lotting fees may leave you with little of the sale value and you could end up owing the auctioneer if you aren’t careful!

Chairty Clearance Company


  • The proceeds should go to charity.


  • Charities cannot accept furniture such as mattresses or sofas without a fire safety label.

  • Charities cannot sell everything so often they choose only the best items to take. Leaving you with the problem of disposing of these unsalable items.

Man With a Van Service


  • Usually available at short notice.


  • May not hold a full waste carriers license, essential to legally carrying out waste removal.
  • If items are fly-tipped, you may be liable if the items can be traced back to you.
  • Most items will end up at landfill.
  • Items will not be donated or recycled.

Rubbish Removal Company


  • Will quickly dispose of pretty much anything depending on which service you opt for.


  • Most things will end up in waste sites rather than being reused.

  • Can be more expensive than a house clearance company.

Do it Yourself


  • You will save money by doing it yourself.


  • You may find the process of clearing a deceased family members belonging painful.
  • It will probably take you a lot longer to clear the items yourself, especially if you don’t have a suitable vehicle.
  • You may not know the best places to donate or recycle certain items.

Hiring a Skip


  • You can put anything in a skip, apart from hazardous materials.

  • You may save money by hiring a skip.


    • You may find the process of clearing a deceased family members belonging painful.
    • It will probably take you a lot longer to clear the items yourself.
    • You may not know the best places to donate or recycle certain items.
    • Items put in a skip will not be recycled or donated.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you clear?

We are able to offer a full clearance service for deceased estates, properties for sale, end of tenancy properties, or just general clearances. We take anything including but not limited to; furniture, clothes, bedding, bric-a-brac, waste, food, garden items, sheds, garages and much more. We are able to take the following items at an additional cost: bricks, concrete, rubble, gas bottles, rubber tyres, large quantities of paint, oils and chemicals, generally we can take a small amount of domestic chemicals and oils.

What is the House Clearance Process?

When you call us, we will book in a time to come and give a Free Quote. We will take note of everything that needs to be cleared and supply you with a quote there and then. If you accept the quote, we will arrange to come and clear the property at the time that is most convenient for you. We will arrive at the given time and clear everything that you tell us to clear. Once the clearance has been completed, we will return the keys and the job is done. We will often pick up and return the property keys to an estate agent, meaning you don’t have to worry about making yourself available.

Do you Recycle?

As an environmentally friendly company, we always look to recycle as much as possible whenever we can. Sometimes, there is waste that cannot be recycled but we are proud to average a 90% recycling rate. A lot of clearance companies will just dump everything at the landfill but at Crystal House Clearances, we use waste disposal sites that separate and recycle their waste. But before anything gets recycled, we always try to donate as much to charity as we can. We strongly believe in giving back to our community where we can.

Where do you take the rubbish?

We have built up a network of licensed recycling centres where we can responsibly dispose of waste. We also have a network of local charities that we donate to on a regular basis. This means a lot of the bric-a-brac, bedding and food items are able to be donated and reused rather than sent to landfill. Some items such as furniture may be sold where possible, allowing us to keep our costs down as much as possible and pass that saving on to our customers.

Do you clear the whole property?

Absolutely Yes! We pride ourselves on being able to do a complete job and leave our customers properties Crystal Clear! The last thing you want is for a company to turn up and leave unwanted items behind, leaving you with the added stress of having to dispose or arrange for the disposal of these items. When we visit the property to quote, we take into account the amount of items to be cleared, access such as hard to reach places or staircases and are able to provide you with an accurate timeline for the job to be completed. We will always take everything we have quoted for and will even give the property a quick clean before we leave.

Do I need to be there?

We understand that the process of a House Clearance can be an emotional and upsetting time, especially if you have recently lost a loved one. You may not wish to be present whilst the belongings are cleared and we totally understand this. We do not require you to be present on the day of the clearance, we often pick up the keys before hand and return them once we are done. You can trust us to carry out the House Clearance with the utmost respect and we are able to work independently.