Moving with your pet to another country can be a stressful process. Even when it is to a country that is relatively straightforward with its requirements, it is better not to leave anything to chance. Something as simple as a typo on an important piece of information or using an out of date document can be enough to delay or at worse, prevent your pet from clearing arrivals in the country they are traveling to.
To ensure that you are supported during such a move, avoiding risk of mistakes, keeping unnecessary stress to a minimum for you and your pet, it makes a huge difference having a qualified, experienced professional by your side.
Sounds obvious enough right? May be, maybe not. With so many options to choose from, how do you know that your chosen relocation company is the right one for you? It can be a confusing decision. To try and help you put a short list together, here are our top tips on choosing the right relocation company for you and your pet.
1. Are they licensed?
Here in UAE that not only means their trade license, issued by the Dubai Economic Department, but also a valid license with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE).
Any company who is fully licensed will happily show you a copy of their trade licenses. Any company without all of these licenses will be restricted in the type and level of support they can provide on your behalf.
2. Are they qualified?
There are a series of global standards required for pets to travel safely. These are set by IATA and underpinned by key organisations such as the International Pet and Animal Transport Association (IPATA) and the Animal Transport Association (ATA).
A company which is a member of either of these organisations will have had to undergo a strict application and vetting process, including proven experience, references from existing members of the organization, exams and a minimum probationary period, during which they are expected to demonstrate and uphold the fundamental principles that keep your pet safe during its travels.
Being a member of IPATA and/or ATA is not mandatory for a pet relocation company. However, it certainly means you can be sure that they and their colleagues they partner with, are professional, qualified and experienced. It also means that they are going to be up to date and compliant with the most current pet travel regulations. All the things you would expect them to be when Moving Your World Around The World.
3. Are they experienced?
How long has the company existed? How much personal experience does the relocator themselves have? Is pet relocation their primary focus? If not, what else do they do? How many pets have they personally relocated? To how many countries?
These are all questions that we would expect you to be asking us. They are certainly questions we would ask ourselves if we were in your shoes. They are all questions we would happily answer so that you can be confident that your pet is in the best hands.
4. Are the costs clear and transparent?
When you are reviewing the quotes you have received, it is important that you are able to see and understand all the costs relating to your pets travel. A clear and detailed quote will include all the relevant costs and fees, with a clear description of what they relate to. Any costs which you are not sure about, should be easily explained.
Be sure to verify with the pet relocation company if the quote is fully inclusive. If it is not, what is not included. Your chosen company will be able to clearly discuss the related costs quoted for your pets relocation. If any of these are variable, this should be clearly mentioned with a brief explanation as to why or how costs may vary.
If there is a vast difference in the quotes you are receiving it is entirely possible that they are not comparable. For example, one quote may include all relevant and mandatory costs. Another may only include the costs for part of the relocation, for example departure or arrival costs, not both.
5. Do they come highly recommended?
Most companies will have a website, Facebook page, Instagram account and other social media platforms. Most of which enable previous customers to leave a review of their own personal experience. Some, such as Facebook don’t allow the page owner to filter or remove reviews so it is fair to assume that they are a reasonably accurate gauge of a company’s services.
Particularly here in the UAE there are a number of pet related Facebook groups where pet owners can seek advice and recommendations on pet related services. On these forums, are the recommendations from previous customers, related businesses or friends. Are they a combination of referrals? How many times are they referred? Again, recommendations that come from a variety of sources are likely to be a good way to get a feel as to whether a company is the right fit for you and your pet.
6. What other considerations should I include in my decision?
Do they have the right equipment and premises to provide the services I require? Properly equipped and licensed premises and vehicles for example. Are they able to answer my questions and make me feel reassured and comfortable with the process. Most importantly, does my pet like them?
If you are happy with the answers to all these questions and more, then it likely you have picked a relocation partner who is well placed to ensure your pets travel will be streamlined, whom you can trust and feel comfortable with.
Cost is of course a key factor in any decision you make, however we find in our experience, that this is often outweighed by less tangible decision-making factors.
It’s is not always as easy a decision as may initially be assumed, however the above Paws of Wisdom hopefully ensure that you feel more confident in making a balanced decision that you are comfortable with, on a subject that you are starting to know more about.