What you need to know about illegal movers in UAE
Cheap prices may not be worth the risk.
Illegal movers and packers are giving professional companies a run for their money in Abu Dhabi.
Budget-constrained families often pick them over registered businesses because of the cheap rates and reliable service.
Hiring them for moving house is simple. No combing yellow pages or waiting for quotations. Head straight to the parking zones near the Honda Showroom behind Zayed the First Street (Electra Street) or the back side of Madinat Zayed Shopping Centre, and you will find them in hordes.
Mostly Pakistani expats in their traditional Pashtun pajamas, these workers can be seen ambling about and waiting for customers; their pick up trucks parked near by.
"This is what we do for a living. Some days there is work, and other days there is none," said Sajid Hussain, a driver from Peshawar, Pakistan.
to Dh350 is charge within the city; it is about Dh1,000 for a professional company
Hussain ended up in the profession following his late father's footsteps. "My father Sajid Abid was a pick-up driver in Abu Dhabi 30 years ago, and he was doing the same job to support his family," said Hussain.
Now his three uncles - Sajid Akbar, Sajid Anwar, Sajid Aarif and a cousin Majid Hussain do the same thing.
"I can earn anything between Dh600 and Dh800 a week. But sometimes I lose all the money as we get fined by police," said Majid, who came to Abu Dhabi seven months ago.
Cheap rates, reliable service
The labourers charge as little as Dh200 or Dh350 for shifting furniture and other appliances within the city. The same would cost anything to the tune of Dh1000 or more if you hire a professional company.
"If it is a big three bedroom apartment or a villa, we charge higher. But low-income and small families are our main customers," said Hussain.
The prices also depend on the location. If the move is from Abu Dhabi to Mussafah, Baniyas, Al Ain or Dubai, they charge a bit higher.
"People haggle a lot. Since we cannot afford to lose customers, we often agree to their rates," said Ali, another porter from Pakistan.
Risking parking fines
The movers take position on the kerbs and await customers usually from 7am till 10pm. "It is either walk-in customers or through word of mouth. Honesty is the key because even if one among us is dishonest, we tarnish our name. Nobody will rely on us," said Ahmed Ijjaz, a long-timer in the business.
Khaleej Times also found similar groups of workers near Al Shabiya police station and the bus station on Muroor road.
The drivers said parking is a big problem as only light vehicles are allowed to park in the area.
"We pull out our vehicles when there are Mawaqif inspectors around. We are forced to take the risk as this is our bread and butter," said Mohammed, also from Pakistan.
"I usually make around Dh3,000 a month. But last week I got a Dh500 fine for parking illegally."
"Life is tough as there are days when we don't make a penny. We have families to feed back home," he added.
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