Tag Archives: relocation budget

Taking ownership can make the difference for your candidates relocating.

In my latest book, “Find Your Lane”, I share a story about when my two year old daughter got out of her car seat and put my vehicle in gear only to roll into and damage a new car in the dealership parking lot. I had just told my four year old son to watch his sister while I stepped out of my vehicle for a few seconds. When I asked him why he let her get out of her car seat, he said “I didn’t know she could drive”. After smiling, I realized that I had control over the situation and needed to be accountable for the situation. 

As HR professionals handling mobility, we must also take ownership when we see something that needs to be adjusted or changed for a family relocating. Many times I hear someone comment they only give our employees $3,000 or $5,000 for their relocation and let them handle the moving. Unfortunately a household goods move will probably cost between $5,000 and $10,000 on the average. What about the other relocation needs for the employee such as lease breakage, temp housing, or a home finding trip?

If you are relocating a candidate just out of college, then a U-Haul move or small moving budget may be in order. But if you are helping a family of any size, there is probably more assistance needed from the household goods move to new home search to possibly childcare.

So what can you do when helping your next employee relocating?

  1. Ask a colleague or friend for a referral to help your teammates. Some companies can provide more relocation support along with additional services added with no extra cost.
  2. Update your policy. Don’t just settle because someone else has always done it that way. If you feel it’s important, let your team know the results or outcome a change could bring.
  3. Ask for options. Ask questions when your employee needs better transit time or a tighter budget for self-packing. Many times there are options that could elevate the experience while maintaining or even reducing costs. If not, the awareness is out there.

“The first step in leadership is not action, its understanding.” (John W Gardner)

Call to action: Reach out this month to benchmark your current policy. There may be some cost savings or benefits to add for a better experience.

This has been a “A Relocation Minute” with Bruce Waller on Accountabilty, For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out our my social media facebook and twitter page.

Also, check out http://www.BruceWaller.com for review my latest leadership book “Find Your Lane” on sale at Amazon!

Self-storage or Van line storage? 4 things to know!

One of the exciting things about a great economy is a robust housing market and being able to sell your home quickly. We are seeing this across several US markets. Sometimes, it’s so quick that you don’t have a new home to move into, which may require you to place move your personal household goods into short term storage until you can close on your new home.

Many times an employee relocation will include short-term storage with the van line while the employee searches for a new home. However, there are times when the family will be responsible for storage costs because the storage is not included in relocation policy, or the company may have provided a lump sum for the employee relocation which leads to a question I hear many times during the year: Should we use van line storage, or find a self-storage unit to minimize costs?

When helping families relocate, I often share the information below to help customers make an informed decision on this important topic. Consider these 4 points next time you or someone you know is moving into storage.

  1. Estimated Cost… A visual survey provided by the van line surveyor can help determine not only the estimated cost for the van line storage, but will also provide you with the information needed to determine self-storage unit size which is needed to compare costs. If the storage unit doesn’t have trailer access, there may be additional fees for smaller truck to “shuttle” for unloading too.
  2. Valuation Coverage… if you decide to use personal storage, be sure and check all items as they are unloaded into the storage unit for damage. When using van line storage, items are checked in / out storage for continuous coverage. Items placed in personal storage are typically not covered once unloaded.
  3. Protection... If customer decides to use personal storage, be sure to have plenty of blankets on hand to protect furniture items when unloaded. When items are placed in van line storage, blankets are provided for protection to minimize any damage while in storage.
  4. Access… When household goods are placed in van line storage, they are “vaulted” (loaded in a secure wooden box) for security, which doesn’t provide immediate access customer. You will need to call in and schedule appointment 24-48 hours so staff can locate your vaults for access. The advantage is minimal handling to prevent damage during storage to delivery.

Depending on where items are being stored, storage costs will vary from city to city. So be sure to look at all variables to make the best decision for your family. Many times, the van line storage will provide more advantages, as well as make it easier to coordinate the delivery when the new home at destination is ready!

Call to action: Contact your relocation partner to confirm advantages and disadvantages for storage to share with your teammates relocating. With low inventory, storage is on the rise!

This has been “A Relocation Minute” on “self-storage or van line storage” with Bruce Waller, for more information on relocation resources call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com.
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Surveying the employee relocation… Each customer has a different story.

The moving survey is one of the most critical parts of the employee relocation. This is the time to confirm volume and packing requirements for the household goods move. It is also time to view the access for loading the truck on move day. However, the survey goes way beyond the basics of assessment. It’s about the EXPERIENCE! So how can your partner elevate the experience for the employee as they go through the onboarding process and get ready for a transfer to a new area?


Here are 2 customer story takeaways from today: UTS_S32-33_16

Customer # 1 is Lesa moving to a new state… As I arrived at the home, I learned from Lesa that this is her first professional relocation. She didn’t really know what to expect and was anxious to hear about the process and how she can make this a painless experience. So, I started by sitting at the table with her to ask lots of questions about preferred move date, destination arrival, where they would be staying before goods arrived, if she had any items that needed extra care, etc. Then, I outlined the moving process and confirmed who she would be working with throughout the move. We also talked things she can do to prepare before move day. Very KEY! She also has children that will be moving with her and how challenging things have been trying to find schools, and a new home. Once we finished the survey, she had a peace of mind knowing the process. It’s so much more than a survey, It’s the starting point to helping a family transition to a new area.

Customer # 2 is Mary moving abroad on an international assignment. When I arrived at Mary’s home, I learned she has extensive experience moving in the US and abroad. Therefore, she wasn’t as concerned about process but about policy for volume allowance. Mary was in a situation in which she had a volume allowance in her policy so some goods would be moved in a steamship a container, and other items would go to local storage for a few years. Here is her challenge… She is not going on her house hunting trip until the first part of December due to Visa paperwork delays and they are moving at the end of December. This survey required lots of questions and guidance to help with identifying what might be loaded in container, and items that will be stored in the US. I was very surprised when how she thanked me for coming to the home to survey the items and have a discussion. Her last move, she advised the company did not send anyone out to residence and they were unsure about everything all the way through delivery from abroad. I asked similar questions such as preferred moving date, and what we can do to help make this a great experience for her. One of her requests was to separate and itemize international and storage items on the survey so we could review again after the house hunting trip. Once completed, she advised how great she felt about her upcoming move.

The survey is more than assessing volume. It’s about listening to the customer, learning what needs to happen for the move to be a great experience, and being an encourager as the family prepares for a new journey.

So, what happens if the surveyor doesn’t ask good questions and assumes? It will probably be hard to meet expectations and provide the experience that the employee expects and deserves.

Call to action: Reach out to your relocation partner and find out more about the survey process. In fact, you might even ask about joining your provider on a survey to understand the process. You will be amazed at the value the survey adds to the employee relocation.

This has been a “Relocation Minute” update on “surveying the employee relocation” with Bruce Waller, For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out our my social media Facebook and twitter page.

Easy is not always Best! Use these strategies to elevate the “Lump Sum” experience when relocating talent.

Uniform4This summer has been extremely busy for many of us looking for talent, or working on HR projects with deadlines and haven’t really had the time to evaluate processes with minimal exposure, but that can have maximum consequence. Employee relocation is one of these areas, especially if you provide employee with money as a lump sum only benefit to relocate. Recently, Mitch Ulrich with NEI Global presented a relocation corporate survey on lump sums at the North Texas Relocation Professionals meeting. The survey shows companies typically provide this benefit to employees because it is easy to manage, provides flexibility, and has minimal exceptions. One interesting takeaway was the dollar amount provided to employee by companies in different categories. The numbers below represent highest percentage responses:

  • Entry Level $2,500-$5,000
  • Managers: $10,000-$15,000
  • Executives: $25,000 or more

However, there can be many pitfalls when providing a lump sum benefit for the employee relocation which include:

  • Lump sum benefits for relocation is taxable income (unless direct billed to company) which means  gross up costs and counsel employee on net amount for his/her relocation.
  • Employees (or spouse in many cases) must invest hours to get bids, and are not trained in discerning best value when comparing service and pricing. This can include customer service, transit time, pricing, and claims management.
  • Service levels are often lower when moving as a “private transferee” instead of corporate employee.
  • The average household goods move is approx $12,900 according to WorldwideERC. This may present a challenge to families moving more items, and longer distance.

Here are 3 things you can do to elevate the experience for both you and your employees when using a lump sum program:

  1. Be Proactive: Invest time is learning more about a “Partial” or “Core/Flex” Lump Sum programs. This includes vetting companies before relocation begins for the employee, and setting up a contract for direct billing the household goods. The household goods move cost then becomes non-taxable income for employee and will save you gross up costs.
  2. Involve stakeholders: Make sure you include hiring managers when planning budgets to help them understand costs and level of service expectations for employees. It’s very challenging trying to balance budgets while keeping employees relocating happy.
  3. Be Open-Minded: There are relocation management companies, and household goods partners that can help you support this program and manage costs effectively. The value is seeing options available to make it a better relocation experience and having a partnership.

Call to action:  If you provide lump sum relocation benefits to your employees, reach out to your relocation partner and discuss ways to elevate the program. There may be some additional value you are missing without increasing costs. Your employees will appreciate it and so will you! Check out more information on the relocation speakers and program information at http://www.northtexasrelocationprofessionals.org.

This has been a “Relocation Minute” update on “Easy is not always Best ” with Bruce Waller, For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out our my social media Facebook and twitter page.

Use this recruiting tool for budgeting an employee relocation… before the offer is made!

The countdown begins… 44 days, 10 hours, and 13 minutes (as I write this blog) until the start of the busiest time of year for moving families. Also known as PEAK MOVING SEASON. Companies are expanding, school is almost out, homes are selling, and families are getting ready to relocate. Many times an offer is made to an employee without knowing any of the home/family moving details which can cause frustration on both ends before the relocation.

Here are 3 questions/answers you can confirm to make relocation easy for you and the employee before the move begins. The result will be a smooth stress free relocation.small apartment move

1. Where is the employee moving from and to? When we have the zip codes, then we know the mileage for the upcoming move. As you might know, transportation charges are based on weight and miles.

2. How many bedrooms, or what is the square footage of the home? This information will give us a base volume to use for a quick budget based on average moving costs for this size home. We can also determine packing costs based on this information as well.

3. When is the preferred moving date? Critical information that will tell us how quickly to reserve moving dates. In the summer peak moving season, it can be 10-14 days for a reservation, and up to 3 weeks in difficult to service areas.

Once the budget is provided and offer is accepted, it is still important to schedule an onsite visual pre-move survey to view items moving in home, volume, packing requirements, as well as confirm loading access for an accurate estimate and move plan. This is the best way to start any move.

Call to action: If you, or someone you know needs a moving budget for an upcoming move, reach out to your moving provider to request the online tool that is available, or ask your provider to calculate the estimated cost using the information provided above. It’s that easy!

This has been a “Relocation Minute” update on “Recruiting tool for moving budgets ” with Bruce Waller, For more information, call 972-389-5673, or email bwaller@goarmstrong.com or check out our my social media Facebook and twitter page.