Corporate Relocation: Protecting Employees and Your Organization from Rogue Movers
By Corey Turner
Corporate relocation plays a crucial role in HR departments, especially in multi-location companies and organizations where talent acquisition is fierce and competitive. And while relocating employees may seem like a simple and mundane task, the individuals responsible for overseeing these programs within their organizations understand that relocating transferees and their belongings is far from straightforward.
The High Stakes of Relocation
Anybody who has experienced the moving process before, whether it’s across town or to a new city, understands it can be complex, overwhelming, and downright stressful. In fact, north American Van Lines conducted a study that revealed moving is the single most stressful life event – more stressful than marriage, having kids, and divorce. There has even been research that links moving to depression and anxiety.
While this may sound like a stretch to some, think about this: Homes hold personal belongings and precious memories. Whether moving as a traditional consumer or as part of a corporate relocation – watching those belongings and memories being packed up, loaded onto a truck or trailer and moved to the next destination is undoubtedly met with trepidation.
A poor employee relocation experience can have negative implications for both the transferee and your organization – brand image and reputation, employee satisfaction, and talent retention are all at stake. Not to mention, a financial investment is being made. The 12-month rolling average cost of a long-distance move is approximately $3,758. This figure does not consider a tax gross-up, relocation taxes, or any additional benefits that may be given as part of a relocation package such as mortgage assistance and short-term housing.
Identifying Rogue Movers: A Growing Threat in Relocation
Unfortunately, the household goods industry is filled with its fair share of unscrupulous movers, or rogue movers. Per the Better Business Bureau, over 10% of the business profiles in the moving industry received F ratings; significantly higher than the average rate for all companies, which stands at 2.7%. This issue should be acknowledged and individuals who administer corporate relocation benefits should be educated properly on the topic.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the governing body that regulates and oversees the safety and compliance of commercial motor vehicles and commercial motor carriers in the United States. The FMSCA issued several tips to consider when hiring a mover:
- Does the mover provide an estimate over the phone or online without coming to view your goods in person? Often these estimates can sound too good to be true. That’s because they are.
- Does the company demand a large cash deposit upfront?
- If you are planning a move across state lines, did the company supply you with the “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move,” booklet? Federal law requires movers to give this booklet to all their interstate customers.
- Does the moving company list a local address, registration, and insurance information on its website?
- Did the moving company represent that all your belongings would be covered in full by their insurance?
- When you call the company, is the phone is answered without using a specific company name?
- Are the moving company’s offices or warehouses nonexistent or in questionable condition?
- On moving day, did a rental truck arrive instead of a professional moving truck with the company’s name on it?
Relocation Nightmares: A Case Study
If you Google “rogue movers”, or “moving scams”, you are sure to find plenty of articles of instance where people did not do their homework and fell victim to a rogue mover.
Take this story from military.com, for example. Nissa Wisuttismarn, a project manager, was in need of a mover to haul her belongings from Santa Clara, California to Missouri City, Texas:
According to Wisuttismarn, the Florida-based company she hired, Compass Movers, required “an initial deposit of about $2,400, then another $350, and an additional $2,500 when the movers picked up her things.” When her belongings didn’t arrive after two weeks, as told, she began to ask questions. First to Compass Movers, then with the police department in Santa Clara. Each ending with no luck. Through her own search, she was able to track down her goods at a mini-storage facility in Bothell, Washington where the bill for her goods had gone unpaid, and ultimately auctioned off. When she was finally able to locate the man who purchased her goods at auction and agree to buy them back, several of the couple’s more high-value items, including a piano she got from China, were missing.
Protecting Your Company and Employees
To help protect your company and employees, North American Van Lines has established key questions all your transferees should ask when interviewing a moving company:
- ESTIMATE PROCESS: Does the mover conduct an in-home survey or video survey of belongings before providing a guaranteed price? (Professional movers insist on an accurate method to best define the scope of work and surveys are required by law. Physical in-home surveying has traditionally been the best method, followed by newer video technology, to accurately determine the cost of a move.)
- TRAINING: Has the moving crew been trained in the correct way to pack boxes and load a trailer to minimize damage? Do they follow industry-established guidelines to protect your home, as well as your prized possessions?
- TECHNOLOGY: Does the mover use technology to accurately communicate special needs to the driver and electronically verify that every item loaded has been delivered? Does the company use electronic routing to maximize efficiency and reduce delivery time?
- QUALITY STANDARDS: Does the mover employ quality standards for vehicles and personnel? Does it conduct background checks on drivers and crews? Are its storage facilities secure, clean and climate controlled? Does the mover use an unbiased third-party company to survey customer’s post-move and use that truthful data to improve performance? What is the mover’s Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating? Is the mover a “Pro Mover”, which means they have been certified by the American Moving & Storage Association (AMSA)?
Additionally, your organization can consider a preferred partner program, which is a great way to provide support and assistance to your relocating employees. Under a preferred partner program, transferees are given a list of vetted, preferred moving partners to help ensure transferees are hiring approved and legitimate moving providers for their relocation. If you ever have any questions as to the legitimacy of a mover, you can find certified ProMover – a certification designated by the American Moving & Storage Association – to help ensure your employees are truly working with a professional moving company.
Corey Turner is the Vice President, Moving Services at A-Turner Moving and Storage, located in Gainesville, Florida. Corey brings extensive knowledge and leadership to his role. Overseeing the execution of employee relocation services to 12 organizations across the state, including the University of Florida, he ensures that A-Turner Moving and Storage delivers exceptional customer experiences. For inquiries or assistance, you can reach Corey via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.