An ever-increasing trend in the world of global mobility is the utilization of the lump sum relocation package. Put simply, the lump sum relocation package is a budget for relocation provided to an employee that gives them the discretion to choose which moving and/or relocation services they prefer to take or wish to exclude.
While this can be fantastic in allowing each individual to select precisely what services they want for their move, with this freedom to choose also comes more responsibility to make the right choices to shape a successful relocation package. This makes it more important than ever for employees to educate themselves on any potential relocation services they are selecting or passing over, as well as what type of company to choose to meet their needs.
We’ll delve into which services are essential and how to pick the right company so you can have a better understanding of what kind of relocation package to organize for your move.
Should I spend all of my lump sum budget or keep a bit for myself?
It can happen that the first thought that comes into a person’s mind when given a discretionary lump sum of money for their relocation is that the less money they spend on services means more money they’ll be able to pocket for themselves. This tends to be a short-sighted mistake which can have some serious detriments when it comes to settling into your new location, this defeats the purpose of the money being allocated in the first place.
Each of the relocation services offered provide unique and essential help to avoid problems that often occur at the outset of a relocation and offer a head start in other areas. So, while it may seem for some like a good immediate gain to keep more and spend less, it could have a real negative impact on your move and adjustment in the new location.
Which relocation services should I prioritize with my budget?
Whether moving household goods, offering cultural training, guiding a home search, or more, each relocation service offers something important in its own unique way. Below are the services we recommend prioritizing within your budget.
Household Goods Moving
Your household goods move could well be where most of the funds get spent as part of your lump sum budget, but it’s also arguably the most important – after all the relocation allowance is designed to support the process of “getting there”. There are a million and one things that can go awry on a move, so rather than play with the safety of your items it’s best to go with the company that gives you the best impression in terms of quality of services.
Firstly, for all international moves you should absolutely go with a company that is certified by FIDI/FAIM, which is the highest standard achievable for moving companies. If you go with a company that does not have certification, you are definitely increasing your chances of problems.
Once you do have a shortlist of companies, ask the moving company representative how their company will handle both the packing and the delivery. Not every company has a branch at your destination, so you’ll want information on the destination partner to be sure that your goods will be delivered professionally.
What you generally want to avoid are the inexpensive moving companies which draw you in with an attractive price but only when it’s too late make you realize why their price is so cheap. Low quality packing materials, poor communication, and risky transport partners make these companies a gamble not worth taking.
Most moving companies have ratings and reviews online via social media pages, but of course it’s good to ask friends and colleagues that have had recent moves what companies they recommend, particularly if it is an international move which requires precise planning to avoid risks that come from a longer journey.
An orientation tour is an incredibly helpful relocation service which, provides a tremendous amount of peace of mind to people relocating to a new city.
Your relocation consultant will design and lead a tour which gives an overview of your new location, including showing you through different neighborhoods to consider moving into, and will take you to places related to your interests such as gyms, stores, or parks. They’ll give you tips and information on how to best commute, how to navigate the city, whether by public transport or by car.
In addition, the several hour tour will give you plenty of time to ask any questions to your local consultant about your new location, whether related to practicalities, culture, or small things you may be wondering about.
This orientation tour helps people feel connected to their new location by seeing it firsthand with a local expert and in a way that is tailored to your needs personally. It’s advised to take this tour either prior to your relocation on a “look and see” trip or immediately upon arrival so you can hit the ground running.
International Home Search Assistance
Home Search Assistance is another service which can give tremendous assistance to people relocating. Finding the right home means finding the best neighborhood and the ideal property to move into, as well as paying the correct price for it. While many people believe that accomplishing their home search will be as simple as speaking to a few local real estate agents and visiting some properties before making their choice, the process is actually more complex than you might imagine.
Real estate agents will not necessarily have your interests at heart as much as their own. Don’t forget that an agent sees you as their potential commission, while your relocation consultant’s sole duty is to provide support and guidance. This is why having a relocation consultant present to take you through the home search process is such a great service to select as part of your lump sum package.
Your consultant will speak with you in advance of your move to determine what your needs are in terms of location, budget, and style of property. They will also put together a guide and a plan which focuses in on certain neighborhoods and properties to visit upon preceding your arrival.
This consultant will accompany you on your property visits, will ask questions to the real estate agent/home owner on your behalf, and will help you negotiate the best deal possible. On top of this, they’ll review the lease agreement, ensure that any money which changes hands for deposit and rent is done securely, and will lead a walk through of the property to mark down any flaws or damages which need to be noted before you take on the property.
Overall, this is a service that offers a lot of value by getting you situated as quickly as possible, with the guidance of a local expert to ensure the home search and lease signing process goes smoothly so you are comfortably settled in your new home.
Getting situated in a new location doesn’t just mean finding a place to live, it also means feeling comfortable operating in your local environment. Taking a cultural training course helps you get connected by providing an overview of the local people, the social “do’s and don’ts” to look out for, and share interesting and relevant history to put your location in perspective, amongst much more.
You can expect your course to be a fun and interactive experience where you are free to ask questions to your cultural experts about anything you are wondering or are concerned about going into your new country. The information you receive is intended to bridge any gap between yourself and the people you interact with on a daily basis, including to help you better communicate with colleagues at the office. After undergoing this training, you should have added confidence in understanding the people and place where you live, which will help you get off to a great start.
This is a service that many people will overlook compared to other relocation services, as it is purely about assistance in their current location rather than the services which offer assistance in their future location. While the need for help in a new location is obviously important, don’t underestimate the amount of work that needs to be done in You’ll need a highly detailed plan to take care of all your account closings, departing your property, organizing cleaning services for your home, checking your children out of school, and more.
Having a relocation consultant who has the checklist of tasks to take care of, experience in scheduling all necessary appointments, and who will help you with in-person assistance is invaluable as you prepare to depart. It becomes even more important when leaving from a location where you are not fluent in the language or are unfamiliar with the processes involved to close down accounts and will need to rely on a local consultant.
While this service may not be as important as home search or orientation in your new location, it’s worth asking your relocation service provider about the costs for destination services, as it can be a huge help in your transition.
What is the right relocation company to choose for my lump sum budget?
Once you’ve identified which relocation services are most important to you, it’s time to look around at different relocation companies that not only offer the services you want, but do so at the right price for your budget.
Comparing bigger relocation companies vs. smaller relocation companies
There are definitely advantages and disadvantages that come from choosing a bigger relocation company versus a smaller one to help with your move. To start with the bigger companies, they tend to offer each of the services you are interested in, meaning you can have one point of contact to organize all services which of course makes your life easier.
These larger global relocation companies often have the advantage of keeping offices at both your origin and destination locations. This can make the process more controlled and efficient, as you can count on a similar high standard of service at each location.
While some the bigger companies are not able to provide an in-house offer of all services, they often have local partners they can recommend under their umbrella which have been vetted for quality and recommended by their past clients. Speak to a relocation consultant about what services they can offer from their branch and what services are outsourced so you can get an idea of their capabilities.
The downside with the larger companies is usually a higher price for services compared to smaller companies. Another disadvantage can be perhaps a somewhat less personal style of communication due to their higher volume of clients.
If you go with a smaller relocation company you can typically expect highly personalized services and a better price compared to the global relocation companies, meaning more bang for your buck. At the same time, the standards with these smaller offices are not always very consistent in comparison to the larger companies, potentially leaving clients a bit wanting for higher quality.
Additionally, these smaller companies are highly unlikely to have a branch at both your origin and destination locations, which means you can have vastly different experiences and a wide variety of people to speak with to perform all of your requested relocation services. Overall, choosing a smaller company can offer many benefits, but you’ll really need to do your homework on them to make sure they can meet your needs.
To ensure that you are choosing the best relocation company it’s a good idea to speak with colleagues who have already made a move between your origin and destination locations. They’ll provide you the insight on their overall experience and share what services really shone through as being helpful for their relocation and at the right value.
Whether choosing a large relocation company or a small company, or if you have a budget big enough for all services or a smaller budget for just the essentials, you can be certain to find the right combination that works with your lump sum allowance. We hope that this article has helped and we wish you the best for planning your relocation!
Gerson Relocation can help individuals with a wide range of relocation and moving services. To learn more check out www.gersonrelocation.com and get in touch with us to start planning your relocation!
Nick Young writes for Gerson Relocation and his website www.relocationwriting.com.