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Relocation Managers Reconsider Household Moving Benefits

As we gear up for the busy summer season (yes, it is around the corner), we want to take some time to talk about moving household goods. Companies have, for a long time, been giving some of their employees (especially entry-level employees) lump sums for their household goods move. While lump sum serve their purpose in the broader context of a relocation policy, we have noticed that more relocation managers are reconsidering this thought process and returning to a direct-billing approach. They are doing this to provide a better relocation experience, mitigate risk and save in tax implications.

And we whole-heartedly agree with this approach.

Why?

Well, if you want your transferee to have a seamless and easy (as possible) move, then relying on them to select a good mover immediately tosses that theory out the window. In many cases, transferees have never had to move before or, if they have, have never retained a professional mover.

This poses a stressful challenge to your transferee and presents a risk to your business.Relocation Managers Reconsider Household Moving Benefits

Let’s be honest. If you are giving your transferee cash to move they will look for the cheapest mover in hopes to pocket the remaining funds or use them for other moving expenses. Buying a moving company on the cheap is just asking for problem. As you may know, the moving industry can be rife with illegitimate moving companies and an inexperienced buyer looking to purchase services solely on price can end up in hot water at the end of the day. We’ve all heard the stories about shippers who were quoted one price, only to have a three-fold increase upon delivery. Or, worse, disreputable moving companies that hold a person’s goods until the higher payment is paid in full (a hostage move). If something like this were to happen to your transferee, there is not much that can be done to fix it and turn the relocation around.

In addition to transferees choosing moving services based on lowest price, you also have transferees opting for a self-move. And, why not, right? It’s easy. U-Haul is always available and it’s cheap on the service.

But, here’s the rub. Let’s say your transferee hires family and friends who are not used to lifting heavy furniture to load and unload their truck. What happens if they have an accident while driving to their new home? What happens if a family/friend gets hurt while lifting the furniture/boxes, etc.? Can you as the employer be held liable since this was a relocation benefit given to the employee?

The answer is yes. You could be held liable.

Also, outside of the legal ramifications, it’s important to remember that an injured transferee may be delayed to start at the new location. If you want to get your employee up and running with as little down time as possible, you have to give them the tools that allow them to move quickly, safely and with as little drama as possible.

For these reasons, we are seeing more companies offering professional insured household goods moving services to all employees. They are finding that it’s not that large of a difference to pay a professional mover, versus renting a truck for a smaller type shipment. Further, in a direct billing arrangement, there are no tax implications. Ultimately, the extra price to cover a full-service move far outweighs the potential risk of harm to their transferees and any possible litigation or cost that could occur in the case of injury.

Do you direct bill for moving services? Please share your experience below.

Also, to read about more relocation issues and trends for 2015, download our Top 10 Predictions for the Relocation Industry in 2015

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MIKE CANNING
VP, Client Services

RICK CALANNI
VP of Business Development Northeast Region

 

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