CapRelo Blog

Getting a Move Estimate When Company is Paying

Posted by George Herriage on Tue, Apr 22, 2014

Relocation_Box.jpgBusiness relocation packages come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Invariably, when an employee is offered a relocation package, the employer agrees to pay for all or a portion of the moving costs. Sometimes, the employer makes all arrangements. Other times, it’s up to the relocating employee to make arrangements on their own – including obtaining a moving estimate to submit for reimbursement.

Whittle Down a List

The employee’s first step in obtaining a moving estimate is to gather a list of potential movers. This is important, as not all moving companies are alike and many people have fallen victim to “rogue movers” that use deceptive practices to boost the cost of household goods delivery. Your company may have a selection of approved movers, ask first before receiving in-home estimates.

Lots of information about moving companies – including reviews about their services – can be found online, but sometimes it’s best to pick up the local phone book and talk to someone directly. Visiting the Better Business Bureau is another good way for relocating employees to create a short list of the moving companies with the best reputations. Since all legitimate moving companies are required to have a Department of Transportation (DOT) number, check the names of all potential moving companies at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration website to ensure they’re registered with the government.

Get Estimates for Services

Next, it’s time to contact the short list of moving companies to get a cost estimate. Best practices dictate that the most accurate estimates are the ones that are received in person. Movers that offer estimates over the phone should be avoided, as one of the keys to determining overall cost of household goods delivery is to have someone perform an in-home visit to physically see the size and scope of the move. This helps to avoid receiving inaccurate quotes that could rise substantially on delivery. Interstate move costs are determined by weight, so it’s essential that a representative of the moving company comes to the employee’s place of residence to determine an accurate quote. Quotes should always be obtained in writing and never verbally. There are three types of estimates:

  • Not-To-Exceed estimates state that the amount quoted will be the amount charged, even if actual weight is more than initially thought. If weight of household goods is less than originally estimated, the moving company will charge a lower amount.
  • Non-Binding estimates mean that the final cost isn’t determined until the shipment is actually weighed.
  • Binding estimates set a definitive price for the move, even if actual weight is found to be lesser or greater. Please note that if the scope of services changes before the move, the estimate is no longer valid. This is a legitimate type of estimate, but it’s important to understand that there is some risk involved.

Make the Decision

Choosing the mover that offers the best price for the best level of services can depend on a company’s relocation policy. In some cases, the company may ask to review the estimates provided so that they can make the decision – in other cases, it’s up to the employee to choose which moving company will be contracted to carry out the household goods delivery. Whatever the case, it’s important to look at all of the details before arriving at a decision.

Picking the right moving company can mean the difference between a smooth relocation and a rocky one. Getting an accurate quote for services is the first step to ensuring the best possible experience when relocating.


Free Article:  A Guide to Developing  Relocation Policies


Topics: Corporate Relocation Costs, move management services, domestic relocation


Posted by Jim Retzer on Mon, Jan 09, 2012

house-question-2.jpgBefore you begin setting domestic relocation policies or revamping your existing relocation policy, it's important to find out what's most important to your employees. You'll probably discover that home sale, spousal support, and finding a good neighborhood and a new home at a fair price rank near the top of the list for many mid- and top-level employees.

Domestic relocation policies are broken into a few main categories based on how much involvement the employer has, and how much of the burden of managing relocation is placed on the employee. Any type of program may use tiers to determine either how much money the relocating employee will receive (in the case of lump sum reimbursement policies) or what expenses are covered in a direct reimbursement or managed package. Let's look at the pros and cons of each type of domestic relocation policy.

Learn more about developing relocation policies with our free guide.

Lump-sum relocation policies

In a lump sum relocation policy, the employer issues a single check to cover the employee's moving expenses. The burden is on the employee to list and sell his home (either on his own or with a real estate agent), line up household goods movers, help his spouse find a job, and even organize his own scouting trips. The employer has no say as to how the lump sum package is spent.

The benefit to this type of domestic relocation policy, of course, is it's easy for the employer. The employee handles all the stress of selling his home, buying a home, and moving. It may take a long time for the employee's home to sell, dragging out the move to the detriment of the employer. And it may take longer for the employee to return to full productivity; managing a household move can be a full-time job in itself, especially if it involves placing children in new schools.

If the lump sum allocated for domestic relocation is not generous, the employee may want to cut corners, choosing lower quality service providers. This will make the move even more stressful and cause an even slower return to productivity. Many employees who find the relocation process stressful leave the company within the year, and the employer is back to square one, recruiting (and possibly relocating) new talent.

Direct reimbursement relocation policies

In a direct reimbursement relocation policy, employees are reimbursed for each item that is part of their move. In many cases, the employer, or a relocation firm acting on behalf of the employer, will offer assistance with lining up service providers, including real estate agents and household goods movers.

The employee will pay expenses out of pocket, but will submit receipts and be reimbursed. Expenses must be “grossed up” so the employee does not lose out or incur a tax liability from his domestic relocation package.

This type of relocation policy can work well, especially if the employer has a hand in lining up service providers. Employees don't feel a burden to stretch their dollars, and can be assured good service to sell their house quickly and move with less stress.

Managed relocation policy

In these type of domestic relocation policies, the employer or a corporate relocation firm handles every aspect of the move for the employee. Virtually all the employee has to do is pack his boxes and be available on moving day. The employee doesn't actually receive any money, so tax gross-up isn't required. The employer can work with the relocation firm to assure relocation service providers offer the best service available, resulting in a happy employee who can get back to work faster, with less stress.

Managed and direct reimbursement relocation policies may be more challenging for the employer to manage, but that's where a corporate relocation firm can help. In the end, you may save money and keep your key talent happier. If an employee is worth moving, he's worth keeping—and worth keeping happy!

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Topics: employee relocation expenses, corporate relocation program, domestic relocation, executive relocation package

Ten Tips to Relocating with Pets

Posted by Chris Finckel on Mon, Dec 05, 2011

Whether travelling to Grandma’s house for the holidays or moving your family across the country, the trip wouldn’t be complete without the entire family – including the furry members.  Each year in the U.S., tens of millions of pets make journeys with their families.  Some travel by car, some by plane, and some by boat or train.  Regardless of the means, the journey can be stressful for everyone involved.

Don't forget about your pets when relocatingAt CapRelo, we work hard to make relocation low stress.  For this reason, we recommend that you follow these steps when you relocate with the furry members of your family:

  1. Give your pets several days to get acclimated to the carrier. Several days before you travel, let your pet get comfortable with the carrier by putting blankets, toys, and treats inside.  In doing so, your pet may come to view it as a safe, cozy place to be. Do not put a leash inside the carrier because your animal could become tangled in it and choke.
  2. Talk to your vet before you leave. With their guidance, you can find the products that will aid in reducing the anxiety felt by your pet.  They can also fill any prescriptions that your pet may need prior to the move. Your vet will also be able to provide you with all of the paperwork you may need prior to the move.
  3. ID your pet. Prior to travelling, consider getting your pet a microchip for identification.  Once your pets are en route to your new house, switch your pet’s ID tags to those that list the new address. By doing so, your pet will be returned to your new home should they get lost or sneak off along the way.
  4. Keep your pets safe on moving day.  Whether you use a pet sitter, a kennel or your neighbor’s backyard, it’s best to have your pets out of your house before the movers arrive. By taking necessary precautions, you can avoid the stress of a pet escaping through an open door, getting stepped on or tripped over by movers, or suffering unnecessary anxiety due to the chaos in the house.
  5. If traveling by plane, contact your airline well in advance to review their particular pet requirements or simply click into the Jet Set Pet's™ Airline Pet Regulations for direct links to the country's major airlines and additional information.
  6. If traveling by car, make sure you walk your pet prior to travel, don’t over feed or water your pet, keep paper towels and other cleaning supplies on hand, and plan regular pit stops.
  7. If traveling with more than one pet, keep them in separate carriers. While they may be best friends in the house, your pets may not like sharing space while driving.
  8. If staying in a hotel, make sure the hotel is pet friendly. Do your research so that you are not surprised by associated pet fees and charges.
  9. Make sure your pet’s nails have been clipped to protect against their hooking in the carrier’s door, holes and other crevices.
  10. Pets are creatures of habit, so it’s important to keep things as normal as possible.  Make the arrangements and transitions as stress-free as possible by attempting to reproduce the living experience your furry friend is already accustomed to.


Download The Low-Stress  Relocation Guide


These ten tips are simple ideas and suggestions to help when moving with your pets. With careful preparation, you can ensure a safe, low-stress move for everyone.

Topics: relocating employees, domestic relocation

5 Tips for Telling Your Family about a Relocation

Posted by Chris Finckel on Mon, Oct 10, 2011

The corporate relocation company is a blessing to businesses and employees alike. They provide a necessary service for the continuity of business and the reduction of stress in work-related moves, but that’s not the only place corporate relocation companies provide value. They also bring invaluable peace of mind that, despite everyone’s best efforts, would otherwise degenerate into panic and chaos in their absence. But the one thing they can’t do for you is break the news to your family that you’re all moving away.

If relocating, talk to your family firstIf you’re married with children, this can be one of the most difficult conversations to have with your family – but it’s important to inform them first before you’ve informed anyone else. Can you imagine what it would be like for your spouse to find out about your plans to move halfway across the country by accidentally intercepting a call from a corporate relocation company? No, that won’t go over very well.

Here are five tips on how to have this difficult yet necessary conversation with your family.

  1. Set aside some time to sit down for a family discussion even before you’ve accepted the relocation opportunity. It’s important that every member of your family have fair warning if a relocation to new surroundings is a possibility. Above all, your children have to be given the most time to adjust to the idea. Don’t hide it from them for fear it’ll damage them. This approach can backfire.
  2. Once the idea has been floated, work on trying to get your family excited about the move. Focus on the positive aspects of a relocation, not just for yourself but for every member of your family. Introduce your children to their potential “new home” by showing them photographs, getting online and looking up fun and interesting facts about their future home. It’s never a bad idea to point out fun and interesting places that’ll capture their attention, like amusement parks, sporting events and arenas, and the like.
  3. Do plenty of research on the city where you intend to relocate. When you talk to a representative of the corporate relocation company, ask them to provide you with additional information about the city in which you’ll be taking up residence to help familiarize yourself and your family. Through the corporate relocation company’s considerable resources, they’ll be able to provide you with information on almost everything you'll need to help sell your family on the idea of relocation.
  4. Promise your children that they’ll be able to come back and visit their friends, if it's a possibility. This will ease any separation anxiety that may take hold.
  5. If there’s enough time during the planning stages of your relocation, consider taking a short trip to the city where you’ll be relocated, and bring the family with you. Giving them a brief introduction to the place they’ll soon call home will make dealing with moving to a totally new environment far easier on them, especially if the trip drums up their enthusiasm. Visit points of interest like schools they will be attending and neighborhoods and parks they will become familiar with to help “sell” them on the idea.
By taking these careful steps you might be surprised to discover that your children have become far more excited about the move than you thought they were!

Topics: Family Relocation, relocating employees, domestic relocation, employee transfer

Help Your Employees Assimilate in an International Relocation

Posted by Tamara Bianchi on Tue, Feb 08, 2011

International relocation presents unique challenges that employees and your HR staff do not face during a domestic relocation. When you help your employees assimilate the foreign culture in the weeks prior to, and during, an international relocation, you'll ensure greater productivity in the long run, a faster return to full productivity in the office, and increased employee retention. How can you help make an international relocation go as smoothly as a move within the states? 

  1. Multiple trips abroad can help your relocating employees assimilate the new culture. Help employees (and their families) connect with local networking organizations, sports clubs, and the like, made up of both locals and expatriates. Find similarities to home, while also helping employees embrace the foreign country prior to their international relocation.

  2. Foreign language lessons not only make your relocating employees more productive in the office, but also make them happier following the move, which improves retention. 

  3. Help your employees make sense of laws affecting expatriates. New health care laws slated to go into effect in 2014 and 2015 may help reduce costs for employees living and working abroad. Let employees know about other positive changes and benefits they may experience as a result of their international relocation, too. 

Help your employees navigate the confusing maze of paperwork that comes with international relocation, including obtaining visas and registering children in a new school. A relocation management company accustomed to dealing with international relocation can help this process go smoothly, especially if this is the first international relocation for your HR staff.

Topics: relocation management company, domestic relocation, international relocation services, relocating employees

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