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With an estimated 50% of relocations being lump sum or self managed, all you really need is a Mover.
Ever notice how everything old is new again? Vinyl is making a big comeback in the music industry; board games have amazing popularity with millennials and my paisley ties are in style again. With all the nostalgia for the good old days, should corporations look in the rear-view mirror and reflect on the way things used to be done in the relocation industry?
Developing a simple “Moving Policy” and or going direct to preferred Movers (an agent, not a van line) could be a simple retro solution to best pricing, capacity, communication, and service issues in the household goods moving space.
This is also a perfect solution for an employee self requested remote work relocation which are really a private COD move.
Given the fact that:
· The number one cost on most “lump sum” programs is the move, why not buy wholesale?
· The agent’s own the trucks, the building and supply the manpower, why not deal directly with the people responsible for loading the furniture?
· The agents are local businesses, why not support your city and benefit from the convenience and ease of communication that comes with buying local?
· The Mover wants to develop a long-term customer, who better to demonstrate quality through pride of ownership, than the Mover?
Back in the day of big hair and disco balls, most every company did relocation in-house and used a simple easy to manage moving policy to handle their employee’s household goods. It is not that hard to set up, implement or manage. You can either choose to set up an encompassing moving policy, including direct billing, or simply provide your employees with a list of “preferred Movers” a safe environment for a self-managed relocation.
Developing a policy consists of basically developing a process and a list of items you are willing to move, possible weight restrictions, as well as packing and storage guides. You can also develop a sliding policy in relation to the level of the transferee. The Mover will adhere to the policy and educate your transferee as to what your firm will pay to move. (Anything outside the policy is COD to the transferee). The Mover can also invoice you direct for all services freeing up the transferee’s out-of-pocket expense. It is clean and simple to manage with very little added administration once it is properly set in place.
Further with two or three “competitive” professional movers in your stable, you can easily keep a tight cost control on everything. With a very simple moving policy or preferred Mover list of suppliers, you not only have an open-ended relationship, but you instantly create a competitive environment. This coupled with a “guaranteed not to exceed %” on every estimate, eliminates most every need for your involvement.
A perfect solution for a self managed move. (McWilliams also has a COD RFP that provides an “easy to compare” safetynet)
On a lump sum or self-managed move where the transferee can make their own choice on Movers, simply send them your preferred Movers, along with a recommendation to utilize them or at the very least get a price from them.
This simple program is basically risk free from any added costs from the original estimate, providing the same information was provided to all parties and nothing new was added after the survey (as per the COD RFP).
Again, by utilizing a “not to exceed agreement” your transferee will not be surprised with added costs.
This process makes sure the transferee uses a safe Mover and all the Movers are on the same page at the time of the estimate. (Form available on request)
Why Go Retro?
Relocation firms are paid a referral fee or a booking commission on the final cost of the move. By going direct to a Mover, you can eliminate the referral cost paid to the RMC. Resulting in your employee receiving a wholesale, corporate price. The Mover can also provide a host of shipping options, self-pack options and other creative services that could also help reduce direct costs to a self-managed move.
If you want to go to a restaurant that is booked solid, would you rather know the concierge at the hotel that recommended the restaurant, or would you sooner be a friend of the owner of the restaurant? Your local agent owns the buildings, they operate the trucks and they employ the people. Given that, they can deploy their assets most any place they want. The agents do not work for the Van Line, the Van Line works for the agents, this is important to understand.
Quality can be measured using three simple variables, pride of ownership, inside knowledge and wanting you, as a long-term customer. A good corporate Mover is extremely valuable, they have more inside knowledge of the industry and their agent family than anyone. They know the good, they know the bad and they know the ugly. They can handpick the people on your move, the origin agent, the destination agent and in many cases even the drivers.
They also take responsibility because they have pride of ownership. They are proud family businesses, professionals that consistently do a great job in a difficult business. Many agents are multi generational operations that have been in the business for decades. If they did not offer a reliable customer focused service, they could not have flourished all those years.
Most importantly Movers want a customer for life, not a sale. With the added incentive of an all-season corporate account, attention to detail is a given. (Corporate business adds year-round opportunities and is prized in the industry). All professional Movers also have impeccable inhouse move managers, to ensure the finest possible service.
Convenience and Communication:
There are on average 9 handoffs for a simple move when using an RMC. Unless you love bureaucracy, direct is obviously best. The local agents are, well, local. They are hometown businesspeople, a face in the community. A single point of contact that can instantly make things happen, not get you an update.
You do not have to stop the car to adjust the mirror; you can make a change as you continue to motor on with your current program. Initially it would take a few weeks to set up a moving policy, vet two or three corporate Movers and test drive a direct to Mover program. You can either call that sales rep that has been bugging you for the past decade or go into your local relocation council directory to find a corporate Mover.
Mention you would like to chat about setting up a moving policy or a preferred Mover list, together with a corporate pricing program. Most will have a policy guide to share with you and help walk you through the process. I would also wager that you will be very pleasantly surprised as to their professionalism and industry knowledge. Talk to a few of them, get a feel for there ability and accountability. Make it known right up front that their service and your employee feedback will either make or break the relationship.
Why do this at all?
In my opinion what erodes our industry is the loss of direct contact with corporations. The industry is losing focus on the sale and delivery of the unique characteristics of the individual agents. Without a direct to customer sales and marketing mission, striving to be better, to differentiate our organizations from our competitors, we become commodities, unseen and unappreciated. Our service becomes sterile because we have no recognition or reward for a job well done. A direct relationship with a corporate account, brings out the “A” game. The Mover is not simply picking a faceless move off some bid-board like a load of potatoes. They are customizing a service and focused on a long-term relationship.
Good Movers want to shine, they want recognition and they want to be rewarded with repeat business for a job well done. We want the ability to create a relationship with a client and we want a long-term customer. A commodity is interchangeable, the lower you are on the supply chain the less value you are perceived to bring and the easier you can be replaced.
Every business wants a spot at the table, and I think given today’s lump sum relocation environment it is time the Mover takes a chair. The time is right for a retro moving revolution. Get back to a name, a face, a handshake, and a relationship. You are moving your most important assets, based on a recommendation; wouldn’t it be nice to know the owner? Take a good look in the rear-view mirror; solutions may be closer than they appear.