Every year, millions of people will have to go through the process of finding a new home and moving. Often times, they are relocating for their job, with the vast majority moving during the summer months.
Summer is an ideal time for many employers to relocate employees because their kids are out of school, work schedules tend to be more flexible and weather conditions are favorable. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 33% of all annual inbound moves take place between June and August.
Resources are scarce during the summertime, especially in recent years with a shortage of drivers, limited shipping capacity and a flooded housing market. With an increased demand for services, moving and storage companies, as well as corporate housing providers, may be fully booked by the time employees are ready to move.
Fortunately, there are steps employers can take to help accommodate relocating employees during the busy moving season. The best thing employers can do to take the stress out of relocating is to provide plenty of notice so employees have ample time to make arrangements.
Alan Waugh, Vice President of Global Operations at Reindeer, has firsthand experience with this dilemma.
“With drivers booking their trucks in advance, rush pickup can make things more difficult to plan and result in the delivery taking place at the end of the delivery window,” said Waugh. “Rush pickups are unavoidable at times and we work to accommodate them daily during the busy months, however, if advance notice is possible, it helps make for a smoother process.”
Mark Keiper, Executive President at Sullivan Moving and Storage, echoes this advice and the importance of ample planning.
“We are anticipating a big summer for the relocation industry," said Keiper. "We are already seeing capacity tightening for June out of certain areas in the U.S."
Keiper said Sullivan has geared up by adding trained professional local crews and increasing their long haul fleet by close to 50%. He emphasizes the importance of submitting any initiations as early as possible.
Employers also need to be flexible when it comes to choosing or assigning moving dates. Weekends and the ends of the month are the busiest times to move, no matter what season. The best way to secure a date that works for both the employee and the moving company is to discuss a few options and work together to agree on a final date.
“A busy moving season means that people may not always get their first choice when it comes to moving and delivery dates,” said Kyle Gifford, Senior Relocation Specialist at Expat Relocation Solutions.
“It would be difficult to schedule delivery within a week of you telling me,” said Gifford. “If we are given three options for either the pack out or delivery, we would be better able to accommodate one of those dates.”
Lastly, it is also important the employee has his or her possessions organized. This means prioritizing what items need to be moved and which ones can be sold or donated. Depending on the size or layout of the new home, shipping costs and other factors, people may have to downsize before they finalize their move.
For those employees with more flexible scheduling dates and storage needs, there are other move alternatives available such as intermodal transport. With a decrease in available drivers, shipping standardized containers by ship or rail has become a popular and efficient way to transport household goods. Employers and transferring employees should always talk to their designated Relocation Manager to review their options.With so much invested in the success of a move, companies hoping to relocate employees during the peak moving season should strategically plan ahead to ensure everyone involved has a positive experience.