Peak season relocation: are you ready for a busy summer?
It all starts hotting up in March. Not necessarily the weather, but relocation fever.
The period between March and the end of the summer holidays marks the peak of the moving season. The better weather (in the Northern hemisphere, that is, where most relocations take place) and the natural break between academic years, makes this the time when most people would like to schedule their relocation.
Companies often find that the summer, with higher numbers of employees on holiday, is the ideal time to relocate staff. Major projects are typically scheduled once everyone is back, and global assignments are often timed to coincide with this timetable.
The summer is a great time to move – but peak season relocation also brings challenges, for example:
1. Travel and transport are more expensive. Flights are more in demand and prices are often higher – even if you can find availability on your preferred flight. And owing to higher demand, the moving industry may not have enough trucks, people or time at their disposal.
2. More volume, more pressure. With people being under pressure, mistakes may take place more often. Some – less professional – transport companies respond to the pressure by introducing seasonal temporary staff who may not have the necessary skills or training.
3. You may have less support. Despite the increased activity in the relocation world, the wider business slowdown that accompanies the summer months can cause problems. School planning, for example, may be harder once schools have closed for summer, and the agencies that assignees need (such as home search, or accommodation lettings, for example) may be short-staffed or even closed for a while during the holiday season.
Avoid peak season panic
What can you and your assignees do to combat the pressures of moving during peak season?
1. Plan ahead
The most obvious advice (and the least helpful if you are reading this in July) is to plan ahead. Choosing an experienced relocation partner and discussing schedules in the months leading up to the assignment is critical. In this way, you will know what needs to happen and by when – and you will also have the reassurance of knowing how much it is going to cost. This is especially true if you are travelling to a popular holiday destination: the requirements of your assignee may be very different to a typical holiday maker, but they are often competing for the same space and services.
2. Be flexible
When resources are limited, you and your assignees will need to embrace a spirit of compromise. For example, when setting the moving day, it helps to be flexible and to bear in mind that certain days are busier (and therefore more expensive) for moving. You can save money and improve your chances of getting the preferred travel options by moving midweek.
You may also need a little flexibility in terms of shipping goods. A small air-freight consignment sent ahead of the main shipment may be a wise option – and be prepared to use short-term storage or temporary accommodation on arrival. Try to take problems in your stride if your peak season move doesn’t go perfectly to plan.
3. Keep a budget aside for unexpected costs
One consequence of the busy summer is that, as demand goes up, so do the prices – and these can sometimes catch you by surprise. Careful budgeting and agreeing prices in advance with a reputable relocation partner will of course help, but you should be aware that unexpected costs can be more likely in the busy summer months.
4. Have a back-up plan
As Plan A won’t always work, it’s more important than ever to have a Plan B. If a problem arises with your normal service providers or your preferred transport or travel options, do you have a fall-back? The choice of supplier in the first place will make a big difference. For example, FIDI’s FAIM accredited moving companies are required to adhere to strict quality standards that are independently monitored on a frequent basis. They are part of a network of companies who know each other and operate to the same standards, giving you peace of mind that your assignee is still in safe hands whatever happens.
Of course, there is never a good time to choose a bad supplier. But when the pressure mounts in peak season, your decision to choose a FAIM-certified mover will pay dividends.
5. Tactics on the day of the move
Your assignees will have prepared for their move, but these preparations become more important as the likelihood of delays and disruption mounts. Suggest they follow a checklist (such as this one) and take sensible precautions on the day of the move itself, such as packing suitable supplies and items in personal baggage just in case the main shipment is delayed.
Get your timing right
There is perhaps a bigger question here. If you are likely to hit the peak season unprepared, why not consider postponing? We know the advantages of moving during the summer but bear in mind the flip side. Moving in non-peak times solves all availability problems at a stroke and for some assignees (especially those without family) the pros may outweigh the cons. Whatever the time of year, however, the same advice applies: get your planning, budgeting and your choice of moving partner right and your assignees’ time abroad will start with the minimum of fuss.