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Webinar | Here Comes Moving Season: What You Need to Know to Prepare and Manage Your Move

The physical relocation of an employee’s household goods is arguably one of the most critical elements of any relocation, and the success of the household goods experience may weigh heavily in the success of the overall relocation experience. During peak moving season, when demand exceeds supply, challenges can arise and impact the experience such as driver shortages, lessened flexibility, increased cost, and overall heightened stress levels. Below we discuss how to avoid peak season panic - providing insights and recommendations to ensure your move goes smoothly, whether you are the Global Mobility Manager, transferee, or RMC.


Drew Coolidge
President of Moving and Chief Supply Chain & Operational Excellence Officer
SIRVA Worldwide Relocation & Moving

Taryn Kramer
Vice President of Global Consulting
SIRVA Worldwide Relocation & Moving

Scroll to the bottom and click "Download" to access the slides

Scroll to the bottom and click "Download" to access the slides

What Makes Summertime Peak Moving Season?

The biggest reason for peak season, according to Coolidge is the break in the traditional school year, which allows parents to move without disrupting a child's education. Hotter weather and the uptick in the housing market also contribute.

"Somewhere around 45 to 50 percent of all the moves that will happen this year will happen May, June, July and August," Coolidge says. "From February to June, we will see a 220 percent increase in activity."

The intensity of peak moving season creates an environment with unique challenges. As demand exceeds supply there are fewer truck drivers and less flexibility to make unplanned adjustments, which leads to increased costs and increased stress levels. This becomes further intensified by the higher temperatures summer brings, as heightened temperatures can be more punishing on the moving vehicles/equipment and labor.

Avoiding Peak Season Panic

Even the simplest of moves can be stressful in the summertime. To ensure the smoothest process possible, Coolidge emphasizes the importance of planning, flexibility and communication.

Planning: Start arranging moves six to eight weeks ahead of the desired moving date. Just like booking a flight, it’s likely you will pay less and encounter fewer problems if you start early. Planning will also help you avoid cancellations and postponements, which can impact other aspects of the move.

Flexibility: Even during peak season there are spikes in demand, usually the last week of each month.The ability to move during the first and middle weeks of the month could save you money. Flexibility is also important when arranging pick-ups and drop-offs.

Communication: With so many small details and multiple parties operating in a high-stress and fast-paced environment, communication is essential. It is important to pick up the phone for any urgent matters. "If answers are needed immediately, emails don't often do the trick," Coolidge says.

The webinar contains more specific tips in the perspective of all stakeholders, but remembering these three takeaways can put you ahead of the stress of peak moving season.

How moves are booked can also affect service. Moving companies classify moves in three ways: corporate, military/government and individual consumer moves.

"Generally speaking, corporate moves are something that the industry reserves the capacity for and prioritizes," Coolidge says.

In order to make room for corporate moves, moving companies will often increase prices on consumer moves or decline service. If your organization employs a lump-sum reimbursement strategy that requires employees to secure services themselves, they're going to be treated as consumers and could encounter roadblocks and higher prices.

Lasting Lessons: From Tax Season to Moving Season

2018 brought with it new tax considerations. Kramer offers insights into the implications these tax changes have on organizations.

In a nutshell, preferential tax treatment for relocation support is gone and some previously exempt expenses, such as household goods shipments and travel mileage, are now taxable.

"That can be a significant additional expense to the organization," Kramer says. "The implications, obviously, for a relo company are increased costs, where the company does choose to gross-up (to fully reimburse relocating employees)."

SIRVA experts continue to analyze ways to minimize tax exposure for U.S. moves. In the meantime, Kramer recommends taking a holistic look at your relocation program. By analyzing everything from segmentation to processes, what may seem like a setback can be seen as an opportunity to reposition relocation services and demonstrate its value to an organization beyond operational support.

"It's an opportunity to really change the conversation about mobility," says Kramer.

For more information about peak moving season and new tax implications, watch the full webinar or read our blog post here. You can follow along with the slides or read them at your own pace by hitting the download button below.