Archive for July, 2009

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'Reloville' – Social Study, or History Book?

Take Me Away to ReloVille If you’re like me these days, you’re reading more book reviews than actual books — it’s cheaper and much, much quicker.

But I recently came across a book that might get me to reading, and it might interest those in the relocation/moving industry as well: “Next Stop Reloville” by Peter Kilborn.

Kilborn documents (lionizes?) a community of workers in the country for whom relocation is just another part of the job — here today, Detroit tomorrow.

They follow the job opportunities where they are, using the relocations to command a premium for their efforts, and often moving up steadily on the corporate ladder.

What’s so interesting to me about the book is its topicality, but not for the reasons you might suspect. It seems more history book than current social commentary. The way of the relocation specialist might be going the way of the dodo bird (and eventually Twitter, one might hope).

Companies are really backing out of the relo game — it’s expensive to relocate someone, even though many companies have moved away from handling all the aspects of the relocation themselves and instead just give the employees the lump sums to move themselves.

Even so, by all appearances, fewer employees are being relocated, for the obvious reasons –why would you need to relocate a skilled employee when there might so many eligible candidates in your own community?

People will still need to keep moving, but it’s doubtful that this class of road warrior will be the prominent variety, and those who are overly dependent on them should plan accordingly.

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Could It Be? Move Green AND Save Money

geami-rollI’ve always been impressed by people who are more action than talk when it comes to moving environmentally — during the stress of moving, it can be easy to just take the easy way out and forego your green ethos.

That’s why I was so taken with some of the cool new environmental moving products out there, particularly those from Earth Friendly Moving, which is based in California (where else, eh?).

This company has gone beyond the reusable packing crates and found alternative products for just about anything you might need on your move. Most impressive of all, it says the products are cheaper than their non-green counterparts — which is key in an economy where price might trump environment.

Two of the cooler products:

When it drops off its reusable packing crates, Earth Friendly will create  a bubble-wrap alternative called Geami Paper that it presses from something called ‘cardboard sludge ‘ — which it does right on the moving truck into rolls of 100 to 200 feet. It claims the material is more protective than bubble wrap — and cheaper.

When you’re done with it, re-use it throughout the year, or Earth Friendly will take it off your hands and recycle it for another customer.

The other cool product is ‘Recocubes,’ which are a replacement for syrofoam peanuts. They’re made from newspaper sludge — only 40% of recycled newsprint is usable; this product uses the other 60%. Just as the name suggests, it’s pressed into a sturdy, card-board-like cube that will cushion your belongings.

When you’re done with moving, you can just toss the relocubes into the garden, water them, and voila! Compost for those new plants at your new place.

The video segment below shows the owner eating one, which I don’t know if I’d recommend in a daily diet, but hey, to each their own. Check it out for other cool product ideas for your move, and ask your own moving companies about ways to make an environmental move.

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10 Tricks to Keep Your Pet Happy on the Road

This is a guest article from PetRelocation.com

Pet owners who are moving face a dilemma: “What to do with the pets?”

Because no house is truly a home until the pets arrive, some people turn to pet moving services to help with the logistics of relocating their pets. However, many people will make the decision to take a road trip and load up their car with Fido and Fluffy.

If you’re planning on moving your pets by car, the thrill of the open road can quickly become burdensome if you don’t plan ahead. These ten tips can help pet owners get to their new home safely with a car full of happy pets.

1. Plan your route to include pet friendly lodging. Pet-friendly hotels will help both you and Fido recover after a long day of driving. Do research ahead of time to find the perfect pet friendly hotel that fits your needs – inquire about pricing, perks and policies for each hotel.

2. Try to take your pet in the car as often as possible before the move. This will help reduce its anxiety on the big trip. Purchase a pet travel crate for your pet to ride in and work on crate training your pet in advance. Crate training your pet can assist with anxiety levels during the drive as well as at your new home. (See the video below for tips on selecting a pet-travel crate.)

3. Make sure you have proper identification for your pet during your move. Have a cell phone number listed on their tags or an emergency contact who is not making the trip with you.

4. Try not to feed your pet for a few of hours before the trip as it can upset his stomach.

5. Hydration is very important so be sure to always offer your pet plenty of water before and during your drive. Spill-proof water bowls will allow your pet plenty of access to water, without getting your vehicle wet.

6. If you are moving across state lines with a dog or cat, you’ll need a domestic health certificate issued within 10 days of travel. This can be issued by your local veterinarian.

7. If you have an exotic pet, be sure to check with the Fish and Wildlife Service prior to your move to make sure that your pet is allowed in your new area – for example, ferrets as pets are illegal in New York City.

8. Don’t forget to pack a bag for your pet! Food, water, brushes, treats, plastic bags, a scoop and even a bed for the hotel room floor can help make any hotel stay smoother.

9. If your pet is crate trained, the crate is the best place for him to travel. However, a seatbelt harness can also restrain your pet, keeping him – and you – safe.

10. It is never considered safe leave pets in the car unattended. Not only can it get very hot in cars and cause heat stroke, but pets can also be stolen or escape from partially open car windows.

About the Author: PetRelocation.com specializes in door-to-door pet transportation services worldwide. For more information on moving or traveling with pets, please visit PetRelocation.com.

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The Bursting of the Housing Myth — and a Glimmer of Hope for the Relocation Industry

flickr: inkdphotos A recent report about moving holds some important glimmers of light for the moving industry.

The Boston Fed study found that housing prices have become a key determinant in whether people move – if people can not get the price for their home that they think it’s worth, they won’t sell and move. That’s a shift: before, if you needed to move, whether for retirement or a job, selling your current home wasn’t a roadblock.

Now that housing prices have fallen so much, that type of activity has stalled, and migration patterns have hit generational lows.

So where exactly is the good news in this?

The biggest hindrance to someone selling their home, or putting their home on the market, is the perception that they’re losing. The home that 4 years ago was worth $300,000 is now worth only $250,000. They sell now, and they’ve lost, even if they only paid $200,000 for it.  

It’s a skewed way of looking at things.

Granted, there are many folks who are underwater on their mortgage, effectively shackling them in place unless they can either produce the cash to pay off the difference between the mortgage and the selling price, or convince their lender to do a short sale.

However, many people bought well before the housing boom. They’re not underwater. They have equity. They can move.

But the housing industry and government have beaten into our heads that your home is an investment. Expect a solid return year after year. Tap into your home to fund your retirement.

People are slowing catching a whiff of the the new reality.

That reality: Depending on where you live, that nice nest egg with a front porch is now 10%-50% less than what you thought it was.

That sucks, and you’re probably angry. But will that stop you from living where you want to live?

The longer the housing drag continues, this ‘I-shoulda-sold-in-2006 remorse’ will be less of a factor in peoples’ relocation decision. The regret over your ‘loss’ will lessen. You’ll feel better about selling.

The bursting of the housing bubble has been a painful process so far, and it’s still got a ways to go. But the sooner we get there, the sooner houses will be sold — and the sooner moving companies will see some daylight.

Related Articles:

An Alternative View of Your Mortgage

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How to Help Your Pet Get Comfortable In Its New Home

This is a guest article from PetRelocation.com

More people are moving with pets these days, whether it’s across the city or around the world.  If you’re planning a pet move, it’s important to make sure that you prepare your pet for the move as well.  Below are some tips on getting your pet comfortable in its new home.

Flickr: Brent and Marilynn

1. Socialize your pet in advance
If you’ve never taken your pet outside of the house, then a big move can be especially daunting. Many people will walk their dogs around the neighborhood or take them on short trips. 

But socializing your pet is not just for dogs.  Other pets, like cats and ferrets, can be trained to walk on a harness and can also be trained to ride in the car.  Make sure your trips outside of the house are not always going to the veterinarian’s office – if you can take drives around the block or to the dog park and pet store, your pet will get used to unfamiliar places and be more comfortable in them.

2. Crate train your pet to create a permanent home
Crate training can not only help with the actual travel date, when your pet is flying or driving to his new location, but after you move, it can be his home away from home.  Begin crate training as soon as you know you’re moving with your pet. 

A helpful video on crate training can be found on the PetRelocation website.  Once your pet is properly crate trained, he will associate it with his safe haven even when he’s in a new place.

3. Keep your pets restrained for a while
Stress and fear can cause pets to run away after moving.  If your house has enough space, set up a designated room for your pet, containing food, water, bedding, toys and, of course, the travel crate. Put a sign on the door to remind movers or visitors that the pet is in the room so your pet won’t be let out and escape on accident.

Keep your pet in this space for the first few hours or days, depending on its anxiety level, with only short trips outside the house for bathroom breaks or walks.  Cats who are typically allowed outdoors should be kept inside for a few weeks. If your cat wants to go out to explore, be sure to monitor him while he’s outside.  Microchipping or putting tags with your new information on your pets is also a good idea before you let them out into the yard for the first time.

4. Get back into regular habits quickly
Pets thrive on routines and habits.  Try to get back into the regular schedule as soon as possible – walks, feeding, watering and playtime will bring normalcy back into your pet’s life after the move.

About the Author:  PetRelocation.com specializes in door-to-door pet transportation services worldwide.  For more information on moving or traveling with pets, please visit PetRelocation.com.

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More Reason to Beware of False Moving Reviews

There’s a great article in the Wall Street Journal today about how an employee at an espresso-machine manufacturer was writing wildly positive reviews for the company’s products on Amazon.com.

Now this is nothing new — there have long been reports of employees and business owners writing fake reviews, either praising their own businesses or dising their competitors’.

What IS surprising is that the major review sites haven’t really figured out a way to ensure the integrity of reader-written reviews.

Even Amazon.com, which seems to read my mind every time I visit by displaying products I’m likely to buy, hasn’t figured it out, even though there’s a lot of sketchy stuff in their reviews, like people reviewing several similiar products from the same company, as in the case cited by the Journal.

Many people are now using reviews to choose moving companies, which I generally applaud.

However, you need to make them just one part of your entire search for a moving company, not the sole factor. And you need to be wary if there’s an oversupply of positive reviews — there’s just no way to satisfy every customer.

We’re collecting moving reviews from our customers now, and hope to start publishing them on Relocation.com in the near future. We enjoy a bit of an advantage from other review sites because we can near-conclusively determine if the consumer used the moving company they’re reviewing. So be sure to check back later to see our moving company reviews!

Relocated Articles:

How to Save $1,000 on Your Move

How to Check the Public Records on Your Moving Company

Be Skeptical of that ‘Guaranteed’ or ‘Flat-Rate’ Moving Estimate

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5 Easy Ways to Save Over $1,000 on Your Move

No matter how much planning, study and shoe-leather you put into it, moving isn’t cheap.

dollar sign

But there are some easy ways to save on your move. Relocation.com came up with 5 that could help you shave more than $1,000 off your relocation expenses (OK, that’s more than a shave, more like a full cut and trim). We also offer you some other resources for easy ways to save on your move. (Savings are based on someone making a 3-bedroom, coast-to-coast move, which carries a roughly $7,000 tab.)

1. Negotiate Your Move Date – Save $300 to $600
Many moves take place at the same times: end or beginning of the month, or Fridays or Mondays. Consumers who are able to move on “off” days might be able to work a deal with a moving company. You can save even more if you move during the off-season — essentially November through April.

After you get moving quotes, ask the moving company if you could catch a break if you agreed to move at some other time. They might be willing to give you a discount.

2. Dump 10% of Your Stuff – Save $250 to $400
It’s simple in theory — most less stuff, pay less for your move, and have less headache. In practice, it’s usually harder. It needn’t be. For every 9 nine things you pack, throw away 1 thing. Other tips:

• Only move stuff you’ve used in the past year. If you haven’t used something in the past 12 months, you probably won’t use it again, so there’s no point in paying to move it.
• Use two plastic bins in each room you pack, and designate a ‘definite’ throwaway bin and a ‘maybe’ throwaway bin. When finished packing the room, throw out everything in the ‘definite’ bin, decide on the ‘maybe’ items and then move on to the next room.
• In the months before the move, divide a clothing rod between ‘must-move’ and ‘not-to-move’ clothing. After an item of clothing is worn and washed, put it on the ‘must-move’ side of the clothing rod. When it’s time to pack, get rid of all the clothes on the ‘not-to-move’ side of the rod.

3. Pack Half of Your Stuff– Save $400-$600
Roughly 50 percent of what you need to move is breakable, such as dishes and glassware. Let the movers handle packing these, since they are the most difficult to pack safely. Also, moving insurance usually will not cover items that are not packed by professionals, unless there’s clear damage to the outside of the moving box. You want coverage on these items.

The other half – items that won’t break, like toys and books – can be loaded into boxes relatively easily and don’t require special handling or supplies. Not using packers for these items can some money, it just requires a bit more work on your part.

4. Disconnect It – Save $150-$200
If the moving company provides any third-party moving services to handle disconnecting electronics and appliances, you will pay for it. Eliminate these fees altogether by learning how to safely dismantle any electronics systems and how to disconnect/connect appliances.

5. Don’t Move Large, Breakable Items – Save $200-$300
There are certain items a moving company won’t move without special crating, such as glass tables, flat-screen plasma TVs and specialty artwork such as pottery or big oil paintings. Here are some options to cut down on the need for expensive crating services.

• Glass items like shelves or tables, are generally cheap to replace compared to how much it costs to ship them. Consider the costs of moving them versus buying a similar type of shelf or tabletop at the new home.
• For a flat-panel TV, the least expensive method is packing it in the box it came in. If that’s not an option, search online for boxes designed specifically for TVs, which contain special foam inserts for extra protection.
• If you’re moving long distance, you can also pack fragile or valuable items in your car, rent a separate small moving van, or rent a trailer in which to tow them. You will pay more for this, of course, but you might have greater peace of mind about damages, and if you have enough that would require crating by the moving company, you might come out even.

Related Articles:

Money-Saving Moving Tips

3 Moving Scams You’ve Never Heard of

Choosing a Mover? Avoid These 3 Mistakes

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Wish Your Quebec Friends Happy Moving Day

Man, did I forget to send a card again?

Yep, residents of the independent-minded Canadian Province of Quebec are celebrating Moving Day today — I know, ‘celebration’ and ‘moving day’ normally not two words you’d find hanging out in the same sentence.

Salute Quebec Flag

So, what is this moving day, anyways, and why is it something that might drive Canadian moving companies a bit out of their mind?

Summoning my vast research skills, and my ability to do a search on Wikipedia, I’ve learned that on July 1, everybody in Quebec moves — to be exact, everyone moves to the house on their right, slowly working their way around the block.

Actually, it’s less interesting in that. Fact is, many leases come up on July 1, so many people move at this time – moving companies work around the clock, and moving rates mysteriously triple.

But it’s not all fun and games and profits for Quebec movers.

First, many landlords in Quebec force renters to have their own refrigerator. This makes sense because most Canadians use their frig to store the moose they shoot during Moose Hunting Day on June 1. Landlords also don’t provide a stove. Either way, moving a frig and stove is a pain.  

To make matters worse, many Quebeconians use exterior metal staircases to access upper-floor apartments. These are also curved and narrow. Just try carrying a refrigerator with a moose down one of them.

But back to the historical antecedents of Moving Day.

It goes back to the 19th century, when the government, concerned that ‘semi-feudal landlords’ of the time would kick out tenant farmers in the snowy weather, decreed that no such forced moving would take place until May 1.

The tradition stuck, so all sorts of leases and kickings-out would occur on May 1 — this was later changed to July 1 to better accomodate students on summer break.

So if a Quebecian is a friend, impress them with your knowledge of history and Canada by wishing them a Happy Moving Day!