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A Day In The Life - of a Relocation Consultant

publication date: May 6, 2009
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PD How did you get into the relocation business?

SM I worked in the financial services sector for 17 years which led to me becoming an independent financial adviser and then an Area Insurance Manager. I had direct experience of handling and processing mortgage and re-mortgage applications and learned about the conveyancing side of the business and what needed to be done to ensure a smooth transaction all the way through to mortgage completion.
After I had my daughter I changed track and went to work in recruitment for eight years, five of which as a branch manager.

All of my roles over recent years have involved fact-finding and then finding a solution to client needs and relocation is no different. It is about listening to your clients and really understanding what they are looking for in a property and an area and then working diligently to source the right properties for them within their budget.

Setting up a relocation business was actually my husband’s idea. We have lived in the Milton Keynes area for almost 27 years. With my local knowledge and contacts and background in the property related market, we both felt there was there was a market for providing quality relocation services to companies, their key personnel and private clients moving into the area. The company has expanded and we now also have a London office.

PD So you obviously enjoy the new career, but what is a typical day like for you?

SM
My day is so varied and no two days are alike. I could be on the internet and phoning property agents or out viewing properties with clients. Then I have to meet existing corporate clients and prospective new clients. I also need to speak to people who are relocating before they move from elsewhere in the UK and if they are across the other side of the world that can sometimes mean having a one hour call at midnight UK time!  

At other times I could be drafting a new press release about something we want to announce as a business such as when I was asked by Channel Five to appear on one of their properties programmes which featured Milton Keynes. That was great for the business as we were the only local property expert to appear on the programme and it certainly helped to raise our profile. I also attend various networking events so that I can meet other business people and share ideas and hopefully gain some client referrals.

One of the services we offer is to help people to find good schools for their children which is so important to parents so I could be spending part of my day doing research, calling schools to check the availability of places and also speaking to the relevant local education authority. I also accompany parents on schools visits and help them with the application process.

I love what I do because essentially I am helping people move to a new area which they are totally unfamiliar with and my aim is to remove as much stress as possible for them. It is not just the person who is moving with their company that you need to consider but the needs of the family are paramount if the relocation is going to be successful.
As one client relocating from Sweden to the UK told me, relocating is not only the actual physical move with papers to be signed and people and furniture to be transported from point A to point B but a much more important part is the mental aspect. A relocation often means that you are going into the unknown, new house, new culture, new language, with all the fears it can produce.

As well as moving, relocating individual employees and their families we also can help to relocate whole departments within a company and sometimes the company in its entirety. This means that we are often involved at the outset of the relocation process and provide advice on the company’s relocation policy and relocation allowances that should be paid to employees.

Apart from the time spent on property research and viewings a large part of my time is spent making sure that all the administration side of a relocation runs smoothly such as making amendments to lease agreements so I have someone who looks after this side of things.
 
As a business we also need relocation consultants in other parts of the UK as it impossible to have a good local knowledge of every location. They will set up property viewings in their area and accompany the clients on property viewings. However, we still ensure that the whole process is managed centrally to make sure that nothing is missed and the client gets the same high level of service and attention to detail.  

PD What’s the most unusual request you’ve had as a relocation consultant?

SM
One family that was relocating from the Philippines were devout Roman Catholics and needed to attend mass on the day that we were viewing properties. I phoned the local Catholic parish secretary and arranged to introduce the family to her just before that evening’s mass. She was then able to make personal introductions to people at the Church and the relocating family was so very grateful for this. It’s all part of making the transition as easy as possible for them and that’s why I am so glad to have made the move into the relocation industry.

PD Which areas of the UK do you cover?
SM
We provide all of the services across the whole of the UK and have even moved a few people from Sweden to Belfast for one corporate client! As long as we have a local person with the relevant local knowledge in a location providing the ‘destination services’ and we provide the management support back at our office base, the relocations are all handled in the same way. With our London office we have a growing client base in the South East.

PD Are there any downsides to the business?
SM
Like any privately operated business you have to put a lot of hours in to make sure the job is done properly and that you are providing a pro-active level of service to all of your clients. However the rewards are great when you have a happy client, well settled into their new home and they are pleased to give you a written testimonial!

PD Which professional bodies support your industry?
SM
When I first set up Citrus Relocation I wanted to find an organisation which would provide me with initial training to run a relocation business and also provide me with ongoing support, training and advice so we became members of The Association of Relocation Professionals. Also by being a member proves commitment to best practice, customer satisfaction and professionalism to clients. I am delighted to say that we have just moved from associate level to full membership. We had to have our clients provide references on our levels of service to the ARP.

PD What projects are you working on at the moment?
SM
I am currently working closely with the Milton Keynes & North Bucks Chamber of Commerce on a collaborative partnership to assist companies looking to relocate their business to the Milton Keynes area. We want to make it easy for people to get the advice and support they need when making such a crucial business decision. We really do care deeply about client relationships and go the extra mile on delivery because it is important to us that our clients are happy.

www.citrusrelocation.com. Tel: 0845 402 3124