Self-move Option Benefits Both Companies and Employees

by Steve Dixon

July 1996

In this era of massive corporate restructuring, American companies are searching for ways
to reduce internal costs while maintaining and even improving quality benefits for employees.
To help reduce employee relocation costs, more and more companies today are adding
rental truck self-moving to their relocation programs.

"For college students and trainees who have to move less than 500 miles, Marriott will
determine the most economical method available, which, after going through comparative
analyses, typically turns out to be truck rental," says Mary Moehring, Marriott
International's relocation traffic specialist. "Marriott will offer to arrange for a truck rental
or the associate can use the funds toward a van line move."

Contrary to the old school of thought, not every employee relocation calls for a full-service
van line move. To handle relocations for some new hires, transferees, short notice moves,
and smaller shipments, companies are finding truck rental self-moves to be a more practical
alternative. Additionally, some employees who qualify for van line moves actually prefer to
have the control over the moving process and the flexibility offered by a self-move.
Some companies also now offer a "share the savings" incentive to those who opt for the
typically less expensive truck rental self-move.

"Often, transferees with small shipments choose truck rental self-moves because they don't
have to wait for a van line to arrive with their household goods," continues Moehring.

An Unexplored Alternative
Despite the obvious practical benefits of self-moving, it remains a largely unexplored relocation
policy option. The primary
reasons for many companies' reluctance are a lack of knowledge about how to establish a program and some unfounded
concerns about the process. At ERC's 1995 National Relocation Conference, one company manager asked about the potential for liability if a worker is injured during a self-move.
Other questions are "How safe is self-moving?" and "Is self-moving really a viable option?"
Following are some answers to these and other frequently asked questions about self-moving.

Q What are some of the major advantages of self-moving?

A Often part of a multitiered employee relocation plan consisting of van line moves, pack and
load self-moves, and rental truck self-moves, self-moving is an option that provides benefits
for both employees and companies.

Employees like to retain control over the moving process and their belongings. With self-moves,
employees set the schedules and know where their belongings are at all times throughout the move.
When moving household goods with a van line, the employee is forced to conform to the van line's
schedule for packing, loading, transit, and delivery. Plus, depending on the company's relocation
plan, employees sometimes can share part of the savings resulting from a self-move rather than a
van line.
The truck rental versus van line cost differential potentially can be several thousand dollars
(usually less than half of the cost of a van line move) which, when shared with the transferee,
can be applied to new home furnishings or other relocation-related expenses.

Companies that use self-moving like it because it is a cost-effective alternative for non-exempt
employees and new hires, especially college graduates who do not have a lot of household
goods to move. Plus, self-moving companies provide similar or better reporting, post-move
evaluations, and service standards than van line companies.

Q How safe is self-moving?

A Self-moving is very safe. Individuals who use the proper moving accessories, such as
hand trucks for lifting large appliances, can avoid packing and loading injuries (For example, in
1995, less than 1 percent of Ryder's nearly 600,000 long-distance moving customers experienced
an accident.).

Additionally, driving today's modern rental trucks is similar to driving large automobiles,
and even if the employee has never driven a truck, he or she still can handle a rental truck with
ease. They have power steering, automatic transmissions, air conditioning, radios, and other
features. And, drivers can operate rental trucks safely by following a few simple tips:

Use extra care when turning. Always remember that trucks are longer and wider than cars, a
nd need more turning room.

Allow more time for acceleration when pulling out onto the road.

Watch for overhead clearances at gas stations as well as motel canopies, bridges, toll booths, and drive-throughs.

Q. Is my company liable if an employee is injured during a move?

A. Usually not, according to experts on workers' compensation laws. Instead, relocation,
like a paid vacation or other company perks, is part of compensation provided by the employer.
Companies are not required by law to provide moving services; therefore, employees are not
covered by workers' compensation during a move (Check with your lawyer or workers'
compensation professional for your particular situation.).

Q. Do employees need additional protection for a self-move? Won't their personal insurance plans cover the rental truck and their personal property?

A. Unlike rental cars, rental truck theft or physical damage usually is not covered by auto, home,
credit card, or AAA insurance. Do-it-yourself movers should ask their insurance agents what
is or is not covered under their current homeowner or other insurance policies. Most truck rental
companies offer inexpensive protection plans.

Q. How do I protect my possessions if I drive a truck?

A. Truck rental companies rent furniture pads and sell boxes to help safeguard your belongings.
Free movers' guides
containing instructions on how to pack effectively and lots of other helpful tips are available from all truck rental companies.
Fortunately, in addition, for those who prefer, cargo protection plans are available from truck rental providers.

Q. Can anyone handle a self-move?

A. Just about. However, self-moving is not for everyone. Anyone with physical injuries--a bad back,
for instance--or other disabilities that would preclude the physical activity required to assist with
loading, unloading, and driving, should not attempt a self-move. The pack and load option,
however, may allow these people to save money with a rental truck self-move.

Q. What if an employee has never moved him- or herself before, but would like to? How can he or she prepare?

A. Preparation is the key to eliminating potential problems during a move. Purchase or secure the
proper types of boxes for dishes, lamp shades, and other household goods. Thoroughly understand
the products available to protect household articles while moving. Pack as many items as is practical
in the weeks before the move is scheduled. The free, helpful moving guides distributed by all of the
do-it-yourself moving companies give more detailed instructions on how to prepare for a
trouble-free move.

For many companies and employees, a self-move truck rental program is a desirable option.
Not only are corporate employee relocation budgets reduced, but transferees experience more
control and peace of mind about their move while sharing in the company's savings.