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What is a relocation company, and when do you need one?

cardboard boxes on moving day inside of an office
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After months of searching, you’ve scored your dream job. The only problem is that it’s located halfway across the country. If you accept the job, you’ll need to sell your current home, find a new one and move your family hundreds of miles away.

Fortunately, the company offers a relocation package, which includes assistance from a relocation company. While long-distance moves are never easy, these companies exist to make them less of a headache. Here’s what relocation companies are, what they do, when you might need one and how they’re different from a regular moving company.

What is a relocation company?

A relocation company is a business that’s hired by an employer to help facilitate moves for new or existing employees. They can act as part–moving company and part–real estate agent, providing support to people who are transitioning to a new location for work.

An employer might hire a relocation company to help move a new employee closer to their facility, or they may do so if they’re closing an existing location and reassigning employees to a new one.

Some employers offer relocation packages as a benefit for moving to a new area. These packages generally include relocation assistance and a financial incentive, which can encourage employees to fill vacancies that may not be local.

What do they do?

Relocation companies frequently offer specialized services, which can include not just moving support but also real estate support. For example, some may handle (or help with) the sale of a home in the existing location and the purchase of a home in the new location. They may also help facilitate the moving process and provide support services to employees in transition.

Relocation companies can also help with other important moving tasks, such as providing employment assistance to spouses or partners, helping families find new schools for their children or arranging transportation to your new location.

When might you need a relocation company?

Employees might need the help of a relocation company if their job is taking them to a new city or state, or even overseas. For example, if a business is moving its headquarters from Washington to California, or transferring a team of employees from its Seattle office to its Los Angeles office, it might partner with a relocation company to help facilitate housing and moves for the affected employees and their families. Similarly, if a U.S.-based employer is sending you to Europe for a year, they might hire a relocation company to handle the logistics of the move so you don’t have to. A relocation company may also work with a newly hired employee who is moving in order to accept the job.

Who hires it, you or your employer?

Generally, employers are the ones to hire relocation companies. Moving can cost a lot, and cause a lot of stress, so companies often provide this service as a perk for displaced or transitioning employees. Individuals typically don’t hire them directly, as most relocation companies cater to businesses.

Relocation company vs. moving company

While the two may seem very similar, relocation companies offer a much broader range of services than moving companies do. In general, a moving company’s sole responsibility is to move your belongings from point A (your old home) to point B (your new home).

A relocation company is much more full-service. While they help facilitate the moving process, they probably won’t be the ones actually moving your things — they will likely hire a moving company to do that. More importantly, relocation companies also help with finding you living accommodations in your new city. They may work with real estate agents to get old homes listed for sale and find employees new housing in their new location, whether that means a rental or a new home purchase. They may even help employees’ spouses or partners find a job in the new location, or offer assistance with getting children into new schools.

Bottom line

Relocation companies can make the process of moving to a new location much simpler for displaced or newly hired employees. Not only will they help with the moving process itself, but they can also help you find new living accommodations in your new hometown and help your family settle in there.