6 things to think about before moving country for work

I’ve made a few international moves in my career, but the ones where I learnt the most were to the USA in 2005, to take my MBA and then a subsequent move back to the UK, in 2015.

This was a move with my wife, Catherine, who works, my daughter, Charlotte, age 9, and my son, Jack, who has disabilities, who was 6 at the time.

My Son, Jack, in the dining room of our house in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, 2015

1. Ensure as early as possible that your paperwork is in order

It required a mountain of paperwork to get my US Visa, including difficult tasks like demonstrating that I had a certain, rather large amount of money, in my bank account.

Further down the road, when I finally got my US Permanent resident card (‘Green Card‘), it was even harder. I’m a lawyer by training but because there were so many hoops to jump through, I had to hire an Immigration lawyer to help navigate this process, at considerable expense!

Right now my American wife, Catherine, is having to go through this same process, the other way around; this includes showing HM Revenue and Customs documents, Department for Work and Pensions documents, DVLA, TV Licensing; Utility bills, Bank account going back one year, and so on. Of course, we need an expensive lawyer again to work through this.

Where’s my car gone? I need to get to work right now!

2. Watch out for the weather

My second shock was rather more prosaic; I was just not prepared for the weather in Boston.

In the winter, it gets down to -10 C and that’s -20 C or more with windchill. You also have big snowstorms. For example, during the last winter, I was in Boston, in 2015, over 14 feet of snow fell in the city. In the summer, you NEED air conditioning in your apartment. It gets up to 40 degrees C and it’s also humid in the city. Try not to move during a snowstorm or a heatwave. Make sure you have the right clothes prepared.

3. Do whatever you have to, to save time

Corporate employee relocations have experienced a paradigm shift in the last 50 years.

In the 20th century, the husband usually was working and wife, who did not work, would manage a lot of the challenges of moving.

Today, more often than not, you are dealing with 2 parents, who both have to manage demanding jobs, throughout this corporate relocation.

Therefore, anything that will save them time (above all time) and money (less important ), is an absolute necessity.

Make sure you employ all the help you can get.

For this, we used a corporate relocation company to manage our move for us. We also used a veritable army of staff. It ensured that this mammoth task went relatively smoothly.

4. Make sure you employ technology to your advantage

We live in a digital world for a reason. It’s fast and efficient. We used every type of technology available to us; from DocuSign to sign all our documents (including the sale of our house in Boston) to Skype for all those foreign calls, to using a video survey tool to track where all our furniture was; particularly useful when you are moving from a standard 2,200 square foot house in the USA to a standard large garage sized house in London and you have to put half your furniture in storage!

To watch a video on the introduction to video survey click here

5. Be as flexible as possible

Some people think working from home is for slackers.

But when you’re moving home, you’re trying to pack, get the removals guys round to survey your house, organising real estate agent,  renovating the house so it will be sold quickly, getting the passports and visas for the kids… the list really does go on!

So imagine on top of this having a commute that will waste precious hours and by the time you get home after a long days work, you’re just exhausted and don’t even want to think about organising the move.

That’s why it’s so important to have a flexible working environment.

There is no way we would have managed this move so effectively without remote working.

On top of organising the move, I had 2 weeks training  Austen, Texas and I travelled back to Europe a number of times to run conferences there. There was a Sales kick-off in Las Vegas and numerous trips back and forth to London to orchestrate the move.

Throughout this, my company allowed me to work remotely, running demand generation for EMEA, from Boston, USA, for almost 4 months.

If I didn’t work remotely, I would have never been able to handle this move successfully. Let me spell this out to sceptics; I successfully managed demand generation in Europe for a medium-sized (1000 employees) cybersecurity software company, for 4 months, 3,300 miles from the office, in another country, and with a 5 hour time difference!

6. Be prepared for setbacks

When moving, we first had trouble selling our house in Boston.

We had to change real estate agents mid-move which was a major hassle.

On top of this all, Catherine and I were both managing demanding jobs.

To make matters worse, I also had my passport stolen in the UK and had to get a replacement in the USA. That was tricky and required outside help (again!).

What does this tell you?

When you’re moving an entire family, with 2 working parents, it’s a lot of work and not everything will go to plan.

Want to avoid the drama?

Make sure you are prepared, be flexible and get as much help as possible to cut your crazy workload.

Top 5 Gobuzzsurvey features, according to our removal company clients

Here are the top features of our Gobuzzsurvey video survey tool for removal and relocation companies, as named by our current clients.

1. Easy inventory tool

With the easy search function on our inventory tool, you can cube as you survey. No more frantic scrolling down an inventory list to search for an item whilst also trying to talk to your customer.

With Gobuzzsurvey, you can cube each item in seconds with our inventory search bar feature. Or you can wait to cube the job when you re-watch the video later.

2. Easy to use for you and your customers

Feedback from our removal companies is that it’s simple for surveyors and customers to start a survey. It begins with a whitelabelled text to the customer’s mobile phone that is branded with your company name. The customer then clicks a link in the text to download the Gobuzzsurvey app via the App Store or Google Play Store.

When it’s time for the survey to start, the customer gets another whitelabelled text to start the survey. They click the link in the text, which opens the survey app and they get the call from you – or from us if it’s a full-service survey. Then you (or our professional surveyors if full-service) talk the customer through the survey once they answer the call.

3. Book more video surveys and make more sales

Our website integration allows you to advertise video surveys directly to your customers on your site. All you do is plug this into your existing website, and your customers will be able to ask for, schedule and book a video survey in just 3 clicks.

This works whether you do your own DIY video surveys or take full-service surveys from us.

Those of our clients who we’ve done this integration for say that it has made their lives a lot easier. The process is smoother and quicker for your customers.

And for full-service clients we’re offering “just in time” scheduling too – a great option for when you need out-of-hours support. This means that your customer can book a survey at 6pm, say, for an hour ahead. Our surveyor does the survey for you by 7pm, and you get the recorded video and the cubed inventory by 9am the next day.

4. Customer reviews

Many of our moving clients asked us to build in an automatic customer review of the video experience into our smartphone app. So we did.

All your iPhone customers who take a video survey with you – whether you do it or we carry it out for you – are asked to rate the experience, how well the surveyor did, and whether they would recommend the service to a friend. They rate these points out of 5.

This will allow you to get a really good picture of how your surveyors do and how your customers are responding to video surveys.

5. UK-based BAR-accredited surveyors to carry out full-service surveys

This is a “feature” that I’ve mentioned before. No, it’s not a technical feature per se. But it’s massively popular with those removal companies that use it.

Basically, it allows removal companies to outsource their video surveys to our experienced, BAR-accredited surveyors. We have 8 full-time UK-based surveyors, plus 3 remote surveyors based in other parts of the world to help provide us with full out-of-hours coverage.

Between them, these surveyors have over 100 years of real industry experience gained at some of the world’s leading removal and relocation companies. They are all either accredited by or in training with the British Association of Removers (BAR). We also have a Quality Control Officer who checks the quality of each and every survey we do.

You can meet some of our surveyors here.

Why not try a free demo of Gobuzzsurvey in your business?

There’s no cost. It takes an average of 20 mins to run through all the features and benefits. And you’re under no obligation to continue. 

Click here to claim your FREE demo today