What Happens When You Don’t Outsource Relocation? (It Costs You!)


If you don’t outsource relocation services, you probably think you’re saving money by keeping the work in-house. Unfortunately, that’s a myth. True, you’re not paying any consulting or license fees, but you are indeed incurring costs—and sneaky ones at that.

Lost opportunity costs.

Lost talent you missed out on because your competitors’ relocation program appeared more impressive.

The added cost of paying full price for services instead of reaping the benefits of discounted rates.

When you keep your relocation program fully in-house...you’re likely leaking money all over the place. You just don’t know where or how much.

But that’s about to end. Prepare to be enlightened (and perhaps a little horrified), as we pull back the curtain on hidden costs that accrue when companies don’t offload relocation services.

The Cost of Lost Opportunities

In many companies, managing mobility isn’t a core function. So when companies don’t outsource relocation, it’s the HR and talent acquisition professionals who must somehow find time to pick up the slack.

If that includes your organization, your lost opportunity cost is the sum of all the productive activities you could accomplish if you didn’t have relocation on your plate.

Consider the projects you must abandon when there’s a complicated relocation to manage (and aren’t they all?). Even if you spend an average of just one to two hours per day on relocation, that adds up to five to ten hours a week. Imagine what you could accomplish with that precious time. You could:

  • Partner with your hiring managers to finally update job descriptions.
  • Catch up on labor compliance news and update your employee handbook.
  • Make sure your workforce is current on training.
  • Spend more face time with direct reports and internal customers.
  • Get a head start on your next open enrollment.
  • Collaborate with managers to get those performance reviews done.
  • Recruit, recruit, recruit!

When you offload relocation, you have more bandwidth to get more done. It better positions your entire HR & recruiting teams to support your organization—without adding to HR’s payroll or headcount.

Imagine: if you were to outsource relocation services, you could even devote a portion of that newly-regained time to advance your own skill sets and update your certifications. After all, very few people have been promoted for handling relocation minutia. (If you have, that’s a story we’d love to tell!)

The Cost of Lost Talent

Most in-house mobility programs simply can’t offer the breadth and depth of outsourced relocation services. How can even the most meticulous HR pro stay abreast of relocation trends and laws, given the many hats he or she wears?

How many are comfortable explaining the tax ramifications of relocation benefits? How many are available at all times to answer a relocating employees’ pressing questions, like “Do I need a car?” or “what neighborhood has the best schools?” or “when will my stuff arrive?”

If you’re dueling with a competitor to land a highly-talented candidate, who is that candidate more likely to choose: the employer offering homespun relocation benefits and a part-time resource, or the employer that cares enough to outsource relocation to a polished, full-time expert?

The Cost of Paying Full Price

Unless your company handles a high volume of relocations, you can’t begin to enjoy the significant vendor discounts that relocation management companies secure as a matter of course.

But it’s not just about the price. Service level agreements not only leverage economies of scale, but include safeguards for ensuring a high-quality relocation experience. And because they bring tax and legal expertise to the table, they can recommend the most cost-efficient practices in those respects as well.

But what about those fees you pay when you outsource relocation? If you haven’t priced them in a while, your assumptions are likely out-of-date. While traditional relocation management companies may nickel and dime you for all kinds of services, today’s technology-focused companies only charge a one-time license fee per relocation.

With tech-based relocation programs, it’s easy to craft policies that allow employees to spend their relocation budget on the benefits they care about. They provide direct access to vetted suppliers, plus tips for getting the most out of them. These features are not only cost-effective, they lead to smoother relocations and happier employees.

It All Adds Up

If your company doesn’t offload relocation services because management thinks it’s more cost-effective to keep it in-house, perhaps it’s time to test that assumption.

Tally up what your in-house relocation program costs you—not just in bottom-line expenses but in lost opportunity costs. Then weigh your options.

At UrbanBound, we tend to see outsourcing makes the most sense when companies have more than 10 relocations/year. If that sounds like you, let's talk.

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