There is always a better way…
Thirty years ago, my father opened a personal computer company in downtown Coloma, Michigan. As a family, I suppose we were early adopters. I can still recall printing out my homework on an old-school Xerox printer with perforated paper. My teachers were impressed. Unfortunately for my father, our small town wasn’t quite ready for the innovation of personal computers and The Coloma Computer Company went out of business.
The point of the story is: sometimes you have the right idea at the wrong time.
I moved to Los Angeles in the summer of 2003, wild-eyed and ready to take on the world. My career began in the mailroom at Abrams Artists Agency where I dutifully stapled headshots and resumes and handed them off to a courier who drove the submissions straight to casting. Nowadays, they just email it.
Being young, single and excited to finally be in a big city got me out of my studio apartment often. Of course, even at the age of 23, I knew that drinking and driving was never a good idea, so I took a cab whenever I could.
Stagnation and the Taxi Industry
For those of you who weren’t in LA back then, this is how it would work: You’d called Yellow Cab or Independent Cab, or if you were feeling fancy, Beverly Hills Taxi Company. You would then be connected to a switchboard and, oftentimes, placed on hold. Eventually, you gave them your address, and then you’d wait…and wait…and wait. Sometimes you’d call back just to make sure a driver was actually coming.
Finally, a cab driver would show up and take you to your destination. The fares always seemed high, and if you tried to pay with a credit card, you’d get the stink eye. At 1 or 2AM, you’d be forced to do the same thing, depending on where you were. LA wasn’t a place where you “hail” a cab. I remember one time getting stuck downtown at 2AM for 45 minutes while waiting for my cab to pick me up. The car service industry in Los Angeles remained this way for nearly another decade.
Disrupting a Complacent Industry
Then came Uber and Lyft. Suddenly, you had GPS tracking your cab, the rates were reasonable, there was no stink eye when you didn’t have cash – in fact, there was no transaction at all. You just got to your destination in the most efficient manner, thanked the driver and got out.
Despite the recent wave of negative press for Uber, it’s hard to imagine life without the innovation of these ride-sharing services. They identified a glaring weakness in a massive industry and fixed it. Taxi companies cried foul, but at the end of the day, they were beaten by progress and evolution.
Of course, Uber isn’t the only company that has disrupted traditional industries in the past decade. AirBnB is the world’s largest accommodation provider, yet owns no property. Facebook is the largest media provider, yet creates no content. Skype and WhatsApp own no telecom infrastructure. And on and on.
Innovation Meets Relocation
Which brings me to relocation. Like the taxi industry, relocation providers have become fat and happy, providing a fertile ground for innovation. There are multiple players in this $15B industry, but you would be hard-pressed to differentiate any of them. Simply, they move an employee from Point A to Point B. They provide services such as realtors, moving trucks, and possibly project management, financial metrics, progress reports, etc. If only moving an entire family from across the country were as simple as hiring a moving truck! This is not to say that these companies aren’t good at what they do. The LA taxi driver who picked me up and safely dropped me off at my destination did their job, but eventually, society woke up and said “We deserve something better!”
This is why I believe that Relocity is the Uber/Lyft of relocation. In the early days of this company, I had numerous conversations with HR professionals and talent acquisitions people who quickly dismissed the idea of switching providers because they were happy with their provider or because they handle this work internally. What they should be asking is…what makes Relocity unique?
Relocity – The Uber/Lyft of Relocation
In many ways, Relocity is like Uber. It’s easy to use, requires little effort and ultimately costs less than a cab (or a relocation provider). While Relocity provides all of the same services that traditional relocation providers do, essentially, Point A to Point B, there is one massive difference. Let’s call it Point C.
99.9% of traditional relocation provider’s jobs are done the moment the boxes are dropped off at the employee’s new home. Set aside the fact that it’s likely the employee made a rushed decision to choose this home due to time restrictions, or that they may have found themselves in bland corporate housing. They are ultimately left to their own devices.
Had this individual’s employer worked with Relocity, the individual’s Personal Host would’ve started scouting for the perfect homes for them the second they received the assignment. Within a few days, video tours of great fits could be provided to the relocating employee, the Personal Host being just a phone call away. Relocity’s real estate team would step up and help close the deal (especially in a competitive situation). Now, the employee is moving to LA straight into their ideal home, not into corporate housing, or someplace that just happens to be “close to work”.
Concierge Services Make All the Difference
The employee (and their family) are in LA…now what? Well, there’s a mountain of things do from setting up utilities to buying furniture to finding the right schools to finding the right dry cleaner. This leads us to Relocity’s final innovation: the inclusion of comprehensive concierge services to make sure the client’s relocation is successful and permanent. WHATEVER the employee needs help with, the Relocity Personal Host can assist. Ultimately, this frees the employee up to relax and enjoy their new home and focus on their new job. Their employer is provided weekly updates and can access all relevant documents online 24/7. They barely have to lift a finger. And miraculously, it is STILL less expensive than any other provider, while providing twice (if not more) the service.
Ask yourself this…the next time you’re relocating an employee, are you going to call a taxi? Or are you going to use Uber or Lyft?