Moving to Germany - Relocation Companies - What They Do for You
If you are moving to Germany relocation companies offer a wide range of services. Most of them are standard services while others are a bit unusual.
A golf-loving top executive from Ireland wanted a home that was near an 18-hole course.
An American top boss wanted his horse shipped to Germany and stabled in the Wiesbaden area.
A Spanish marketing manager was a ham radio operator and wanted guidance through the intricacies of getting a license and installing an antenna in Germany.
Japanese clients in Usingen sought Asian specialty markets in order to enjoy their traditional cuisine.
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Their relocation specialists took care of these matters with dispatch. If you thought the job of these people was limited to finding housing and schools for newly arrived expatriates, you're way out of date. They lead you through the maze of German bureaucracy, getting your visa, residency permit, work permit, driving license and the like.
They negotiate your lease, get you the best deal possible, warn you when it or other important documents are about to expire, take care of customs formalities, familiarize you and your family with the new environment, find you a bank or insurance company, get you a telephone, go shopping with you to get whatever furniture you need and appliances that work on the German current. They even see to your "lifestyle enhancement" and steer you to a place where you can rent furniture if your own wasn't shipped.
And, as the above examples show, they are at the service of expatriates for just about anything else. The relocation specialists usually work through the firms that bring the expatriates to Germany, but they are there for individuals as well, if needed. If you need the services of one, check the resources section of this website.
Other activities that are routine nowadays include: vocational training and on-the-job training for spouses and offspring; driver's training in English, and finding every sort of doctor, dentist, homeopathic and chiropractic practitioner imaginable. To sum up, their job includes everything and anything that enhances or accelerates the period of adjustment for the new arrivals' rapid integration in a new environment.
Relocation specialists also handle the constantly increasing demand for tenancy management, to include general administration as well as financial management. And they are dealing ever more with group relocations, whether in the local area or internationally. They can even handle the relocation of complete companies.
Orientation tours for individuals and families are an important part of a relocations company's service. Sometimes the tours can take the whole day, with a stop for lunch. They may go to the neighborhood in which the newcomer will be working, and, if he or she wants to be near work they look at houses in the immediate vicinity. But the client may not like the neighborhood, or find it more important to have a place near where the kids will be going to school.
So they go to a school, perhaps a British or American one, and explore that neighborhood. Or they go to a neighborhood adjacent to the one where the office is, to see if it's felt to be more attractive. The tours can also include such things as theaters and museums, and the grounds where the major festivals are held.
Once the details are decided on; where the newcomers want to live, whether they want a house or apartment, whether or not they want it furnished, and the like, the relocating people go to work. They find several suitable places and take the client there. Once a place has been selected the relocators take care of such details as drawing up a lease and getting the utilities switched on.
Prices for relocation services can vary depending on individual circumstances. There may be separate fees for a standard house and school package as well as for full orientation tours depending on their length and intensity. The employer may pick up the tab for these, and many of them find it a great bargain. Individuals that require certain "a la carte" services may be able to work directly with a relocation company. A few decades ago all this was an expensive, time-consuming task handled by the employer. And the newcomer was rarely integrated into the culture of his new home.
That was when some very service minded individuals began setting up relocation services. Other firms, notably moving and transport companies, are now in the market also and expanding the range of services they offer.
When it's time to go home again, the relocation specialists go into reverse. They book your flight, engage the movers, cancel your lease, arrange for the renovation that is called for in many German leases, and much more.