Corporate Relocation Glossary

Whether you are a corporate relocation expert or are new to the industry, we have the ultimate glossary of corporate relocation terms. Our A to Z Corporate Relocation Glossary for corporate relocation terms offers you a comprehensive terminology list for definitions of important words and acronyms used in the moving industry. Find answers to your corporate relocation questions, when you are not familiar with a term having to do with moving or relocation.

 

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A

 

Accessorial Charges (Also Called Additional Charges):

Additional fees added to a freight bill that exceed the basic transportation of cargo.

Advanced Charges:

Fees for moving services performed by a third party at the customer’s request. These charges are paid for by the moving company and are then added to the customer’s Bill of Lading.

Agent:

A person that handles the logistics of a move and serves as the liaison between the customer and the moving company. An agent can also be a local company permitted to serve as the spokesperson for a national van line in servicing interstate transportation

Apartment Locator Service:

A free service that helps people find apartments. Some services cover just their immediate area while others cover a larger region.

Appliance Dolly:

A cart with two wheels and long handles used to transport large items like appliances and oversized furniture.

Appliance Service:

The process of disconnecting an appliance at the point of origin and reconnecting it at the final destination. Appliances covered in this service often include washers, dryers, dishwashers, and refrigerators. Some movers will charge a set fee for this service while others will bill hourly for the time needed to complete the work. Some movers may not perform this service at all or will hire a third party to complete it.

Assessed Value Coverage:

One type of moving insurance available for purchase to protect cargo during a move. This type of insurance details how much money per $1,000 of assessed value the customer must pay to cover goods to their total assessed value. Most policies of this type require a cash value to be assigned to all items in the shipment, not just select pieces. Terms vary by carrier

Assignee:

An employee who is temporarily relocating to a new location for either a short-term or long-term assignment. Job assignment designations and terminology vary by employer.

B

 

Bill of Lading:

The contract between the moving company and the customer. It establishes the terms and conditions of the move and can also act as a receipt that can be used to track the customer’s shipment.

Booking Agent:

The agent who processes the customer’s order and registers it with the moving company.

Broker’s Market Analysis (BMA):

Developed by Worldwide ERC, the Broker’s Market Analysis and Strategy Report is a document used by real estate brokers and agents to analyze a particular property’s condition for future marketability. Brokers often use this analysis to estimate a property’s likely sales price.

Broker’s Price Opinion (BPO):

The approximate value of a property as estimated by a real estate broker or agent based on the property’s condition.

Buyer Value Option (BPO):

A home sale program that requires the employee to list and market the home until the employee receives a sales contract to purchase the property. This sales contract from the buyer will determine the value of the home. The Relocation Management Company (RMC) will then purchase the property from the employee at the price stated on the sales contract and will ultimately sells the property to the final buyer.

 

C

 

Carrier:

A moving company that owns their own fleet of moving vans and organizes and facilitates moves.

Cartons:

Boxes of various shapes and sizes provided by the moving company for the purpose of packing and transporting cargo.

Cash Discount:

A reduction in price that some do-it-yourself moving companies provide customers who pay in cash rather than by credit card. Terms vary by company.

Certified Relocation Professional (CRP):

A title conferred by the Employee Relocation Council (ERC) and held by select relocation professionals. To earn this title, individuals must pass a series of in-depth tests focused on the relocation industry as well as participate in continuing professional development.

Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO):

The individual responsible for relocation programs within a company.

Commencement of Work Test:

One of three tests that employees must meet in order to be eligible for deductible relocation expenses (See also Time Test and Distance Test). In this instance, an employee’s move must be related in both time and place to the start of work at their new job location. Usually, moving expenses incurred within one year from employee’s first day of work at the new location are considered appropriately related to the start of work.

Core/Flex (Also Called a La Carte):

One type of relocation policy allows employers to name specific core benefits that every transferring employee will receive in addition to a particular amount of flex benefits.

Corporate Relocation:

When an employer transfers an employee to another city for work purposes and reimburses the transferee for the related moving costs. Specific corporate relocation packages vary by employer. Various services may be included in a move, including packing and unpacking, white glove Above & Beyond services, and Put-Away services.

Cost of Living Allowance (COLA):

A payment differential allotted to a transferee to bridge gaps in purchasing power that exist when an employee moves to a more expensive place. Cost of living allowances are usually granted for a pre-determined amount of time.

Cost of Move:

An estimated price to move a select order. This estimate is given to a customer by the moving company during a sign-up interview and is impacted by many factors.

Cube sheet:

A document that records the cubic measurement of cargo for transport. The cube sheet indicates the amount of moving equipment and labor needed to execute the move.

Cultural Training (Also Called Intercultural Training and Cross-Cultural Training):

A training program intended to raise awareness of cultural differences and establish clear communication practices between employees and clients when working within multinational or multicultural organizations.

 

D

 

Declared Value:

The assigned value of a shipment that the shipper provides to the carrier. This amount is also used to help calculate the amount of money that the carrier may be able to compensate to the shipper in the case of a damaged or lost shipment.

Destination:

The address that marks the geographical location where the transferee will live.

Destination Agent (Also Called Destination Service Provider DPS):

The agent located at or near the final destination who coordinates and executes services needed at the final destination. The destination agent also acts as the authorized receiving agent for cargo entering storage.

Destination Services:

Services provided to assist the transferee at final destination. Corporate relocation services include temporary and permanent housing solutions, child and elder care, and school enrollment assistance.

Direct Bill:

A term that describes any service booked on behalf of the employee and completed by either Relocation Management Software (RMS) or the Relocation Management Company (RMC). These services are usually initiated by the employer and most frequently include arranging services for household goods transport, warehousing, short-term housing, and travel costs for the transferee.

Direct Reimbursement Program:

One type of home sale program in which the employee sells their own residence directly to an outside party and is then reimbursed by the employer for some or all of the costs associated with that sale.

Discount:

When long-distance movers offer reductions on the cost of the tariff to move cargo shipments a select distance. Moving rates are regulated annually by the American Moving and Storage Association. Discounts, usually between 40-60%, will appear on the tariff for these industry-specific rates.

Distance Test:

One of three tests an employee must meet in order to be eligible for deductible relocation expenses (See also Time Test and Distance Test). In this instance, the distance from an employee’s new address to their new place of employment must be at least 50 miles farther than from their old address to their old place of employment in order to qualify for tax deductions.

Double Mortgage Assistance:

A relocation benefit that occurs when an employer agrees to make mortgage payments for a transferred employee for a select amount of time. Specifically, when a transferee is paying a mortgage on a property purchased for relocation purposes while at the same time paying a mortgage on a previous property that hasn’t yet sold.

Duty of Care:

A company’s obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of their employees during the relocation process, including protecting employees from foreseeable harm or injury. Businesses assume duty of care for the transferee as well as for their family, if their family is included in the relocation.

 

E

 

EE (Relocation Employee):

A popular term used in shorthand and in conversation to describe a transferred employee.

Employee Relocation Council (ERC):

Known as Worldwide ERC ® (Employee Relocation Council). A relocation services trade group that discusses best practices and issues within the industry. This organization works to help employers as they relocate their employees domestically and internationally.

Escrow:

A legal arrangement that allows an independent third party to temporarily hold money or valuables until specified conditions of a contract are met.

Estimates:

An approximate calculation of the cost to transport cargo a specified distance based on the volume of cargo to be shipped as well as any accessorial services made at the customer’s request. The three main types include binding, non-binding, and not-to-exceed estimates.

European Relocation Association (EuRA):

A non-profit, industry-specific organization for relocation providers and associated services in Europe. This organization is dedicated to providing professionally managed relocation services to companies moving employees around the globe.

Exclusive Buyer’s Agent:

A real estate agent who only works for those purchasing a property.

Expat (Also Called Expatriate):

A person living outside his or her country of native citizenship.

Expedited Service:

An agreement to pay a higher price to move items in exchange for guaranteeing the arrival of said items by a specified date.

Expense Reimbursement/Expense Allowance:

A type of relocation policy that determines a particular amount of money that employees will be reimbursed for as related to their relocation costs. Reimbursed funds can be monitored either through receipt submission or through the use of technology.

 

F

 

Federation of International Movers (FIDI):

An international organization of professional moving and relocation companies with over 600 affiliates in 100 countries. Each affiliate must adhere to rigorous quality standards established by the FIDI.

Final Travel:

The final travel segment of a relocation journey that includes costs incurred between the last night in the current location and the first night in the new location. Final Travel is a deductible relocation expense for those who qualify. To be eligible, the travel route taken must be the most direct one available. Current mileage reimbursement rates are provided by the IRS.

Full (Replacement) Value Coverage:

The most complete insurance plan available for the protection of cargo. Under this plan, cargo will be covered under the mover’s full (replacement) value of liability. If any item is lost or damaged while in the mover’s possession, the mover will either:

-repair the item or pay for the cost of the repair to the item to restore it to the condition it was in when it was received by the movers; OR

-replace, or pay to replace, the item with one similar in quality.

 

G

 

Global Compensation:

The collection, management, and reporting of compensation data to the relevant country’s authorities for international work assignments. This complex process relies on several factors, including country of origin, host country, and the duration of the work assignment.

Global Mobility Specialist (GMS®):

The title for an individual who oversees the international relocation process for employees. This person is either a part of a company’s human resource department or works for a third-party organization that specializes in international relocation. The GMS designation signifies individuals as highly trained in global workforce mobility and global mobility solutions.

Global Mobility Specialist-Strategic Talent (GMS-T):

The title for an individual who has earned their GMS specialization in addition to completing a Strategic Talent program, additional training that helps companies locate necessary talent in a timely manner.

Gross-Up:

Money that an employer gives to the transferee in addition to a lump sum or direct bill to offset taxes owed on that same benefit. For example, on a $5,000 lump sum benefit, the employer will calculate the taxes owed on that $5,000 and adjust the total amount accordingly to ensure that the transferee receives the full $5,000 benefit. The employer then usually withholds the tax liability for the employee so the employee will receive their full benefit amount.

Guaranteed Pickup and Delivery Service:

A premium service that guarantees pickup and delivery dates with the mover providing reimbursement for late service. To utilize this type of service, orders are often subject to minimum weight requirements.

 

H

 

Home Buyout:

A relocation benefit that permits the company relocating an employee to purchase the employee’s current residence in order to expedite the employee’s relocation.

Home Finding Trip:

A trip that transferees take prior to their actual relocation to scout their future location and look for housing. These trips are highly recommended for transferees as it allows them to research their new location prior to official arrival

Household Goods (HHG):

The personal effects, equipment, or supplies of a household. Note: This can also include goods moved from a factory or store for intended use in a household. These items will be moved at the customer’s request and additional feed may be assessed. Usually, one of the more costly components of a relocation.

Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI):

The credentialing organization for professionals in the human resources industry.

Hyperlocal Information:

Information relevant to transferees typically only known by those living there, such as transportation advice, cost-of-living details, and social networking.

 

I

 

Inpat (Inpatriate):

An individual who is temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of their native citizenship. Also, an individual who works for an international company and is from a foreign country, but is transferred into the country from a foreign subsidiary to the corporation’s headquarters.

In-Transit Storage:

The temporary storage of a transferee’s belongings from the time the belongings are moved from their original residence to their new location. This service can be especially helpful to those using short-term housing and can be tax deductible for up to thirty days. Terms vary by employer.

Intrastate Move:

Any cargo shipment that does not cross state lines but is distinguished from a local move by the distance of the journey (usually over 40 miles).

Interstate Move:

Any cargo shipment that crosses a state line, regardless of the distance between borders is considered interstate moving.

Inventory Property:

A property that has been purchased by a Relocation Management Company (RMC), and has been inventoried before selling the property to the final buyer.

 

L

 

Local Move:

A move within a state to a nearby area. This type of move is distinguished from an intrastate move by the distance of the actual move, usually 40 miles or less. These moves are often priced hourly and are regulated by the particular state’s Department of Transportation.

Loss on Sale:

The amount of money that is lost by a company when the sale of a transferee’s home is less than its assessed value. If this loss occurs, employers can either agree to cover the price differential (which should be stated in the policy), or explicitly state in the policy itself that any costs associated with home ownership are the responsibility of the transferee.

Lump Sum Move: (Also Called Miscellaneous Allowance or Move Stipend):

Cash given to a transferee to supplement the cost of their relocation. Some companies may use a lump sum move to pay for the entire relocation and others may choose to offer it along with a benefit policy (like core/flex).

Lump sums moves are fully taxable, and without a gross-up or withholding method applied, transferees will ultimately receive approximately 60% of the original amount.

 

M

 

Main Perils:

An insurance term that means a primary cause of loss. Examples include fire, accident, or theft. Examples of main perils that are not covered under a standard policy vary by insurance carrier.

Miscellaneous Expense Allowance (MEA):

An allowance paid to the employee by their employer meant to cover incidental expenses not otherwise covered by their relocation policy or other moving benefits.

Move Consultant:

Companies that coordinate and facilitate an employee’s move from origin to destination. Services vary but often include hiring movers, determining necessary additional services, and negotiating disputes. Move consultants frequently negotiate lower rates for the customer because of the business they bring to a carrier. The work of a move consultant is typically paid for by the company and not by the transferee.

Move Management:

The process of determining, coordinating, and executing a corporate move. Companies that organize move management work with a network of providers to deliver solutions for all aspects of a move or relocation from origin to destination.

Moving Expenses:

Expenses incurred when a move is made as the result of a job relocation. These expenses are typically deductible if they are reasonable costs of moving the employee and the employee’s family. Meals consumed during the move itself are no longer deductible.

Moving Coordinator/Consultant:

The person that a carrier provides to a transferee as a single point of contact throughout the moving process. The moving coordinator will schedule movers, help troubleshoot any challenges, and if necessary, contract any additional services.

 

O

Origin Agent:

The individual who schedules and executes a cargo shipment at the point of origin.

Office relocation:

Office moves involve relocating the office furniture, equipment and work space of a company and its employees.

 

P

 

Packing Charges:

The fees for an accessorial service provided by many full-service movers that involves movers packing all household goods in a residence for transport and later unpacking and arranging all items at the final destination.

Per Diem:

Fees paid by one carrier to another for use of select vehicles or containers needed for transport. Also, the daily allowance paid to a transferee to cover temporary living costs.

Policy:

Information that a transferee receives upon the acceptance of their relocation offer. The policy should outline what the transferee will be receiving from the company in terms of benefits, work schedule, and financial reimbursement as applicable. Ideally, policies should also identify a point of contact to guide the transferee throughout the relocation process.

Pre-Decision Services:

Services that help companies confidently put the right employees in the right roles within the company. These services help the company hire the right people but also help to ensure that the company provides appropriate support to transferred employees at their new destination. Pre-destination services completed for transferees often include pre-decision trip cost projection, global competencies, and culture fit. Pre-decision services should be offered for the benefit of both the transferee as well as for the company.

Property Management:

A service that maintains homes while an employee has temporarily relocated due to a work assignment. Property management companies usually help procure a tenant, collect security deposits and rental checks, schedule regular home maintenance, and oversee any repairs that may require attention while the homeowner is unavailable.

 

R

 

Reimbursement Plan:

A type of relocation policy that pays transferees back for costs accrued throughout the relocation process. Employers monitor these costs through the submission of receipts or through another formalized system.

Released Value Coverage:

The most basic type of insurance that all interstate movers are required to carry. This type of liability assumes coverage for all shipments at a set rate of $0.60 per pound at no cost to the customer. Carriers are required to offer additional insurance plans to the customer for more extensive coverage, but these plans must be paid for by the customer. Released value coverage may be good for transporting furniture with little value.

Relocation Appraisal:

A type of appraisal used to evaluate the estimated sales price of a transferee’s property.

Relocation Benefits:

Money and other support that an employer gives to a transferee. Benefits may include reimbursement for packing and moving, house-hunting trips, temporary housing, and warehousing of shipments. Relocation benefits vary by employer.

Relocation Company:

A business that specializes in helping companies transfer their employees to new locations for employment purposes.

Relocation Consultant:

A designated point of contact that guides the transferee throughout the relocation process. The consultant is either an internal employee or is provided by a third party and guides employees through the relocation process while helping troubleshoot any problems that may arise during the transfer.

Relocation Package:

Information that the relocation management company provides about the relocation destination. Packages vary by company, but may include specific information on the following subjects: child care, elder care, auto transfers, real estate services, spousal support, storage, and temporary lodging.

Relocation Management Company (RMC):

A third-party business, typically specializing in buying and selling real estate, that manages both domestic and international relocation services.

Relocation Management Software (RMS):

Technology given to transferees by their employers that monitor and optimize relocation benefits, allowing employers to predict and tract relocation expenses. Using RMS, companies can administer policies and distribute benefits, while transferees can navigate the move independently.

Repat (Repatriation):

The return of an employee to their native country at the end of a work assignment based in another country.

Repayment Agreement:

A contract that a transferee signs stating that they will be responsible for reimbursing the company for any lump sums or benefits received as part of the relocation process if they do not remain in their new position for a predetermined amount of time. Terms vary by carrier.

RES Forum:

The largest and most active organization for international human resources as well as for global mobility data and analytics.

Rotational Assignment:

A temporary, international assignment in which an employee works for a pre-determined time in the host country, and then returns to their native country for a pre-determined amount of time.

 

S

 

Senior Certified Relocation Professional (SCRP):

The title for professionals who have already earned their Certified Relocation Professional (CRP) status from Worldwide ERC and are continuing to undergo training to further their expertise.

Senior Global Mobility Specialist (SGMS):

The title for professionals who have already earned their Global Mobility Specialist (GMS) designation from Worldwide ERC and are continuing to undergo a training to further their expertise.

Shadow Payroll:

A term used to describe how employees may be paid while on assignment in a foreign country. In this instance, employees remain on their home country’s payroll system and will not receive any compensation from the host country. This system allows for compliance with tax codes and also offers employees the chance to maintain benefits offered in their home country.

Short-term Assignment:

A temporary work status that typically lasts between 3-12 months.

Short-term Housing:

Fully furnished housing usually utilized by employees or interns who need a temporary housing solution.

Shuttle:

A smaller van used to load cargo when a standard-sized moving vehicle won’t fit at the origin location. The necessity of a shuttle typically results in additional fees.

Single Point of Coordination (Also Called Single Point of Communication) (SPOC):

A relocation strategy used by RMCs to communicate the relocation process to a transferee. The single point of coordination method matches employees with one specific, trained individual who coordinates and executes the relocation process for the transferee.

Small Shipment Program (Also Called Crate and Freight and Containerized Shipments):

A method of transport that uses containerized shipments rather than traditional moving methods to move an employee’s household goods to their final destination. This type of program is especially effective for small shipments less than 5,000 pounds because of the reduced cost and time-saving benefits.

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM):

The largest association for human resource professionals. The goal of SHRM is to promote and support the HR role in companies and to provide training, certification, and networking to its members.

Spouse/Partner Assistance:

A relocation perk that offers to assist the transferee’s spouse and/or partner in locating a new job in the new area.

Supply Chain:

The relocation management company’s network that is essential to an effective relocation. Partners include real estate agents, international household goods suppliers, immigration lawyers, and additional specialists.

Storage in Transit (SIT):

Short-term storage solutions provided by a carrier warehouse, pending additional future transport. Storage terms vary by carrier.

Survey:

An estimate of moving costs calculated by an agent. Typically, surveys are conducted at the address of origin through a visual inventory check.

 

T

 

Tariff:

A document provided to the customer from the carrier that outlines the carrier’s rates and terms of service.

Tax Gross-up:

Money that the employer gives to the transferee in addition to the reimbursement the company provided for relocation expenses. The gross-up is the amount of taxes the transferee will have to pay for the benefit and is given in addition to the benefit itself.

Temporary Housing (Also Called Corporate Housing):

The short-term living solution for an employee. Utilized either for short-term housing for a particular assignment, or for a transferee waiting to secure permanent housing. Short-term housing generally features a fully furnished apartment with a short-term lease.

Tenancy Management:

A service that helps employees understand the terms of their rental agreement while acting as a liaison between employee (tenant) and landlord throughout an employee’s lease term. Typical services include help with lease negotiations and renewals and assistance with repair or maintenance issues

Third-Party Service:

Any service performed at the customer’s request by someone other than the carrier. These services can also be mandated due to state, federal, or local law.

Time Test:

One of three tests that employees must meet in order to be eligible for deductible relocation expenses (See also Time Test and Distance Test). To meet the requirements for this test, employees must be employed full-time in their new location for a minimum of 39 weeks of the first 12 months after their relocation. Mandated weeks do not have to be consecutive. Requirements vary by employer.

Transferee or Transferring Employee:

An employee who is permanently moving to a new location for a new job with the same company.

 

U

 

Unpacking:

An accessorial service performed upon delivery of a shipment at the customer’s request. This additional unpacking service includes carrier employees removing items from packed containers, placing items on a flat surface, and disposing of all packing materials.

 

V

 

Valuation Coverage:

A type of insurance protection for household goods carriers operating in interstate commerce. This type of liability insurance is determined by the customer’s declaration of cargo value made prior to shipment.

 

W

 

Weight Ticket:

The document that details both the van weight empty as well as the van weight following shipment loading. This document helps determine the total cost of the freight bill.

Withholding:

A practice where the employer calculates the amount of taxes owed on a benefit and then keeps that amount of money on behalf of the employer. For example, if an employee receives a $10,000 benefit, the employer will determine the taxes owed on the benefit, an estimated $2,000. The employer would then withhold that estimated tax amount on the benefit and would provide the employee with the remaining sum, in this sample case, $8,000.

Worldwide Employee Relocation Council (ERC):

A relocation services trade group that discusses best practices and issues within the industry. This organization works to help employers as they relocate their employees domestically and internationally.