Hike in relocation cost during pandemic and the suggested measures

The inflation curve in the moving industry is revealing promising signs of constant hike by the day given the increasing cost of fuel almost on a daily basis. The rates that were prevalent pre-COVID days are a history now, reminding consumers to not anticipate the pricing to return as the overall costs have drastically gone up due to an almost 25% hike in diesel cost when compared to the pre-COVID days.

This “new normal” has also impacted the Packers and Movers Hyderabad as well as movers in other cities in India in terms of business losses as many customers have started turning towards basic DIY services hiring just the trucks from the market. This has never happened before to such an extent due to the unprecedented rise in the overall costs which includes fuel, labor, truck rentals, packing material and other sundry cost.

Since the industry is labor intensive, most of whom are a migrant population, it has taken a double impact that of the loss of business and loss of manpower. Such impact has been most troubling to the medium sized and lesser moving companies who are not well positioned to cope up with less earnings. Most of these companies have specialized in moving jobs and are therefore not in a position to protect their incomes as they have no other means of earnings and largely remain vulnerable.

The ongoing lockdowns and social distancing measures in India are also drying up jobs and incomes leading to poor relocation demand. This has posed a sustenance challenge to the moving industry, giving rise to higher pricing by subsequently increasing the margins due to poor demand.

Given the fact home moving process by its nature is rather unpredictable, the 100% success rate is not attainable no matter how carefully the movers plan the move. The loss of trained manpower due to reverse migration during the pandemic has not only brought up the costs but has also rendered the movers with a loss in control over certain aspects of the business pulling down the customer satisfaction as a consequence.

We have ourselves face such problems recently for inter-city moves between:

  • Hyderabad to Bangalore,
  • Hyderabad to Guntur
  • Hyderabad to Imphal
  • Bangalore to Trivandrum
  • Bangalore to Indore

We have delayed the deliveries to all these locations abnormally. The reasons are pandemic related that include a general shortage of truck load capacity and shortage of trucks availability on demand. Furthermore, the mergers of hub-and-spoke consignments has decreased leading to consolidation of transport schedules of the truckers. The overall situation of trucks being completely booked due to poor availability is also the cause for delays. Therefore, we are constantly requesting our prospective customers to plan their goods arrival much in advance by providing a delay cushion of 3-4 days.

As the pandemic is proving its widespread effect on moving business, we at MovingNow have been forced to adapt to the current situation and are working towards beating it on a daily basis. We are taking the following steps that help us anticipate the problems on a day-to-day basis and allows us some control over our business in such trying times:

  1. Health and security of our team: COVID-19 is a human problem so we think of taking care of our team as a priority to bring human response in order. We identify the health of our teams and the safety practices that we adopt during operations like masking up, use of gloves, sanitizers and glass barriers to prevent further transmission. We work remotely from homes as much as possible and meet up in the office only for urgent assignments.
  2. Communication plan: Although not possible remotely, we try to carefully craft a clear and concise message for our team. Our communication plan also targets our customers and suppliers for payments and moves schedules. While we have optimized the process on technology, scheduling regular updates over the phone and WhatsApp is also done by entrusting the task to a specific person in order to avoid confusions.
  3. Timely evaluate resources: We are timely modifying our safety practices according to the current needs and lay more emphasis on packing and handling process in light of the contagious mutations in the virus. As the demand dipped, we have also taken a re-look at our recurring expenses like issuing new uniforms to the field force, negotiated zero monthly office building maintenance cost with the landlord, no use of ACs in the office and such other temporary reforms. And of course, we simply defer discretionary expenditures.
  4. Cash flow plan: We compile weekly rotating cash flow plan and have some very specific strategies that we implement to determine exactly how much working capital we need for the next week to remain stable in the business.
  5. Recovery plans: The pandemic has given a bigger boost to the idiom “There is light at the end of the tunnel.” And at the same time, we are just not aware how lengthy is this tunnel. However, we are trying to cover for the losses and prepare for the recovery. We are hoping to recover together as a business community once the COVID cases have peaked and vaccinations have crossed the 60% mark to attain herd immunity in India. Our recovery plans for now are more specific towards the cash flow as we would need more cash when things start to look upwards. While the cash flow plan is generally based on a 4-week period, with orders back in our business, we contemplate more inwards for our operations.

We also regularly advise the Packers and Movers Bangalore and in other cities to be proactive. For instance, if the customers have hired them for their professionalism and the rich experience that they carry as legacy, only to be left disappointed by the service given the current pandemic situation, then the customers will hold only the movers responsible for the mess and may strongly take necessary actions as part of their consumer rights. This might make their case stronger for overcharging and a reason enough for filing a claim against the movers in the consumer forum.

However, the legal fee of such claims can be much higher than the proposed compensation from the movers. It is also important to note, prevention is still the best medicine. Ensure you seek total information about the different costs and the delivery timelines so that you are safe from taking any legal action against the movers you have hired.

Read More: What should I know about moving in India during the COVID-19 pandemic?