Tips on planning for your relocation

For many people who have not been through a long distance relocation, the process can seem mysterious and confusing. The Canadian Association of University Business Officers (CAUBO) have identified quality companies and negotiated a discounted rate package that all relocating employees for Canadian universities and colleges may access, to take some of the stress and expense out of moving. While each member institution may have their own specific policies in place, and we recommend that each relocating employee become familiar with the guidelines and benefits that are available to them, the following information is intended as advice to ensure that the relocation process can be completed most efficiently.


The majority of faculty and staff relocations will occur during the late spring and early summer months. This is typically the busiest time of the year for moving companies, and there are many days during which every moving van and service crew will be fully booked during this time. It is important to contact moving suppliers at the earliest date so that quotations can be prepared and to allow enough time to consider each option before making a decision. In some cases the destination arrangements may not even be confirmed, such as finding a home in the new city. It is still better to be in contact with the moving companies to get the process started, so that moving dates can be arranged as soon as the destination arrangements are confirmed. Do not expect that a moving company will have the capacity to handle your move request at the last minute.

The In-Home Survey

In order to obtain a guaranteed price quote, it will be necessary to allow a surveyor from the moving company to visit your home and complete a review of all the goods that will be shipped. It is important to make sure that all of the items you wish to move will be disclosed to the surveyor. If there are items that you would like to include in your move off site, or if you have an office or lab to be included, be sure to inform the moving company. You may have decided to sell some of your possessions in a yard sale or give things away, and hence do not include them in the quotation, but if these items are added to the move thereafter, then the moving company may adjust the price.

It is common to opt to have your moving company provide insurance coverage. Any higher value items should be disclosed to the surveyor, and in some cases the surveyor may request that an independent appraisal must be completed in order to have an item covered for insurance. Expensive jewelry is not included in most household moving coverage policies. The CAUBO Agreements include free replacement cost insurance.

Confirming Your Preferred Dates

It is important that you are aware of exactly which services are covered and included in the quotation you have been provided. Quotations from the CAUBO contracted Moving Companies are guaranteed within 10%, providing there are no additions to the items to be moved that the Estimator from the Moving Company is unaware. Be aware of the limitations in the services that you will be provided, and understand any obligations that will be your responsibility to arrange before, during and after a move. Each member institution will have their own policies and independent benefits that will be offered to relocating employees. In some cases the allowances for moving expenses will not cover the entire cost of a relocation. Be sure that you fully understand the coverage you are entitled to, and be prepared to pay for any costs that will not be provided by your employer. The CAUBO Contracted Moving Companies offer net 30 days payment terms to customers moving under the CAUBO Agreements.

Once you have made the decision on which company you will be using for your move, be sure to contact them as soon as possible, to confirm the dates for the packing, loading, and unloading at the destination city. Your moving company should be able to provide you with a delivery spread, which is a number of days that your goods could arrive in the destination city and still be considered on time. This spread will not include holidays or Sundays. You are required to be available in the destination city from the first day of the delivery spread to accept the delivery. You will receive a phone call with 24-hours notice to plan for the delivery when the truck arrives with your goods. If you are unable to accept delivery at that time, the driver may choose to unload your goods into a local warehouse and carry on to another destination, and this will result in additional charges for storage and warehouse handling.

Cross-border and International Moves

If your relocation originates from another country, you will have to clear customs before the moving company can complete the delivery into your home. Goods arriving in Canada will be held in bonded storage until customs releases them. You will be given 24-hours notice once the truck or shipping container arrives in the destination city and it is your responsibility to appear at the nearest customs office to have your documentation reviewed before customs clearance will be completed. If you do not appear within that time, additional fees will be charged for storage. Canada Customs agents may decide at their discretion to detain any shipment for inspection, and this will also involve additional charges that are added to the cost of your move. The moving company has no control over the inspection process and the charges will not be included as part of your original quote. About 10-25% of all shipments are inspected by customs agents.

Shipping Vehicles

If you have vehicles that you wish to ship during your relocation, the best option is to have them delivered separately by a third party supplier. This will involve having the vehicle shipped in a car carrier and may result in the vehicle arriving before or after the rest of your household goods. You may opt to have the vehicle loaded directly into the same truck or container as the household goods, but that option will be much more expensive.

Packing, Loading and Unloading

Once you have agreed to dates for the loading and unloading, the moving company should call you to confirm the day before each occurs. It is important that you are prepared to ensure that all of the tasks can be completed in the time that has been allotted for them. If you are having the packing completed by the mover, inform them of any specific items that you do not wish to have packed and included in the shipment. Packing and loading does not include home cleaning services. You are welcome to stay and oversee the work completed by the moving crews. If you have not opted for packing to be completed by the mover, all of your goods should be ready to ship by the loading day. All large furniture must be disassembled before it can be loaded. Anything that is not packed and ready will be packed by the moving company and additional charges will be assessed. Any items that have been packed such that they are not safe will be repacked by the moving company and additional charges may be assessed. It is not recommended that house plants or wine and liquor be included in the goods to be shipped, and if they are included, they are not covered by insurance. Each item included in a move will be accounted for and documented on an inventory list, which you will have the opportunity to review and sign for.

At the destination, each item will be unloaded into the appropriate room in your new home, and all furniture that was disassembled by the mover will be re-assembled. It will be your responsibility to unpack the individual boxes once they have been placed in the correct rooms. You will be required to sign an inventory list to authorize that the move has been completed correctly.

Insurance Claims for Damaged or Missing Items

In a perfect world everything in your home should be moved and unloaded with no damages. However, the duress that your goods are subjected to in transit will often result in damages. As you complete the unpacking, carefully note any damaged items. Frequently items may be feared lost but are often discovered in other boxes, so wait until everything has been unpacked before reporting any lost items. If you handled the packing yourself, damages that are considered to be due to improper packing will not be covered by the insurance company. You will be required to contact your moving company within a reasonable amount of time to notify of any claim, and it is your responsibility to find out from the company you choose what the time allotment is to file. You will then be asked to document the damages on a claims processing form, and an adjustor may be sent to visit in order to determine the extent of the claim. The company will then provide you with a settlement as per the terms of the insurance agreement.

The moving companies that are preferred suppliers under the CAUBO agreement have been selected on the basis of their ability to provide a high level of service, and a motivation to respond quickly and fairly to resolve any issues that may occur during a move. However, some degree of inconvenience and disruption should be expected during the relocation process, and not every complaint will be deemed to be reasonable or the fault of the mover. It is fair to expect that the moving company will be able to provide a documented explanation for any dispute that may occur during the process, and that they will respond quickly and respectfully to any inquiry. If you are not satisfied with the process, contact the company representative that you booked your move with. See if they are willing to make a satisfactory adjustment to your settlement. If you cannot resolve the matter with the moving company, you may file a complaint with your employer to have them intervene on your behalf.

For contract administration inquiries please contact the National CAUBO Contract Administrator:

David H. Davidson

Interuniversity Services Inc.
1550 Bedford Highway
Suite 501, Sun Tower
Bedford, NS B4A 1E6
Tel: (902) 453-2414
Fax: (902) 453-2369

You may also contact your Procurement Committee.