Good times: Moving on up as relocations wane

Eric Snider, left, owner, and Preston Humphries, manager, pose for a picture with one of the trucks for Moving Simplified at their warehouse. Photo by Marty Price

Eric Snider, left, owner, and Preston Humphries, manager, pose for a picture with one of the trucks for Moving Simplified at their warehouse. Photo by Marty Price

By Marty Price. Big corporate relocations are down, but local moves are climbing. Challenger, Gray and Christmas, the big national outplacement firm, says the strength of local job markets has driven down worker relocations.

That suits Huntersville resident Eric Snider just fine as he would rather be home where he can spend time with his family. The 28-year old owner of Moving Simplified says “long distance moves are one and done.”

He prefers the local moves because that customer refers friends and family members and “that has helped my business grow,” he said.

Snider found his passion for moving as a high school student, when he and his brother, looking to raise money for college one summer, printed up 100 fliers and distributed them door to door.

Two weeks later, they rented a U-Haul for his first move. “Even after splitting the profits with my brother, I saw I had made more money than I could in two or three weeks at my Pizza Hut job,” he says. An entrepreneur was born.

Snider started his moving business in Lake Norman in 2007, just before the housing market failed and the beginning of the recession.  As his name spread through local customers, his small company began picking up more cross country moves.

Between 2011-2012,  his company was crossing the nation about every other week, with 2-3 long hauls a month, but he said he noticed a decrease in 2015.

The latest data on corporate relocations shows that, on average, 11 percent of those finding new jobs moved for their new position. That’s down from 16.3 percent in some prior quarters during the recession.

“It is typical to see these small windows of relocation surges.  They tend to occur at the beginning of recessions and then again as the economy moves from recovery to expansion,” said John A. Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

“Last year definitely marked a turning point in the recovery.  We finally regained all of the jobs lost as a result of the 2008-2009 recession and, by the end of the year, the national unemployment rate fell to 5.0 percent.  Even with the struggles in the oil industry, the number of metropolitan areas throughout the country with unemployment rates below the national average continued to grow,” said Challenger.

The improving housing market, however, means relocation is a major job search consideration, according to Challenger.

“In a good economy people are moving to newer, larger houses and in a bad economy people are downsizing, moving to smaller houses or relocating for jobs,” Snider says. “In a bad economy everyone tries to cut costs, doing what they can, like packing and unpacking themselves.  In a good economy the customers tend to choose the complete package and that is what is happening now.”

Pam Stanley, the executive director of North Carolina Movers Association, says the biggest problem the industry is facing is finding enough truck drivers. People are spending more on moving, opting for a total move package, as opposed to packing their own dishes, for example.

“We have one customer that has us get her Christmas decorations down from her upstairs storage for her each year,” Snider says.


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