How to Reduce Stress Moving to Australia
In our very first MORC Interiors hosted interview, we had the honour of speaking with one of our partner service providers to share about her story, their business and how they can help you with your property plans. We have Robyn Vogels, Owner of Personnel Relocations, Co-Author of “Your DIY Move Guide to Australia”, and Partner at Immigrant Networks. For more than a decade, Robyn has welcomed families and helped them settle in Australia.
Let’s dive in for loads of practical and helpful tips on:
- How you can save time and free yourself from the hassle of relocating to Australia
- What are the costs involved with relocating and how to make the whole process easier
- Why taking advantage of the services of a relocation agent is the best use of your time and resources
Q: Tell us about you and what motivated you to start Personnel Relocations
We operate out of Melbourne and we’ve been in Melbourne for 14 years and we provide relocation support across Australia and across the globe when the globe was still a thing to be able to travel around. Our main purpose is to help people have a softer landing to guide them through the process and to help them understand which suburbs might work for them, which schools would work for them and of course saving them money by giving them the right advice at the right times. And in particular finding them a rental to move directly into rather than having to do an Airbnb or a hotel or something that costs a few thousand dollars.
Q: Who are some of your clients you usually help with?
Pre-covid we were mostly corporate relocation, and the corporates we’re looking for somebody who would give personal support to their employees that are moving across to Australia. So, a lot of corporate relocations. A couple of years ago I launched a book called Your DIY Move Guide to Australia. And the idea behind the book was that there were a lot of migrants who were falling through the gaps who perhaps were coming here with permanent resident visas or long-term visas where they didn’t have a job yet. They weren’t given the support that they were needed. So corporate relocations were always looked after and they had cotton wool wrapped around them. But even returning Australians when they’ve maybe left Australia, they might have been single young men and now they’re married with a few children and moving back to Australia – it’s a completely different ballpark for them. So, the book was really designed to help those people.
During COVID I’ve done a lot more private relocations and I’m one of the few relocation companies that that offers private relocations. A lot of doctors – there was only certain industries that were allowed to move during COVID. So, a lot of doctors, vets, occupational therapists, all sorts. So, the list is anybody who wants to move and need some guidance. We don’t discriminate. And from any country or whoever’s needing the support and looking to save money on their move.
Q: Where are some of the typical locations that your clients come from?
We do a lot from the UK, especially the medical industry and a lot from South Africa. I’m originally from South Africa although I left 27 years ago. A lot of my work comes from word of mouth because people have enjoyed the service and they’ve saved money and they tell the next lot of people that are coming along. So European in general but I would say mostly the UK. We’ve had a lot of returning Australians and we’ve had a great interest from America in the last probably two or three years, in fact there’s a lot more Americans looking to move.
Q: If people are looking to or think about moving to Australia, what’s the usual turn-around time?
During COVID it’s quite interesting because I had done orientations for clients that were looking to move. They’d come on sort of a look see visit pre-covid and only managed to make their move last month. So, in that case, I’d been talking to them for two years while they planned.
But I have other clients who only find out about my services when they arrive. I’ll just generally get a very nervous phone call from somebody saying “Hey, I’m here and I’ve just heard about you.” So best case scenario would be four months but six weeks is still okay.
We can usually accommodate in some short turn-around times and it also depends on what they’re doing about their furniture and what they might be looking for in a rental and that’s where MORC Interiors services have been fantastic because we’ve actually been able to find them a property that they can move directly into. Secure them the rental and then hand it over to MORC to just get it beautified completely.
A client that we took through a few weeks ago that MORC had furnished the apartment for was just one of those you know big reveal TV shows where they sort of want to go bedroom by bedroom and get the big reveal and they absolutely loved it! There’s nothing that makes me more excited and happier to be able to see the joy on their faces.
For an international relocation who’s been stressed and tired and in a particular case where you helped – it was the mother that was relocating the family and she had a lot of stress on her. She felt really responsible to make sure that the family was looked after and that the family was happy. So, for her to know her son’s bedroom decorated and he was excited about it, that was absolute gold!
Check out this video of one of MORC Interiors clients:
Q: There are all kinds of costs involved with relocating. What are those costs and how can you help make that whole process easy?
Everybody’s lifestyles are very different. One of the common questions that we’re asked is cost of living in Australia and Australia is not a cheap place to live. But there is a lot of free stuff too that’s not taken into consideration. Our aim at Personnel Relocations is to be able to provide support at a cost that is less than one week for you in a hotel. So, it’s a bit of a win-win.
You can go and spend a week and I promise you you’re not going to find a rental in Australia in a week and move in. Or you can get our support, have a rental before you arrive, go straight in with more Quinteria’s furniture and you’re done. So, for our clients to be able to do furniture removals at the moment, are absolute nightmare and moving during COVID has its own stresses. Shipping costs have gone up 300% in some of the shipping lines.
There’s a there’s a shortage of containers. I’ve got clients who had their containers taking five months to arrive at the moment. I’ve got clients from the UK who packed up their house in November their container hasn’t even left the UK yet. The longer you’re outside of your normal routine the more expensive it’s going to cost and those are the hidden costs that I always try and warn people about.
People forget about jet lag for example. So, for the first week they are all excited and they are running on adrenaline and they’re getting ready for their flights and they make this list of everything they’re going to do in their first week when they arrive here and I’m just going, “you’ve forgotten about jet lag.” You’re not going to be making any of those big decisions that are going to impact the rest of your life in that first week. So just take a step back and these are the things you do need to do for that first week. We need to get your bank account. There are other things to do in that first week. So, there’s a lot of cost. There’s a lot of steps involved. If you’re going to spend money on furniture removals itself, not only do they take a lot of time at the moment. In typical times pre-COVID a container coming from say the UK to here would be eight to 10 weeks door-to-door.
South Africa to here was taking 10 to 12 weeks door-to-door. And the shippers will always say its six to eight weeks, but that’s the time at sea. They never quote you on the actual time getting through customs getting onto the boat ports. And there’s at least two weeks regardless of which country it is two weeks either side to get that container off the truck or railway or whichever way it’s come to the harbour.
You see it online so often people are saying, “could somebody give me how much it costs them to send a 20-foot container from…” I sort of look at it and I think you have probably three hours difference from the port to what that person and that costs money. It’s no good trying to compare your removals quotes with one another. So, to me it makes far more sense especially now during COVID when it’s so hard, don’t spend that $20, 000 on moving your goods get MORC to find you all the furniture you need. Deal with it and you can arrive and just carry on you hit the ground running again. That just makes so much more sense in this day and age.
It’s not conducive at this time to waste all their time, effort and money and as I say it’s not just the jet lag. Relocating is tiring – take your learning curve when you arrive to a new country. You’ve got to read every shopping label, you’ve got to read every branding, every billboard, your brain doesn’t stop, and it’s tiring. You don’t want to still be running around on marketplace trying to negotiate 20 bucks off a bedside table.
Q: How would you work with partners like us at MORC Interiors for your clients when they’re moving to Australia?
Exactly as we did before! I think it worked really well because we found them an apartment. So obviously we had worked with them to have their rental application ready. We use our relationships with the estate agents to get them shortlisted and get them in, then we go and collect the keys. And then it was an easy transaction with you and your team because we had the keys. We had a video of what it looked like and we could put you in contact with the client so you actually worked directly. I wasn’t involved in her fabric choices or whatever she might have liked to choose but I could hand her over to you with full confidence that you were going to look after her. We exchanged keys not exactly through them across the motorway but we managed to connect and re-swap keys and you and your team were able to go and furnish everything, straighten it all out and I came and got the keys back from you. It’s just seamless.
Check out this virtual tour of one of the apartments we’ve furnished and styled:
Q: What lies in store for the future of Personnel Relocations?
I don’t know if covid is ever come going to come to an end but I’m super excited that lockdowns for the immediate future look like they’re coming to an end and that the borders are starting to open. So, it’s been a fairly consistent couple of years but it has been quieter than what we would normally have. On the same token, I’m a little bit nervous. The rental market is really tight at the moment. January was the worst I’d seen in 14 years and I think there’s a lot to worry about in that. It’s a really tough market to get a rental at the moment so we’ll see how that goes. I think a lot of people even Australians around 46% have already moved out of the major cities. But there’s a big percentage that’s moved out and the issue we also have is that a lot of the internationals that are moving at the moment especially those in the medical field they are being ad they are offered visas for areas outside of the city.
For example, even down here in Melbourne there’s an area called Mornington Peninsula which is about an hour and a half outside of Melbourne. If I went to a rental inspection there and I saw 2 or 3 other people, which was normal. Now we are literally 20 to 30 people inspecting a property.
And for those that don’t know rentals in Australia it’s a very transactional. There’s no personality in it. We get 15 minutes to inspect a property which is quite strange to a lot of people. They don’t realise we only get 15 minutes to inspect a property. The estate agent will then receive all the applications, they will shortlist 3 to 4 applications and present those to the landlord and that person gets awarded the property, so it’s a very quick transaction. And we’re happy to be able to do that for our clients because an estate agent is not going to wait for somebody in the UK to wake up or somebody in Singapore to wake up even 2 or 3 hours or 3 to 4 hours later, it has to be done now. So, we work quite quickly with the estate agents to get our clients shortlisted.
I’m very excited that everything is going to start getting a lot bigger. We are also working to bring a new platform to Australia which is exciting me because it’s going to extend my reach to be able to help more migrants. That’s called immigrant network and an immigrant networks platform is going to be there to help prepare people for jobs so being able to upskill job skills networking. It’ll have a full matchmaking where migrants can actually network with one another. It’s a little bit like a LinkedIn for migrants and we will also have a trusted marketplace where people can use goods and services here in Australia and those are all vetted by me. Nobody gets onto marketplace without me giving them the stamp of approval so they are trusted marketplace suppliers. It’s all happening and I’m very excited.
How to get in contact with Personnel Relocations
LinkedIn Immigrant Networks Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/14006157/
Amazon Book Link: https://www.amazon.com.au/Your-D-I-Y-Move-Guide-Australia/dp/B08DSYPBF4
- Stress less by taking advantage of the services of a relocation agent and make your big move to Australia with ease.
- Having a new home to simply settle in when you arrive in Australia is possible so you can just carry on and hit the ground running again.
- Everybody has different lifestyles and budget is hard to relate to when you haven’t even arrived. Seeking professional help will help downsize where you might want to live in and what’s going to suit your lifestyle and budget.
Relocating is undeniably a tiring and costly process as there are a lot of steps involved especially with the added stress of COVID. Benefit from the experience of professionals that will not only save you money, time and energy but will ensure you get the best value for your money.
Let Us Help!
If you’re moving to Australia and you need getting your home ready for your family, feel free to contact us to find out how we can help you.