September 14, 2022

How to Effectively Procure Relocation Management Services Using RFPs

When it comes to sourcing relocation management services, the Global Mobility team’s goal is to build a cost-efficient and competitive program that attracts the best talent in their industry, while procurement’s goal is to source the most cost-effective supplier. A company’s program is only as strong as its partnerships and to get the most out of partnering with a relocation management company (RMC), alignment should begin during the RFP process.

Sometimes this alignment process doesn’t happen as well as it should. As a result, rather than providing carefully thought-out, customized solutions or details on how their offering can best elevate an organization’s mobility program and achieve their program goals, relocation management companies (RMCs) are limited to providing a generic introduction to their company.


In the global mobility industry, where the majority of providers offer essentially the same suite of services and often work with similar supply chains, what sets these service-oriented companies apart can be challenging to dig out and differentiate in an RFP.

Procurement is better equipped to make a successful strategic partnership decision when they understand their process and goals, the RMC industry and what information is necessary to craft a meaningful reply to the RFP. Here we’ll examine how procurement leaders can be more successful when sourcing the relocation or global mobility category.

Procuring Global Mobility is about forming great partnerships

Choosing a relocation provider is about forming great partnerships. You are hiring a company to manage your greatest asset, your people (along with their families), during one the most stressful events of their lives. Failing to provide caring support to these families can become extremely expensive in terms of failed assignments, reduced employee retention and loss of productivity while an employee deals with the day-to-day process of relocating.

On the other hand, happy productive employees who experience a smooth relocation help companies achieve their business goals and succeed at what they do best as an organization. One global mobility manager described his relocation partners this way, “…when the pandemic started and relocation resources were strained, my partners came through for me when I needed them most...”

A vendor will receive and service orders, but a partner will work hard to understand your company culture and objectives—going above and beyond to help you achieve them via a well-run global mobility program. A partner will proactively bring ideas and practices that promote efficiency and contribute to the success of your mobility program.

While most relocation management companies offer similar services, focusing on efficiency and program optimization will help determine which RMC is the right fit.

Start with the invitation list

Many real estate firms, moving and storage companies – or even workplace services and commercial moving companies – have relocation in their name. However, inviting a company that doesn’t provide all the services you need will confuse the evaluation process as these companies price services differently.

Procurement should only invite companies that specialize in relocation management as their core business to the RFP process; and answering these questions will help determine which kind of RMC is the best fit.

    • Is flexibility and responsiveness important to you, or are you concerned about providing a process-driven, standardized experience to each transferee?
    • Do you want a tech-driven, self-managed online portal RMC?
    • What is the right scale for your needs? Regional or global coverage?
    • If RMCs provide different kinds of experiences using different service delivery models, which model is ideal for your demographics and program?
    • Does the RMC provide funding for home sale transactions, equity advances or other distributions on your behalf?
    • Does the RMC provide the technology for easy initiations, dynamic reporting and accurate financial integration with payroll?

Thinking through these important questions will help narrow the list down to the RMCs that fit your ideal partner profile.

If you are not sure where to start, talk to local relocation council groups, industry peers or members of the Worldwide Employee Relocation Council to determine which RMCs fit the profile you have created.

Use an RFI process to narrow the group

If there isn’t sufficient time to research each of the RMCs before an RFP, beginning with an RFI that asks the RMCs to address essential questions or must-haves can help winnow the list.

Sending the RFP to a dozen RMCs will not only be expensive for them but also for you as you sift through the multitude of responses to your RFP questions. It’s not unusual for companies to issue an RFI to eight to 10 RMCs, select five to respond to the RFP and then invite two or three for the best and final presentation.

An RFI can efficiently eliminate any company that doesn’t provide the essential services, coverage, or cultural feel you are looking for in a provider. This step ultimately will save both time and money.

Sterling Lexicon offers a wide breadth of fully-integrated services on a global scale. We will work with your team to create the right solutions for your program goals.

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Marsha Wiggins

Marsha Wiggins

Marsha Wiggins is Sterling Lexicon’s Content Marketing Manager. She has created thought leadership content in a variety of industries for many years. She is a trusted contributor who provides insights on industry topics and trends.

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