Sharon Hewitt is the founder of multi-award winning relocation specialist, Chiltern Relocation. She has established herself as reference in the field of relocation combining experience, expert insight and thought leadership in helping private clients, employers and employees alike in not only finding new homes in the UK but also settling in to make a successful start with their new life.
Known as the Relocation Queen on Instagram, The London Storyteller was delighted to catch up with her to find out more about the past, present and future of her story…
How did you start and grow Chiltern Relocation into the specialist that it is now?
Chiltern Relocation was created because we felt there was more help needed for companies who were relocating staff into the UK. Often HR departments in companies were given the task and responsibility to guide the new employee with regards to rental locations, school and lease agreements, without the relevant experience in either of these fields. This often caused issues and delays in getting the employee able to concentrate on the new job in hand due to delays with securing the new rental home. We had 30 years of property rental and purchasing experience and felt we were in a good position to speed the process up and make the relocating employee feel cared for and valued.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Handing over the keys on move in for the relocated employee. This is so rewarding, once a staff member has been offered a relocation package everything in their life is up in the air, house, job, schools etc. We delight in helping families and individuals feel secure again by finding the right rental, in the right location, taking away the stress of the lease agreements and watching them establish themselves and thrive in the new area.
What does your day to day look like and what do you like to do to relax?
We do not have typical day as everyone is different! Most of our relocating clients are from abroad and we work with many different times zones so can be busy with enquiries and updates at differing points during the day.
Today for example:
I am having a Skype call with a relocating employee from Canada who will be relocated in September with his family.
- Met a removal company for to discuss a client with piano and expensive gym equipment for a Switzerland to Maidenhead relocation.
- Checking through lease agreement to ensure the tenant is covered if the lease has to be broken due to job move.
- Key hand over to a family moving from Boston to Bristol.
- Arranging dates for one of our relocation consultants to cover a new client moving over from Ukraine to Manchester in October.
- Updating the website with a new blog and finally setting up the schedule for incoming client.
To relax, I run. I put my earphones on and iPhone on shuffle and off I go pounding the streets. I always feel so much better for being out in the fresh air.
We work for a variety of clients from governments relocating military, international hotel chains, aircraft manufactures, pharmaceutical companies, food testing, universities relocating Professors, medical staff, renewable energy clients and many, many more.
How do you help support people relocating to the UK make that move a success?
This is a very simple one word answer we ‘listen’. I know it sounds simplistic but there are so many emotions that people go through when they know they are uprooting their life from one country to another. New job, new country, new home – there is a lot to get your head around and so many questions they need answers to. We make a special effort to imagine what it is like sitting where they are and explaining the clearly defined, successful process we follow that will give them confidence we are on their side and they can rely on us to find them the right home and right school and help them settle into their new life.
From your experience, how important is the “settling in” element to a successful relocation?
If we are relocating families the very first priority is schooling which we totally understand. If you are taking your children from all that they are familiar with finding a good school where they can be happy is paramount.
If they are individuals or couples the priority can be commuting routes or finding like-minded communities or looking for the rental that will accommodate pets if they have one.
What has been the highlight of your working career so far and what are your aspirations for the future of Chiltern Relocation?
When I set up Chiltern Relocation from my kitchen table in 2005 I had no idea we would be the multi award winning Relocation Company we are today. Also hearing new clients come to us because they have been recommended from previous clients is such a great buzz!
Aspirations for the future of Chiltern Relocation
We are looking into new steps to make the relocation process smoother and more interactive for our clients moving across countries – watch this space!