When it comes to unit damages, it can sometimes come down to the company’s word against yours, so protect yourself from unnecessary charges at check-out by referencing these three tips:
- Conduct Thorough Check List Review: The corporate housing provider should give you a unit condition sheet (i.e. an inventory check list specific to the property upon your arrival). Be sure to fill this out in detail after you first move in, make a copy for yourself, and re-submit the form back to the company within 24 hours.
- Take Photos: If there are damages to the unit when you first move in (such as scratches in appliances, torn furniture, stains on the carpet/upholstery, etc.) be sure to take photos. Better yet, take a recording on your phone of the entire unit from top to bottom while completing the initial walk through upon move in. This way, if the company charges you for any damages that were there before, you will have your own proof to prove otherwise.
- Create Your Own List: Compile your own checklist of the unit’s inventory within 24 hours of checking in and before departing the unit in detail in case any missing items are charged to you. Also, property management corporate housing companies will have the specific inventory for all of their properties in their office. Be sure to ask them for a copy so you can compare it with yours. Send in your arrival and departure inventory lists with the unit condition sheet to the company as soon as possible.
Remember everything needs to be in writing and in photo/video to ensure you will not be charged for damages. The more thorough you are, the better covered you will be in making a case.
Fully furnished rentals come with almost everything you could possibly need, but there are some items that most corporate housing companies DO NOT include in their units and you should bring along with you if you need them:
- Computers are generally not included in your corporate rental so be sure to bring laptops, iPads, tablets, etc. That said, most properties will have wireless Internet ready for you to simply plug into.
- Most fully furnished rentals will provide you with a DVD player, CD player/iPod and stereo, but there are no DVDs, CDs, or iPods in the unit so be sure to bring these items along with you.
- Personal hygiene items are not included in the unit (unless you plan on using the tiny bottles of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and bar of soap for your entire stay), we recommend you bring these along or buy them at the nearest store.
- Hair straighteners, blow dryers, and curling irons are not typical corporate housing rental inventory.
- If you like playing video games and can’t live without your gaming system unfortunately this is not an item corporate housing provides and you’ll need to bring your own.
- Cards, books, board games, and toys for the kiddos are not available in a corporate rental. If you’re traveling with kids, consider bringing along these items.
- Food/drinks (except for some snacks) do not come stocked within the property, so be prepared to go grocery shopping upon arrival.
- If you are an absolute culinary genius, you may want to consider bringing your own kitchen tools. While fully furnished units are fully equipped to service the average business traveler, there are some kitchen items that are not required (garlic press for example) and the required unit items are typically not top-of-the-line quality.
- Traveling with baby? Items such as high chairs or cribs are not typical in corporate housing units. These can be rented for an additional monthly fee. Also, think about bringing your baby proofing items (such as socket covers, stair gates, etc.).
- Be sure to bring with you any and all medication, baby food/formula, clothes, shoes, and personal items. Decor items like candles are generally not included in the units either.
Corporate housing was designed to make business traveling a breeze but be sure to personalize the unit to make your stay as much like home as possible.
While many professionals believe that all corporate housing companies and leasing agents are the same, the truth is that there are unique differences between the three popular types of corporate housing companies.
First, there are “service companies” which rent apartments, furnish and equip them, then offer the apartments as corporate housing rentals.
Second, there are “apartment companies,” which own or manage apartment complexes and may use some of their inventory as furnished corporate housing.
Third, there are “management companies,” which are real estate property management companies that manage properties owned and furnished by individual investors.
A relocated executive with a family and/or pet would probably prefer a unique home in a neighborhood setting, whereas a company may need 20 of the same units located within one apartment complex.
Each type of corporate housing company offers different services and amenities. Asking the right questions of your leasing agent will ensure a more pleasant experience for all:
Rates. What does the monthly rate include? Are there additional fees? Is a discounted rate for signing a longer lease possible? These questions will help a guest enter into a lease agreement with more knowledge and confidence.
Location. Is there a local office or on-site contact should the guest require assistance? If the company does not have a local office, ask how the company handles client requests and property issues.
Services. Is there a 24-hour maintenance service or other property amenities that will make the stay more pleasant?
Accreditation. Is the company a Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA) member? CHPA is the trade organization for the industry and requires specific levels of professionalism, excellence, customer service, and etichal standards. Ask whether the leasing agents are Certified Corporate Housing Professionals (CCHP). The CCHP certification means that the corporate housing professional has met industry standards. These accreditations will enable a relocation manager to distinguish a quality corporate housing agent from the pack.
Experience. What percentage of the corporate housing company’s business is involved in corporate relocations? Finding an experienced provider can be a bonus in this changing marketplace.
Protection. How are the company and its vendors insured? This is especially important to find out when working with management companies that manage properties offered by individual homeowners.
Policies. What is the company’s policy when a guest does not like the property? Will they offer other available options to accommodate that guest?
Because not all corporate housing management companies and agents are the same, it is important to ask as many questions as you can think of every time. The experienced and quality companies will be able to address all your questions and concerns with ease.
If you are traveling by road this winter season, as many business travelers are, you’ll find these tips to reducing your car gas usage helpful. We found these tips from the book, “75 Ways to Save Gas,” by Jim Davidson.
Five Tips to Saving Fuel in the Winter Months:
- Only Defrost When Needed. Only use your window defrosters to defrost the ice and then turn it off. The defroster is actually powered by the air conditioner in your car. Using it to defrost the ice is fine but don’t leave it on all the time. You may be potentially wasting 20% of the car’s energy and making the car work harder by running the defroster all the time!
- Don’t Idle. Letting your car idle wastes gas, period! To keep warm while sitting in your car this winter season, use your seat warmers instead of letting your car idle.
- Investigate Block Heaters. Using a block heater to warm your engine will save you gas when you start the car. Also, you will not need to warm up your car in idle mode.
- Park Rear First. When parking your car, backing it in or pulling the car through so that the nose is facing out is a gas saver because you will not need to maneuver your car in different directions to get out. Also, make sure to turn off everything in your car before you turn your engine off. This includes turning off the radio, heat, seat warmers, etc. This way, when you re-start your car engine, there will be less energy being used up and therefore less gas wasted.
- Check Tire Pressure. Make sure you check your tire pressure regularly as under-inflated tires can waste 10% of your car’s gas. Nitrogen can also be added to your tires to prevent them from going flat.
- Go for Regular Check-Ups. Always service your vehicle at least two times per year, enabling experts to check and rotate your tires; change out the air filter; change the oil and oil filters; and do a general tune up. The better condition your car is in, the less gas will be used up.
- Don’t Speed. Speeding wastes gas – and can cost you a lot more when you rack up a bunch of speeding tickets, so don’t speed! Plan your time accordingly this winter season so you make it to your destination while abiding to the posted speed limit.
- Stay in Corporate Housing. Okay, this isn’t Davidson’s tip, it’s an AvenueWest Corporate Housing tip…if traveling by road this winter season – whether for business or pleasure – remember to make your journey a little easier by staying in a corporate rental over a hotel. Remember, corporate housing typically includes a covered parking spot while many hotels do not. Covered parking will be less taxing on your car too – no need to use your defrosters to rid of snow and ice and your engine won’t need as much time to warm up before driving, so less idling.