Notice periods. Why it’s a lie to give a straight answer.
Paul and I regularly get asked ‘What notice do I have to give to book you?’ and it is a very fair question.
The customer quite understandably is expecting a simple, straight forward answer, perhaps along the lines of ‘why Madam, 7 days would be perfect’, to which the lady might respond ‘oh, perfect, so if I call 7 days in advance you’ll be able to book me in.’ Expecting the response, with a smile, ‘yes, no problem.’
(This blog post about provisional bookings expands on this part of this topic and explores the lies that get told)
Now, Paul and I would love for the conversation to go like this, and we’re acutely aware that in pretty much all other instances with other firms this is in fact is how the conversation goes. And we don’t like it.
However, we’re not fans of either a) lying or b) using misleading, disingenuous language to close down a difficult question that we’d really rather not answer but are concerned over the need to leave the customer smiling in the effort to secure another client. This often leaves us at a disadvantage when we, when giving a proper answer look dishonest in comparison to the nice simple (placebo) answer given by someone else.
So, here’s the truth, and, it is indisputable.
The reason it is indisputable is that the last time I checked we were all living in England, and all at the mercy of the same conveyancing and completion system, operated and populated by the same people, with the same frames of reference, training and attitude, working under the same laws.
So you see, its simply not possible for one domestic mover to be able to say one thing, and another something totally different……One has to be playing fast and loose with either the quality of the answer (hey, now that was a diplomatic sentence) ….and we’re the bunch that happily puts our money where our mouths are – in black and white, published.
Ready for some maths to provide the proof? Here goes.
Roughly 50% of all home movers will be moving on a Friday. Other blog posts go into the idiocy of this, so we’ll not touch on that here.
That leaves @50% moving Monday>Thursday.
Now, let’s assume (keeping the numbers really simple) that in a given week there are 1000 people moving home in our fictional village ‘Greendale’ (yes, my 6 month old was watching Postman Pat this morning at 6:30).
So, that means 500 of them will move Friday, and 125 per day on the other four days (average). So, can you start to see the issues here already?
Removers like us, that can reliably count on taking 60 from every 100 (percentages) for the other four days are no way geared to take the same proportion on the Friday. That would be an unsustainable business model. So at ‘full throttle’ we’re geared for @40% more (ish) than the average daily (75 out of the 125) work volume, which means 105 of the 500 on the Friday, that’s it…..
Not a lot, is it?
As we already know, converting just 60% would mean (and for info our rate is a bit higher than this) that we have the option on 300 customers for this one day, and can only serve 105.
This means the real answer to the question ‘How much notice?’ is ‘It depends which day’. Moreover it also depends on the amount of notice you get. In terms of exchange of contracts.
Let’s come on to that point, crossed with the numbers;
We have the mathematics to back up what we say, we have the study data, so any conveyancing solicitors or estate agents that have either read this far, and disagree, or read to the end and disagree – we don’t care. You’ll have an opinion, and we have hard data.
So, back to the 300 moving on a Friday that would contact us.
In the region of 7 out of ten home owners/movers will get a mere 7 days inbetween exchange and completion (210 households in this example). The remaining 30% will be split roughly half and half in terms of less than 7 days (45 households), and more than 7 days (45 households).
Of the more than 7 days about half (23) will get 10-14 days, and the other half more than 2 weeks.
This means @12 people (homes) will have in excess of 2 weeks between exchange and completion, and they’ll be the ones booking in first. So, if we correlate that to our own capacity that would mean we get 8 bookings @3 weeks in advance, and another 8, 2 weeks in advance
Remaining capacity, with 10 days to 2 weeks to go – 89 out of 105 slots.
Now we’re down to all those that get @7 days btween exchange and completion, and this will represent 210 of our (our allocation of the overall 500 moving on a Friday) movers in this example. And we only have 89 slots left. This is two and a half times more than we can handle without going down the route of dragging in casual labour or temps, or sub-contracting. Which as people know, we’ll never ever do.
So, the way this’ll now work is that from 10:00 on the day 7 days before it’s simply a case of ‘first come, first served’. And the first of the 210 will fill the 89 slots.
And this blog post explains why yours truly elected to complete on a Wednesday.
It also explains, in lengthy fashion (but honest fashion) why there is no straightforward, simple answer to your exceptionally straightforward and simple question.
It also shows why we recoil in horror when people indicate that their solicitor told them its fine to complete only a few days in advance. Moreover, if this in itself isn’t enough of a reason, then this is!
Unless you would like me to lie…..?
Happy Moving, and to go back to the main blog page, click here
————————–notes from the author, that’s me!——————————————————————–
Now this example is representative of an exceptionally busy period, and to be fair its really does represent a typical week in July, or Aug, or especially the half term week / Friday before in October.
I’ve kept it simple, and it does portray that Friday is the only busy day at first glance. However, read again and what it really says is that every day is fully booked, and on Fridays the workload is way over the top and if spread out, this example would amount to 200 movers per day and everyone would be happy, because we’d expand our capacity to suit.
In quieter months the situation is less pronounced, obviously. Generally the pressure for Fridays is less by a greater degree than the pressure for the other four days is less. However, just because its quieter notice periods and the timeframes unfortunately do not get longer.
The situation in 2015 has become noticably worse due to one major change that is having a huge effect. Many many conveyancing solicitors are choosing not to work a full week any more. We’ve noticed that they are not upfront with their clients about this. Many only work 2 or 3 days a week now and as a result by default this means they will not let you move on the other days.
Ask your conveyancer or solicitor about this before instructing them. If you already know that a Wednesday would suit you then you need a solicitor that works on a Wednesday. Sounds obvious but nobody presumes their solicitor doesn’t just work a 5 day week, it’s caught a lot of people out this year.
And can you imagine the pain if your solicitor only works Mon, Tue and Fri, and your buyers perhaps only works Mon, Wed and Fri. You’ll be lucky if you manage to move within 6 months!