Rowlinson relaunches her relocation business
BMI Relocation is relaunching after an 18-month hiatus.
The company’s principal Sylvie Rowlinson said after that break, along with her associate Mary Winchell she is rebuilding her business, which provides assistance to individuals and families who are moving to the island, often to work in the international business sector.
“I had been doing very well,” she said, but explained that she had to step away from BMI Relocation in order to care for her husband who was ill and did ultimately pass away.
Now, she said: “I still do have a loyal following, with companies like RenaissanceRe, PartnerRe Ltd and Butterfield Bank.”
Mrs Rowlinson is optimistic about Bermuda’s economic outlook. “We are looking at a year in which we are seeing new entities coming to Bermuda. It’s encouraging to see international business sparking again.”
BMI Relocation is normally retained by the hiring company who pairs her with their incoming employee. She provides a full service for the new arrivals. “I work on the principle of really steering people in the right direction. We will be there 24/7 for people after they arrive and for however long they need help. It’s not ‘30 hours and that’s it!’”
“I help with short-term accommodations as well — for example, lawyers who come in to work on a legal case.”
Mrs Rowlinson had been in a similar field earlier in her career. “Before coming to Bermuda I had worked for the British Council relocating individuals who were coming to work on projects and things. It was interesting enough that it was something I thought I’d like to carry on — I realised there was a need for it in Bermuda.
“So, when my daughter started school, I started my business.”
BMI Relocation took off immediately. She said: “First of all, I introduced myself to a large number of companies — and straight away I started working for XL Re, immediately followed by Aon Ltd., PartnerRe, RenaissanceRe and Validus Reinsurance Ltd.”
Now, she plans to provide that service for her clients as builds her book again. “I arrange the whole move for them — I work with the forwarding agents here, and I’ll get quotes for the physical move, and work with real estate agents to find the right homes for them.”
Clients’ needs can vary enormously, and range from a single executive to a family with four children, pets and nanny. With families in particular, there is “a lot” to organise for a move to Bermuda. “If they require domestic help in Bermuda, I’ll assist with the advertising and give them all the requirements and information in respect to immigration and so on.”
Mrs Rowlinson also advises on schools for families with children. “I taught the last year of primary school — 11-year-olds — for 15 years. So as far as relocating, you have comfort about giving people advice about schools, as I have former colleagues working in the schools and I have those personal contacts — as well as a child of my own who went through the local school system.”
Additionally: “Over the years I have developed a core of the very best professionals that I recommend — the best driving instructors, the best doctors, the best dentists — professionals that I know are proven to provide the service.
“I also give advice on things like the humidity levels here — I check properties for damage caused by humidity, I advise on what sort of furniture to bring — veneered furniture cannot come here because the glue is going to dissipate in the humidity. In managing the move to Bermuda, I advise on what you can bring, and what you cannot bring. Art work, or anything of high value, I advise not to bring in.
“And when I move people into homes, I advise them on things such as not hanging pictures flat against the wall — I will give them little pads to put under the corners of their pictures to keep them off the walls because of the damage that can be caused by humidity, and also about which walls you can and can’t put nails in — all that practical advice that is useful.”
She also advises and helps clients negotiate their leases. “It is quite commonplace for a lease not to include a three-month notice clause in case a tenant has a change of job or leaves the island — I’ve had companies who would sign a lease which would make a house theirs forever!
“But life here is so transient; it is very much a situation which is not guaranteed. We really are an international centre with people coming here from all over the world — and sometimes for a very short time, so every minute in Bermuda counts.
“We try to make it a good experience.”