Besides packing and setting up your new home, here’s other ways concierges can make moving way easier


 A family looks over paperwork while working with a concierge from Move Bay Area to find a rental home in the Bay Area. Photo courtesy Lisa McCarrel, Move Bay Area.
A family looks over paperwork while working with a concierge from Move Bay Area to find a rental home in the Bay Area. Photo courtesy Lisa McCarrel, Move Bay Area.

As anyone who has ever had to schlep heavy boxes full of books and magazines or angle cumbersome bookcases and sofas through doorways never-wide-enough can tell you, moving is universally regarded as one of life’s least desirable tasks.

Ditto for unloading boxes and setting up on the other end.

Moving experiences can vary dramatically for people hiring one of the nearly 18,000 moving companies in the United States — an industry projected to generate revenue exceeding $21 billion this year.

The good news: There’s a growing number of moving professionals who specialize in handling the entire process so it no longer has to feel like an odious, unpleasant necessity for those making the move.

Moving concierges

Moving concierges handle everything from scheduling movers to packing, unpacking, setting up utilities, coordinating donation drop-offs for unwanted household items and more. Photo courtesy Getty Images.
Moving concierges handle everything from scheduling movers to packing, unpacking, setting up utilities, coordinating donation drop-offs for unwanted household items and more. Photo courtesy Getty Images.

Known as moving concierges, these professionals handle everything from scheduling movers to packing, unpacking, setting up utilities, coordinating donation drop-offs for unwanted household items and more.

Much like a wedding planner, the goal is to make the process less strenuous and stressful by taking care of the details, according to Andrew Stutzman of Greystone Relocation Concierge.

The company’s “concierge experience” includes careful packing, purging items no longer needed, unpacking and home setup on the other end, short-term and long-term storage, TV and video packing and installation, chandelier installation, wine-bottle handling, home and carpet cleaning, and interior design — among a host of other services.

But, such white-glove service doesn’t come cheap, Stutzman said. Depending on the size and length of the move, fees can range from $10,000 to $200,000, he said.

Architect Rade Radakovich founded Greystone in Beverly Hills 13 years ago to fill an unusual niche in the industry and then expanded his services to the Bay Area two years later.

“(He) heard so many horror stories from clients over the years about the chaos involved in moving, it made him realize the strong need there was to create a company that could custom tailor a much-improved moving experience,” Stutzman said.

The company now operates internationally. In recent years, Greystone clients have moved from coast to coast, and everywhere in between. Outside the U.S., that includes Canada, Costa Rica, the U.K., Portugal and Australia, Stutzman said.

“It is a newer part of the moving industry that is catching on,” Stutzman said. “I feel we are satisfying a unique niche in the market.”

A growing industry

Lisa McCarrel is the founder of Move Bay Area, a concierge moving service that assists house hunters seeking to rent in the Bay Area. Photo courtesy Lisa McCarrel, Move Bay Area.
Lisa McCarrel is the founder of Move Bay Area, a concierge moving service that assists house hunters seeking to rent in the Bay Area. Photo courtesy Lisa McCarrel, Move Bay Area.



Libby Wood, owner of Senior Settlers, a Bay Area-based relocation service she founded 10 years ago to assist older adults with the moving process, said business has boomed since the pandemic. Her staff has grown from only three during 2020 to 20 full-time and part-time employees three years later.

Those employees provide such services as organizing belongings, downsizing possessions and living spaces, as well as assisting with clear outs of properties after a person has died.

“I have been through these issues with my own parents, as have other employees,” Wood said.

Wood considers herself a bit of an expert on the topic, having authored the book “The Home of the Brave: Or How to Overthrow the Tyranny of Stuff.”

She also does her work with an eye toward sustainability.

“Whether we are conducting a downsizing or a relocation, we work very hard to reuse and recycle our clients’ possessions, not send them to the landfill,” she said.

Wood said while older adults make up most of her business, Senior Settlers is happy to work with non-seniors as well.

After a free consultation with Senior Settlers staff, clients get an hourly cost estimate for their requested services — ranging from basic to more elaborate. Wood declined to discuss cost specifics.

For Lisa McCarrel, a licensed real estate agent who founded Move Bay Area eight years ago, her focus is on assisting house hunters seeking to rent in the Bay Area.

McCarrel said she works with clients who want a more personal experience with rental housing specialists possessing far more local knowledge than the large national relocation companies.

Move Bay Area offers a wide array of services, including corporate relocations, leasing/owner representation and home-finding tours and searches ranging from one day to six weeks. She assists clients with getting a driver’s license, opening a bank account or setting up their utility connections.

Beyond the actual moving process, she also provides neighborhood tours so clients can experience an area as a local. For those with children, she can schedule school tours, too.

McCarrel decided to start her own company after handling corporate relocations for management employees at high-tech behemoths such as Apple and Google for several years previously as an independent contractor.

“It was mainly with executives relocating to San Francisco, but I decided to start taking (relocation) jobs all over the Bay Area,” she said. “I got to know the entire region very well.”

So today, McCarrel and her staff of four relocation agents — all licensed real estate agents — continue to work with corporate executives relocating to the Bay Area from around the country and the globe, as well as Bay Area residents looking for new rental housing.

“Millennial and Gen Z employees being relocated do not want to go through corporate relocation,” McCarrel said. “They have a very different approach and expectations. Today, they receive a stipend from their employer and seek their own relocation assistance.”

Like the other services, contact typically begins with a phone or video call where potential clients detail their needs and neighborhood or community preferences.

After in-person or agent-conducted video tours, clients often change or refine their location preferences, McCarrel said. Proving her company’s versatility, McCarrel said she is happy to refer clients to a trusted group of real estate agents she knows if they decide to pursue a home purchase.

Fees range from $1,600 for a one-day home finding tour to 50% of one-month’s rent for ongoing concierge services, with a $4,000 minimum charge.

These days, among the most popular Midpeninsula and South Bay communities among her clients are Palo Alto, Atherton, Los Altos, Sunnyvale and west San Jose.



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