Last updated 5 April 2017

Shannon Viveiros – Vice President of International Operations



Paxton International is one of the oldest and most trusted names in international moving. Starting from a transport business in 1901 and now as a multi-million dollar international moving institution, the company has been growing and improving throughout the years. Paxton International’s Vice Presider for International Operations, Shannon Viveiros shares the company’s process, services, as well as valuable moving advice for expats abroad. Learn more from her full interview below.

Company: Paxton International

Category: Moving services

Established since: 1947

Geographical coverage: Internationally from the US



Q: When did you enter the industry, and when was your company created? How big has your team and clientele grown since?

A: The Paxton family has been in the transport business since 1901 when they started hauling furniture on Capitol Hill in Washington DC; the Paxton Companies of today was incorporated in Virginia in 1947. 

I fell into the international logistics industry a few years after graduating from college when I answered a generic want ad (back in the days when they posted ads in the newspaper). I have seen Paxton sales grow from 11 M to more than 52M in the past 18 years, and all signs point to continued growth in the future. 

Q: What makes your company different from other international moving companies?

A: I think Paxton offers a few things that set us apart from others in the market:

The first is our people. It is the single most important source of value in our service. Our team is seasoned, well trained, and has a long and stable tenure in a business dubiously known for high turnover. I am not yet even considered a long time employee yet after 18 years of service.  Believe it or not, we have many people who have worked for Paxton for more than 30, 40 and 50 years.  

Second would have to be our diversity – in fact we have people from more than 25 different countries on staff.  We conduct business in more than 35 languages including the basics like French and Spanish, and the more exotic ones like Japanese, Arabic, and Chinese. You just cannot underestimate the value and efficiency this brings to our service. 

If I had to pick a third - it would be where we work. People know the Paxton name from our work in some of the most difficult and challenging regions around the globe such as Africa, Asia and the Middle East.  We do not shy away from a challenge.  For example, when our clients in relief development needed service in Afghanistan and Iraq, Paxton filled the void by setting up shop in both locations. We have done the same thing in South Sudan just after they gained their independence in 2011.  If you think it cannot be done, give us a call and we might surprise you! 

Q: How involved are you in the moving process of your customers?

A: Very. Our coordinating team members become part of the family. We are in touch with those we relocate almost on a daily basis sometimes for months to prepare them for the move, to ensure it follows the transportation plan, and then to follow it through to delivery and unpacking at destination. 

Q: What are some challenging jobs that you undertake and how do you handle them?

A: Some of the most challenging work might not be the largest moves – I think the most difficult ones are those with many moving parts. Clients who have multiple shipments to different locations and no wiggle room in their schedules. This is where the seniority of our teams comes in handy.  Every one of our senior coordinators can speak candidly, offering guidance to our clients on what they would do and why in order to set up each move for success.  As always, what might look good on paper does not always turn out to be the best choice. It is only through years of experience that a coordinator can counsel a transferee thoroughly on a complex relocation to achieve the best result with as little stress and room for error as possible. 

Q: What are the key factors you take into account when you send a quote to your customers?

A: Accuracy. We take time to prepare each quotation based on the needs and parameters present in each individual relocation. No two moves are alike afterall. We also place great importance on getting to know our customers, their needs, their service level requirements and their budgets. Each of these has an impact on cost. You can save a bundle if you can accept a slower transit time for example. It is our job to get to know you and then counsel you on the choices we think are right to achieve your objectives. One size definitely does not fit all in the pricing department. 

Q: What are the occasions when you need to survey the items that will be moved?

A: All moves should be surveyed. No two moves are alike and each presents its own challenges. Our surveyors look for not only what we are going to be moving, what it might weigh, how big it is, but also what is the house size and configuration – how easy or difficult might it be to work in and what impact might that have on how long the job will take to complete. What is the distance the crew will have to walk, what if it rains? What type of vehicle is going to make the loading most efficient? For each step in the process we have to be prepared and have a contingency plan.

Q: What are your company's policy when it comes to insurance, damage, and loss claims?

A: Paxton is not an insurance carrier, we do however offer valuation using a third party company.  The vendor we work with has served our clients for more than 25 years. They are well respected in the industry and easy to work with. We have developed a short hand over the years and for the most part claims are settled within two weeks. 

Q: What is advice would you give to clients looking to move internationally?

A:  You can never plan too early – start at least 3 months before you plan to pack. Take note that moving is a seasonal business – we book up from June til the end of August weeks in advance.  If you don’t plan early you will not get the best service and you will take on more stress than needed. Read the details on customs regulations in your destination country carefully – some items are just not worth taking when you consider the duty and tax you may have to pay. Lastly – many people still think of moving the way they did it in college – a couple of friends, a long weekend and a case of beer.  Relocating internationally is a complex and sometimes confusing process.  Never choose a carrier on cost alone and always work with someone who has years of experience in shipping to and from the location you will be moving to. Check their testimonials – we have repeat customs we have been moving around the globe for decades, not just years. Long time corporate accounts and repeat customers demonstrate that you are able to deliver consistently high service not just in spurts, but over the long haul. An international move does not have to be stressful if you plan in advance, choose a reputable carrier and listen to their counsel. Do those three things and you can embark on your new expat adventure stress free.

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