May 14, 2023 – As more foreigners move to Croatia and more diaspora return, the need for relocation services is on the rise. Meet a very enterprising (and VERY qualified) Romanian entrepreneur in Split who is helping take the pain out of relocating to Croatia and beyond – Bogdan Petrea from Dalmatica Mobility Group.
When I first moved to Croatia back in 2003, there were not so many foreigners living here permanently. Those that did usually had a Croatian connection, typically marriage, or they were aid workers or military who had stayed on after the Homeland War.
Times change, and not only are many more foreigners choosing Croatia to live, but they are also starting businesses and offering increased levels of service and professionalism to the Croatian market. It is great to see.
I met one such expat on my recent visit to Split, a very interesting young Romanian called Bogdan Petrea, who has not only travelled the world, but also organised shipments all over the planet during his career. An expert in his field, he is currently the only person in Croatia who has the prestigious Global Mobility Specialist, Talent Management (GMS-T®) Designation, based in Washington D.C., bringing considerable credibility to his services.
After living in Split for a year, he decided to enter the market by founding Dalmatica Mobility Group, offering relocation services to and from Croatia and the region. A boutique service using his global experience and connections, based in Split. It was a pleasure to hear him talk with so much passion about what he does, as well as to realise the potential of this market with the rise of foreigners and diaspora moving to Croatia, including the potentially bigger corporate clients such as Rimac and Infobip.
From full-on home relocations from Croatia to Australia to the delivery of fine art to a yacht in Montenegro, Bogdan and his team are slowly establishing themselves as a professional and diligent outfit, going the extra mile in an industry that can be very stressful for the customer. I asked him a few questions about his project:
1. Why did you decide to base your business in Croatia, and specifically in Split?
After working remotely in Split for almost 1 year, I saw the potential in the moving and relocation market.
Being part of different expat groups, I saw many times the question popping up – “can you recommend a reliable international moving / shipping company?”
That’s when I decided to go for it – it had to be something related to this beautiful area, this is how Dalmatica Mobility Group was born.
2. What is your competitive advantage in the market here?
I consider Dalmatica Mobility Group – being a “boutique” moving and relocation company.
We are not focused on numbers, but we tend more to provide a very detailed and personal service.
Also, thanks to having obtained the Global Mobility Specialist, Talent Management (GMS-T®) Designation, I specialize in the field of global workforce and talent mobility, growing my expertise by being committed to ongoing education.
This certification is issued by the Worldwide ERC – Employee Relocation Council, headquartered in Washington, DC.
3. Tell us about the process of a typical move, from enquiry to delivery
Customers often want immediate offers (pricing), and I am trying to guide each of them into taking the best option possible.
Upon receiving an enquiry, the first step after the initial contact is the pre-move survey. Most customers want to skip this part and receive a ballpark price, but I consider this to be the foundation of a successful move.
The pre-move survey is free of charge, and it helps me to understand each customer’s needs, to make an estimation of the volume they want to move, and give them advice on transportation solutions, customs-related procedures, and restricted items for shipping.
Since technology nowadays helps us a lot, the pre-move survey can be done virtually, and it’s less invasive and more flexible for each individual.
Once the pre-move survey is done, we continue with the pricing by submitting a very detailed and transparent quotation where all the steps are explained.
Each customer has a dedicated Move Manager that will help them in the moving process from start to finish.
Once packing dates are planned, we assign the necessary materials and the packing team along with the agreed mode of transportation depending on where the destination is – that can be a truck, a sea container, or preparation for an air shipment.
The packing team will carefully and professionally – dismantle the furniture, disconnect standard appliances, and wrap all the belongings with utmost care using quality materials. An official inventory list will be made that we will share with customers after packing.
Where the location allows, we perform the loading directly in the container or truck, but often due to narrow streets and limitations, all this process has to happen via a warehouse. We also offer storage services for customers requiring that.
While the belongings are in transit, we keep our customers informed about the status of the transport, any possible customs inspections, and finally the estimated arrival time at the destination.
At the destination, we allocate the delivery crew, and we set the dates for moving-in, we deliver, unpack, and assemble the furniture that we took apart at the origin.
Additionally, we offer a wide range of relocation services to our customers – we assist with immigration, finding a home, or even a school for the children, we open utility contracts, and we pick up the phone for them in the middle of the night if needed.
Basically, we go above and beyond to make moving happening!
4. Do you have any client references we can refer to?
Some articles from our website blog:
We’ve managed to move two sculptures, weighing a total of 600Kg, from an art gallery in London, UK directly to the yacht moored in sunny and beautiful Montenegro. The sculptures have been carefully packed in custom made wooden cases and were delivered with no damage whatsoever. Our fine art moving services are suitable for both large and small pieces of art, with a range of bespoke packing options available. From the simple to the elegant, we offer a range of packaging which will meet your safety and storage needs whether you are moving locally or making an international move. Link.
Recently one of our old valued customers requested to move their belongings from Western Europe to Miami USA. Sure, we said…but there is a small problem, the family is already in the US and on top of this, they already had planned an exotic vacation to the Galapagos Islands. As we always find solutions we couldn’t refuse the service. What did the process involve? The old cleaning lady who still had access to the house, a very thorough planning and of course lots of trust. We packed all goods with the utmost care and the most important piece – a grand piano – was carefully dismantled, packed and crated for the final transportation in the sea container. In the meantime, the family was enjoying quality moments in the Galapagos Islands – what a paradise!! The goods stayed for a while in our storage warehouse until the container was ready and delivered for loading. While loading the goods were recounted to avoid any possible loss or misplacement and eventually secured in the steel container. Container got sealed, pictures were taken and sent to the family for extra peace of mind. After almost a 3 week journey the container arrived in the port of Miami where our trusted US partners did a fantastic job with the customs clearance and subsequent delivery to the final residence. Link.
5. How does Croatia compare to the rest of Europe in terms of bureaucracy for relocation? How would you improve the system?
Being an expat myself, I understand the difficulties of relocating to a new country, especially having to go through procedures like – customs, registration in the city hall, visas etc.
I am comparing this to living and working in Western Europe where most of the processes are done digitally, to coming to Croatia and dealing with services where piles of papers and stamps, signatures and notary documents are still required.
The bureaucracy in the field of relocation still exists, and I would improve the system by changing its basics:
- A more simplified customs procedure
- Digitalization of all processes in public administration related to relocation.
6. Who are your typical clients and target market?
Typical clients – expats and nationals looking to move internationally to or from Croatia, designers and art collectors,
We also operate in neighbouring countries, and we aim to become the one-stop supplier in the region.
As for our target market – we are interested to partner up with Croatian corporations that relocate employees and are looking for quality services.
Awesome stuff, and I love the fact that the business is based in Split (although they operate anywhere). Nice to see such services are increasingly available in Croatia, bringing worldwide expertise to the relocation industry here. You can learn more about the services of Dalmatica Mobility Group on their official website.