Picture this: you’ve finally landed the job of your dreams, but there’s one problem — you’ll have to move across the country to take it. The move will be expensive, but the employer is willing to help offset the costs with a relocation package. But will it be enough to get you to your new home without putting you in debt?
A study from Atlas showed that 82 percent of employers polled offered domestic relocation assistance for qualifying candidates. And while mid- to large-sized firms are still more likely to offer a relocation package, smaller organizations and startups have been known to pay up to place (even to de-locate) the right candidate in high-need roles, too.
As with any part of your overall compensation, relocation assistance is often open to negotiation. Your company might offer a standard amount of relocation assistance across the board, but if your move is fairly significant, happening under a tight deadline, and especially if you’ve got other family members to account for, you’ll want to think extremely carefully about what you’ll need to avoid going in the red.
Consider these six factors before accepting a relocation package:
1. Money for Breaking Your Lease or Listing Your House.
Perhaps the most cash-sensitive element of a relocation package, lease-breaking funds can sometimes be the gatekeeper between accepting a job out of state and staying put. If you’ve landed a career-changing offer from an out-of-state company, but need some assistance tying up loose ends, ask for it — not without data, though. Make sure you calculate exactly how much you’d need to break the lease, and put a deposit, first and last month’s rent down on a new place. Use that figure (plus your other sundry moving costs) as a baseline for how much you’ll absolutely need to pull the trigger.
2. House Packing and Transporting.
Breaking the lease or paying for a realtor won’t be your only expense, though. Be sure to budget for packing and shipping, too. Even if you choose to take this time-intensive task on by yourself, you’ll still need to pay for a moving truck (which can easily cost over $1,500 for a cross-country move), boxes, insurance on valuables, tolls, gas and the like. See if your package covers the cost of packing, shipping and moving furniture, and ask if they have a preferred vendor they’ve had success with in the past.
3. Airfare or Car Rental for Transportation.
If you’re moving from a pedestrian- and public transit-friendly city to one that isn’t really equipped for either, you’ll likely need some help getting around at first. Ideally, your package would cover the airfare to get you there, plus a rental car for the first few weeks while you get settled and shop around. Many corporations have company vehicles or carpool services meant for this exact purpose — which can be a real cash-saver while you’re getting settled.
4. Temporary Living Quarters.
From the minute you land in town throughout the month or so it takes for you to scout out a new home, you’re going to want someplace comfortable to rest your head at night. See if the your package covers temporary housing while you find something more permanent. For something homey but cost-sensitive, try to negotiate for funds to cover an AirBnB or sublease for a month while you learn the area.
5. Immigration Assistance if You’re Moving Internationally.
As Moveline points out, if you’re moving to a foreign country for work, getting there can demand a whole other level of expense. Things like passports, Visa expenses, certification costs, photos, etc. for you and your family cost both time and money. If you’re moving overseas, see if your relocation package covers these costs, and ask if HR has someone on staff to help you through the process.
6. Family Assistance.
On that note, if you’ve got a family or spouse coming with you for the move, make sure they’re factored into the equation, too. Some experts suggest negotiating relocation funds to cover airfare to come visit the city, help scouting out school districts, and job search assistance for your spouse if they’ll be expected to find a new job. Even if your family isn’t coming along for the ride, check and see if your relocation package allows for visits back home, too — especially if you’re working overseas. And if you are moving overseas, you might factor in the cost of importing importing pets and pet insurance, too.
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