Jobs can be tough to find, especially if you’re in a field where jobs are focused in certain geographical areas. For someone with limited resources, the average $12,500 cost to move to another state can limit your choices.
Rather than abandon your search for a job out of commuting distance, why not secure relocation assistance? Studies have shown that roughly 79% of companies have a formal relocation policy.
That means you’re not limited to jobs in your area. Expand your search to include out-of-state jobs. When you find the perfect job, ask for relocation compensation.
What should you expect with your relocation package? Read on.
What Is a Relocation Package?
A relocation package is money paid by your employer for moving expenses and related services.
Money for relocation can come in the form of reimbursement for money you’ve spent or a lump sum payment to cover those services. Your new employer may also pay the vendors directly.
Don’t expect them to give you an unlimited budget, however. Most relocation packages have a cap, regardless of what you actually spend.
What items are covered? That can vary, but there are a few things you can expect your relocation package negotiation to include.
Transportation costs should be covered. That means movers to transport your belongings, airfare or travel costs for your family, and possibly even the cost to ship your vehicles should be considered.
There will also be costs related to packing your belongings.
You will be between homes for a period of time after you move out of your existing home and before you secure a new one. Those temporary living expenses can be part of a relocation package.
Often, you will need to make several trips between your old city and your new one as part of the moving process. Expenses related to those trips should be part of the relocation package negotiation.
If you own a home, you’ll need a real estate agent to sell your old home and buy a new one. Some employers will consider covering some or all of those fees.
You might also need to store your belongings while you wait for your new home to become available.
If you’re married, consider whether your spouse may need job search assistance.
There are other fees, as well, depending on your circumstances. Be sure to consider any expenses you incur.
Each company has a different policy, so you should ask about each of these items.
When Should I Expect Relocation Assistance?
Not all companies offer relocation assistance, and for those that do, sometimes assistance will be limited. There are several factors that determine whether a company is willing to offer a relocation package.
The company will consider whether there are enough local applicants to meet their demands. If there is a large pool of qualified applicants in their area, they have less of an incentive to pay to move you.
The size of the company will have an impact. Larger companies are more likely to offer assistance. Mid-range companies may offer assistance, as well, but small companies usually don’t.
The job you are applying for is also important. Professional jobs and jobs that require a lot of training and experience are more likely to come with assistance than entry-level jobs or ones that are less selective.
Regardless, you should always ask. Relocation policies aren’t uniform, so you’ll never know if they’re willing to provide assistance if you don’t inquire.
How Should I Ask?
Wait until you have a job offer in hand. If you mention relocation assistance during the interview, that may make you a less attractive candidate.
Once you know they consider you a serious contender, then discuss a relocation package as part of your salary negotiation.
However, don’t wait too late to bring relocation assistance into the conversation.
Your other benefits can sometimes be used to offset moving expenses. For instance, you might be able to negotiate a slightly lower salary or give up another benefit in return for moving assistance. If you’ve already wrapped up the other details, it may be too late to make the compromise.
If you’re considering another job offer that includes relocation assistance, be sure to mention that to your potential employer.
Have a good idea of what relocation will actually cost. Don’t estimate, because people frequently underestimate moving expenses. Your employer won’t know your specific needs, and you will want to be sure all of those needs are covered.
As a rule, most companies will want to spend as little as possible on your relocation. To drive that amount higher, you should develop a strategy that benefits both you and your employer.
Many companies won’t bring up relocation assistance. It’s up to you to raise the issue. The company won’t know you want help if you don’t tell them.
If your company is unwilling to offer relocation assistance, you can ask for a signing bonus, instead.
Dong Forget About Taxes
How your company classifies your relocation package is important. If the company doesn’t pay your moving expenses directly, you could be taxed on the money your company pays you.
Ask the company to gross up the payments so that the payment will also cover your taxes.
Get It In Writing
Lastly, if at all possible, get any commitment you get from your company in writing. A lot of companies aren’t willing to enter into written employment contracts, but if you can get your relocation assistance in writing, that will prevent misunderstandings later.
Take a Deep Breath
Taking a new job and moving you and your family to a new city can be stressful, both emotionally and financially. If you are able to get relocation assistance, it will be much easier for you.
A relocation package should cover anything related to your move. Know exactly what you will need, and discuss it with your employer as soon as an offer is made.
Tell your employer how a relocation package will benefit them, and be flexible in how you accept relocation assistance. If you do, you’ll be more likely to get help from your employer.
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