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Relocation Expenses: Who Pays?

So, you have covered all your bases as suggested in our previous two blogs and are ready to move forward with your relocation. Now comes the big question: Who pays for the move? Are you expected to foot the entire bill, or is it fair to expect your employer to pay for most of it?

Companies’ policies vary greatly when it comes to relocation packages: some are very generous while others offer little to nothing. And it has nothing to do with the size of the company as both large and small companies have been known to offer very generous packages.

Most companies offer a relocation package in the form of a sign-on bonus or a bonus spread out over three or four payments. And that bonus may have contingencies like needing to remain on the job for a year before the complete amount is paid out. Determine what your needs are going to be and ask what type of relocation policy your future employer has.

Most relocation packages will likely cover the following:

Visiting Your New City
An all-expense paid trip for you and your family to scout out your new city. If your spouse is leaving a job to relocate with you, you can request that he/she also get some help with finding a new job through a recruitment agency.

Housing Expenses/Allowance (Temporary)
When arriving in a new town, it is doubtful you will know exactly where you want to live. It can take two to three months for you and your family to figure that out. Ask about temporary housing that your new employer may provide. The peace of mind knowing your rental costs will be covered for this period will be immeasurable.

For some, selling a current home may be crucial to the actual move. Ask about referrals to real estate agents and/or property management companies that can assist in this complex process.

Travel Expenses
You may have to make business trips to your new office before your final move. If so, it is fair to expect the company to pay for your travel costs. Also, when you make the big move with your family, the company may pay for their travel expenses, too. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Moving Costs
It is common for deals to include the cost of disassembling your furniture, packing your belongings, shipping and reassembling your furniture in your new environment. If you are taking your car, the package could cover the costs of shipping it and renting a car until yours arrives.

Receiving the Funds

  • Receiving a lump sum upfront will allow you to organize and pay for your move as you need. However, expect that some companies will spread out the total amount over time. If you have not completed your research into the costs correctly, you may run out of money with no recourse to receive more.
  • Being reimbursed for your expenses by submitting your receipts may be more beneficial. This arrangement will only be doable if you have the funds to carry the costs until you receive the reimbursement. Be aware that the company may cap the final amount and anything over and above that will be considered your own expense.

Get it in Writing
Make sure the terms of your relocation package are in writing—in the body of the written job offer—and signed by both parties. This will assure everyone is on the same page, and there are no misunderstandings.

Many companies are willing to negotiate a package that will address your specific needs. Remember they want to move you because they believe in your talent and your skills. However, be aware that they are not obligated to pay for your moving costs. You will have more success if you can justify how this package will also benefit the company. The financial support will give you peace of mind and allow you to be more productive in your new job right off the bat.

Consider this your advantage!

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