You got a new job, and that’s exciting. It’s even exciting that you’re moving to a new town. The only thing that’s not exciting? The thought of leaving your house, finding a new place to live, packing, unpacking, and trying to get Wi-Fi and cable as quickly as possible. It’s a pain to try and organize all those changes, but it’s also pretty expensive.
To help entice new employees to pull up their roots and move to a new locale, many companies offer their out-of-town hires a relocation package to help cover their moving expenses. These packages range from a few hundred dollars (barely enough to cover the costs of a deposit on a new apartment) to several thousand dollars. Sometimes, your company may refer to this as a signing bonus.
Want your new company to foot the bill for your moving expenses? Here’s how to negotiate the best relocation package.
Tip 1: You Have to Ask
Each company approaches the hiring process differently, and it’s important to ask questions up front. Some companies may offer their new hires a detailed relocation package to handle a variety of needs. Others will simply wait for you to make the first move. If you want (or expect) help with your move, you may have to ask before you accept the job.
Be clear about what you need and how much the company will cover, and be sure to get everything in writing. You don’t want to move across the country with the help of a moving company only to discover that a mere fraction of your expenses are covered.
Tip 2: Know What You’re Asking For
The bare minimum you’ll want to request is to cover your moving costs. Find out how much it will cost you to pack and move. Try to itemize these expenses as much as you can. Shop around for moving companies that will handle a long-distance move, and try to hire someone who can get your belongings to you as soon as possible.
Tip 3: Consider Secondary Expenses
Relocation expenses aren’t just the cost of hiring movers and buying packing supplies. Companies that offer robust relocation packages can help with other things, too. Before you decide to move, consider every impact a move will have on you and your family financially. You may not be reimbursed or helped with every item on your list, but it can be a good starting point to show the employer how seriously you’re considering the job. Some things that may be covered include:
- Trips to your new city for advance scouting or house-hunting
- The cost of selling your old home and buying the new one
- Assistance with your spouse or partner’s job search
- Any costs associated with breaking your lease if you’re a renter
- School tuition costs for your family if you leave mid-semester
- School choice assistance
- Elder care
Tip 4: Consider Temporary Housing
What happens if you’re moving to a brand new city like Kansas City but don’t have a lot of time to shop for a new house? It’s possible you could spend a weekend looking and buying a new home before you actually move, but it’s not very realistic. Arrange for temporary housing in an apartment or rental so you can have time to get to know the city and make a more educated decision based on your commute, local schools, and other important information. Employers can often cover this for a set period of time—usually 60 to 90 days.
Tip 5: Don’t Forget About Taxes
Companies handle relocation expenses differently, and it’s important for you to know how your new employer will take care of the costs. Each method has different implications. Your company may choose to reimburse you with a lump sum to cover the costs of moving, which means you’ll need to pay taxes on that money. In that case, negotiate for more than you actually need. A better option is to ask your company to bill any vendors (like movers) directly, which simplifies everything for you.
Relocation Packages and Self Storage with StorageMart
If you do end up in temporary housing, there’s no reason to unpack all your belongings just to move them again in less than a year. Self storage is one of the best ways to keep your things close at hand.
Moving is hard, but self storage can help lighten the load—and make the whole process more enjoyable.
Updated February 10, 2020