How To Get A Relocation Allowance

By K.C. Roads | December 04, 2012 AAA

When you find your dream job, you'll pretty much do anything to get it, including moving to another city or even another state. However, moving is expensive, and not every employer offers a relocation package as part of a contract. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to persuade your new company to offer you a relocation allowance. And even if your employer refuses to help out, there are a number of things to keep in mind in order to keep your relocation expenses low. What follows are some dos and don'ts of financing your move.

Do make a realistic evaluation of your relocation expenses. Request quotes from relocation services such as moving companies or moving truck rental companies, and add the costs of car transport, air travel, food and lodging. Making a clear overview of the costs will prove invaluable both as a negotiating tool with your employer and as a guideline for your own budget.

Don't be afraid to ask for a relocation allowance once you have a firm job offer. Once an employer has offered you a contract, you are absolutely within your rights to ask for financial help for your move. It's a good idea to present an overview of how much the move will cost you so the employer knows you're being realistic. When negotiating a relocation package, remember to highlight the strengths you'll bring to the company and remind the employer that the sooner you're settled in, the easier it will be for you to give the company your best efforts.

Do remember to ask your employer about housing deals, sign-on bonuses and salary advances that can help you with relocation expenses.

Don't sign a contract if you don't have a realistic plan to move to your new location on time.

Do look for ways to keep your initial costs low if your employer won't help you out. Look for sublets and other low-cost accommodations in order to avoid signing a lease you can't afford. Consider putting your possessions in storage and moving them at a later date when money isn't quite so tight.

Don't forget to check the payback clause if your employer offers you a relocation allowance. Oftentimes employers will include a clause in the contract that states that any reimbursed relocation expenses must be paid back if you leave the new position voluntarily within a certain amount of time (for example, 12 months). If you leave before then, you might be liable for some or all of the moving expenses.

Do look for innovative ways to defray moving costs. If your employer won't help you out, brainstorm ways to cut relocation expenses. Oftentimes this involves helping somebody else move, such as renting a slightly larger moving truck to transport another person's stuff along with your own, or hooking a trailer to your moving truck and towing somebody's car. Just make sure that you're absolutely clear on what you're transporting, and remember to check your insurance policy for adequate coverage.

Don't overspend. Whether your employer is giving you a relocation package or not, never spend too much. Moving is always more expensive than you expect and you'll need cash to set up house in your new location.

Do look for ways to use the trip for professional development to receive partial reimbursement from your employer. See if you can tie it in with a visit to a field office, or attend a conference or training session along the route. You can also suggest visits to other companies to promote business and customer relations.

Don't be careless with receipts. If you have a relocation allowance, you'll most likely be asked to turn your receipts in to your new employer, and if you're paying for your move yourself, it might be tax deductible. In either case, you'll need your receipts, so remember to keep them in a safe place.

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