How to Negotiate a Relocation Package

You’ve been offered a great job opportunity you’re excited to take. There’s just one problem: Accepting that offer will require you to relocate.

Now make no mistake about it: Moving is expensive. Between hiring professionals to transport your belongings, buying packing supplies, and paying for storage, relocating for job purposes is an expense that might throw your finances off track. Furthermore, because you can no longer deduct job-related moving expenses on your taxes, you won’t get the IRS relief so many before you may have benefited from.


That’s why if you’re going to move for a job, you’ll need to negotiate a relocation package that ensures you come out unscathed financially. Here’s how to go about the process.

1. Estimate the cost of your move

The amount you’ll pay to relocate will depend on a number of factors, such as the distance you’re moving, the amount of furniture and specialty items you have, and whether you’ll need to pay for storage. Once you get a ballpark estimate of what your move will cost, sit down and discuss those figures with the company that’s made you the offer, whether it’s your present employer or a new one. Maybe that company will be willing to cover your costs in full or perhaps its policy is to pay for movers, but not storage. The key is to see what amount you’ll ultimately be on the hook for to determine whether the move itself is worth it.

2. Research the cost of living in your new area and make sure your salary is up to par

A $50,000 salary in a small city is not the same thing as a $50,000 salary in a major metro area. Therefore, you’ll need to research the cost of living in your new city and make sure the salary you’re being offered buys you a decent lifestyle in that locale. A few specific things you might look into are housing prices, property taxes, and income taxes, as these will no doubt eat up a large chunk of your money.

Another good way to assess your potential new salary is to see if it’s on par with what people in that area are making. Job site Glassdoor has a helpful “Know Your Worth” tool that allows you to access salary information based on job title and geographic region. If you see that you’re being offered $50,000 for a certain position in a new city, and the average salary for that job in that area is actually $60,000, that’s a red flag — and it’s also something you’ll want to discuss with the employer who’s made you the offer.

3. Think about the unique costs you’ll incur by moving

There are certain universal expenses that tend to pop up during a move. But you’ll also want to think about the expenses you’ll incur that might be unique to you.

Here’s an example. Imagine you currently have a family member who watches your children several days a week while you work. If moving to another part of the country puts you hundreds of miles away from family, you’ll need to start paying for child care, the cost of which can be astronomical. That’s why you should make a list of the expenses you’ll face by relocating and present that to your employer to negotiate the best possible salary.

There are plenty of good reasons to relocate for a job, but the last thing you want to do is put yourself at a financial disadvantage because of it. Before you accept an offer that requires you to pack up your home, assess the various costs you’ll incur, see what sort of cost of living you’ll be dealing with, and make sure your salary and moving expense reimbursements are adequate. And if they aren’t, don’t be shy about asking for more, especially if you already have a job to fall back on. Chances are, the worst your potential employer will do is say no.

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