What to Expect When You’re Moving for Work or on Assignment



Relocation and extended business trips are commonplace in large corporations, government agencies, and the medical industry. When offered the opportunity to relocate for a new permanent or temporary position, it’s important that you know what’s expected of you, but also that you know what to ask for and expect from the company so you may negotiate and prepare your major life change accordingly.

There’s quite a lot to consider when relocating, even if the move is temporary. Researching and reserving a residence, packing and shipping belongings, arranging for transportation in a new city, and finding schools for children (if you have a family), are just a few. What costs will your company cover? Will they arrange your housing and transportation? Will you be offered a stipend instead?

Relocation Expenses to Consider

When relocating, corporations can offer reimbursement for moving costs, such as packing and shipping belongings, storage, temporary lodging, meals, and transportation. In some cases, auto transportation is required, too. If your personal vehicle will not be transported, it would be vital to arrange alternate transportation in your new location. If it’s a temporary assignment, your only moving costs may be airline and baggage fees, which should be covered by the corporation.

Before booking a moving company or laying out funds for such services, it is recommended to inquire with human resources regarding the percentage or amount of reimbursement that will be offered for all moving expenses. Will expenses be covered for you and your family? How will you be reimbursed? For some, a new assignment comes with a raise or promotion in lieu of relocation costs.

Corporate services for relocation often include the cost of using a real estate agent or other resource to research and place employees in suitable housing. Corporate furnished apartments are preferable for short term stays, as they offer a taste of home away from home, and are more easily secured than a single-family home in most cities. Whether a corporation offers to pay for housing for a short period or simply assist the employee in finding the right accommodations and location, assistance is to be expected. If a real estate agent is used, it could be negotiated for the company to cover their commissions and other fees. If a move is permanent and a residence is purchased, the company can offer to contribute to closing costs.

Other expenses may occur that are unexpected. For instance, the costs to break a current lease, sell a current home, have a spouse leave their job, transfer children to new schools, and even pull out of utility contracts. Not only will these accommodations be time consuming, but they all come at a price that needs to be weighed with the opportunity being offered, the reimbursement options, and the cost vs. benefit in the long run. All unforeseen expenses can fall under the corporate services category and be negotiated within a new offer, if an employee is informed and plans ahead.

Other questions to ask:
• Will my new position require a new wardrobe?
• Is there adequate local transportation for me and my family?
• What schools would you recommend or where do other employees have their children enrolled?
• Do you offer assistance in setting up new utilities, such as WiFi, Cable, water, electric, gas, trash and recycling, etc.?
• How and when will I be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses?

The best way to begin the relocation process is to be informed of what’s available to you and how you can best utilize the company’s resources. Oftentimes, even if a company isn’t offering to pay the full cost of your relocation, they will offer services to simplify the process for you and your family to allow for a smooth transition. Remember, when you’re uprooting your life to take a position, there will often be room to negotiate your relocation package, too.

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