When it comes to hiring employees, employers normally grasp the importance of attracting and retaining top talent. In an effort to accomplish these goals, they might have to go outside their immediate market to find or shift workers around.
In order to do so, a corporate relocation package may be necessary. If you’ve been asked by your employer to make a move — or you’re applying for a job with a company in another city or state — it’s useful to understand corporate relocation packages and how they can benefit you.
What is a Corporate Relocation Package?
Research shows that about 70 percent of U.S. companies offer relocation incentives or packages for employees or new hires. These can range from a couple thousand dollars to as much as $100,000 for executives and other top hires.
“No two companies offer the same relocation packages,” Mary Boone writes for Zillow. “Some will cover just the basics, while others will transfer vehicles, provide cultural training, help pay closing costs or mortgage points buy down, or even provide employment assistance for an accompanying spouse or partner.”
Generally speaking, larger companies will furnish better corporate relocation packages, because they’re able to offset the cost and make the investment worthwhile. Smaller firms tend to recruit locally and don’t have to worry about relocations. If they hire someone from out of town, the expectation is that the individual will pay his or her own way.
When to Negotiate a Corporate Relocation Package
Most people don’t understand that relocation packages are similar to salary in the sense that they can be negotiated. The question becomes: When is the right time to negotiate?
For starters, you should wait until an official job offer has been made. At this point, you’ll be presented with numbers, benefits, facts, and figures about the job — including the salary and other financial details.
Even though these items may be delivered in a matter-of-fact manner — as if there’s no room for negotiation — there’s almost always play in the numbers. Much the way a car dealer sells the latest model, there’s a bit of wiggle room built into the initial offer.
Once you’ve had time to review the relocation package, do some research and figure out what sort of options are standard in the industry. If the package seems generous or on par with other businesses, it may not be worth trying to negotiate.
If, on the other hand, the numbers don’t match up, feel free to come back with a counter-offer. The key to the successful negotiation of a relocation package is to know your numbers and come with a concrete set of facts to support your position.
Estimate the cost of your move, research the cost of living in the new location compared to your current one, and try to account for all the unique costs you’ll incur (but which may not have been accounted for up to this point). Spreadsheets, numbers, and facts go a long way toward constituting a solid counter-offer.
The employer will likely come back with a compromise that’s somewhere between its original offer and your counter. If it’s close enough, go ahead and accept. (You don’t want to quibble over a few dollars; that doesn’t look so good.)
If a major discrepancy remains, feel free to press a bit harder. If the company really wants you, its team will be smart enough to work with you on the numbers.
Five Items to Consider and Ask For
Negotiating a relocation package doesn’t necessarily entail asking for a specific dollar amount. In some cases, the process may involve requests for certain benefits and compensations. As you negotiate, you might consider such items as:
1. Scouting Trips
“One of the keys to an easy relocation is to make sure that you, your significant other, and your family are all on board with the decision,” journalist Tor Constantino says. “As a precondition for accepting my respective offers, I asked that each company allow my family to take two or three ‘reconnaissance’ trips to the new state to look for permanent housing.”
Now, two or three scouting trips is probably a bit excessive and unlikely to be part of most job offers, but you should get at least one trip covered by your new employer. This will enable you to gather some impressions and get a feel for the new area.
If you can manage to land a temporary housing allowance, you should absolutely accept. As much as you may want to buy a house and move in immediately, temporary housing in the new city gives you the opportunity to figure out which areas of town you like, which you may not, and how your family’s lifestyle could change. In most cases, the duration of temporary housing is 60 to 90 days.
3. Pack and Transport
All relocation packages will include some kind of compensation for packing and moving, but all of them won’t offer whole-house packing and transport with a professional service. It’s recommended that you negotiate a whole-house pack and transport, which will be far easier on you and eliminates one of the more stressful factors in a professional move.
4. Spousal Support
In major corporate relocations, you might be able to negotiate spousal support for your partner. This is typically the case when a spouse also has a high-paying job and will need assistance finding a comparable position in the new city.
Spousal support might include help finding a new job, temporary unemployment pay, or assistance with establishing a new business.
5. Cash Stipend for Miscellaneous Expenses
Small expenses inevitably pop up unannounced. They may not be a big deal in isolation, but they can become expensive when they add up.
In order to cover this, some companies will offer a cash stipend or miscellaneous bonus. If you’re smart, you can use such a stipend toward whatever expenditures you like — including the purchase of your new home.
“During my most recent relocation, the company gave us a $5,000 stipend upfront for miscellaneous use,” Constantino explains. “Because we had planned well and had zero out-of-pocket expenses, we were able to apply that entire lump sum toward the closing cost on the purchase of our new home at the time.”
Work With Green Residential
If you’re being relocated to Houston or somewhere in the surrounding area, we would love to help guide you through the process. Ask your relocation specialist for permission to work with Green Residential.
Our knowledge and experience of the area will help you find the perfect home for your family. Contact us today to learn more!