How to Negotiate a Relocation Package: a Complete Guide

Office relocation

Pictured: office items packed in boxes/courtesy Shutterstock

Relocating for work can be exciting, but it can also be costly. This is why many employers offer to help with moving expenses by providing a relocation package.

Relocation packages tend to be more common for those who move long distances and those in senior positions. In a 2022 survey of 1,000 professionals published by Allied, 64% of respondents said they have received a relocation package from their employer. 

How to Negotiate a Relocation Package

Negotiating a relocation package involves understanding what is covered, talking to your employer about expectations and being willing to compromise. Read on for a comprehensive look at negotiating a relocation package with your employer so you can confidently navigate your move.

Understand What Expenses are Covered

Employers typically provide a relocation package to help pay for expenses related to moving. These can include, but are not limited to: 

  • Travel costs, including transportation and movers
  • Help with selling your current home and/or buying a new home
  • A lump sum to cover general moving costs
  • Help obtaining a work visa

It is important to find out exactly which expenses will be covered when negotiating a relocation package with your employer. Whether you need to cover these expenses out of pocket or are eligible for reimbursement, knowing the details before moving will help you plan accordingly and make the relocation process smoother.

Discuss Your Expectations

Being up-front with your employer about expectations and desired outcomes is important. Explain what type of help you need from them, and include any other details that could affect their decision.

You should also ask questions about the company's relocation policy and the type of assistance typically offered.

Clarifying these details can help you understand the limits of their offer and determine how much additional support you may need. For instance, you may require more time off to move or additional funds for temporary living expenses.

According to Urban Bound, a relocation management company, there are four primary types of relocation packages employers typically offer: 

  • "The lump sum plan – The simplest type of plan, where an employer gives an employee a sum of money to finance his/her relocation, but little help arranging it.
  • The managed budget plan – Nearly as flexible as a lump sum, except funds are only disbursed as expenses are accrued, so employers keep any surplus. Plus, the plan includes support services.
  • The core flex plan – Where employees get to choose the benefits they need from a list, balancing economy with flexibility.
  • The fully-covered plan – The most-deluxe plan, where the employer pays all related relocation costs and provides 'white glove' relocation assistance as well."

Do Your Research

Once you have outlined the details of your move and discussed your expectations with your employer, it is time to talk specifics. Be sure to look up the cost of living in your new city, and be prepared to ask for more assistance if it is significantly higher than where you live now. 

It is best to be clear and direct about what you need from the relocation package, such as extra days off, a raise or additional funds for expenses.

Your employer may be unable to accommodate all of your requests, but if you never ask, you run the risk of settling for less than you deserve. 

Be Open to Compromise

Likely, your employer will not be able to accommodate all of your requests. This is why it is important to remain open to negotiation and compromise. Depending on the size of the company and its relocation policy, they may only be able to provide a certain amount of assistance.

Be willing to negotiate within those limits and offer a compromise, like substituting additional vacation days for the move instead of extra money. 

Negotiation Tips

Negotiating a relocation package can be intimidating, but following these tips can get the best possible deal. Remember, employers are more likely to agree to your requests if they see that you have done your research and understand their relocation policy.

  • Be prepared. Research your company's policy and understand what is covered before starting the conversation.
  • Make a plan. Know what type of help you need and how much additional assistance will be required.
  • Remain focused. Stay on topic and don’t be distracted by other issues or requests during negotiations.
  • Consider compromising. If your employer cannot provide all of the items you need, look for ways to compromise and reach a mutually beneficial arrangement.
  • Ask questions. Clarify any uncertain details before agreeing to the relocation package.
  • Follow up. Ensure all your requests are addressed, and get any and all agreements in writing from your employer before your move.

By following these tips, you can ensure that you get the most out of your relocation package and make the process as smooth as possible.

Relocating to a new city or country can be stressful, but having the right relocation package in place can help. By understanding your employer's policy and negotiating effectively, you can ensure you get the assistance needed to make the transition as smooth and seamless as possible. 

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