“Change is good” is no longer just a self-help mantra you repeat to yourself after a rough breakup. Our modern, unpredictable business climate requires us to adapt to new challenges and locations almost daily. Being assigned to a new office, for instance, is a chance to show greater responsibility, keep your skills fresh and maybe expand your network. New circumstances and responsibilities can quickly banish any trace of boredom and complacency, if you embrace the change with positivity.
These sorts of new adventures can be exciting, but also pricey—especially if your whole family needs to come along. UPack, a moving equipment rental company, estimates you’ll likely pay more than $1,300 just in gas for a 2,800-mile move in a 24-foot truck. There will be other costs getting you from point A to point B, including putting money down for an apartment deposit or paying for temporary hotel accommodations.
It may be in your employer’s best interest to help with the costs, especially if they suggested the relocation in the first place. Unless your employer is the military (moving services are provided), they don’t necessarily have to offer but you should be ready to ask. Keep it positive and stay in the black.
Learn the Options
Before you put in a formal request for costs, Monster.com suggests conducting thorough research so your numbers are accurate. Check your employee handbook for any info about relocation benefits. Talk to your HR department, since they’re often the ones who sign off on your relocation paperwork. Talk to other employees who have relocated, or someone at the office you’ll be joining. Friends who work outside your company might be able to give you their perspective as well.
Consider asking for possible incentives, rather than something like a per-mile rate or a lump sum to help with “everything.” An annual study about relocation options performed by Atlas Van Lines indicated the top incentives in 2013 included relocation bonuses, loss-on-sale protection if you need to break a lease or sell your home at a loss, cost-of-living adjustments and extended duplicate housing benefits.
Find a Place First
Wherever you’re moving to—from Los Angeles to Lansing—a lot depends on whether you’re going solo at first or bringing along the whole entourage of family members and pets. If it’s just you, you’d probably be OK getting into something basic and inexpensive as long it’s not too far from work. But if the whole family is accompanying you, you’d need to factor in things like schools, access to activities, neighborhood safety, health care or even if an apartment complex is pet or kid-friendly. When putting together a relocation contract, you can request things like funds for an advance trip to scout out possible homes and check out the community. Or, show you’re able to save the company some money by doing a lot of your research online. ForRent.com features Los Angeles apartments that are available in all shapes and sizes for people needing short-term or long-term housing, and other cities have similar offerings. The site also indicates if a place has useful amenities like pools, fitness facilities or laundry areas.
Make a Counter Offer
Ilana Green, a writer with Salary.com, says employers can easily say no to a request with a lot of components or a big price tag. If this happens, employees should then revise their proposal by removing some of the items that were rejected. This also helps create a paper trail, especially if all parties sign whatever decision has been reached.