How to Get My Employer to Pay for My Move

Asha Kennedy
Oct 11, 2022
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POV: You just landed your dream job (Congrats!) — but it’s on the other side of the country. Aside from the anticipation of moving to a new place, you may be wondering how you’ll afford to hire movers to transport all your stuff. You may be able to get some help from your employer. Employer-paid moves, also known as relocation packages, are quite common. And to get one, all you have to do is ask (in most cases).

Keep reading to learn more about employee relocation packages and how you might be able to get one for your move:

What is a relocation package?

Employers offer relocation packages to help cover moving costs for new employees (or promoted ones) who need to move states to work. What your specific relocation package includes will vary depending on your employer, but here are a few things most relocation packages cover:

  • Transportation for your household goods (aka, your stuff) from your old home to your new one
  • Assistance buying or selling your home (or getting a rental)
  • The cost for the trip(s) to visit and/or househunt
  • Travel expenses for you and your family
  • Short-term housing and/or temporary storage
  • A bonus (on top of moving fees) to cover taxes, because most relocation packages are considered taxable income by the IRS

Your employer may offer one—or several—of the benefits listed above, but you probably shouldn’t assume they’ll cover all these needs. Instead, it’s a good idea to identify which of these concerns are most important to you and request assistance from that point.

Remember, all your moving costs may not be covered

According to a post-pandemic survey conducted by Allied Van Lines, around 30% of employees receiving a relocation package had their professional moving needs covered, 18% received reimbursement for trips to visit, 16% received a lump sum to use at their discretion, and 16% received compensation for living costs. While employer-paid relocation packages usually cover thousands of dollars in moving fees, they probably won’t cover everything. So it’s important to get your relocation package benefits outlined in advance and in writing!

How do relocation packages work?

Employers offer relocation packages in a couple of different ways. Here are a few of the most commonly offered in an employer-paid move:

  • A lump sum. This option allows your company to pay you a taxable, one-time payment toward your moving expenses. Some employers may pull the tax in advance, so you aren’t responsible for paying it at the end of the year, but you should confirm!
  • This allows the employer to reimburse you after the move. You’ll be required to hang on to every receipt for proof, and you’ll also want to confirm how much you can spend in advance, so you don’t overpay.
  • Using a direct billing process. Some employers have pre-arranged contracts with professional moving companies in order to expedite the relocation process. If this is the case, the moving company will bill your employer directly for all moving expenses, not you.

To confirm your company’s options, you can always ask to view their relocation assistance policy. If they don’t have one in place already, you can negotiate one of the packages we mentioned above. Just remember to make sure to get any agreement in writing!

How much do relocation packages cover?

The cost for an employer to cover their employees’ relocation costs varies depending on their needs for housing. For example, employees who are renters receive, on average, about $20–$25K—while employees who own homes receive between $60–80K on average.

Remember, the overall cost for a relocation package could cover anything from hiring movers to purchasing flights or rental trucks and even the cost to break an apartment lease. So it’s very important to prioritize moving costs you’ll need help managing the most.

How common are relocation packages?

In the past, we saw relocation packages only going to high-level executives and management. These days though—and if companies aren’t exclusively hiring remote workers—many employers are offering relocation packages to employees at various levels, especially post-pandemic.

This is because employers understand that the current workforce is learning to adapt quickly to change, creating more competition to onboard talent that can handle industry changes like the ones COVID-19 caused. So even if you aren’t the new CEO, you can still feel confident asking for relocation assistance. The amount of assistance you receive, though, may depend on your position. 

When should you ask for relocation assistance?

Bottom line: the best time to ask for relocation assistance is after your employer has offered you the job but before you formally accept the role. This is the time when you have the most negotiating power.

That said, you’ll want to be prepared for the negotiating process before you request a relocation package. And while it may be tempting to try and get every possible expense covered, you’ll still want to research to decide which expenses you need covered, not necessarily all the ones you want. Because chances are, you’ll get a good portion of your move covered—but probably not all of it.

How do I ask for a relocation package?

There are definitely ways to ask for relocation assistance that are more convincing to employers than others. Ultimately, the goal is to convey to your new company that if they help you, it will benefit them in the long run. In other words, it’s best to focus your request on the companies’ needs.

For example, if your new start date requires you to break the lease on your apartment, you can say something like: “If you help me cover the cost of breaking my lease, I can move my start date up by one month, which would help me complete [project] on a faster timeline.”

Or maybe you need more time to close on your new home than you originally anticipated. You can ask your employer to cover the cost of temporary housing and short-term storage so you can get started working faster while you resolve your long-term housing issues. 

What to do when your relocation package is approved

If your employer has already your request for relocation assistance, then there are a few more steps we suggest taking to prepare for the big move:

  • Get your agreement in writing.
  • Ask whether you need to find a mover or if one will be assigned.
  • Collect all contact information for each moving professional you’ll be working with.
  • Ask HR to approve any billing changes in advance.
  • Research your new home and plan a few visits.
  • Prepare for things your assistance may not cover, like changing your address or moving with pets.

Main takeaway

The more a company feels you’ll bring value to their team, the more likely they’ll be willing to pay the cost to get you there. So remember: when you’re preparing to ask your new employer to help pay for your cross-country move, make a connection between your needs and your new company’s needs. Moving isn’t cheap or easy, but it’s okay to advocate for yourself and get the help you need. Good luck!

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Asha Kennedy
Written by
Asha Kennedy
Asha Kennedy is a researcher and content writer who brings almost 5 years of experience working directly with multiple carriers as a Move Coordinator, including Mayflower, United, and Allied International. During her career, she has successfully partnered with diverse clientele to coordinate Military, International, Interstate and Corporate relocations—and uses this experience to create meaningful and educational content for future movers! Asha graduated from Hampton University with honors in English. Asha enjoys being in nature, reading books, and learning new things.