When you’re considering a major move, a corporate location can seem like a dream come true. Not only will you have a fantastic new job lined up and waiting for you on the other side, but many companies are willing to shoulder some—if not all—of the burden of your moving costs.
However, it’s important to note that no two corporate relocation packages are created equally. Before you accept that new job offer and sign the relocation contract, here are a few important questions to ask.
> Will it be a lump sum payment or reimbursement? Depending on how strictly (or not) your company oversees relocation, you may be given a check, or you may be asked to submit your receipts and costs for reimbursement. In the former case, you can use the funds however you want; in the latter, there’s often a dollar limit on certain moving services.
> Is spousal relocation included? When you’re married or in a long-term partnership, moving becomes complicated (especially if there are children involved). Not only is moving additional people/items more costly, but your spouse may need to manage the process of leaving one job and finding another.
> What kind of housing is included? Rarely is it possible to coordinate a move so that you go from one home to another without any kind of overlap or temporary homelessness. Will the company cover the cost of an apartment while you house hunt? Will they pay for one spouse to live in the new city while the other gets things settled?
> Is home selling/buying support offered? Financially, it’s best for everyone if you sell your current home as quickly as you can. Some companies have real estate agent partnerships or offer services so you can close and get packing that much sooner. They may also help you cover the cost of breaking a lease or other rental agreement.
> Will they cover travel expenses? If you’ll need to travel to your new city a few times to find housing, to attend meetings at your new position, or to check out things like schools, you’ll be spending quite a bit of time in the air (or on the road). See if your company will pay for at least some of these trips.
> Is cultural and/or immigration assistance offered? For an international move, things like immigration services can make all the difference in how well you and your family adjust. If you’re worried about adjusting to your new setting, ask about things like language services or tuition for an international school for your kids.
> What is the policy regarding big-ticket items? If you have special items to move (artwork, pianos, pets, etc.), be sure and get clarification on what’s covered or not—and specify if you’ll need additional funds for specific belongings.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll get everything you ask for, but when it comes to corporate relocation, it’s best to at least make the effort. You may get turned down for some of the services, but at least you’ll have a better picture of what you can expect from your transition.