So you snagged that new job and you’re headed for a great opportunity. Don’t start out in your new city with financial worries because you didn’t plan correctly. Relocating can be more expensive than you initially realize since bills may come due during or after the move. Depending on your new employer’s policies, you may be able to use your relocation money for much more than just a rental truck and gas money. Discuss your plans with your new boss to make sure you’re both on the same page as to what the company will cover.
Ask if your company will pay for penalties or early termination fees you’ll incur when you move. These could include cancelling a gas, cable or Internet contract, moving out of an apartment or terminating landscaping service. If you’ve received a discounted rate on services, you will likely have to back-pay the regular amount if you cancel the contract early.
If you’re taking your car, ask if you will be reimbursed for gas or mileage. Ask if the company uses the standard IRS mileage rate or a different amount. If you are renting a moving van and will be loading and driving it yourself, don’t forget to budget for boxes, tape, blankets and a dolly. You might even be able to score some money for your nephews or other young friends who help you load the van. If you are using a moving company, be wary of those that quote you a fee for the move and say they’ll tell you the price for boxes and tape after the move. This is an old scam that can cost you hundreds of dollars you’ll need to pay in cash at your new residence before they’ll unload. If you don’t want to or can’t take a pet with you, ask if your new company will pay for the professional transportation of Fluffy or Fido.
Think about your travel fees, which might include food, lodging and tolls. Ask if you’ll need receipts for everything and what form of proof the company will accept. For example, if you can put everything on one credit card, you might be able to use your statement as your documentation. Ask if they have a limit on hotel costs. It might be cheaper for the company to fly one or more members of your family while you drive a van to your new home, saving the company the cost of professional movers. Ask if this arrangement is acceptable and if they prefer to book your travel or if you will need to do it.
Once you make it to your new home, you’ll still have expenses. Call before you arrive to determine your cable, phone, gas and other connection fees. You most likely won’t be able to get your company to pay for rent deposits, but you might get the company to pay for the cleaning fee at your old place. See if the company pays for a pre-move scouting trip to the area.
If you plan on moving your belongings after you begin work, you might need to store them. Ask if the company will pay storage fees, and for how long.
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.