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How to Negotiate Relocation Assistance With an Unwilling Employer

Career Coach & Author Jack Chapman Tackles All of Your Salary and Negotiation Questions

"I love this job, but..."

We've all been there. You find a great job opportunity, the interview goes well, it's work you'd love to be doing and they make you a pretty nice offer. The only problem is this job is nowhere near where you live and you'd have to move across the country if you want it.

There are a lot of factors to consider before uprooting your entire life to pursue a new career opportunity. Will you like it there, what's the weather like, how's the cost of living, do you have a family to consider, etc. But from a purely practical standpoint, moving is expensive. And relocating to a brand new place far from where you're currently living can turn into a hefty tab. To that end, many companies offer relocation assistance. But what if your soon-to-be employer refuses to pitch in?

As always, our salary and negotiation expert Jack Chapman has answers to all your tough questions.

QUESTION

Dear Jack:
I recently applied for a job 1,400 miles away and was interviewed over the phone and in person. During both interviews, the subject of relocation came up with questions asked about whether I rented or owned, etc.

When I was offered the position, there was no mention of relocation assistance. I requested the company split the estimated $10,000 cost of moving with me. I was told there would not be any relocation assistance but they encouraged me to join the team and reminded me what a great opportunity the job is.

My question is, should I push for a one-way plane ticket and temporary housing for two weeks, ask for a relocation "advance" or simply walk away? I cannot afford to incur this cost by myself and it is a great opportunity.

ANSWER:
I am making an assumption that when you say, "it is a great opportunity" you mean you can make a lot of money now, or the experience will make you a lot of money later. If that's so, then you must be making good money for your employer, too.

If it is really good money, then they can get away with "take it or leave it." Your objective, then, is to push. Try one more time for direct up-front assistance, then try to get them to pay later. Maybe something like this: "Mr. Employer, I want you to know I agree with you and see this as a great opportunity. I've asked and you said there is no relocation assistance. I'd like to ask one more time, is there any part of the relocation you can help me with either as an outright partial reimbursement, or as an advance against my earnings?"

If it's still a no, don't worry. You still have options. Try saying "Could we set up a performance bonus? If I help the company make good money, and we measure it and set a goal, maybe we could have a bonus that would help me defray the costs of moving?

But that's about as far as you can take it. I sincerely hope it is, indeed, a "great opportunity." Good luck.

All the best,
Jack Chapman


Career coach and author Jack Chapman, who wrote "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute," is teaming up with Salary.com to offer a weekly Q & A on all things related to salary negotiation.

Using real questions sent in by actual Salary.com readers, Jack will help you navigate the choppy waters of interviewing for a job, negotiating a salary and asking for a raise or promotion. Remember all those times you desperately wished you had someone to help you answer all the tough questions that invariably surface around negotiations? Now Jack has your back and he's providing easy to implement, real-life solutions to your salary negotiation dilemmas.

Check back every Tuesday for the FREE advice that could prevent you from losing thousands of dollars in unnegotiated pay, get you the job you want and steer you clear of potential pitfalls during the interview process.

If you have a question or need some advice from Jack, we'd love to hear from you. Send an email to salarytalk@salary.com stating your problem or question, and we'll send it to Jack for his expert advice. Although Jack will do his best to reply to your question, the large number of responses we receive make it difficult to address each one.


Jack Chapman is a Career and Salary Coach, and author of "Negotiating Your Salary: How to Make $1000 a Minute." For more negotiating advice go to www.salarynegotiations.com or e-mail jack@salarynegotiations.com