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Should I Negotiate a Relocation Package?

What to Do When You Want the Job, But Need More Money to Cover Moving Costs

Q: "My husband was offered a job in Florida. They flew me and him out there for a weekend and interviewed my husband. They offered him the job but their relocation of $5,000 was too low. We would be relocating ourselves, three kids and dog from Seattle, Washington. My husband asked for $8,000 and also itemized what we were using that amount for. First, last, security deposit on a house, ship one car and travel costs to drive while towing our third car and belongings. He was happy with the annual salary as cost of living is cheaper in Florida. My question is were we reasonable to counter their offer? This is a great job opportunity with more money in the future. They recruited him, he did not apply for this position. We're hoping to move in two Weeks!"

A: Even $8,000 sounds skimpy. Depending on the law of supply and demand, your husband could get an entire full relocation package including the purchase and resale of your home in Seattle, two or three all-expense trips to look at housing in the Florida area, and what they call a "gross up" to make sure that any money they give you turns out to be tax-free. The principle in good salary negotiations is to come in high and work your way down to a number that's reasonable. If you come in low and try and work yourself up, you don't get as far.

A couple things to be prepared for: 

  1. There will be a payback clause in the relocation package. It will be stated something to the effect of: if your husband voluntarily leaves the job before a certain date he will have to pay back a prorated refund of the relocation expenses. 
  2. Since this will be a very costly proposition for you, it will be all the more important for you to have an upfront severance agreement with them. That means if something happens through no fault of your husband that he becomes unemployed, say, the Florida company is bought, sold, reorganized, etc., then he will get a severance package to help him buy time to find a new job.
Good luck!
Jack 
 

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