By: John Fernandez | CRP, GMS, SSB

February 22, 2022

What Kind of Costs Are Involved When Relocating an Employee?

A primary concern for companies when offering relocation packages is the cost. It can be expensive to move an employee and their family to a new destination. But frequently, companies who cover relocation costs for their new employees can hire from a much wider talent pool than those that can only make offers to local candidates. When a company’s relocation packages are constructed by an experienced relocation management company (RMC) there is an increased opportunity for savings and the elimination of unnecessary costs from your relocation budget at each stage of the talent mobility process. 

Understanding what costs are associated with the relocation process and why they should be included in your relocation policies can help make sense of the price being paid. Before diving into some standard relocation costs, it’s important to point out that each company and its moving employees have different wants and needs when it comes to the moving process. This can make it difficult to generalize costs and prices for one-off relocations. However, these are some of the most common costs associated with talent mobility:

Real Estate and Corporate Housing Costs

One of the primary benefits offered in many relocation packages is real estate assistance. In many cases, employees only have a set number of days to move and will likely need help selling and buying a house or sourcing a temporary place to live in until a permanent home is found. Therefore, the most competitive relocation programs include a home-selling assistance program. Often, these programs have options where the company or the RMC will buy the home from the moving family then resell the property themselves to allow the employee to make their start date in their new destination on time. It is also prevalent for RMCs to urge companies to include specialized relocation real estate agents to assist moving families with selling and purchasing their homes during the relocation. 

Other relocation costs most employees want to see covered are house-hunting trips. After an offer is made and accepted for the open position, the new or promoted employee will ask the company to cover or reimburse for a trip or two to look at potential new houses and schools with their real estate agent. While this can be expensive, it can show that the company cares about the employee and family settling in comfortably at their new destination. 

For temporary housing assistance, many companies will cover anywhere from 30-90 days of corporate housing. Corporate housing, also known as short-term housing, is generally a furnished apartment for the employee to stay in while the relocation process is finalized. For example, employees may need to report to work for their new position while their family needs to stay back for a few days or weeks to tie up loose ends. Or, in some cases, the employee’s new home or apartment might not be available to move in for the first few days or weeks after they arrive.

Moving Costs and Shipping of Household Goods

The most obvious and sought-after relocation benefit is assistance with typical moving expenses, such as the movement of the employees’ household goods. There are a few different ways to approach moving assistance; in some cases, the company will handle hiring and coordinating the move with a vetted and approved moving company or van line. This type of relocation offer can usually save the company money as they can have direct insight into all expenses. In addition, multiple-bidding processes can further reduce costs by generating competition between potential suppliers.

The reimbursement of moving costs is another commonly extended benefit from another standpoint. Under this model, the employee may be responsible for sourcing their own movers while their company will reimburse a portion (if not all of) any allowable expenses, per company policy. Some companies may only offer assistance in the form of a lump sum relocation package. This means the employee will be provided a lump sum payment that is intended to help reduce the burden of moving costs to the employee – however the employee is generally left to their own devices in this scenario.

Household goods costs extend beyond “the movers.”. Many relocating employees need specialty or sensitive items shipped, such as automobiles or pets. And on top of that, many people who move need temporary storage units for their personal property while transitioning from corporate housing to their new full-time house.

Relocation Costs to Keep In Mind

While the list of relocation benefits a company can potentially cover is extensive, it’s essential to work with the RMC to ensure your policies are up to date by reviewing them every 12 months. This will ensure that your company stays competitive in the hiring field while also verifying the company is not wasting money on payouts for benefits that are not being utilized. Here is a quick look at some of the other typical talent mobility costs included in many relocation policies: 

  • Schooling assistance
  • Spouse/partner career support
  • Temporary storage
  • Language/cultural education 
  • Travel assistance
  • Tax gross-ups
  • Relocation coaching
  • And more

Evaluate Your Company’s Relocation Costs With a Courtesy Consultation

With current market forces, the price to relocate an employee can be unpredictable. It can also be costly if not done professionally. Global Mobility Solutions (GMS) is here to help with any questions you may have about relocating employees. We offer various relocation tools and technology to make the relocation process for your employee as simple as possible. In addition, our qualified team can walk you through a comprehensive program review to see if your company can save money on your relocation packages. Contact us at any time when you’re ready to update or create global mobility benefits packages for your moving workforce. 

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Executive Vice President John oversees global operations, marketing, business development as well as reporting and analytics. John’s 23 years of mobility experience include excellence in varied positions such as Relocation Counselor, International Assignment Manager, Manager of Latin American Operations, Director of International Operations, Global Account Executive, Vice President of Sales and Vice President of Global Services. The depth of John’s mobility experience also includes multiple assignments and domestic relocations of his own. He has lived and conducted business around the globe and speaks multiple languages.

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