Moving and switching jobs rank as two of the major stress triggers in our lives. Doing both at the same time can test your sanity-unless you collaborate with your employer, make smart choices and do plenty of planning.
“Start planning as early as you can-that’s really critical,” said John Bisney, a spokesman for the American Moving & Storage Association.
But what else should you do if you just got a job offer in a new city or your company is transferring you from Altoona, PA, to Zanesville, OH? Here are seven steps to help ensure your work-related move goes smoothly.
1. Find Out What Your Employer Offers.
Some companies pick up the tab for movers, hire a relocation specialist to help you plan and cover many other expenses, Bisney said. A survey by Worldwide ERC, a trade association for employee transfer professionals, found that companies spend an average of more than $19,000 to move a new hire who’s a renter. Meanwhile, these employers typically pay more than $97,000 to transfer a current employee who’s a homeowner. “Some companies are very generous,” Bisney said.
2. Get Bids From Movers.
If your company simply offers you a set amount for moving costs, you’ll have to handle the details. The first step: Get at least three bids in writing from licensed, insured movers. (You can check licenses at ProtectYourMove.gov.) Obtaining several quotes is a good way to spot a low-ball bid, which could be a red flag that the “mover” is a con artist, Bisney said.
Hiring a reputable pro can save you the headache of hunting down boxes, packing your wedding china, renting a truck and driving it across the country and maybe even throwing out your back. “It’s a big hassle to pack up and move the contents of a house across the country,” Bisney said.
3. Negotiate if Necessary.
What if the bids exceed the amount your employer has offered? “Don’t just take the dollar amount they offer-you can always go back and present your case,” said Carolyn McKibbin, editorial director at MyMove.com. Before you talk to your boss, add up the expenses. “There are a lot of hidden costs with a relocation,” McKibbin said.
One big hidden cost: Selling your current home, including the costs of repairs and staging to get it ready to put on the market. Other costs include a house-hunting trip to your new city, transportation for the family and pets, storage of your goods, and job-hunting costs for your spouse or significant other.
4. Decide Whether to DIY.
In some cases, you just might not get enough money from your company to pay a professional mover. In 2012, the average cost to have professionals move a typical family’s 7,100 pounds of stuff from one state to another totaled $5,600, according to the American Moving & Storage Association.
If that’s too steep for your budget, you might consider renting a truck and moving yourself. If you do, here are some items that experts say you’ll want to factor into your budget: moving boxes, self-storage (where you now live now or in your new city), truck rental, gas, restaurant tabs and hotel bills.
5. Use a Checklist.
MyMove.com provides a checklist to help movers stay organized. “A lot of moving tasks are pretty universal-packing boxes, finding transportation, disconnecting and connecting utilities,” McKibbin said.
6. Make Your Move.
If you hire movers, you’ll need to coordinate your arrival at your new home so you can sign for your goods when the movers get there. If you can’t, you have a few options.
One option is “storage in transit,” a temporary storage service offered by most professional movers, with goods being placed in a warehouse, Bisney said. Or you can have your boxes delivered to the self-storage unit of your choice, according to moving company Chapman Transfer & Storage in Mount Pleasant, TX. If you do this, you’ll need to have someone meet the mover at the unit to inspect your items. After the items are loaded into the storage unit, the mover no longer must pay for any losses for damage, according to Chapman.
7. Don’t Forget Tax Deductions.
If you make a long-distance move for a full-time job, you can deduct moving expenses not covered by your employer, according to the IRS. You can deduct the cost of moving your household goods, buying gas to get to your new home, shipping your car and pets, and storing your goods within 30 days of the move. “There are so many great tax deductions,” McKibbin said.