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Handling a Cross Country Move?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the things-to-ask-your-boss dept.


Tarin.n asks: "For the past 2 years, I have worked remotely from the East Coast for a Silicon Valley company. The company is now considering moving me to the west coast, so that I can be closer to their headquarters. I'm trying to make a list of questions to ask of the company as we discuss this transition, as well as a list of items to take care of personally for such a move. What experience have others on Slashdot had with a cross-country move? Specifically, what should I ask and watch out for?"

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Money (1)

stanmann (602645) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866959)

How much are they paying for your move?

How much more are they going to pay for changing costs?

Are they going to give you money for temporary expenses while you are looking for permanent housing?

Oh, and Money??

Re:Money (2, Insightful)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867057)

Maybe not related to your employer, but worth mentioning anyway

Be very careful while choosing the moving company. Choose some one who is reputable and reliable, rather than using some one who promises low upfront costs.

My friend moved from west cost to east, a couple of years ago, the moving company said the truck broke down midway, and didn't deliver his goods for 2 months, and when it finally arrived, the truck driver, wouldn't unload, unless he was paid 500$ extra. Moving companies are a big rip off, if you are not careful.

Moving Companies (1)

no_pets (881013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867244)

I have no experience with this although I do remember one of the news shows (20/20 perhaps) running a story on this happening. I'd recommend doing some homework before selecting a moving company.

The #1 Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14868106)

Why do they want to move you into an area where The Next Big Earthquake could destroy all of Silicon Valley?
I recommend talking them into moving out, so that they will have a chance of still being in business, afterward.
The Quake is inevitable, and like an A-bomb, the best way to survive it is to not be there when it goes off.

Re:Money (1)

coolgeek (140561) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867957)

Unless you can fill an entire trailer, the "moving company" is just a fancy front end for a freight company. Your stuff will be unloaded at various depots, split up, reloaded, etc. unless like I said you fill the whole trailer. Can be a real pain in the back say if your bed arrives late.

Big movers stink. (1)

mckwant (65143) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868562)

We used NorthAmerican Van Lines to move from Mpls to Austin, and it was absolutely horrific. Like "Lost our stuff for two weeks, didn't know where to find it, destroyed a reasonably nice desk, and balked at paying us for ANOTHER two weeks" horrific.

In passing along our tale of woe, we've heard similar stories about most of the other major carriers, though. The overriding lesson being that if you use a company along those lines, you have to set it up through a company account. If it's just a single household move, you're subject to all sorts of abuse, as my understanding is that the carrier is different from both the company that packs your stuff and the company that unloads it. Good luck figuring out where the damage actually happened, so you're stuck taking the settlement, which is chump change compared to what you paid in the first place to avoid exactly the kind of hassle you're getting.

Unless your house is very big, or you're moving out of or into a walkup, don't use big carriers. Your mileage may vary, but for me, they're absolutely not worth it.

Re:Money (1)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868890)

If you've got a large pickup truck or a full-sized van, you're probably best off renting a trailer from UHaul. That way, you know your stuff will be handled properly, and it'll arrive when you do.

Re:Money (1)

SoCalChris (573049) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867610)

More importantly, are they paying up front, or will you be reimbursed later? A cross coutnry move will cost thousands of dollars.

I recently moved from the Los Angeles area to Montana, and was able to work out a deal with the hiring company where they paid up front for the moving truck, and I paid up front for the gas/lodging/meals/Misc expenses and was reimbursed for those later.

As far as moving companies go, I highly recommend ABF U-Pack [] . They come and drop off a semi trailer at your current home. You have 2 days to load it. Then they come pick it up, and it is professionally driven to your new home, where it is dropped off for 2 days. Their price for me was about $2,500, which was about $4-5 thousand cheaper than UHaul, Penske & Budget truck rentals. Not to mention that I didn't have to drive a large moving truck, and pay for gas in it. Also, you only pay for the space you use. If you use less than the amount you are quoted, you don't pay as much. If you underestimated how much space you need, that's not a problem either, you just pay a little more.

Re:Money (1)

AuMatar (183847) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868441)

Personally, I'd go the absolute other way- full service. Pay them to pack it for you, put it on the truck, drive the truck away, and move it into your new place. This way, they have total legal liability- if anything breaks or is damaged, they are responsible. If you pack it yourself or load it yourself, you share responsibility as you can't prove it wasn't pre-damaged when they got it. Plus its so much lower stress that way. It tends to be quicker too- it only took a morning when I did it last. ANd if you're doing a corporate move, the company will usually pay for it.

Third Option: Your Stuff Isn't Worth Moving (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14868823)

Oddly enough, a bunch of us were dicussing cross-country moves at lunch a few days back and many of us who had done so, wished we had sold, donated or made going away presents of most of our furniture and replaced it, new or used, or even did without when we arrived.

Somethings like clothes or matresses (if you paid for quality) ship well and are worth taking. Other things like hobbies or heirlooms have a replacement value (money or other) that makes shipping worth while. On the other hand, most of your stuff is crap and will be crappier when it arrives (even if not overtly damaged) and you'll like it less when you've paid for it again (shipping costs).

Seriously, you'll probably be happier making a new start on collecting a bunch of crap.

This post brought to you by the word: undergo

Re:Money (1)

Doctor Memory (6336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868943)

Yep, that's the way. I've done this twice in the past few years (Philly to Portland, Portland to Lincoln, NE) [yes, I do have some bad karma I'm burning off], and this is what I did. The only real problem I had was the second move, when we decided that rather than buy a house with only a weekend to choose, we had them put our stuff in storage while we found one we liked. When we finally got our furniture, several pieces had been ruined due to water damage, and a half-dozen random things were broken. The company (North American, I believe) was pretty good, giving us money for the stuff that was destroyed and either repairing or replacing the rest. Their repair guy was very good (matching stain colors on an antique filing cabinet), and if we weren't happy with his work, they company told us they'd pay to have the whatever replaced. Obviously, YMMV, and it's nicer if nothing gets broken, but we have enough stuff that we entirely filled a 35' trailer (part of that was a car, though), so it was important to us that everything was packed and unpacked as well as transported.

True cost of living change? (5, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866963)

One thing that they might not be to open about (or even aware of) is the cost of living differences. Living on the east coast with the salary you're making might make you feel wealthy. Moving to the west coast with the same salary might put you in the poor house.

Be aware of the cost of living differences between two markets (even within the same metropolis on occasion!).

Re:True cost of living change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14866983)

If you're going from DC or NY to SF, then the change won't even be noticible. In fact, you may come out slightly ahead in the whole deal.

Re:True cost of living change? (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867012)

Be aware of the cost of living differences between two markets (even within the same metropolis on occasion!).

In that same vein, make sure to ask them about assitance in finding housing, if you haven't done so for yourself already. Some companies work with local realtors to help find employees affordable housing in the areas they are moving to. If the company doesn't, ask them to look into it for you. And make sure they pay for the full move.

Re:True cost of living change? (2, Insightful)

FatMacDaddy (878246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867017)

I'd say this guy hits the nail on the head. Unless you're living in DC or Manhattan, the Bay Area in California is going to be a unpleasant surprise, cost wise. A tiny house that needs to be torn down still sells for well over half a million just because the land it's on is so valuable. This in turn drives up the costs of other goods and services here.

I've moved cross country a few times, and one of the big non-material things you have to consider is whether you're the type of person who can live in a new area where you might not know anyone. It can be weird and isolating for some people, while others find it fun and exciting.

Good luck.

Re:True cost of living change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14867783)

Don't forget Boston. There's not a whole lot of difference there either.

So true! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14867275)

I once moved from TX to NY. My Salary doubled. After rent (Cheapest dump I could find after 3 months looking) and utilities, I had less spending money available. That included Car payments, Gas, food, etc. After 6 months, I quit and moved back. Best decision I could have made! Better luck than me!

TAXES!!! (1)

kninja (121603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867287)

Also consider that the state taxes in CA are on the higher end, and when you're making more, you also pay more. Property Taxes through the roof!

Keep this in mind when asking for salary adjustments.

Re:True cost of living change? (2, Informative)

newbrier (754207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867377)

Too often people use the CPI (consumer price index)to compare two markets. While this is a good start it does not present the entire picture. I recently moved from Harrisburg PA to Tampa FL (3.3% higher CPI in Tampa) but reality is that I can afford to live in Tampa, but I will never build any real wealth as I could in Central PA.

From the BLS ( [] )

Is the CPI a cost-of-living index?
"The CPI frequently is called a cost-of-living index, but it differs in important ways from a complete cost-of-living measure. BLS has for some time used a cost-of-living framework in making practical decisions about questions that arise in constructing the CPI. A cost-of-living index is a conceptual measurement goal, however, not a straightforward alternative to the CPI."

Re:True cost of living change? (3, Interesting)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867730)

I lost my job, and a friend of mine found me work in Pittsburgh, and so I moved from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh, PA. I'm afraid I still haven't recovered from the culture shock of being in Pittsburgh. I now plan to move to the Philippines instead of staying in Pittsburgh because the place is so depressing to me. I'm going to keep my cost of living very low so I can make a startup venture work, but above all because I think I'll find a better life there.

In moving to the Bay Area or Los Angeles, you can be assured that your destination isn't depressing, but it will look horribly expensive. Food's actually cheaper (and higher quality) thanks to intense competition, but housing makes up for all that and more. However, the fact that you won't have to pay much for heat helps a lot. Heat in the east is more expensive even than air conditioning in Los Angeles. Real estate taxes are high, but lower than you might think based on the value of the homes. A $150,000 house in the Pittsburgh city proper actually has higher taxes than a $428,000 house in Los Angeles.

I'd recommend checking out [] and [] for your destination city to get a handle on the cost of living adjustment. Check out the housing sections for Craigslist.

Don't find your mover via Craigslist, though. The one I eventually used was unprofessional and did a poor job with my stuff. The actual worth of your stuff is likely to be very close to the cost of moving it; unfortunately, that's not true of the cost of re-buying it new. In other words, if you have a desk that you bought for $1,000 you'll be lucky to sell it for $200, but moving it will cost $300. If you're patient and can find something equivalent for $300 at your destination, then you're better off selling your stuff than moving it. If it's something that will be difficult or expensive to find at your destination, then you're better off moving it.

If you're driving your own car, ignore the advice I saw elsewhere and cram as much in it as possible. I took most of my computer equipment that way, and boy was I happy to have it before I got the rest of my stuff!

In the end, unless you have really strong ties where you are, you'll probably like the west coast more than the east. The cold-weather East, at least to my eyes, has been an exceptionally drab and depressing experience and I will be very glad to leave it.

Good luck!


Having done this recently . . . (3, Informative)

hawk (1151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868221)

I finally ended my excile and returned to Las Vegas last summer, with two more children and much more stuff than when it started.

#1. Don't use U-Haul. The web pages about disaster experiences aren't exagerations. Your "reservation" is issued automatically, without even a cursory check as to the availability of trucks. They finally found me one an entire day late--90 miles from where I should ahve received one. The average age of their fleet is significantly older than all of their competitors.

#2. Throw it away. Unless you're absolutely certain that you'll actually use it, toss it. Then do it again. Then toss everything, and only take out what you *really* need. Then throw a bunch more away.

#3. Don't use U-haul. Few people have had positive experiences with them., and the horror stories are common.

#4. Avoid U-haul at all costs.

#5. Be *entirely* packed and living out of suitcases and a couple of plates a full week before you leave. You *will* run over.

#6. Did I mention not to use U-haul?

#7. Film your old rental housing for when your former landlord comes up with "interesting" charges. Insist that the landlord do a final walkthrough with you--but the place needs to be empty for this.

#8. Most importantly, don't use U-haul.

#9. If using a rental truck and there are any mountains in your path, or even those little bumps that the easterners fancy to be mountains, you want a diesel and not a gas engine. The difference in fuel consumption is significant, but the diesels are much better on grades.

#10. Don't use U-haul.

#11. Consider alternate starting and stopping points. Rates are based upon the amount of trucks going each way. By going 60 miles further east to pick up a truck and overshooting Las Vegas for Orange county, I knocked more than a third off the rental price. Everyone was leaving my part of PA, whle everyone goes *to* Las Vegas, and everyone is fleeing California. There's a discount for bringing a truck *to* California, and a surcharge for leaving one in Vegas.

#12. Pay the damage waive ron the truck. Really. It's a dumb move on a car, but you're driving something big that's easy to bump and scratch. I'm, umm, well ahead of the game on this one. It also helps when the equipment malfunctions and damages itself; there's no issue of them charging you (On my previous move, the hitch failed on myU-haul trailer and rammed the truck, ruining much of the equipment on the tongue).

Now, for an unfortunate, sad, fact of life: Only uhaul rents large closed trailers one-way. This is why I ignored my past experience and used them last summer. What I *should* have done was rent a Penske truck and a U-haul trailer, slapped a hitch onto my van (which has Class IV towing), and moved it to the Penske at the house. There hav ebeen many reports of U-haul refusing to hand over trailers to those who show up in competitor's trucks, claiming that that model doesn't appear on their list of approved vehicles (5,000 pound towing capacity needed).

Aside from being over a day late, our u-haul broke down three (3) times. After a thousand miles, it threw the trailer off the hitch. According to the repairman who came out, the hitch was properly attached (besides, we *had* travelled 1,000 miles by then), and couldn't have come off unless the ball was undersized.

Then, coming over the first major downgrade on the Rockies, the transmission *selector*, not the transmission, broke, leaving me stuck in thrird gear. Massive damage to the brakes (completely smoked), and the truck sp0ent a week in a Uhaul depot waiting for a part (again, old trucks).

Once it was ready, it turned out to be massively overweight, and we had to rent a Penske to offload 5,000 lbs. With the U-haul and Penske approximately equally loaded, we attached the trailer to the Penske. Even with the trailer, it would blow past the U-haul, even uphill.

Finally, approaching Vegas, the uhaul started overheating. We ended up dumping it in Vegas, as it wouldn't have made it to Orange county, anyway.

hawk, who never wants to move again.

Re:Having done this recently . . . (1)

morryveer (870752) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868485)

#2. Throw it away. Unless you're absolutely certain that you'll actually use it, toss it. Then do it again. Then toss everything, and only take out what you *really* need. Then throw a bunch more away.

Yes, and no. We did this when moving from Denver to Oyen to Toronto. Actually we held a garage sale first. Made a fair bit of money but of course people always want the best stuff for unreasonable prices. Sold a lot though. But the best decision we made was to rent a truck for the day and donate it to the local ARC/Salvation army/etc (instead of just trashing it). It takes a lot of effort, but in the end you at least get a tax-deduction out of your "trash". Make sure you call/visit the ARC first to make sure they accept what you're bringing them, their hours, etc etc. You have to fill out the "donation" forms yourself. Write down every fricken thing.

And my own advice. If you are FOOOLISH enough to rent a truck, make for damned sure it's a diesel. Uhaul likes to bait and switch.

Re:Having done this recently . . . (2, Informative)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868494)

Great advice about U-Haul. I'd rather buy my own box truck and sell it after a week than deal with those bozos ever again (this is after about 4 bad situations).

I prefer to pay professionals a professional rate for moving. When I moved out of my condo and my broad moved out of her apartment, we hired professionals to hit both our pads as well as both our storage sheds, and move everything to our house. They did an amazing job, but for the thousands I spent I'm assuming most people wouldn't have bothered. I think I saved about 100 hours of packing and unpacking (they did it ALL), so I figure I ended up way ahead and stress free.

FYI, your website doesn't work. Parked?

Re:Having done this recently . . . (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869020)

>FYI, your website doesn't work. Parked?

Nope. Go-daddy'd.

They somehow managed to foul up my direct credit card charge almost every month. I'm not sure when they stopped serving it up, just that they charged me for months afterwards. Now they want me to commit to a year in return for not charging me for restoring from tape, so I'm looking for a new host. (And, I need to get around to filing a compliant with the attorney general).


Re:Having done this recently . . . (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868628)

Good advice up there. And remember to pay extra special attention to points 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, and 10. And remember, don't use U-Haul. They truly do not understand the concept of a "reservation."

Prediction: (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14866968)

You'll take some advice from J. Random Slashbot and you'll regret it for the next 5-10 years of your life.

Be careful.

Re:Prediction: (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866985)

I'm not sure it is unwise to ask others for what questions to ask the employer as well as gain some knowledge in the caveats of a move.

From what I can tell, there is actually a decent number of people on slashdot who have been in similar situations and would be happy to share the positives and negatives.

Re:Prediction: (1)

notanatheist (581086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867001)

That's why you don't post as AC. Surely you can Google the average cost of living for the county you'll be in. Add to that any research you can do into the crime scene. All depends where on the West Coast you'll be. I can say for sure that most of Oregon is fairly affordable. California you seem to pay by the square inch for a place to live.

Re:Prediction: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14867119)

"California you seem to pay by the square inch for a place to live."

In the Bay Area there is an up front flat fee of $500k, then you pay by the cubic inch (vaulted ceilings cost extra)!

zero downtime moves of datacenters can be cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14866982)

Back when I was in a well-funded dotcom we did a zero-downtime move of a quite active (top 200) web site. Cool things like moving machines from the web serverr cluster at about the same rate that the DNS-chances propogated (some major ISPs cached dns records far longer than they were supposed to); and some interesting tricks of moving replicated slave databases first and propoting them to masters when half the users were hitting the new datacenter.

If you can plan for a zero-downtime move, I'd suggest you do it; since it looks really cool to even people like the CFO who think it's magic.

Beware the Rockies (4, Funny)

Grayden (137336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866988)

Watch out for tunnels in the Rocky Mountains. They are pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue. Or a Balrog. Either way not fun.

Re:Beware the Rockies (2, Funny)

Edward Teach (11577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867170)

You forgot to warn him about the Wumpus!

Re:Beware the Rockies (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14867232)

You forgot to warn him about the Wumpus!

Shhhh! Don't mention it by name. It might hear you. You don't want to get it's attention.

stuff to ask (2, Insightful)

ChazeFroy (51595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866991)

- One-time relocation expense reimbursement
- Bump in salary if new location is more expensive than old location (salary calculator [] )
- Assistance with finding a house or apartment

More important is how this will affect your family. Being single will make the decision easier, but being hitched with kids will make this truly a life-changing event.

Re:stuff to ask (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14867306)

That salary calculator is a piece of crap. I compared Rochester, NY to Santa Clara, CA. You can buy a decent house in the city of Rochester for under $50,000. My mother's two bedroom condo (nothing fancy) in Santa Clara runs for around $400,000. According to the calculator, I only need 88% of my original salary to move west.

Re:stuff to ask (1)

Meostro (788797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867688)

If I move from Columbia, MD on the East Coast out to Berkeley, CA in the Bay Area, I apparently need an 8x increase in salary [] .

Sounds good to me, I wouldn't mind 360k a year!

You Shouldn't Pay (1)

jmarcand (248367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14866995)

Your company should cover costs of packing and freight of your belongings and pay for your vehicle(s) to be moved on a truck.

Second, you should also ask for a Cost-of-Living Allowance (COLA) based on the differential in, well, the cost of living between where you are now and Silicon Valley. It's not cheap there!

Lastly, it is reasonable to expect your company to put you up in a hotel/efficiency suite/corporate housing for 1-2 months while you look for a residence in your new home town.

Get it in writing! (2, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867023)

Make sure to get a list from them in writing of all expenses that they will cover. This includes gas/mileage/meals/hotels for the drive. Also make sure that temporary expenses are covered for your arrival (eg, 1 to 2 months apartment rental if you're looking to buy a house). If possible, try to get a chunk of this upfront. If they won't do that, ask them how long reimbursement will take. Some places won't reimburse you until you've worked there for 6 months or a year. This is to make sure that you don't have them cover your moving costs and then bail on them. Oh yeah, and did I mention to get the whole agreement in writing?

Re:Get it in writing! (3, Informative)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867949)

Don't forget IRS regulations. Their money to YOU is also THEIR deduction for business expenses, but the IRS has regulations regarding the minimum amount of time you remain employed with them, etc. I think it's 12 months, but could be mistaken.

HR departments are also aware of the statistics on failed relocations. They tend to fail within the first six months, they're more likely to fail with employees with fairly short time with the company (I think it's something like 30% among employees with less than 6 months at the company), etc.

Moving goods and furniture (2, Interesting)

Schezar (249629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867032)

You're probably much better off selling/giving away all of your large things (beds, wine cabinets, couches) and purchasing new ones at your new home. I moved from one end of New York State to the other a while back, and the cost of trucking my worldly possessions downstate was only slightly less than buying new worldly possessions. Consider the cost of a large enough truck, diesel fuel, time, food on the road, et cetera, and it adds up.

As for the rest, pack your bags as though you were going off on a long trip, and ship everything else.

Now, if you can't divest yourself of your current furnishings, or have large, difficult-to-move things that you -must- retain, you're pretty-much boned from the start. Being mobile in the modern world means travelling light, not amassing tons of "stuff," and generally being willing to lose it all and move on.

Re:Moving goods and furniture (2, Informative)

mosabua (534503) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867091)

It all depends. I have moved from Austria to Australia with little more than a few bags and some stuff shipped after me and then from Australia to Canada with a full container with everything in it. The only thing we left behind was probably the car. The reason we did it is that shipping was paid for by the employer where as buying new stuff was not. More importantly buying a full house hold of stuff takes a lot of time and we did not want to bother with shopping. Packing it up was easy. manfred

Re:Moving goods and furniture (1)

olego (899338) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867861)

*giggle* I hope you didn't confuse the two countries.

Q: "Where do you live?"
A: "Austria...lia."

Re:Moving goods and furniture (1)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867638)

Shouldn't be an issue. Every employer I have ever known that was relocating has a system setup where they take care of the packing, the truck, the unloading...

Many will set you up in a corp. apt. for a while as you find out the area. Give that a couple of months to figure out where you want to live, what the comutes are like, etc. I wouldn't bother to rent a place - as that just sets you up for having to move AGAIN, find where you want to live, and move in.

That said - they should pay for a house hunting trip or two - preferably put you up in corp. housing for a few months (1-3), pay for your moving expenses - pay milage on a car if you drive it across the company (rather than shipping it and flying - which is easier but then you have to have them pay for a rental)

There are big differences between moving from college where your stuff is almost by definition crap, and moving as an adult - where you expect your things to be taken care of for you.

Re:Moving goods and furniture (1)

Meostro (788797) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867885)

pay milage on a car if you drive it across the company

I don't think that mileage is deductible or reimbursable.

Re:Moving goods and furniture (1)

MerlynEmrys67 (583469) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868211)

I have no clue about IRS tax codes in the US to know if it is deductible - but reimbursable is company policy - every move I have done came with a x cents/mile reimbursement on the car - or paying to have it shipped.

Oh - and if things are "deductible" make sure that they "gross up" which means they figure out it will cost you 1000 dollars, so they "pay" you 1000 dollars so they can deduct the 500 dollars in taxes - and you get your 1000. Trust me - a good relo department knows how to play all of the correct tax games.

Pre-move (1)

InfinityWpi (175421) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867035)

When I moved, I did so very haphazardly... in retrospect, I should have picked a storage place that would help facilitate moving whatever I placed in storage. If you're going to have things put in storage, pick a storage-locker-place that'll help with the shipping of said items to a place near your new home. And when you store things away, make sure you do so as if you were packing them up to be moved.

Other than that... ask your employer for reputable realtors/apartment managers in your new area, as well as the usual (Utility, phone, cable, broadband) provider info. If driving, plan out what will go with you in the car... use your square inchage effectively. You can always pack a cooler/box/tub/whatever and stick it where the passenger's legs would go. Presuming you don't have passengers. If flying, narrow things down to the pure bare essentials and buy a sleeping bag when you get there for until furniture arrives.

Techies should know this, but cell phones, especially ones you can hook up to a computer via USB/Bluetooth, are a lifesaver to keep you in touch until connections are in place.

cost of liqor (1)

in-tech (912144) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867058)

Ha, i would research some well known bar and rest ... Friday night is what you would like after you are adapted to new place. i would check if i am getting this too ... :-)

My question for you: (1, Redundant)

DogDude (805747) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867066)

Why are you moving cross-country for a job? Is the job THAT great that you're going to destroy any local ties that you have jsut to keep them happy? Call me nuts, but work comes secondary to the rest of my life, and something as critical like where I live isn't decided by work.

Re:My question for you: (1)

plopez (54068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867123)

Depending on the corporation, not relocating could be a career limiting move. In fact, they may even be closing the current office the poster works at. That being said, in some cases telecommuting may fit the bill, *and* save the compnay money (they can close the local office and not have to move the worker, or create office space for the worker).

Get out of your rut (4, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867270)

Sometimes, and at least once in every life, you should completely uproot yourself and move on. Better still if you can go to a different country. If you can get your employer to pay for it then that's even better still.

And yes I do have some ties to the old home town. Every now and again I go back and visit my father (mom died a few years back) and I'm glad I got to really see some more of this world. Vacations aren't enough. You have to go out there and live.

yes (1)

Run4yourlives (716310) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868290)

Somebody mod this guy/gal up. This is the most insightful comment in the whole thread.

Re:My question for you: (1)

Tarin.n (959193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868635)

I don't have many ties in my current area, No GF/Wife, no kids and my family is spread out around the country already. I will hate to leave my friends behind, but I've known most of them long enough to know that I won't be losing any friendships. Really, It just comes down to being a neat opportunity and a chance to experience a different area. I didn't want to get hosed by my company in the process though, hence my question.

If you do decide to do it.... (4, Insightful)

Garion911 (10618) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867077)

I recently moved cross country for a job six months ago.. (NorthEast to SouthWest)

Insurance... Verify with your home owners/renters insurance that your stuff is covered during the move... My GF's mother is an insurance agent and figured out that the stuff that is offered by the moving company (PODS, decent experience, except that the stuff was late, due to Katrina) was useless.. We then inquired our home owners, and at least with mine, I was covered.. Otherwise... Your stuff may not be covered during the move..

Do not buy a place right away.. Rent first to learn the area... Make it known that you will be renting.. Otherwise everyone and their cousin will be telling that someone they know is a realestate agent in the area you are moving too..

Order of operations... First, fly out there to pick out a house/apartment.. Same trip/Next trip, stay in new apartment, --buy a new bed--.. Its a new start, might as well start over.. Dont go cheap.. Plus if your stuff shows up late, at least you're not sleeping on the floor.. This was our saving grace..

Make sure you get a decent salray adjustment.. You will spend more money than you think on the move, maybe over budget.. I know I did..

I'm sure others will have good advice...

Re:If you do decide to do it.... (2, Informative)

Otter (3800) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867282)

...and keep your receipts and remember to take the tax deduction!!!!

Re:Elitist prick... (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867372)

What's wrong with sleeping on the floor?!

*Plan* for stuff to arrive late or early (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868070)

You can get a good inflatable mattress for about $50, and it makes sleeping on the floor *much* nicer. When I've moved across country, I've driven one car and taken some vacation time, so we were able to bring the air mattress, cats, a few houseplants, folding chairs, important financial records, vet paperwork for the cats (drove through Canada on the way), some cooking pots and supplies, stereo (this was pre-PC), etc., so we were all set when the moving vans were late. If you're flying, you've got more control over timing, but need to get a car at your destination.

You either need to find a place to live _before_ you move, or else deal with a moving company that also does storage. I've done the moving bit when working for a large company, where this was standard procedure, but it's probably tougher these days, especially with small companies. One of the times, my wife drove out with me and I lived in a hotel for a month while starting work, and she flew back and got the house ready for sale, but we already had a buyer lined up who was flexible about timing.

Expenses (2, Insightful)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867079)

Assuming that you're happy with compensation, benefits, etc... in a perfect world, you want:

- You stuff moved by professional movers
- Some cash to handle incidentals (rent deposits, hotels, various fees for starting utilities, etc)

If they aren't paying for anything, then get as much money as you can, sell whatever you can part with and stuff all of your crap in a POD ( or something similar.

I wouldn't move for a company unwilling to pay for relocation, unless I was two years out of college and didn't really own anything.

moving your car (2, Informative)

philmack (796529) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867094)

Dont go for any of those deals where they load it onto a truck and carry to your location. A friend of mine working for Boeing had a car get *totaled* because they droped another car onto hers during the unloading process... 6 weeks after she last saw the car. Thats when it was scheduled to arrive, and boeing paid for a rental car for the entire time she was waiting for her car, and while she shopped for a new car, and didnt have to pay anything out of pocket save for her time and trouble. I have 7 other friends who got their cars moved, with time spans not less than 2 weeks, and one of these guys got his car back with a cracked windshield. His company also took care of him, but still.

The moral is I wont ever trust one of these companies with my car.

Cost of living (1)

Roadkills-R-Us (122219) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867182)

First, compare the true cost of living with their COL adjustment (if any).

Then look into what it will take to live the way *you* want to there. If you're moving from say, NYC to SF, it's probably not drastically different. But if you're moving from somewhere like Augusta or Raleigh (or to some extent Atlanta), and want to live anywhere near the country, or have a decent sized place, you're in for a shock.

Check into transportation issues (parking, mass transit, etc). Consider local laws (gun ownership, vehicle inspections, home schooling, pets, whatever matters to you.)

If you have any odd medical issues, fine out what the local hospitals and doctors ar eliek. Don't just assume everything will be the same.

Make sure (1)

poppen_fresh (65995) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867195)

and change your address with netflix. You don't want to miss any movies.

Cost of Living (1)

DukeLinux (644551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867213)

A few years ago my wife's cousin went out to the Silicon Valley area to potentially transfer. I made sure that he studied the housing market versus any increase in pay. He stayed in PA and eventually moved onto something else. The company was fine - no problems there. I would make sure (in writing!!) they pay for most everything, but also be aware of the cost of housing and the two hours each-way commute time (I kid you not). If you are cool with that then go for it. I am a graduate of the University of California and I never regretted leaving California :).

Keep your cars being shipped EMPTY (1)

Dark Coder (66759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867284)

In an attempt to keep the moving van's cost down ($25,0000 for 15,000lbs), I crammed 14 vanilla box PC computers into the back of my SUV prior to being shipped via auto-freight truck (the kind that holds 8 cars) from east to west.

When the SUV finally arrived (3 weeks later) on the very top and back of a multi-vehicle carrier, RIGHT where it is perched dangerously downward and backward from the auto-freight upper deck, the driver opened my SUV's tail door and all my worldly and precious stuff came crashing down and scattering around in million pieces.

Now why did he do that? He said he wanted to crawl into my car to drive it out.

Needless to say, all the MOBOs were a total loss (but insured anyway), but the hard drive content were all salvageable.


Re:Keep your cars being shipped EMPTY (4, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867496)

"I crammed 14 vanilla box PC computers..."

You bring up a point that I needed to address simply to move across the state.

"Do I really NEED this?"

I've moved 4 times in 6 months, its about to become 5. I'm a college student doing work at other schools in the state and the next one will be out to Germany. Each time I've moved I have found things like old computers, empty shell casings, "project enclosures" (old liqor bottles and neat metal boxes, old notes from classes, clothes that don't fit, clothes that I never wear, sex toys from ex's that were angrily thrown somewhere, pots/pans that were totally redundant, glassware (I was living alone and had nearly 150 glasses, mugs, and cups), the list goes on.

The thing is, I donated, recycled, sold, and disposed of nearly 70% of my posessions. I still have the things that have value to me, either useful value or sentimental value, but I don't have all the clutter and the 'stuff'. Open space, and not having a self-stor unit crammed to the gills with scrap is incredibly liberating.

Re:Keep your cars being shipped EMPTY (1)

Dark Coder (66759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867607)

Do I really need this 14 vanilla PC boxes during the interstate move?

This is SLASHDOT! News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters.

These PC stuff DO matter to this nerd, dude! My livelyhood... My babies...

You testing my geek-status, aren't ya?

Re:Keep your cars being shipped EMPTY (1)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868147)

Dude, painful way to learn.

Our auto-transporter specifically told us to ship empty, or they wouldn't take it. I guess this kind of thing happens all the time.

Mustard will be your biggest problem (4, Interesting)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867308)

I moved to the Philadelphia suburbs from Michigan several years ago. At a volunteer function, somebody was going to make run over to a sandwich shop to get lunch for everybody. I ordered an Italian hoagie.

"With oil or mayo?", asked the person who was making the run.
"Neither. I'd like mustard on my sandwich. Brown if they have it, otherwise yellow is OK."

I swear to God, all conversation stopped and everyone stared at me. These were all people who had grown up in the Philadelphia area, locals for at least 5 genereations.

"Mustard? On a hoagie? You want me to ask them to put mustard on a hoagie?" She sounded like I'd asked for a crunchy frog with a side of anthrax ripple.

Asking for mustard on a sandwich was apparently such an outrageously bizzare concept that, it took me a minute or two to convince them that I was serious about it, and did not want oil or mayo, but mustard. This was such heresey, that one year later, at this same function, this woman's son referred to me as the guy who wanted mustard on his hoagie.

This, in a place where they put mustard on pretzels, and eat it with a straight face.

Your biggest problem won't be computer, work or salary related... it will be cultural.

Re:Mustard will be your biggest problem (1)

alta (1263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868226)

Sounds like when I went to MacWorld'98 in New York. I'm in alabama... Finding iced, sweet tea wasn't exactly easy up there. Hell, finding a coke wasn't simple either. Down here when you ask for a coke, you are asking for a "Coca Cola Classic, red can, headquartered in atlanta, made in every large city in the south" Up there I'd ask for a coke and there was no telling what they'd bring.

Oh yeah, and for all the COL threads. I compared Mobile incomine to LA... 43k here = 80k in LA. Whew. I love watching those shows on HGTV and laughing at those poor fools paying $500k+ for a 1200sq' house. $500k would get us 4k-6ksq' in town or a few hundred acres if we wanted to live in the country.

And I'd rather deal with a Hurricane over a blizzard or earthquake any day!

Re:Mustard will be your biggest problem (1)

Clover_Kicker (20761) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868780)

> I'd rather deal with a Hurricane over a blizzard


By spring the snow has melted, do uprooted trees magically pop back into place?

At least you didn't ask for a grinder and a pop. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868298)

You have a good point. People in the US forget how big the country really is and how different the cultures are. Depending on where this person is moving from it could be huge. It will not just be the culture but the weather. A California Christmas may be odd to someone from Maine.
When I was working in Detroit I couldn't get over people calling sodas pop and subs grinders. Being from Florida which seems to have a little of everything I have seemed to have an easier time adapting to different locations than most.

Re:At least you didn't ask for a grinder and a pop (1)

The Fun Guy (21791) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868471)

No kidding. I grew up in St. Louis (poor boys and soda), moved to Chicago (heroes and soda pop), then to East Lansing, Michigan (grinders and pop), then to Philadelphia (hoagies and soda).

Salary, housing costs, public transportation issues... all of these things are big picture that you can address ahead of time. It's the little stuff that gets under your skin and will determine wether you are comfortable in your new surroundings or not. Culture shock will be a far greater adjustment than anything else.

I've lived here six and a half years, and this stuff still gets me. Even worse, my kids are growing up speaking with a Philly accent, which continues to sound strange and ill-pronounced to my midwestern ear.

Re:Mustard will be your biggest problem (1)

Silicon Jedi (878120) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868343)

Mustard on an italian hero is some form of heresy. So is mustard on hamburgers. Mustard is cool on almost any other sandwich though.

Other considerations (2, Interesting)

woobieman29 (593880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867324)

Others here seem to have nailed most of the work related things that you should talk to your employer about, I have a few that you may want to look into for personal reasons.

1) Make sure that you are cool with downsizing your place. Not sure where you are coming from, but in almost every case you will get a smaller house/apartment for the same $ out here in Silly Valley.

2) Find out about opportunities and resources to participate in the things that you love to do in your time off of work. In most cases you will find that this area is great for all sorts of pursuits, but make sure.

3) Make sure that you enjoy interacting with an incredibly diverse cultural group of people. This is one of the coolest things about living in California. I have however seen a lot of instances of people that move here from out of state and have trouble relating to the diverse ethnic groups (generally this does not seem to happen with east coast transplants - it seems to be more of middle-america thing). One of my favorite things about the Bay Area is that in most areas you are virtually unlimited in the new types of cuisine you can try on a daily basis. It's kinda cool to be able to eat your way around the world without leaving your own town.

4) Make sure that you like to drive. Unless you are in the middle of SF, public transit is only useful in very specific cases. It just isn't deployed widely enough to be a full time option for many people, so traffic is a part of life. This brings up another related point - when you are plotting out how much more pay you will need in order to make the move, be sure that the increase includes enough to be as close as possible to your office. In California a lot of people are moving farther out into the central part of the state and driving huge distances to get to work due to the availability of (somewhat) cheaper housing. Try not to be one of these people. :-)

All in all, this is a wonderful place to be. Hopefully these items will help you to decide if it will be the right place for you.

Good luck!

Re:Other considerations (2, Informative)

mellon (7048) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868395)

Depending on where on the east coast you live, chances are that you won't be able to find a place that costs the same as what you're paying now at any size. The only exception would be if you're living in New York, but if you're living in New York, the shock from the drop in population density will nearly kill you. Before you agree to this move, go out to the Bay Area and do some house hunting, and get a good feel for what things cost and what's available.

If you do decide to do the move, consider living some place like Millbrae. This won't work if your job is way down south, but if it's anywhere from about Mountain View north, it will work. The problem is that you're likely going to be stretched between two extremes. The South Bay and Penninsula are really nice for certain things - the restaurants there are by and large much better than what you'll get in San Francisco, for example. But there are a lot more available single women in San Francisco. Or, if you swing the other way, I probably don't need to tell you that being close to San Francisco has its benefits. So being in a location that lets you get to both places conveniently is good.

If your job has decent Caltrain access, consider living close to Caltrain. This gives you the option of avoiding the car commute. Caltrain won't always be faster than driving, but it's a lot more relaxing. It can also be a very social setting if your friends also commute by train.

As far as moving goes, make sure your company is going to pay for a moving van and for packing service on your end. Sell the junk that won't fit in your Silicon Valley apartment before you move - otherwise your apartment will be a zoo, because you probably won't have time to deal with the stuff on the other end. Freecycle is your friend.

If you're at all like me, you will find driving in the Bay Area a bit of a trial. It's congested, people tend not to have a good sense of humor about it, and there are driving styles from around the world (literally) competing for roadspace.

The geek quotient in Silicon Valley is unmatched. Things that geeks like (good restaurants, toys, bookstores) are plentiful. You probably won't find any plays based on the works of Dostoevsky playing in Palo Alto, though. Bicycling and rollerblading are good outdoor fun options, and they work pretty much year round. I've never lived anywhere where the bicycling was better than the Bay Area. Be aware, though, that there's a weird cultural antagonism between some Bay Area drivers and bicyclists, so you may get yelled at seemingly for no reason. Try not to take it personally, or it'll ruin your ride.

I lived in the Bay Area for over ten years. It's a lovely place, full of really cool people. I don't think I'll ever live there again, because it's too damned expensive, but if the economics work for you, it can be a lot of fun.

Good luck!

Some advice from my experiences (1)

LiNT_ (65569) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867373)

A couple of recommendations:

-- While some relocation expenses are tax deductible, a lot aren't. If your company is paying for them, they'll tax you on anything they pay out. Consider asking for a bonus to cover these expenses.

-- With any movers try to get something in writing which guarantees delivery by a certain date with penalties for not making that date. Especially with auto movers. Auto movers made my life a living hell for over a month. During a hectic time such as a relocation, it's just not worth the headache.

-- Make sure you have full coverage insurance with the movers. Not just replacement value.

-- Don't use DAS auto shippers. Just don't. Trust me.

Re:Some advice from my experiences (1)

EvilMagnus (32878) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868212)

Auto shippers are the very Devil!

We ended up using T`NT - they did OK, for a decent price. The car arrived on time with only some damage. We lost the front license plate to windshear and I think debris damaged our rear differential, causing it to leak - which led to an expensive repair 6 months later.

So, if you have an expensive car (like, worth more than $10K), make sure they'll pay for shipping, and have it shipped in a closed carrier, and put plastic wrap on it.

Moving expenses/Money up front (1)

Radius9 (588130) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867420)

Having been moved by jobs on 3 different occasions, every time across the country, there are a couple things that I have learned. First, it will cost more than $5k to move, if you include a car. Every time I've moved it has ended up costing me between $6k-$8k. Second, I won't take reimbursement anymore. I take money up front, and never reimbursement. The problem with reimbursement is that you will have a lot of expenses that need to be paid up front. Its quite annoying to have to front that money yourself. In addition, there are always little expenses here and there that you didn't think of that aren't covered. I can guarantee it. This varies from finding out that certain moving expenses aren't being covered, some security deposit doesn't count, to things like you need extra trashcans because you now have extra rooms in the house. It has been difficult at times to negotiate, but I highly recommend just getting the moving expenses paid out as a bonus up front before you move.

Been there, done that! (1)

camt (162536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867445)

I just completed a job-related cross-country move (~1000 miles) with two small children. We did the 3-month lease thing while we house hunted and then moved again into a house. It was a huge pain to move twice, but we found a much better house than we could have otherwise. Plus, you'll have no contingencies (other than mortgage) on your bid for a house. 3-month leases can be a pain to find, but they are out there. Try an apartment locator service - they often can do lots of the legwork for you and most are free. Make sure you visit the apartment complex when most people are home from work to make sure the parking situation isn't horrendous and everything seems on the up and up.

Talk to your accountant about which moving costs are and are not tax deductible at the federal and state levels, and be sure you understand how the reimbursement from your company fits into the picture. All of my moving expenses were deductible for the IRS, but only a portion were for the state. Keep your receipts in a labelled folder so you'll have them handy for next year's tax time. Keep your gas receipts and track your mileage if you drive your car.

Try to see if your company will negotiate for one of those relocation companies to buy your old house from you so you don't have to hassle with selling it and pay huge commissions. As far as house hunting, find out if the MLS service or your realtor has a nice website for searching on your own time (so as to be not so dependent on your realtor for weeding things out long-distance). Be realistic about what you want and need. Often, the housing market is so drastically different that you can't decide what you want because you aren't really sure what various things are like. Make sure your realtor is readily accessible via email as well as cell phone (tech-savvy).

Using professional movers will cost you 2-3 times what it costs to do it yourself, assuming you have friends at both ends that can help with the loading/unloading in exchange for pizza and beer. However, moving yourself, especially twice, is a gigantic pain. If you have more money than patience, perhaps pro movers are worth the premium. To me, they weren't.

Watch out for lots of unexpected costs with moving. In my old state, sellers pay for the plat of survey at closing; in my new state buyers do -- ergo we paid for a survey on both ends of our deal. There are lots of little things like that due to differing state rules, and they can add up to quite a bit.

If they offer a relocation campany, be careful (1)

stienman (51024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867458)

We got a great deal on a house here in Michigan because the previous owners signed a contract with a relocation company. Among other services (actually moving your stuff, helping you find a new place to live, etc) they also help you sell your old home. The essential deal is that if you can't sell the house within a time frame, they buy it from you. This seems good except for two problems:

They buy it significantly below your asking price.
They do not accept offers with contingencies (ie, if someone wants to buy your house, they can't make an offer if they still need to sell their old house, don't have a pre-approved loan, etc)

Apparantly the previous offer was not valid, and they only had 2 weeks to get a valid offer before losing nearly 20% of their home's value. We still had a place to sell, but were able to get approved for a bridge loan (a high interest short term loan from the bank so we could buy the new house before completing the sale of the old house). We were able to sell our house in the time between having the offer accepted and closing on the new house, so we didn't need to use the bridge loan, but this sort of deal apparantly drove a lot of buyers away.

Relocation companies, I assume, are good in general, but be very careful about accepting their terms, read everything and don't be afraid to tell the company that you'll relocate yourself for the same money they'd be paying the relocation company.

Also, as other noted, the cost of living is *significantly* higher. A house or apartment can easily be twice as much as what you're currently spending. Gas is a little higher. Food and services are higher. Do your homework before you go.


just be sure to get them to include (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867503)

You want the following in your move package:
1) Some portion of the price differential on an equivalent home in an equivalent neighborhood. You'd like 100%, but will probably have to settle for 50%, or less, depending on how desperate they are.
2) Home sale and purchase costs. You probably have to pay a realtor on both ends, and you want the company to pay for this.
3) Salary adjustment to the new area.
4) Moving costs paid with a minimum and a maximum. The minimum makes sure you don't get screwed out of the small costs if you are able to find a cheap way to move, the maximum tells you just what you can afford when you get your binding estimates from the movers. Aside: be sure your estimates are binding. Alternatively, you might also ask for a base relocation bonus (ie they give you $5000 as an immediate bonus for moving), plus moving costs covered to $X ($7500-$10,000 would not be unusual for a full cross country move for a software developer making >$60k). This would be better than the min/max since you can then try to push as much as possible into the moving costs by keeping your receipts carefully.

Re:just be sure to get them to include (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867771)

Bad form to reply to myself, but I forgot to point out that much of this negotiation is a two way street based on trust. However, the need for that trust can be eliminated by contract terms with ease:

First of all, you're pulling up roots, moving across the country. What happens to you if the company lays you off the day after? You're trusting the company not to do this, but what if they get in dire financial straits and effectively have no choice? Are you sure their CFO isn't one of the apparently many cooking the books, and that the Enron style collapse isn't coming tomorrow?

That's why you want some terms in the move that will help to protect you. This is typically handled by having the company give you gobs of value up front, so that it isn't possible for them to screw you in this way. Thus you get 1,2,4 in my list above.

Now the company has to worry: what if you take their moving money, and immediately quit to work for someone else in the destination area (no doubt your evil plan all along)?

The company protects itself by getting you to agree that in exchange for 1,2,4, you'll take 3 (salary adjustment) and agree to work for them for the next N (<5) years at that new salary level (or more ... assuming everything goes right, you'll continue to receive raises, but you should make sure that you're willing to live with that salary without further adjustment for the length of the contract). In the event that you quit early, the company gets a depreciating percentage of their money back. (Usually you'll smoothly depreciate 2 and 4 over one year, and 1 over the full length of the contract.

This leaves both sides protected, and presumably happy with the move. If the company dies, or you just can't stand working there any more, the contract dissolves in a way fair to both sides.

Things I learned (1)

PenguinRadio (69089) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867618)

I did a cross-planet move recently to Hong Kong (and back again). Some of the lessons we learned might be appropriate.

1) Moving fees. Does the firm pay a cash amount or the actual expense. This can come into play in that you might be tempted to cut corners and save some of the cash, or go to town and get the best movers you can find (i.e. who do the packing for you). If you are a busy or disorganized person, you may want the kind of movers who show up and pack everything right out of the closets so you don't miss a beat.

There are always incidental expenses you don't think about, like...well...say you just abandon your iron (assuming you are the type that irons your clothes). You then have to buy a new one and that costs money. Or a spatula. Or some hangers, or a screwdriver. Stuff you forget to pack.

2) Insurance, transfering over to a new state--have them sort out all of this (but it isn't a big deal I suspect).

3) Car registration. Some firms actually pay a person or a service to re-register your car. Saves you a day at the DMV.

4) Salary adjustment. Cities cost different amounts.

5) Return travel. More likely in overseas assignments, but we got two rndtrip tix to go home for the holidays as part of our deal.

6) 1-2 months rent at a corporate apartment. I'd really push for this if possible. Lets you see where the office is, investigate schools, neighborhoods, etc. One of the WORST things you can do on a move is move, and buy a house immediately. Always take a month or two to get the lay of the land if possible, even if you used to live in that town (times changes, traffic patterns change, nearest groceries move, etc).

7) Educational assistance for your kids (if you have any, but you may need some help getting them into your first choice school mid-term).

8) Auto transport. Why put 3,000 miles on your car? Have them ship it (or sell and rebuy).

If you can afford it, you can also look at this time as 'garage sale' time to empty out a lot of stuff you just haven't gotten around to dumping yet. We sold off a lot of furniture and things before our move, and bought new stuff on arrival. Saved on shipping and was kind of fun to have a new look to match a new town.

hope this helps

Some things to consider... (1)

Ertman (29767) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867650)

- Get the company to put in writing everything they will pay for
    - House hunting trips (you need at least 2)
    - Moving expenses (a lump sum? a percentage of total expenses?)
    - Do you have to give back the moving allowance if you quit within 2 years? If you are laid off or fired?
    - Will they pay to move you back to the East coast if they lay you off within 2 years?

- Sell everything you can. Beds, couches, dressers, tables, dishes and other items can all be bought again. It's usually cheaper to sell everything big and buy new stuff than it is to pay to have it moved across the country. If the company is paying for everything, then you don't have to worry about this. Beware that you can't deduct the cost of buying new stuff from your taxes - it might be cheaper in the long run to move everything after the tax deductions (it all depends on the value of the stuff you are selling!)

- Hire a company to move the stuff you don't sell. Don't even bother renting a U-haul or something like that. It doesn't save you that much money, and it's a huge pain in the ass. Look for a company that will drop a trailer/cargo container off at your house and let you pack it yourself. These are nice because all of your stuff stays in the one container until it gets to your new house. If you hire a company to pack and move your stuff, it will likely get moved between 3 or 4 trucks and warehouses by the time it makes it to your new house.

- Get extra insurance. The insurance that the moving company offers is usually just a bulk freight rate - a few pennies per pound. Check with your home owneres insurance to see if you are covered during the move, or if you need to buy extra insruance.

- Drive you car across the country. Not only can it be a great trip, but at least here in Canada the government gives you a living allowance plus a per-km rate you can deduct from your taxes. It's probably the only tax deductible vacation you are likely to ever get.

- Find some way to organize all of your receipts. Keep receipts for -everything- from now until a few months after you get into your new house. Let your tax accountant decide what to use and what to discard. Get into the habit of requesting a receipt for everything you buy, including a pack of gum at the gas station. It might be tax deductible.

- If you can, time your move to ensure you are living where the tax rate is the lowest when it matters. In Canada, you file your taxes in the province you are living in on December 31st of the tax year. Moving 1 day later could save or cost you thousands of dollars depending on what the tax rate difference is between the two locations.

I just went through this (1)

Ohiosan (918854) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867692)

I just went through this about 6 months ago. Here are some things to ask:

  • Will they sell your current house? If it does not sell within <x number of months> months, will they purchase it from you?
  • Will they give you a stipend for transition money before you receive your first paycheck?
  • Will they help with a spousal job search?
  • Is storage of your items in the new location covered as a part of the move?

My move was fairly smooth because the answer to all of the above were Yes, except for the last one. It caused a little pain after the storage place (that also did my move, BTW) dropped a $1600 bill for two months of storage. Needless to say, my wife (the general), made sure we did not pay that!

Final Piece of Advice: Get everything in writing! Good luck!

Relocation companies (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867697)

Ask your company to hire a relocation company to manage the move for you. It will save you many headaches, and is possibly cheaper than your company reimbursing you directly for moving expenses (Relo cos. get special rates on tons of stuff).

If you aren't getting reimbursed, talk to your tax accountant, or get one if you don't already have one. If you're moving more than 60 miles, the expenses are tax deductible -- but not all of them.

Depending on your salary, you may even want to hire a relo company for yourself, if the company won't pay for it.

Money and Moving (1)

Plocmstart (718110) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867766)

I had a friend move from Ohio to California awhile ago. I forget which moving company he used, but it took over 2 weeks for his stuff to arrive. So make sure you have enough of your stuff to live on for a week or two just in case. Make sure if you use a moving company that they are bonded and insured (I don't know who wouldn't be these days).
Also cost of living is probably one of the biggest issues. I will be moving from college to the "real world" soon and was stuck with choosing a 64k salary in Sacramento where I could maybe buy a double-wide in a trailer park for around $200k, or a 60k salary in Austin where I can get a 2000-3000sq ft home in a nice neighborhood for the same price.

Performance / Pay Guarantees (1)

liam193 (571414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867852)

I don't know how you approach this, but I know of an individual who had such a move proposed to them a while back. The move was from East Coast to Central Plain states. The individual was considered a top performer by all definitions (insert Subject Matter Expert in multiple fields here). Because the corporation was making changes and the local East Coast group was not happy, the manager losing the individual gave a "lowest rating" for him on departure. As a result the individual who was helping the corporation was put on a long-term pay freeze. I guess my point is that I would probably consider talking to them about what kind of guarantees would be put in place to avoid the "team losing me stabs me in the back" issue. Maybe something like, performance review from time of announcement until after you are there for 3 months do not get considered or something like that; maybe something along the lines of a raise or bonus for doing the move so that you are guaranteed something.

Travel Light (1)

Dunx (23729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867911)

I did an international move a few years ago (UK to US) and the single biggest mistake I made was in bringing too much stuff with me.

1. don't ship furniture. I brought desks, a sofa, shelving units, all sorts of bizarre things that I would have been better off either buying when I got here or simply not owning at all. Having so much stuff meant I had to rent a house straight away, which for a single guy is absurd.

2. don't ship crap. Did I really _need_ my entire library? No. Since I've actually got rid of more than half of it since, I would say that was an objective error on my part. My most stupid shipping mistake was to ship my entire VHS video collection, all PAL tapes. I got a multi-standard video player when I got here, but I still have a wall of Star Trek tapes which I don't watch any more and which I cannot possibly sell here.

Can't offer much advice on cars, although if I were doing a cross country move now I would probably sell my car here and buy a new one at the destination. I don't fancy driving 2,000 miles.

Obviously these guiding principles are suspended for particular things which have sentimental value, but be very careful about over-extending that umbrella.

It doesn't matter whether your employer is paying for the shipping: the less you ship, the less you will have to worry about unpacking and putting away at the other end when you will already have a huge amount to contend with.

Taxes, Paying, and Banking (1)

notea42 (926633) | more than 8 years ago | (#14867945)

Keep detailed records of what you spend and what you spend it on. Keep receipts if at all possible. Read the IRS guide on moving expenses. Your company will likely cover slightly different things than the IRS allows, so you need to keep records carefully in order to maximize your reimbursements. The IRS gives you a credit (even better than a deduction) for some moving expenses, which can make a hefty difference in your tax return. If you have to pay the movers, be sure to work out in advance how they want to be paid. I was on the road the day my movers decided to tell me they needed to be paid before they would deliver anything, and then decided to tell me they don't take American Express. Changing banks is a huge headache. The likelihood of having the same bank in both locations is low, so you will probably need a new account at a local bank after you move. Unfortunately, you also have to close accounts at the old bank in person. One other hitch, large deposits made when opening an account often take quite some time to fully clear, meaning your money can be stuck in limbo for a week or more. If you plan right, you should open the new account while on a househunting trip, make a sizable deposit so you have some cash to live on, pay rent, and write checks with when you arrive. Then, just before leaving your old town, you can close that account and take the balance with you. This way, you'll never be without a valid ATM card and checkbook.

Dateline NBC pointers (1)

coyote-san (38515) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868031)

Dateline and similar news magazines have covered moving horror stories repeatedly. You should see if you can find information at their websites.

Some of the pointers I remember are:

0) find a reputable mover. If unsure:....

1) pack it yourself. The problem is that they charge for materials used... and you'll find yourself paying for two, no three, rolls of bubble wrap being used to wrap your alarm clock.

2) get a binding weight before you sign off on them leaving. A common abuse is to quote a cost at 10,000 pounds, say, and then telling you that it actually weighed 18,000 pounds and you owe a few thousand dollars more than you expected.

3) several other points regarding storage, labor costs moving your stuff to/from the moving van, etc. Definitely try to find their reports somewhere.

I haven't seen any reports post-PODS, but I think it addresses many of the problems reported with other movers.

Oh, How I have experience with this! (1)

renehollan (138013) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868350)

1997 Montreal to Chicago (international)
2001 Chicago to Dallas
2003 Dallas to Toronto
2004 Toronto to Seattle

Things to watch out for:

1. Cost of Living. You did do a cost of living analysis (including differences in income and other taxes, insurance, housing), right? Because, no amount of relocation assistance (unless it is extreme) will make up for some place you can't afford to live.

2. Moving Expenses. Are they footing the whole bill, or reimburing you to some limit? I've done it both ways, and getting a mover within your budget is just another headache to deal with while you are very busy. When I moved from Chicago to Dallas, with a fixed moving allowance, it still cost me $1600 (over the $8500 (IIRC) my employer paid). I suppose I could have found a cheaper mover, but that would take time, which I didn't have.

3. Temporary Housing: for how long? Typical is a month, and that's way too short if you need to sell a home and buy another one. It's damn hard to sell a house and buy another one within 30 days. I've done it, but only by pricing my home agressively.

4. Storage. 30 days is typical. After that, it's on your dime. $500 to $1000 a month is typical for a home's contents.

5. Selling/Buying a home. This only applies if you own, not rent. If your employer will buy your old home at a reasonable price, don't hesitate to accept! Some will guarantee a price, if you can't sell it within 90 days. If you have to sell it yourself, price your home to sell... fast! While that may seam foolish, realize that every month your house does not sell is another month that your're renting temporary housing (or chosing to rent for a mid-term, like 6 months) and either paying for storage or accepting that you'll have to move twice, and paying a mortgage and insurance and someone to look after your old home (most insurance policies require that the house be checked every 24 to 48 hours if vacant, if they're that flexible). Pricing your house $10k under market might make the difference between selling it in two weeks or four months. Don't forget that you will pay comissions to sell your house.

Here's my experience in this regard:

1997: Montreal, Canada: bought US$75k in 1991. Sold US$70k to relo company on the spot. Lost $5k. Of course, the market was horrible and houses typically took over a year to sell.

2001: Lake Zurich, IL: bought $179,500 in 1997. Sold $221,500. Paid 5% to sell. $30.9k profit. Sold in 8 days. Closed in 21 days.

2003: Allen, TX: bought $189k in 2001. Sold: $189k. Paid 3% to sell (buyer came unrepresented. Lost $6k. Sold in 2 weeks. Closed in 30 days. Big telecom bust, and many homes were being foreclosed upon. Neighbour held out and lost around $20k more in similar circumstances.

Had to rent a house in Markham for 6 months because one can't buy a house in Ontario with less than 120 days employment. US$1480 rent/month. Had stuff delivered, but kept all but essentials boxed for 6 months. Paid US$2800 to move 20 miles into Whitby home.

2004: Whitby, ON: bought 2003 for US$189. Sold: US$194 in 36 hours. Closed in 3 weeks. Paid 3.75% to sell (I paid 1.25% to list on MLS and stick a sign up). Lost $2.3k, but was offset by signing bonus which helped with move. Negotiate this if your are selling a house on your own!

Today: Monroe, WA: bought 2004 for $225k. Currently appraised at $320k.

It might look that I sold fast and cheap. But, figure $3-4k a month for every month your house does not sell to (a) rent, (b) put your stuff in storage.

6. House hunting trip. Ignore if renting. Try to negotiate a house hunting trip over a weekend. Even if you can't do this, budget extra time after your last interview, and if it goes well, get a realtor to take you around to get a feel for the market. The idea is that you hit the ground running to find a house as soon as you're in temporary housing.

Ideally, you want to have your old home sold, and your new one purchased, and moved in, before your temporary housing and storage allowance expires. I've done it 3 out of 4 times in less than ten years. It is possible. Because of the time it takes to close on a house, and the need to present as a string buyer (contingencies on closing are usually O.K., but contingencies on sale aren't), it would be ideal if your old house is sold before your are relocated. Doesn't always happen (happened to me 2 out of 4 times). Get a good local realtor and hit the streets with notepad, and, if sellers permit, a digital camera (video is better). Most realtors won't show more than three houses a day -- you're goal is to see 8 to 10 over two to three days and not get them mixed up. Know how much you can offer and be prepared to strike when you find the right house.

In our last move, a divorcing couple facing foreclosure priced their home around $10k under what appeared to be market price (much like I had done to sell fast -- sometimes you're on the other side of thart kind of deal). Seeing a bargin, and not wanting them to hold their open house the next day, I offered their asking price, contingent on closing of my home in less than two weeks, and inspection, with the offer good for six hours. Oh, get preapproved for a mortgage!.

7. Airfare. They are paying the cost of your airfare, right?

8. Cars. They are paying to move your cars, right? If you're on a fixed allowance, they probably aren't. No worries: I drove two cars from Chicago to Dallas (essentials for temporary living in the first one, and then a one way flight back to take the family in the ext one). You can do 1000 miles in a day, but I wouldn't push 500, espescially if you're driving with kids.

9. Pets. Will you take fifi and/or fido or give them away? Will the temporary housing accomodate pets? Many will, for a small fee, but you might find yourself paying $50 or $100 to take a small animal in a carriar in an airplane cabin. Don't dicker over this. Chalk it up to incidentals, below.

10. Incidentals. My current employer provided tax-grossed up allowances for moving and incidentals. It wasn't a deal maker or breaker (I had already negotiated a signing bonus to cover my expenses to sell my house), but it's nice if you can get it.

11. Taxes. See a tax specialist regarding unreimbursed moving expenses. Espescially, if you have to account for all of them to your employer to get reimbursement.

get your cost covered (1)

jilles (20976) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868542)

Essentially your company is asking you to make a lot of commitment and invest a lot of effort. The least they could do is finance the whole thing.

I recently moved to Finland (from the Netherlands). This was my third international move and I have some experience in this kind of thing by now. Basicallly you are going to run into a number of problems:

- finding an appartment in a place you don't know to which you have limited access until you move there. Sort of a chicken egg problem. You'll need all the help you can get.
- You have a busy job. That means little time to do stuff like organizing a move; finding an appartment; etc.
- bureaucracy & culture. I had to deal with the additional burden of strange new culture, lots of bureaucratic stuff I knew nothing about, etc. I imagine things like taxes, insurance, etc. work differently on the west coast than on the east coast. Having someone to advice you on that is quite handy.
- You are going to waste a lot of energy on tedious things like making sure the phone is disconnected at the right time and getting a new one in your new place.
- there's going to be either a period where you either have two houses or a period where you have no house at all and are effectively homeless. The latter case can be quite expensive (hotel) and the first is as well.
- You are going to be offline for a few weeks (you read /. so you must care about that).

Things your employer can help you with:
- getting you settled in. Depending on your status in this company this can actually range from doing just about anything for you (really, there are companies specialized in this kind of thing, think door to door service) to paying for a moving company (that would be the bare minimum). In my case, I got a pretty good deal which ensured minimal stress during the whole procedure. I had help finding an apartment, i was escorted to the various government offices, I spent two weeks in a very good hotel, my flight was paid for, etc. Also I was compensated financially for the moving cost.
- Giving you some time off around the time of moving. Not having to dive into work related stuff for a few weeks gives you some opportunity to settle in properly. Just getting your stuff packed
- Financial security. You are making a commitment that goes beyond paying for the moving company. It is not strange to ask for compensation for that. You are giving up friends, family. You'll be making lots of trips back and forth visiting them. You are maybe selling your house, car etc. You'll be buying new stuff for your new place, etc.

Of course it all depends on how badly they want you. It could be like move here now or you're fired or it could be like we would really like you to move here and continue working for us and hey here's a nice raise in salary. Bottom line is that full compensation is going to cost the company quite a bit. Are they willing to do that? Rule of thumb is that you have to ask for it before you agree, not after. It's part of the whole deal.

Think about leaving the company. (1)

ZoOnI (947423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868563)

It is easy to get fixated on one company and plan you life around it. The better idea is to plan your job around your life. If you are tired of living where you are and think this is going to be a good change go for it. Wiegh out all the factors. Are the people friendly, is the crime rate low, what's the cost of living, how much is car insurance and gas, will you loose money on selling property, do you have a spouse that working and has to find a new job.

If your work is looking to save money. Will you move out west to loose your Job on the next round of cost savings. The best career move you can make is the one you plan, not the one your employeer plans for you.


All very good points ... but (1)

InsurgentGeek (926646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868657)

You need to consider two main things: First, is this move good for you? Does it allow you to do more interesting work or is it merely whats necessary to keep your job? Second, unless you're moving from Manhattan all the noise about rental expenses and shipping will be just noise compared to the housing price whack upside the head you're about to get. My family all lives in the bay area, I live in Boston suburbs. What $750K - $1,000K will buy here is a great - really great - place to live. What it will buy in Palo Alto or San Jose is a crapbox 2 BR condo or a really pitiable house. This is not baloney - check out or even better (very cool Google maps hack).

It's just a country, not the universe (1)

heroine (1220) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868673)

This concept of "cross country moves" is stupid. A lot more people move across bigger countries with a lot more people, and most of the world has to move over 8000 miles to find employment, yet you've been brainwashed into thinking moving over 3000 miles and 290 million people is considered a big deal.

Living in Silicon Valley to work in software is the reality of the business. Luxury living in exotic locations like Arizona and North Carolina was a 90's excess. If you don't need to be in the location, your function can be bought from India.

Tips (1)

Omniscient Ferret (4208) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868707)

Avoid driving through Iowa. I got lost whenever I drove through it.

Moving... OSI Style (1)

Flwyd (607088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868737)

You should choose a transfer protocol which is reliable, though it need not be ordered. If you select a connectionless transfer protocol you should make sure you have a good error detection and recovery plan in place.

The RTT will be high, but that's acceptable. The Interstates have high bandwidth, but U.S. highways often have fewer collisions and hops with nicer food. Make sure you set your TTL high -- frequent hops make collisions less likely.

I suggest using physical private key protection for your content. Every standard implementation at the automobile layer supports this.

Consider generating a checksum for each delivery unit. That way you will be able to tell at a glance if any packets or boxes are dropped en route.

Cross Country Moves (1)

MyNameIsMok (462188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868903)

          I've moved cross country twice, east-to-west and west-to-east.
          the first move, the company hired the moving company directly, and that went rather well. the company offered to move my household, up to one car, travel expenses (if i chose to drive or to fly), and put me up in a hotel near the office until i found a new apartment. the moving company came and packed my items, and delivered them to my new apartment. the only lost one box and a vacuum cleaner and destroyed one vintage PC green screen monitor... all of which was reimbursed by the moving company in a reasonable time.
          the second move, i was offered a flat fee to relocate. i hired a moving company which all-but commited fraud in their estimate. changed me for each box supplied, each box packed, and for each cubic foot of truck & storage space above their initial estimate. to make a long evil story short, they were evil and cost me a bunch of money.
          other long moves i've done i packed myself, rented a u-haul, and towed my car. i called local moving companies to rent their muscle to load and unload the truck at the start and end of the move. this was, by far, the cheapest route to pursue. the disadvantage is that you have to have a place to move into before doing the move.
          your best bet is to have the company hire the company and provide your complete relocation. let the company deal w/ the purchasing and legal nightmares potentially involved.
          otherwise... i've found only use reputable, by referal, well known moving companies.

          oh! and buy lots of boxes and packaging tape. and those hand or appliance dollies are sweet!

Check the movers (1)

cooleric1234 (916941) | more than 8 years ago | (#14868975)

With my cross country move the movers took a month to get our stuff there, no joke. Try to move when it's not the busy season (in other words, not during the summer). Our company used Bekins, and it was a miserable experience. They kept moving the date back, only after we were waiting at home all day for the movers to arrive when they said they would. On the plus side, they had a policy of paying like $100 a day for every day they were late after some grace period. They tried to get out of that, but they finally paid up.

See if you can choose "full service" or "cash out" (1)

silicon not in the v (669585) | more than 8 years ago | (#14869016)

When I had to move from Ohio to Idaho to start a job in 2000, the company was offering a full service relocation package which included about everything--packing and moving, transport cars, house hunting trip, cash allowances for leaving current lease in the old place and for setting up in the new place, etc. Or the other option was to take a $13,000 cash option and move ourselves.

So ask the company if they offer a cash out choice and how much that would be. Then it is up to you to evaluate how difficult and costly you think moving yourself would be. For us, we were just graduating college, so it was a no brainer to take the cash and just spend a few thousand to move our small amount of stuff.
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