How to calculate relocation expenses

Relocation can be a costly endeavour, and surprisingly so if you fail to consider all the direct and indirect costs associated with moving. This is true whether relocating for business or personal reasons. Relocating for business reasons may be an easier project because many large companies have relocation experts on staff. Relocation experts are experienced in managing the details and tracking expenses of a career-related move. Nevertheless, even if your employer is assuming all responsibility for your relocation, it is wise to keep copies of the expense records.

There are expenses at the point of origin, at the destination and in between. The most obvious relocation expenses include packing, transport and storage of your household and personal belongings. Additional costs include transport for you and your family, and expenses you will incur upon arrival in your new city. If you own real estate, you may have to keep the property in shape and pay the mortgage until the property sells. Temporary housing in your new city should also be factored into your relocation expenses.

When you make the decision to relocate, calculate the expense of packing your household and personal belongs. A moving and storage company will provide a quote based on the number of hours its workers need to pack your belongings, the distance to your new residence and monthly storage fees. If you are handling the move yourself, determine the value of your time and costs for packing materials, truck rental and petrol.

Among the most appealing relocation perks are schemes where the employer buys your house and subsidies the purchase of a home in the new location. This can ease the burden of maintaining your home until it sells. More often than not, however, your property is your problem. Your expenses will then include utility costs, lawn care, and maybe even the cost to hire someone to occupy your home from time to time to ensure that lived-in look. Of course, you will also need to maintain insurance on your home until it sells.

Another relocation expense is the cost of your transport to your new city. Determine the best mode of transportation -- weather conditions, petrol costs, travel time and other logistics will affect your decision to drive or fly to your new home city. Like any other decision, there are intangible costs you will incur if you choose the quicker route; it will be impossible to carry a large amount of your belongings with you if you fly, which may increase your expenses upon arrival in your new city.

Once you finally get to your new city, there are several expenses to factor into your total relocation costs. Searching for a new residence and establishing accounts with utility companies may require certain fees and deposits. In the interim, expect expenses for a lengthy hotel stay or flat rental.


It is best to start a "relocation file" where you can keep copies of documents such as moving company quotes, contracts, receipts and notes to compare your options. You may also need these documents and records for tax filing purposes.

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About the Author

Ruth Mayhew has been writing since the mid-1980s, and she has been an HR subject matter expert since 1995. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry," and she has been cited in numerous publications, including journals and textbooks that focus on human resources management practices. She holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Ruth resides in the nation's capital, Washington, D.C.

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