I work remotely for a company, but have floated the idea of relocating. They're into it. How do I negotiate?
June 2, 2011 10:52 AM   Subscribe

I work remotely for a company, but have floated the idea of relocating. They're into it. How do I negotiate?

The cost-of-living difference is huge, particularly in housing (moving from a small town to a huge metropolis) and maintaining my family's lifestyle would require a significant increase in pay.

The company would cover my moving costs and give me a "modest" raise to accommodate the cost of living change, but haven't said how much. Is this a queue to negotiate? Is it kosher to throw out a number, especially since I'm the one that suggested the relocation?

I don't want to come across as someone who is suggests relocating for the sole purpose of making more money, but the reality of the situation is: if I were to relocate, I'd need to make X more money in order to maintain. Is it a question of whether the company thinks my value on site equals that pay increase?

What's the best way to handle this?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Try to get them to cover the costs of moving, plus a standardized cost of living adjustment. CNN Money has one. That would be the fairest way for all parties and large companies tend to do it this way.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:04 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

Everything's negotiable. What's "fair" on its face is what 2bucksplus said, but think beyond that. Are you simply relocating to do the same job in an office, or are you going to take on more responsibilities? Are you putting yourself on a track toward a more senior postion there? Depending on how significant your "fair" salary increase is, this is either something that's going to be expected of you as part of the deal, or can be used by you as leverage for a little more.
posted by mkultra at 11:36 AM on June 2, 2011

As to this, specifically:
Is it kosher to throw out a number, especially since I'm the one that suggested the relocation?

Do your research, but wait for their offer. You may be so far afield from each other that it's not even worth going any further with this idea. Get their offer, and avoid any temptation to accept or begin negotiating immediately.

"Thanks, I'm going to discuss this with my family."

Wait a day. If it's a good offer, take it. If not, that's the time to bring your well-researched response. Be firm, but be mindful that this deal could fall through and you'd still be working with these people.
posted by mkultra at 11:47 AM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

What is in it for them if you relocate? I think if you can show what is in it for them considering it's a pay/cost of living increase for you, would help the argument.
posted by stormpooper at 11:47 AM on June 2, 2011

Is this going to benefit them? Are you moving so you'd be physically working with them going forward? Would the expectations change from them, as far as your availability and time-commitment and daily routine? Then I think you can negotiate cost of living plus some estimate of what your remote job is "worth" to you and whether there are any benefits to you to moving.

If it's just for your own interest and that you'd rather live in City X, I'd be amazed they're offering you anything, I'm assuming you'd be moving to HQ.

I'd also be very careful to talk about expectations, like if you typically start work at ten AM or ten PM as you see fit, and they're now expecting you to be there at 8:00 AM sharp with the rest of the team -- that would be worth a lot of money to me, personally. So much so I probably wouldn't do it. They might have expectations also that they don't want you to have special privileges, they can't give to others, like working at home with sick kids or whatever, or a flexible schedule or whatever.

I think the answer is "it depends" but you really need to take an inventory of what the benefits are to each of you before really digging in.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 12:35 PM on June 2, 2011 [1 favorite]

The best way to handle this is graciously, because if it's truly a move that benefits the company in no way and one you wish to make yourself for purely personal reasons... you are a very lucky monkey to receive anything at all, especially in this job market.

It's a kindness. Take it.
posted by rokusan at 1:53 PM on June 2, 2011

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