How to Negotiate a Physician’s Relocation Bonus

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There are many reasons why you might relocate to another city or state as a physician. Maybe it’s personal — you’d like to be closer to family or just desire a change of scenery. Other times it may be to pursue new markets and employment opportunities. If you’re seeking new opportunities and reviewing an employment agreement, one area to note is whether or not an employer offers a relocation bonus.

Health systems and private practices want to recruit the most talented physicians. But they can’t always be found in the local area. When trying to bring in the best talent, organizations should be willing to cover moving expenses to bring the top physicians to their practice. If you’re willing to move for an employment opportunity, negotiating a relocation bonus should be a topic of discussion.

But how can you negotiate a relocation bonus to get the best deal and make the smoothest transition for you and your family? Here are some tips.

1.  Know how your relocation bonus is distributed

If your new employer is offering a relocation bonus, understand what that means. Is it a lump sum to use as you wish? Is it reimbursement for travel expenses that you submit receipts for? Are they having a third party manage the relocation process? Get clarification from your potential employer about how they will distribute your relocation bonus before you sign a contract.

2.  Get the agreement in writing

A formal employee agreement is a must for every physician. But if you haven’t reached that stage yet, an email that lists what your employer would pay for in writing is a good place to start. This will let you know what is included in their relocation package and what expenses you may be responsible for.

3.  Research the cost of living for your new location

It’s important when relocating to a new area to consider the taxes and living expenses. You should not only consider if your potential salary reflects that, but also if the relocation bonus makes uprooting your home worthwhile.

Once you understand what the relocation package entails, it’s time to start doing some research. From finding a house to thinking of the logistics of packing and moving your belongings, there’s a lot to consider when relocating.

Connect with a local real estate agent

Relocation packages vary from one employer to another, but many will offer relocation assistance services and should be able to connect you with a real estate agent to start scouting for a new place for you to call home. Be sure to ask the hiring manager for the contact information of who will be assisting you with relocating.

You should reach out to a local real estate agent prior to any scouting trips that you may take. This way, you can maximize your time by viewing properties that your agent has arranged for you. Ask your agent about their experience working with physicians who relocate, as their familiarity with the process will be beneficial.

Get help selling your current home

You might be leaving one home to find a new one. In that case, ask your future employer about financial assistance in selling your current home. Packages could include covering closing costs and real estate commissions. Connect with an agent in your current location to get started on the home-selling process.

Know the moving costs

Most employers should cover the expenses and arrange the logistics of moving. Services such as disassembling, packing, shipping, and unpacking your belongings should be covered by your future employer. If it wasn’t initially discussed, research the cost of such services and negotiate that price as part of your relocation bonus.

In conclusion

Relocating can be a hassle. Understanding what an employer may be offering for relocation is crucial to ensure as smooth of a transition as possible. Reviewing employment contracts is what we do, and if you need guidance, we’re here to help.

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