The cost to move to the city

A company I got my start at has always been based in the western suburbs of Chicago.  They've always talked about moving to the city and today they announced to everyone that it was happening (I have lots of good friends there still).  That made me think a little bit.  Sure, working right in the loop would be great.  But what's the cost to the average employee for a move like this?  I did some quick and dirty math and it's a lot more than you'd think...


Assuming 22mpg average and you're adding 50 miles on to your commute round trip.  And I'm averaging out a month of working days to 21.75 (365 days - 104 Sat/Sun divided by 12 months).  Doing the straight math, gas will cost you approximately $8/day.  That doesn't factor in that you're sitting in traffic and not driving for a good portion of your commute so I'm adding 25% to that so you're at $10/day or $217.50/month.


I did a quick search of a couple websites and rates near the new building are anywhere from $300 to $550.  I chose $400 as it was near the average and seemed to be the easiest walk to the office.  So that's $400/month.

The Train

If you decide to take the train to the office then you can get a monthly pass.  From a nearby station, south of the office's current location you're looking at $150/month for a train pass.  Parking at said train station is $105/quarter or $35/month.  Bringing your train total to $185/month plus a nice half hour walk in the elements.  That doesn't include gas costs driving to the train, but that's too hard to calculate.


Why am I including food?  Because the current office includes a cafeteria for lunch.  Now you're going to be in the loop at lunch hour and you'll have to buy that lunch.  The average trip to lunch (based on the abundance of eating out I do) is about $9.  $9 times 21.75 work days a month is $195.75

The Results

If you're going to drive, it will cost you $813.25 more per month to work in the city versus the location of the current office ($617.50 minus the lunches).

If you're going to take the train, it's a more affordable $380.75 ($185 leaving out the lunches).

Most people at the company live in the suburbs.  North, South or West of the current location.  This doesn't factor in that you're adding about an hour and a half commute round trip.  That's got to be worth something, but it's tough to monazite  (it'd be $261/month if you were working minimum wage for those hours).  And the eating out can be cut down by bringing your own lunch.

All in all it gives a pretty good idea of what it costs for a company to make a move from the suburbs to the big city.  You get a more prestigious location but you put a lot more financial burden on your employees.  It's an interesting trade off.