Your business is growing and the office space on your premises can no longer adequately accommodate all your staff, equipment, and documentation? You are contemplating the strategic benefits for your business if you move to a more customer-friendly location? A new office is going to provide your company with innovative and creative workspace to stay ahead of the competition? Even if neither of these scenarios fit your company’s case, your business may still want to consider making a move. For one, this might have an inspirational effect on staff and lead to a boost in motivation, or prompt changes in commuting patterns, potentially in favor of more environmentally sustainable options, which is what research into the relocation of the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) headquarters from Godalming to Woking revealed. However, regardless of what your motives behind a decision to move are, it is essential to recognize the disruptive nature of the process and devise a comprehensive strategy to handle the relocation project in the best possible way. Here is what you should know before you embark on that journey, and a professional moving company should be able to provide extra expertise and guidance along the way.
Assuming you have already chosen the area you are relocating to, the planning process should start with a clear vision of what the new office would be like and how it would support your business goals. It is also vital to communicate the decision that you are relocating to the entire organization at the early planning stage, so that you can obtain the input of as many members of staff across departments and service lines as possible. Depending on how sizable the undertaking is, a couple or more employees should be assigned responsibility for managing and overseeing the project. After collecting initial feedback from the entire workforce, the project team has to prepare the moving plan and set milestones marking crucial project phases. The major variables that you need to be focusing on at this point are costs and schedule. So probably this is the most suitable moment to approach a professional moving company, obtain information on the available options and get a quote. The best moving companies are going to work with your team and develop a customized moving plan that takes into consideration all the circumstances unique to your business.
First of all, consider how long the process is going to take. Having a relocation timeline allows you to control costs as well as keep track of progress. Generally, you should be aware that dealing with the practical issues around an office move may take anything between one and three months, depending on the scale of the operation. Once you have set the deadlines, make a checklist of everything that you do not intend to take to the new office – from paper work through unusable equipment to old furniture. Let employees have a copy of that checklist so that they can prepare to recycle and leave the clutter behind. Archive documentation can be arranged to be transported in advance. You can also take care of the disposal of unnecessary inventory by organizing an internal or public sale. That way, when the time to start packing comes, your focus will be relevant.
When it comes to estimating the budget necessary for the move, both direct and indirect costs should be taken into consideration. The direct costs are easy to calculate – they comprise all the service-related expenses for the moving company and any other vendors involved in the process. On the other hand, the indirect costs are incurred relative to the decrease in business productivity during the disruption. There is a direct correlation between the timeframe of the move and the predicted amount of losses, so the shorter the interruption period, the lower the indirect costs to your business. Moreover, if the moving company that you hire offers you a “one-stop-shop” including internal design, furniture installation, electrical, plumbing, and cleaning services, getting all of this under one roof would reduce the complexities and certainly prove a cost-saving option. Finally, if you manage to identify the scope of work precisely, you may be able to obtain a flat price instead of hourly time-and-material charge, which will avoid unpleasant surprises and is the safest choice by default.
There are a number of logistics businesses specialized in commercial moving, so customers are offered a wide range of options. You can do away with hiring a professional moving company and take care of everything yourself only if your business is very small, there is little equipment, and no bulky furniture to transport. In any other case, though, independent moving is not recommended. Due to the large number of moving companies on the market, doing research into the available options and comparing prices can be quite time-consuming. Still, it is possible to take the short road, and also save some money along the way.
It is certainly useful to know that here are websites such as 5moversquotes.com which are going to provide you with quotes by reliable and professional moving companies in your area for free. The added value of this service is substantial because, first of all, you are going to receive only relevant offers. That means all the providers that bid actually have the capacity and are available to carry out your particular move on your preferred dates. Secondly, obtaining quotes will narrow down your search among the myriad of movers on the market. Big companies in the moving industry are quite easy to get in touch with because they maintain visible presence on the web and often appear high in search results. However, your project may get a more reasonable quote by a smaller provider which still has the capacity to carry out your move. So the benefit of using a site to compare quotes also extends to reaching out to smaller yet equally professional and dependable movers. At the same time, it is not always safe to go for companies that score at the top of Google pages as some of them may be fraudulent. That is another key concern that 5moversquotes.com can help you address because they only work with trusted businesses. Last but not least, being able to compare moving companies will let you choose the most cost-effective solution as you will be able to see how the key parameters such as rates and services are similar or differ. Once you are considering just a few proposals, it already makes sense to invest time in researching the shortlisted options.
While it may be hard to take a shot in the dark and choose a moving company without any “pre-selection or screening”, it is equally tough to take a pick from a couple of really good competitive offers. Let’s thus take a look at what plays the biggest part in the successful choice of a moving partner.
First, look into the reliability of the mover and check their background. If possible, verify their references in order to ensure they can be a trusted partner. Pay particular attention to their track record with moves similar in size and type to yours. There are some moving companies that deliver multiple services under one roof, such as interior design and furniture installation. If you opt for such a package deal, you should enquire whether some of the work will be subcontracted so that you know precisely with whom the responsibility lies. Choosing a certified mover would also add up to the expected quality of service. One of the most well recognized qualifications in the commercial moving industry is the IOMI (International Office Moving Institute) certification. If you are relocating within the USA, you could also look for the Pro Mover certification awarded by the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA).
The next extremely important consideration concerns insurance against potential damage during the moving process. Which moving company has the most comprehensive insurance coverage? What are the eligibility requirements? Normally the base insurance rate does not cover all the items you need to transport. As a general rule, the insurance levels and extent of liability depend on the value you would like covered so prepare for an extensive discussion of the exact conditions with the moving company.
Large-scale projects sometimes require external assistance in the packing process. If you intend to use such a service, ensure it is part of the mover’s portfolio. Many professional moving companies employ labeling systems based on color-coding and detailed instructions that add a highly organized touch to the process. The movers would also be aware of the right sequence of steps when unpacking. Don’t forget to enquire about the special procedures in place for moving fragile items and electronics equipment. Would you also be transporting your servers? It is strongly advisable to extensively discuss and plan the relocation of such sensitive equipment so as to secure safety and minimal downtime.
There is just one more thing to take care of before you sign the contract with your chosen service provider: negotiating the move dates. The contract should specify explicitly the guaranteed completion time, along with penalties for deviations from the schedule. Most decision makers would arrange the move either after working hours or at the weekend for minimal elevator load in the new building as well as negative impact on the business. Also, if renovation works at the new office are still ongoing when the date of the move comes, proceeding according to plan may be difficult. In such cases, enquire whether the moving company has available storage to temporary accommodate all your stuff.
Start by communicating the exact dates of the move to all your employees and ensure their cooperation in the process. Ideally, they should be instructed what to do and provided with a detailed checklist outlining their responsibilities before and on the day of the move. A thought should also be spared about the orientation of staff in the new surroundings. A good idea would be to devise and send out a guide featuring a map of the area with information on the places to eat and drink, transport links, parking facilities, and other important details.
The second group of entities that you should notify are public and IT service providers. First and foremost, the utilities. Contact the electricity, gas, and water providers and arrange when the service will be switched. Also, some electronic equipment, such as copy and printing machines, needs to be serviced by the vendor before being moved so that should also be arranged accordingly. Communicate with your telephone company and Internet service provider to install phone lines and internet on the new premises before moving day so that you can guarantee service to customers without interruption.
The third party entitled to timely information about your planned move are your customers and regular suppliers. Notify them well in advance of when and where you are moving as well as how you can be contacted in the future. Allow time for your company stationery to be reprinted in order to reflect the change of address (and possibly, telephone numbers).Update your website and all the listings your business has with services such as Google+ and Foursquares. Take advantage of social media which offers huge potential for disseminating the news out to everybody quickly and efficiently. Post an announcement on your facebook page, tweet a line, write in your company blog. Make effective use of all available marketing channels.
Ultimately, if you have taken the time to absorb the advice outlined above, you are going to be very well prepared when moving day arrives. Then, when moving day is a thing of the past and all of you enter your new office, you will know that all of the careful planning and preparation has paid off. There might be occasional nostalgia creeping in, but your business should keep in mind that the grass is always greener on the other side.