Commercial Moving Guide: How to Prepare for Your Big Move (Part 2)
As we discussed in our first post in this Commercial Moving Guide series about planning, moving an office requires a great deal of organization. Failing to plan properly adds unnecessary stress to an already complex process, while strong attention to detail increases a move’s efficiency and creates an easier transition for everyone involved: employees, management and the vendors that will be assisting with the move. Now that you’ve laid out detailed plans for how you’ll communicate with your staff, track your spending, and manage the process, what’s next? In a word: prepping.
3-6 Months Before the Move: Prepping
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” When it comes to a commercial move, success is just as dependent on thorough preparation as it is execution. The tips listed below offer several suggestions to ensure that your commercial move goes off without a hitch.
- Hire vendors – or consider the benefits of hiring just one: While there are a variety of vendors available for each component of your move (boxes, packing, clean up, moving, and delivery/installation) hiring one vendor that can manage everything in one, end-to-end service minimizes stress and maximizes efficiency. Whether you choose one vendor or several, suppliers should be chosen based on their reputation, availability and true capability, as not all have the same reach, expertise or commitment to quality.
We recommend obtaining information from any vendor you choose
- Flexibility: Will the vendor work outside of business hours, if needed?
- Fee structure: Will you be charged by the job or per hour? Will time worked outside of office hours incur extra fees?
- Range of Services: Are clean-up and packing services available?
- References: Does the vendor’s reputation match their promises regarding performance?
- Conduct several “assessment” rounds: Rather than taking a mental inventory, we recommend that your moving committee take several walks around your current building to assess whether any repairs will need to be made to the structure before you vacate the building, to note whether there are any large pieces of signage or furniture that will require greater labor to remove, and to assess just how many items (large and small) will need to be taken care of before and during the move. Involving several people in these rounds will ensure that nothing gets missed or forgotten.
- Downsize: After taking a few walks around the office, you’ll now have a representative list of your company’s inventory – and likely find some items you can dispose of. This would be a great time to take a final lap around your building, tagging these items with stickers. Once that’s done, we recommend purging methodically – one area at a time. This step should never be left until the last minute, when your teams will be tired and efforts to pack will be ramped up considerably. Last minute purging often results in mistakenly discarding items that you should have kept. Taking your time ensures a smoother move.
- Get your IT team on board: In addition to moving boxes and furniture, you’ll also need to move technical equipment. We recommend coordinating internet plans, phone connections and platform transfers with your IT department as soon as possible. Make sure you provide them with access to the new building to ensure they can evaluate the new space for any upgrades that might be needed, either to the infrastructure or equipment that will be brought to the new location. Getting your tech team involved early will be key to smooth sailing during and after the move.
- Assess what materials you’ll need: Your assessment rounds will have given you a complete overview of what you’ll need to move to the new location. Now, if you’re not working with a single provider who’ll be managing the move for you, you’ll need to choose the right number (and type) of boxes and crates you’ll need. This isn’t as easy as it sounds since there are so many types to choose from. From stackable and collapsible choices to rentals or pods, the decisions and solutions are as unique as the companies that utilize them.
- Communicate loading and unloading instructions to your vendors: Do you have designated areas for loading and unloading at your new and existing locations? Have you ensured that trucks parked in these areas won’t disrupt traffic or access by other tenants? Will either location require unusual access hours? Will the designated trucks clear any underground loading docks or overhangs? Will the movers clean up following the move or will that be your responsibility? We suggest getting answers to all of these questions – and then coordinating arrival and departure times to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Establish a method for clean up: If you’ve hired a single-source commercial move management company, good for you; this step will likely already be taken care of. If you haven’t – and the movers won’t be handling the cleanup of your old space – then this is a good time to secure a service. Be sure to check your contract or consult your building manager first on building policies and coverage. Determining who the responsible party is will prevent you from paying unnecessary fees for services if it’s not your responsibility – or being charged a penalty if you’ve skipped this step and it is.
- Keep communicating with your employees: By now, the moving committee we encouraged you to establish in the first blog post in this series will be organizing and fielding plenty of questions from your employees. Consider crafting a weekly email that keeps staff up to date on aspects of the move and lists questions that have already been asked – along with answers – to lessen the flow of emails into your committee’s dedicated inbox. Other topics for this newsletter could include:
- Open items
- Designated packing days
- Any expected disruptions to employees’ daily routines
- Moving dates
- The new building:
- Differences regarding parking, security, the cafeteria, etc.
- Public transportation: it’s availability and/or schedules
- Building and neighborhood amenities
- Building name and address
- Communicate with your clients: When you move to your new location you’ll want to ensure that your clients and prospects can find you. Order updated business cards, letterhead, and other publicity materials well in advance of the move and consider creating a banner on your website communicating the upcoming change of address. Since Google changes can take a while longer to implement, we recommend contacting them at least a month in advance to have your online listing and address changed. Finally, update all suppliers, vendors and clients as to where your new company location will be via email and a traditional mailing campaign.
- Get a floor plan – and assign seating: After obtaining a floor plan and feedback from key leaders, draw up a seating plan and distribute it to employees. We recommend allowing time for any feedback that would inspire a need to make changes. Identify cases where special needs, access or the benefits of departmental proximity should be considered. Coordinate finalization of the seating chart with your movers to ensure that they have a clear idea of where each employee’s labeled boxes and equipment will be relocated to within the new location.
After following these guidelines, you’ll be ready to approach the next phase of your commercial move: packing. The next blog post in this series will address a variety of steps that can make transitioning out of your existing space far easier.
In the meantime, if you’re thinking about hiring a single-source provider who can manage your move for you, feel free to contact us for more information before reading our next post. We would be happy to explain the many ways that SIRVA Commercial Moving Services can offer assistance with your company’s move – from planning and packing to the physical move itself. We offer services in workplace, office & facility moving, retail refurbishing, and a number of miscellaneous services. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Commercial Moving Page for more information.
Did you miss the first blog post in this series? Read Commercial Moving Guide: How to Plan for Your Big Move to catch up.