Most companies put off moving until they’ve so outgrown the space they’re in that it’s hard to function. Additional or updated space can be a welcome respite from a crowded, outdated office. Moving your company to a new location is a big endeavor, even if you’re just moving to a new place in the same city.
The costs to relocate a company vary widely. For example, if you move to a new city or state, you may also have employee relocation costs to contend with. The relocation sector is a $25 billion per year industry. Any small thing you can do to reduce the number of times you have to move and make the process smoother will reduce costs.
Here are six ways to navigate a seamless company relocation and find the perfect space for your needs. Whether you’re upgrading big time or simply seeking more space, you want to manage a move without disrupting your business.
1. Find the Perfect New Space
Your company’s needs today won’t be the same needs you’ll have in five years. Unless you want to relocate every five years, look forward and predict how much you think your company might grow. Of course, you have to find a balance between what you can afford and what you might need. One solution is to seek space you can build on to at a later date. Don’t forget to look at expenses, such as maintenance of shared areas or conversions you’ll need to complete on your own.
You’ll also want to locate your business in the perfect area. This is sometimes easier said than done. The easiest thing for your employees is to keep the building close to the old one. However, there may be a lack of inventory in your area, so work closely with a commercial real estate agent to find the best option for your needs.
2. Negotiate the Best Deal on the Lease
If you’re renting the space, you’ll want to negotiate the best deal possible on the lease. A long-term lease is usually five years or more and a short-term lease can be anything less than that. There are advantages to each type. A long-term lease benefits the negotiation process and helps keep rent costs low even in a rising market. On the other hand, if rent prices decrease or the area goes downhill, you may wind up paying more than you should.
Pay attention to the little details on the lease. This is where working with a commercial real estate broker comes in handy, because they’ll know the minor things to look for that can have a big impact.
3. Pack up the Office
The best way to pack up your office is starting with items you rarely use. Empty out supply cabinets. Move things you can do without for a few days, such as printers.
Next, pack up items that are used regularly, leaving things used the most for last. You should also label everything down to which employee’s desk the item is located. This makes for a smoother transition when unpacking.
Gather paperwork in an easy-to-locate area, including contact info for the new and current office, insurance paperwork and details from the moving company. Anything vital stays with the head of the company until the move is completed.
4. Prepare Employees
Get your employees ready for the move. Explain the process, take a tour of the new space with them, and assign parking spaces and new desk locations ahead of time. The more organized you can be before the move, the less chaos there will be afterward. Assign one person to be in charge of employee relocation and centralize the tasks involved. Of course, if you run a big company, they may need assistants.
5. Figure Out the Logistics of the Move
Now is the time to figure out how things will actually be moved from location A to location B. Is it better to hold a big sale and get rid of items rather than move them? What equipment or office furnishings go with the new office? Take a complete inventory of what can be sold, donated, thrown out or moved.
6. Set up Shop Again
Work closely with the moving company or employees appointed to move items to make sure they get to the right place in the new building. This will make it easier to locate things when you get there and save time setting up shop again. Get your employees involved in the process. They work with items every day and will immediately recognize if something important is missing.
Seamless Company Relocation Is a Myth
In many ways, a completely seamless company relocation is a myth of sorts. One thing you can count on is that something will go wrong at some point in the relocation process. Preparation is key to getting past any bumps in the road and minimizing company downtime and stress on workers.
Written by: Holly Welles
Holly Welles is a real estate writer who covers the latest market trends in everything from residential to commercial spaces. She is the editor behind her own blog, The Estate Update, and curates more advice on Twitter.