Moving office is a complex process. Not only do you need to think about the physical elements of the move such as moving files, computers, desks, records, phones, equipment, systems and furniture. You also need to consider employee productivity (and potential downtime) as well as any effect the move may have on your customers.
Because moving is an infrequent event for most businesses, one of the most common mistakes made is underestimating the time it takes to plan and execute an office move effectively. Careful planning, detailed project management and clear communication are the keys to a successful office move.
Whether you are relocating to bigger premises, downsizing or simply changing office locations this guide will help you learn about what’s involved and how to select the right moving partner for your business or commercial relocation.
Preparing for the move
Before you even begin to call around relocation and moving companies for quotes, it is a good idea to map out as much as you can and gather as much information you have on your current business/office, and the new premises.
- Floor plans (old and new premises)
- Inventory of desks, computers, chairs, etc
- List of employees/departments
- Items not to be moved
- Items to be recycled or removed
- Specialty equipment needs
- Building access (old and new premises)
- Tentative move dates
This process will help you better understand your move requirements and it will enable the moving companies to provide a more accurate quote.
Communication is one of the most important aspects of a corporate move. The more informed people are the more efficient your move will be. Send regular “move updates” to staff during the planning process and prior to moving day make sure everyone (employees, movers, customers, landlord) knows the moving plan. The more prepared you and your staff are the less chance of costly mistakes or problems arising during the move.
Types of office removals
To choose the most appropriate moving company for your needs, the next step in the process is deciding what services you will require for your relocation.
Office relocation companies range from the straightforward pick up and delivery service to full service relocation specialists providing everything from packing services to on-site project management and handyman services.
Common types of office and commercial moves include:
- Internal office moves
- Site-to-site moves
- Multi-site relocations
- Factory and warehouse relocations
- Specialty – library, computer, heavy machinery, etc
Be realistic about the level and types of services you will require for your move. The objective is to move your business quickly, efficiently and cost effectively. The cost to your business will be far greater than the price of the mover if equipment is damaged or productivity slowed because systems aren’t back online in a timely manner, and employees aren’t able to work.
You can save on packing services by having your staff pack up their own desk and disconnecting personal equipment. Leave disassembly and reassembly of furniture and heavy office equipment to the movers.
Most professional corporate moving companies will offer weekend and night-shift moving services, that are designed to reduce your businesses downtime.
Evaluating Business Relocation Companies
Now that you have a good understanding of your move requirements and the services you will need, the next step is selecting a relocation company.
Take time with this process. We recommend you get at three or more quotes from reputable moving companies before making your decision. Have a budget in mind but when it comes to selecting a company but don’t use price as the deciding factor. If estimates come in well-above your budget, think about scaling back extra services, than going for the cheapest provider. Safe, efficient delivery of your goods, and minimal interruption to your business are far more important.
Here are some of the key things to look for:
- Experience. Choose a company that has experience in the type of office move you require. Removalists that only spend their time doing household moves may not have the right expertise and equipment to handle your office relocation.
- Equipment. Do they have the right equipment? Ask for details of packing techniques for computers, files, furniture. Do they provide boxes, dolly’s, trolley’s?
- Staff. Are staff professional, courteous and dressed in uniforms? Are staff properly trained? How many staff will be allocated to your move? Will you have a dedicated project manager?
- Location. Are the movers familiar with the city, area? Are storage facilities easily accessible?
- References. Don’t settle for quotes or testimonials. Ask for names, and contact details of recent customers similar to your industry and needs. Call them and ask questions about level of service, fees (quotes and final bill) and any problems.
- Professional Association. Are they a member of AFRA (Australian Furniture Removal Association)? Do they have affiliations with overseas or interstate carriers?
Office Moving estimates and pricing
There are several different ways that moving companies charge. Some will base their pricing on the amount of goods (per cubic metre or weight) and the distance you’re moving. Others based their pricing on the number of people and trucks required for your move.
Regardless of how they charge, comparing costs for a move should be done based on the estimate they provide for the services you want. Having a good understanding of your needs upfront, may require some additional planning and preparation on your behalf but it is much better to get an accurate estimate than be lumped with additional charges at the end of your move.
The first step in getting an accurate quote is to organize a walkthrough of your premises with each of your short listed relocation companies. Ask them to provide you with an obligation free quote. Expect your estimates to fall within a reasonable range of each other and be wary of low-ball estimates, they may not include all the services you require or the moving company may have underestimated your move requirements which could lead to extra charges.
There are several things that may effect the price of your move. Access issues or difficult to move items may incur an extra charge. Some companies will have minimum charges for labour and minimum weight requirements. Read the small print of any estimate to ensure you know what is included and what falls out of the agreed scope of services. Ask for a list of extra charges in writing.
Finally, be sure to ask about the arrangements for paying for the move in advance. Some companies will not accept personal cheques, so you’ll need to arrange for a bank cheque, money order or credit card payment. Get the final bill in writing but never sign off on a final bill until your move is complete.
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