When moving your business to a new location, proper planning saves you time and money. Packing and unpacking take time, and haphazardly placing critical support equipment in your new space can result in ongoing inefficiencies (Where’s the copier? What happened to my filing cabinet?). Fortunately, moving your small business to a new location doesn’t have to mean days of disruption.
Brandon Morris, president of North Dallas Moving and Storage, has years of experience planning and executing small business moves. From getting everything ready to go into the truck, to ensuring the new space is ready to receive your equipment, Morris has the process down to a science. And now he wants to share his expertise with you.
5 Tips for an Efficient Small Business Move
1. Get onsite estimates, not online quotes
Your moving company needs a clear understanding of everything you plan to move. Morris says the vendor should conduct a detailed onsite inventory early in the process. "We never give quotes or prices without doing a visual survey," he explains. "So much can go wrong."
Anything large or cumbersome may require special moving equipment, and your estimation of how much you need to relocate could be way off. An onsite walk-through lets the vendor accurately gauge the labor and equipment required to get your team moved quickly, and it will also ensure the final bill doesn’t hold any surprises.
2. Listen to the experts
During the survey, pay attention to your vendor's advice. Those suggestions will save you time and money. "As we walk through the office, I give tips and ideas on moving," Morris says. For example, you can move some filing cabinets even if they're full. However, he says, many people don’t realize that "you need to empty the top two drawers of four-drawer laterals to prevent damaging the cabinet." Talk with your mover about options and procedures for moving artwork, office equipment or other items that may be particularly delicate or expensive.
3. Embrace efficiency
Take advantage of any tools that streamline your move. For example, individual cardboard boxes are giving way to reusable plastic totes and time-saving carts. Forget all those rolls of tape and stacks of cardboard boxes that have to be assembled before the move and then broken down and hauled to the trash when your move is done.
"The totes make it clean and simple," Morris says. His company’s quotes typically "include delivery of the totes three to four days prior to the move, and I determine the number of totes they’ll need while doing the onsite office survey." Once employees fill each tote, they just close them up and slap a label on them. The moving vendor retrieves them shortly after the move for use on the next job.
4. Plan ahead
It's a move: not a free-for-all. Creating a floor plan and a seating chart ahead of time helps everyone get situated in the new space with a minimum of fuss and disruption. Coupled with good signage in your new location, this process saves time and lets the movers place totes, furniture and other materials where they need to go.
While you’re streamlining things, work with the mover to assign one person to spearhead the operation on moving day. "The biggest concern is when they have several people onsite without a single point of contact," Morris explains. "You have people going in different directions, and that can overwhelm the customer."
5. Purge before you go
It’s simple math: the less stuff you have to move, the faster and cheaper your move will be. Most small businesses have the equivalent of a "back room," where old desks, chairs and computer monitors have gone to die. "Either donate the old equipment and use it as a tax write-off, or sell it to a used furniture place," Morris says.
For obsolete paper files, consider bringing in a mobile shredding truck before everyone starts packing. Also, determine if your team can consolidate the number of printers and copiers in the new location. Return any surplus to the leasing company.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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