Relocation: The Startup’s Guide to Moving Offices

04 Jun 2016

Rebecca D'Souza

Rebecca D'Souza is the former editor of award-winning digital magazine, Manufacturing Global, and a journalist for Retail Digital. She now works as a freelance writer covering topics relating to SMEs.

There will come a time in every successful startup’s journey when you outgrow your current office space. Time to celebrate! Your success has led to growth, which has led to a bigger team and now you need a bigger office. Relocation and moving offices can be a stressful experience, and not planning could affect your bottom line. Businesses often massively underestimate the cost of relocating an office. Moving homes is often listed as one of the most stressful situations in adult life, and moving an office is no different, so business owners need to be careful. As the saying goes: prior preparation prevents poor performance.

First things first

Work your way through this to-do list to get things moving in the right direction:

  1. Consider working with a property agent to find your next office space
  2. Get your new lease sorted and become extremely familiar with the lease document. Make sure you have read every last word and question anything you don’t understand or are not sure about
  3. Pick a date for moving day
  4. Agree upon the termination dates of your existing lease
  5. Hire a removals company
  6. Get everyone ready for moving day

Assign your best organizer

Utilize your team your best organizer as your project manager for the move. Make sure they are involved in the process of hiring a removals company, as they will work closely with them. If you pick the right person for this job, you should be able to rest easy, knowing they are on top of everything.

Does the new office check the right boxes?

Make sure your new location is an upgrade on your last. Think about this both in terms of practicality and the look and feel. Moving to a beautiful new space is not worth it if that office is miles from where your staff are used to, with no good transport links. 

Assess all the possible positive or negative points and honestly answer the question: is this space better than our current space for a number of reasons, and does it check our boxes? If the answer is yes, then you have found a winner.

Hire a property consultant and find a landlord you can trust

As already mentioned, knowing your lease back to front is vital, but making sure your new landlord is a good fit is just as important. Try to find a flexible landlord that can meet the needs of your business. Do not be afraid of losing a great office because you think the landlord is going to be difficult to deal with. It may be a shame to miss out, but there are plenty of offices out there, and dealing with a difficult landlord for the next few years will soon start to overshadow even the nicest floor to ceiling office windows!

If you’re working with a property consultant, it is his or her job to find you a range of options and alternatives. Don’t be afraid to give them a list of landlord essentials as well as building essentials

Inventory priorities, discard surplus

Moving can be expensive, so take the opportunity to have a bit of a clear out, take only what you need and dispose of, sell or donate the rest. If you have to transport stock, make sure this is looked after. It may also be worth checking your insurance to make sure you are covered.

Keep your business online

The business world is too fast-paced these days for you to be offline and out of contact for the days around your move. Be sure to keep a phone number and your website online. If necessary, pay to have your main contact number diverted to a company mobile for the days surrounding the move. Assign responsibility for that phone to one of your best customer-facing members of staff. 

Find the right removals company

Much like picking the right new office and landlord, picking the right removals firm has the potential to make or break your new office experience. However, finding a high-quality firm shouldn’t be too hard. Feel free to get quotes from a number of firms, and don’t be afraid to see if one firm can match or beat a quote from another. Keep your project manager involved with the hiring process and let him or her have the deciding vote on who to hire, as he or she will be working the closest with the removals company throughout the process.

Budget

You should think of moving offices like you would think of any other business project and therefore, have a budget in mind. Factor in all the costs, including landlord fees, legal fees and the cost of the removal company. Then add a contingency to this in case any unexpected issues arise. Most services tend to cost more than expected, so make sure you are aware of potential added costs.

Get familiar

Make sure you have taken the time to get to know your new building and its surrounding area. If you have a chance, it can be worth taking staff to the new office before moving day to get a chance to see where they will be working.

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