At LCI Realty, we know that moving your business is a big endeavor. Here is our guide to making a smooth transition from one location to another.
How to Move a Business to a New Location
There are several steps when moving a business to a new location, but with careful planning and decision-making, you can accomplish the task easily. Here is an example of the project stages:
- Make a high-level plan, including target dates.
- Make the decisions necessary to fill in the details.
- Choose a new location.
- Engage the appropriate resources to help with the transition.
- Physically move the business.
- Tie up any loose ends and shut down the project.
Moving a Business Requires Planning
Unless you’re in the moving business, moving your company can at first glance look like an impossible feat. With detailed planning and this checklist as a guide, though, you’ll be in your new space in no time.
Begin by establishing a date for the move. While this might seem like an odd place to start, it makes sense, especially if you have a lease that is expiring on a certain date. You’ll need to be completely moved and have that property cleaned by the time your lease expires. If you are buying new commercial property and selling or leasing your old location, you have a bit more wiggle room.
Choose an individual to manage the entire project. While this could be the business owner, it might be prudent to trust the details to a key employee. That way, the owner is free to keep an eye on the dollars and cents of the move while also continuing to manage the day-to-day operations at the current location.
Set a budget. In the end, it all comes down to money. You can’t run your business into the ground with a move that eats up your cash reserves. Make sure to establish a contingency fund in addition to whatever your ongoing budget is set at. Having a bit of wiggle room is wise because there are always unexpected expenses that crop up. Your real estate professional should be able to help you calculate the right contingency fund size. They are experienced professionals in your market.
Make the Decisions Necessary to Fill in the Details
Here are the questions you must ask to get a good grip on what activities are necessary for the move:
- Will you rent or buy the new location?
- How much of an “overlap” will there be in operations? (How long will you run both locations?)
- Are any additional staff required for the transition?
- Is any additional inventory required for the transition?
- What kind of build-out is required for the new location?
- Is any additional equipment required at the new location?
- What kind of communication is required for your current customer base to notify them of the impending changes?
Will You Rent or Buy a New Space?
When you enter the detailed planning stage, the first thing you must do is to determine if you are leasing or buying a new location. At this point, you probably want to connect with a real estate firm like LCI Realty so that we can fill you in on all the options available that meet your space and location needs.
If you decide to lease new space, the moving process can typically advance a bit more quickly. This might be the best option for moves with a tight turnaround time because there is less paperwork involved and generally fewer negotiations as well. However, most businesses will still face a build-out phase to get the premises ready. Our staff will be able to assist you in locating the property and all lease negotiations.
Buying Commercial Property
This is a bit more complicated than leasing new property. At LCI, we can help you find the perfect property for your needs. We can also help you obtain financing, negotiate terms, and make sure that you will be happy with your decisions. We’re here to support you in any way that we can.
Engage the Appropriate Resources to Help With the Transition
Now that you know where/when you are moving, it’s time to engage the services of those specialized vendors that will work with you to move the business physically. These services include professional packers and movers. You may also need landscapers and construction crews for any necessary build-outs at the new location. You will also want to hire a professional cleaning service to not only clean the new location once the build-out is complete but also to clean your existing location in order to prepare it for its new occupants.
Physically Move the Business
When moving time comes, it is all hands on deck! You can save on some costs by engaging your staff to assist with the physical move. However, if their “regular” jobs are not very physical, you probably want to leave it to the professionals rather than run the risk of physical injuries.
Other Things to Consider
Signage, letterhead, invoicing, business cards, and all of the other printed materials that you use in the course of conducting business must be updated to the new address. Production usually requires a bit of lead time, so as soon as you know the new address, you should get started on making these changes.
Update business licenses and notify the appropriate tax authorities. These updates are especially important if you are moving from one city or county to another. You want to stay in line with legal regulations.
Technical build-outs may require the assistance of IT professionals who are experienced at handling moving computers, phone lines, registers, etc. Even if you have your own IT department, they may not have experience with this type of activity.
Make updates to your website throughout the project. In fact, it can be fun to take pictures of the entire process for your customers. It helps them feel more engaged and will make them more likely to visit you at your new location.
Tie Up Any Loose Ends and Shut Down the Project
At this point, you have moved out of your old location. Make sure that you have signage pointing to your new location (if applicable to your type of business). If you need to sell your existing property, LCI Realty can help you with that as well.
Make sure that all the vendors have been paid and any temporary employees you engaged during the relocation phase have either been let go or retained as permanent employees. Your project manager should prepare a “lessons learned” document that details your business-specific issues that arose during the move and file it away for the next time the business needs to relocate.
We realize that different businesses have different relocation needs. We can help you with more specific recommendations no matter if you are moving a warehouse, a restaurant, a retail space, an office building, or a manufacturing facility. Call LCI Realty today for a free property analysis. We’re here to make your business move as smoothly as possible.
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