Moving offices? Congratulations! Whether you’ve outgrown your old digs or find yourself downsizing, these 5 tips will make the transition efficient and cost-effective. Here, Barb Ankrum and Dan Moshe, both office-move experts in their respective fields, tell you how to get a move on while running your business with as little disruption as possible.
1. Plan in Advance
Ideally, give yourself six to 12 months before your current lease expires to secure a new lease. Barb Ankrum, of full-service real estate company Cave and Associates, notes, “You want to create a strategic plan, and that plan may take longer than you expect to execute.” Map out a timeline that includes:
- Whether to form a corporation or LLC
- Selecting a site and lease negotiations
- Permitting, remodeling, wiring and cabling
- Measuring offices and purchasing new furniture
- The actual move and setting up
Here’s a tip from Dan Moshe, CEO and founder of Tech Guru, and IT wrangler for countless small business moves in Minneapolis: “If you have servers, make sure you have plenty of ventilation. If you’re locking the servers in a room, you don’t want that space getting overheated.”
2. Find a Commercial Realtor You Trust
After payroll, real estate is generally the next largest expense for a business. However, “Your real estate decision has impact beyond the bottom line,” cautions Barb. “Your new location can improve employee retention, morale, and productivity, resulting in retained costs and happier customers.” Whether your location is St. Paul or Edina, a commercial real estate professional can help you in numerous ways:
- Offers expertise and acts as an advocate
- Has vast knowledge of the market, landlords, demographics, and incentives
- Deciphers leases and detects maintenance obligations, lease limits, and additional charges
Barb adds, “Most business owners are too busy to read the fine print on a lease and can’t afford the time away from their core business.” In some cases, hiring a commercial Realtor may cost business owners nothing. In every case, he or she can help you make an informed, seamless move you’ll be satisfied with for many years to come.
3. Use Professionals to Plan and Execute
While you may have someone among your staff with an eye for decorating, planning a new office space requires more than a penchant for Pinterest. Invest in the right people to get you move-in ready, and your employees can settle back to work quickly and happily after the move.
- Commercial Real Estate Attorneys: Find errors and ambiguity in leases
- Insurance Agents: Ensure you meet insurance requirements at a resonable cost
- Commercial Real Estate Bankers: Give you financing options, reduced rates, and ways to finance equipment
- Accountants or Financial Advisors, such as Tech Guru clients Foreman & Airhart, Hysjulien and Associates, and Weber & Deegan, Ltd. : Help determine whether to lease or buy
- Architects: Aid in space-planning, saving you square footage and thousands of dollars over the course of your future lease
Dan reveals how his clients get the most bang for their buck while building out a new space: “Wireless internet is not reliable enough to count on exclusively, so always wire ethernet cable if it’s not already there. Run more than you’ll need, especially if you’re already ripping out walls and paying for labor, because it costs much less to do it all at once. Finding out you need to add another jack or two later could easily cost ten times more.”
4. Change Your Vendors or Negotiate Deals
Moving time is a perfect opportunity to upgrade services, get better pricing on existing services, or change vendors altogether. While this step takes time and research, it can be well worth the savings your business will experience in the long run. Some vendors that may be worth reviewing are:
- Phone, internet, and cable providers
- Water delivery
- Cleaning services
- Messenger services
Have the foresight to examine your contracts and consider services that might be newly available in your future office space. Dan notes, “Moving is a great time to rethink your phone system. Phone, internet, and IT are all the same thing now. Because they go together, think about working with an IT consultant who can help you start a new system.”
5. Think Long-Term
There are countless details to keep track of with an office move, but don’t forget to look ahead. “You want to consider the nature of the location, the best lease length for your company, and the stability of the building owner,” says Barb. There are several factors to weigh before signing on the dotted line.
- Access to the building for your employees and customers via public transportation, and parking options for drivers.
- The pros and cons of a longer lease versus a shorter lease
- Investigating whether the building is owned by a bank, local owner, or out-of-state corporation.
- Learning about major improvements made to the building in the last five years, and plans for future improvements.
The Keys to Happy Moving
While a major office move may seem daunting, you’re not the first to tackle the job. You’re on your way to a productive office move and creating an energizing new space for you and your employees to thrive!
Barb Ankrum has been helping commercial real estate clients for over 22 years. You can find her at 651-482-9668 and www.officehere.com.
Dan Moshe helps business owners in the Minneapolis area with all things tech, and is the CEO of the Caring IT company Tech Guru. He cares about your business as much as you do!