How do I plan for an office space move?

One of the most important elements that is often overlooked and one that we often receive requests for advice on, is the office space relocation process. What do we need to consider? When and how do we plan for a move? How much will it cost? Who shall we select as vendors for furniture, phone systems, the relocation process?

A good tenant representation advisor should be there to ensure the office space move process goes as smoothly as possible, with the aim of minimizing disruption to their client’s business and ultimately, their profitability during this always difficult transition. They can manage the entire relocation process as part of their real estate management services scope and coordinate with in-house management if necessary. Alternatively, you could outsource the entire process and hire a project management company.

Either way, seek expert advice if you are not experienced with the office space relocation process. Factoring in a relocation budget is essential as part of evaluating the total cost of an acquisition of a new facility. Most other office space relocation considerations can be left until up to three months before the big day. Every scenario is different so it’s critical that all the factors involved in a move are investigated and evaluated long before the lease or escrow on a new facility is closed.

Planning is key; if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! You wouldn’t believe the things managers overlook during an office space relocation, so a checklist is essential. Here’s a good one:

3 Months before Moving Day:

Secure office space
Communicate the office space move to employees
Identify major tenant improvement needs
Confirm relocation budget Choose the move day
Obtain necessary permits
Start contracting for major tenant improvements
Order new phone number
Order new fax number

1.5 Months before Moving Day:

Design office space
Assign office space
Order chairs
Order desks
Order systems furniture
Hire movers
Order change of address labels for notification
Order new address labels for existing stationery, marketing materials
Order signage for new location
Identify phone system requirements
Order phone lines
Order Internet access
Order phone forwarding
Arrange internal/external maintenance service
Arrange for trash disposal
Set up cleaning service

1 Month before moving day:

Address punch list items on completed tenant improvements
Get business insurance quote for new space
Arrange for copier move or buy new equipment
Order security system
Order keys, access cards
Arrange for beverage service
Send change of address to all vendors
Send change of address to all customers
Send change of address to all subscriptions
Notify all lessors of equipment move
Order checks with new address
Order long distance service
Transfer 800 numbers or order new numbers
Sell old equipment, furniture

Preparing for the office space move (1 day to 1 month before moving day):

Install phone lines
Install phone system
Assign new phone numbers, extensions
Order new stationery
Order new business cards
Order new business forms
Identify closest overnight drop off boxes
Inventory existing computers
Inventory existing furniture by room
Order dumpster for purging
Purge old, obsolete materials
Create new office extension directory
Create new office layout map
Create new fax cover sheet
Create driving instructions
Get new shipping labels
Notify Post Office of change of address
Update website with new information
Add note inside mailbox about office space move and change of address
Obtain moving crates/cartons
Take down systems furniture Pack up desks, personal spaces
Pack up common areas
Store property that will not be moved
Tag furniture to be moved
Tag all wall items and move to central location
Install systems furniture Distribute new keys, cards
Collect old keys, cards Empty, defrost and clean refrigerator
Code new office space on a map for movers

Moving Day:

Post coded signs in new office for movers
Protect main moving paths
Move plants

Post office space move:

Install office artwork
Periodically visit old office to pick up mail
Schedule phone training
Schedule security training
Get back to work!