As the newest member of the Mindspot team, surviving an office move felt like a fitting topic for my first contribution to our Mindless Babble Blog. Immediately after joining the team in February my first project was to find new office space. After a tireless search, a massive amount of coordination, packing, painting, installations, several truckloads and some strong movers I am happy to report that we survived the move to our new office in Southwest Orlando!
At this point in my life, I consider myself somewhat of an expert when it comes to moving. From my university days, a first big job in the city, moving to the US in 2004, into my first new home and now an office move; I have pretty much experienced it all. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not something I particularly enjoy but sometimes you just got to suck it up. Today I want to pass along some moving tips I learned along the way that might make your next big move a little easier….
- Get Organized: If you are about to embark on the daunting task of moving, getting organized is critical. Make a wish list. Figure out how much square footage you need, a number of offices, and your desired areas. Start a folder to keep information in one place. You are about to be bombarded with addresses, floor plans, contact numbers and lease agreements. If you are organized from the start it won’t feel so overwhelming.
- Do Your Research: This is no plug, I promise. I truly believe research is the key to finding the perfect space, negotiating the best price and ultimately surviving a move. You need to know the market – How much inventory is out there? What are the going rates per SF? What are the average lease terms? You must dig deeper than the property manager’s sales pitch and empower yourself with information. Our old friend Google is a great place to start.
- Utilize Resources: Don’t be afraid to ask questions and be prepared to listen. Simple questions can often lead to unexpected answers. While viewing a property that wasn’t right for us I asked if a reception desk in the space was staying. As it turned out it wasn’t but the question prompted the property manager to introduce me to another tenant that was selling office furniture. That’s how I came across an incredible deal on our new furniture!
- Don’t Give-up: I have to admit I started to get frustrated with the process after viewing 20+ properties. By that time I had new office furniture but no place to put it. I felt like I had seen everything on the market and was starting to think the perfect space didn’t exist. That’s when I took a time out and re-grouped with the team. You will be amazed by how helpful a fresh perspective can be. We reviewed the pros and cons of each property, which resulted in us finding the perfect space. Did I mention our new office has a fantastic balcony and huge patio? Bonus!
- Schedule Installation Dates Immediately after Signing your Lease: As a company specializing in online research we have grown dependent on technology and our clients are accustomed to communicating with us in real-time. Like us, most businesses can’t afford for phone and internet services to be down for even a day. You might be surprised to find out how long it takes to get those services hooked-up at a new location. Contact your service providers and schedule installations immediately.
- Look for Good Customer Service. I must give a shout out to Deborah Socha, our commercial account rep at Bright House. Deborah helped restore my faith in customer service. She made herself available to us around the clock and addressed our questions without being pushy. She not only helped get our commercial phone, and business class high-speed internet hooked up quickly but she recommended some other great suppliers. Be sure to take the time to make the right decision when it comes to your technology provider. Choosing the right solution for your business, one with strong customer service will pay off in the long run.
- Start Packing Items you Don’t Use Every Day: When coordinating an office move business doesn’t just stop and wait, you need to juggle both. My advice is to start packing items you don’t use on a daily basis a week or two before the move. This includes files, pictures, stationery supplies, etc. Getting those things packed prior to moving day will make things feel a lot more manageable.
- Moving Announcements: We can often overlook minor details. Changing your address in your email signature is not enough. Make sure you take the time to let your clients, partners and suppliers know you moved. Click here for a sample of an announcement we had sent out to our contacts. Even if you don’t get a lot of foot traffic it is important to notify everyone so they can update your address to ensure nothing is lost during the transition.
- Analyze Expenses: My final piece of moving advice is to analyze your expenses. We can all be found guilty of over-spending from time to time. An extra expense here and there adds up after a while. When coordinating a move take the time to review your business expenditures and start fresh. Make some calls and get new quotes because price and service offerings have likely changed since your last move. Shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your phone and internet services, water cooler rentals, insurance policies, etc. The cost savings can really add up and help off-set your moving expenses.