Commercial Moving Guide
If you’re dealing with a commercial move, you’re probably tempted to lay giant sheets of bubble wrap on the floor, wrap everything up, stuff it all in a box and call it a day. Moving can quickly turn into a chaotic nightmare of towering box piles, unsorted contents, missing or broken items, and high costs. Don’t let this happen to you.
We compiled a commercial move guide to help you avoid these moving nightmares. The moving guide is based on our years of experience and expertise in handling successful commercial moves for hundreds of clients. If you’re looking for a snarl-free commercial move process, read on for our moving guide checklist and moving timeline to keep you on track.
Table of Contents
Commercial Moving Challenges
Commercial moves have added difficulties along with regular moving stress. On top of packing and transportation costs, you may have concerns about specialized or industrial equipment.
A commercial move can reduce or halt your business operations. This productivity loss bites into your profit margins. The longer the business move takes, the more disruption.
The disruption will also affect all your interconnected company functions. Your customers will have to accommodate the move, and you and your employees may have major life changes.
If you’re a brick and mortar business, your customers may not be happy unless you can sell them on the new space (closer, more convenient, bigger, more modern, better amenities, etc.) They’ll also need lines of support and communication during the move.
Your employees may have to adjust commute times, child care, and joint work schedules around the new move. You might have to hire new employees if your business is expanding or you lose staff to the move.
By planning ahead with a commercial moving guide, you can communicate your moving timeline and mitigate the stress for you, your customers, and your employees.
A moving timeline assures your preparation is on point. You want to avoid last-minute scrambles to terminate a lease or hire a moving company. Extra fees and long waits are a net loss for you.
Your commercial move’s scope and scale are important and will affect how far out your planning should start.
Any company making a big change, like moving from a rural area to a large city center, may need to start their planning phase further out. But a small company moving a few blocks may need less time than a large company moving across states.
Your commercial move guide is the minimum task completion timeline. You may add or complete tasks earlier than expected, but falling behind can undermine your commercial move’s success.
As your move day approaches, the wiggle room to complete everything on time diminishes rapidly. The moving timeline is your reminder to complete those tasks at that point if you haven’t already done so.
You don’t have to wait until exactly one week out to pick up your new keys, for example. But you want them picked up at least a week or two before moving day.
The 6+ Months Checklist
At six months or longer, you want to be in the planning stage of your moving timeline. This stage is where you avoid unneeded expenses and set your budget.
It’s also where you draw up your moving battle plans and select your boots on the ground. Your moving company and the moving team will be crucial to your commercial move’s success.
The six months or greater checklist should include:
- Review lease conditions
- Set a budget
- Notify employees
- Set up internal moving team
- Hire moving company
- Assess furniture
- Plan move day
Go over your lease conditions to avoid paying penalties and losing deposits. This should be ASAP.
It doesn’t help to review your lease at six months only to discover they need a year’s notice. Building repairs can also take several months.
Your lease conditions may include the upkeep of common areas and parking lots. You may have to replace carpet or flooring after a certain time, even if they aren’t worn.
Make sure there are no sneaky repairs or lease conditions that will affect your security deposit.
Budget planning is its own separate checklist in your commercial move guide.
You’ll have upfront charges like moving fees, and “hidden” costs like the revenue loss. There will be miscellaneous expenses like cleaners and real estate fees.
You’ll also have new costs such as new hires, new equipment, and new marketing. There will be a new round of security and utility deposits.
Without a thorough budget plan, your money can deplete unexpectedly out from under you.
Your employees will need timely notification, especially if your business moving is a major change. They’ll have their own life adjustments or might not be willing/able to move with you.
A little help will go a long way with your employees. Being flexible, supportive, and communicative during the adjustment period can boost your valuable employee retention.
You’ll also need a hiring and training plan for any potential new employees. It can take weeks to years to fully onboard and train new employees into full productivity.
An internal moving team with divided up responsibilities will make a commercial move less overwhelming. If you have specialized staff or departments, you can assign tasks based on their area of expertise.
Your IT team members can be responsible for assessing tech equipment, and your administrative employees can sort office supplies and important papers.
You can also organize your team by the big planning responsibilities in your moving guide like budget, repairs, and purging unwanted items.
You’ll want dependable and high-performing employees that can be flexible with their workload and schedules. A lapse in your moving team performance can be costly to your commercial move.
A moving company isn’t the place to skimp on quality. You’ll want reputable and dependable movers, so your valuable equipment and papers don’t end up damaged or lost in a void.
Vet every function of your moving company too. Sometimes they are separate entities. For example, some companies may handle the pack up but contract out the moving truck drivers.
Research, read reviews, and get quotes before selecting your movers. A good moving company is flexible, communicative, and respectful of your needs, time, and stuff.
A commercial move is a great time to sell worn or outdated furniture and equipment. Purging unneeded items will streamline your move.
You and your business moving team can do assessments to determine what can be sold or tossed out. This can include unused office supplies or old records to shred.
Be sure to carefully and clearly label the items you want to stay, so you don’t end up digging through a landfill for 200k worth of office printers.
Creating an inventory checklist during your assessments will also come in handy if you encounter missing or damaged items during unpacking.
Taking pictures of expensive equipment will confirm they weren’t damaged before the move. Your moving company may also note existing damage on their own item inventory sheet.
Your business moving day can be one or several days. You and/or your designated moving team members will meet with the moving company and coordinate the unloading.
Your moving company may provide a checklist of tags or numbers on each packaged item so you can check off its successful delivery.
You and your team can label each item and make your own package/item list if your moving company doesn’t provide one, or you want a backup list.
With a backup packup checklist, any missing packages and items are noticeable immediately. You’ll want to know what’s missing before the window to report missing items has passed.
The 3-4 Months Checklist
Three-four months is your moving guide’s preparation stage. Your commercial move should be more than a plan at this point, but you may not be ready to set dates on your moving timeline yet.
This checklist stage includes:
- Notify landlord
- Notify customers
- Notify vendors and suppliers
- Conduct assessment rounds
Let your landlord or property manager know of your business moving if you haven’t already given your official lease termination notice.
You can also schedule to go over your lease conditions with your landlord. This will confirm you’re both on the same page about the necessary repairs and other conditions to successfully terminate your lease.
Notifying Your Customers
Let your customers know you’re moving, too. Even if you don’t have the new contact information or official move date yet, you can still give them a heads up of your intentions.
Your moving market strategy should be ready to go, including fliers, website notices, blog posts, ads, or newsletters announcing your move.
Communicate to your vendors and suppliers your intent to move. This will give them time to make their own adjustments. You also want to avoid penalties if you have to terminate or modify vendor and supplier contracts.
Other people to notify can include stakeholders and partnered or sister organizations. Anyone with a financial stake in your company’s success will need timely notification.
You and your team can conduct several assessment rounds of repairs and items. Give each assessor a checklist they can compare to each other after the rounds are complete.
Every added pair of eyes lowers the chance of missing a repair or important item, or an unneeded item getting packed up.
The 1-2 Months Checklist
At one-two months before the move, you should be in the full tactical logistics phase of your commercial move guide.
This includes setting firm dates on your moving timeline. You’ll also set up the designs of your network and workspace.
Checklist tasks to complete include:
- Moving date
- Utilities date
- Walkthrough date(s)
- Communication network
- IT network
- Office design
- Security items
Your business moving date or dates are firm now. Your moving schedule times may be a window to account for traffic or other unexpected delays.
Schedule your new utilities to be turned on- generally a few days before the actual move, in case a problem crops up. You don’t want your moving company and team working in the dark without any functional bathrooms.
Don’t forget to schedule a utility shut-off in your old building, if applicable.
You’ll also schedule your final office walkthrough with your previous landlord or property manager, to confirm your old space meets the lease conditions.
Scheduling a new office walkthrough with the moving company will give them an idea of what goes where. Their unloading will be faster and more organized.
Your infrastructure should be ready to go before your equipment moves in. This will minimize the disruption to your operations and make your after-move setup easier.
Your communication network will involve the setup of internal and external phone lines. It may also include fax lines and scanners.
Your IT staff will establish your internet service provider and your local area network. They’ll also set the configurations for your internet, intranet, cloud computing, apps, etc.
Organize your internal logistics so your operations can begin as quickly as possible after the move. You may even get your operations running before you’ve fully unpacked everything.
Your office space design should also be ready to go. This includes the placement of furniture and equipment.
You may have to take measurements to confirm everything can move through the doorways and hallways. You’ll also want to confirm everything can fit in its designated space.
Your employees will be crabby if their new workspaces are cramped and crowded. It can make your commercial move success go sour fast.
Your moving company won’t be happy either if they can’t fit heavy and big stuff through narrow spaces. They may have to leave it somewhere else for you to deal with on your own.
The 1-2 Weeks Checklist
One-two weeks before the move should be your finalizing stage. Your commercial move is firm and you can update your contact information, confirm your dates, and start closing out your old office.
Your moving timeline will start passing by weeks and days instead of months. If you have previous moving guide tasks still unfinished, now is the time to squeeze them in.
Tasks to finish up will include:
- Moving day schedule
- New office keys
- Confirm utilities and internet dates
- Confirm moving company dates and time
- Update and send new contact info
- Backup important documents
- Buy or confirm moving supplies
- Employee pack up
Your moving day schedule will include your delivery time windows, your moving company, and the team members who are the designated points of contact (POCs).
Exchange contact information between the new office POCs and your moving company. This will avoid delaying urgent messages through a relay process.
Your designated POC for the old office will coordinate with your office cleaners, landlords, or property manager who will do the final walkthrough.
You’ll need your new office keys. Your designated POCs to meet the movers will also need a copy, or the keys transferred to them before moving day.
Confirm your moving day dates and times with the moving company. You may also want to confirm with the moving drivers if they are contracted separately.
You should also confirm your dates for utilities and internet to be switched on. You’ll want moving team members to test that they work before the move day.
Your assessment rounds should tell you what moving supplies you’ll need. You may have to purchase these yourself or let your moving company know what they’ll need to bring. They may provide their own supplies.
Now that you have a new address and your move is just a couple of weeks out, you can update your new contact information.
Send official change of address notices to your customers through emails, and update your website, business cards, and address listings.
You can add move day and contact info reminders in your marketing media like blog posts and newsletters.
Set up your forwarding address so mail sent to your old address is automatically sent to your new address. The USPS has different mail forwarding options, some free.
Make backup copies of important documents and files that will be irreplaceable or hinder operations if lost. This may include work projects and personnel records.
Schedule a commercial cleaning team to professionally clean your old office. The cleaning thoroughness may be the make-or-break factor in your security deposit.
Your employees will start packing their personal belongings. This can be a bittersweet moment, so throwing a small moving out and send-off party may be good for their morale moving forward.
Moving day is your victory day. The moving out part of your commercial move is done. You survived the moving guide and you’re in the home stretch of your moving timeline.
You should have very little stress because you’re prepared, you hired a reputable moving company, and your team is ready to go.
Unless your moving truck gets sucked into a tornado or hijacked, letting your moving company in and keeping track of your unloading checklist should be your biggest business moving concerns.
Your remaining tasks include:
- Confirm your old office POC(s)
- Final walkthrough of old office
- Return keys
- Confirm new office POC(s)
- Walkthrough of new office with movers
- Unloading checklist
Confirm your POCs with the old office and the new office to make sure someone will be there. It helps to have multiple or backup POCs in case of unexpected delays, like an illness or flat tire.
Your smooth commercial move will get derailed if no one is able to show up at the last minute.
Once your old office space is empty and clean, you or your POC can do the final walkthrough of the old office and return the keys. Your landlord or property manager may be there too.
If your moving company picked up your items a few days before the scheduled offloading, you won’t have to wait until moving day to close out the old office.
1-2 Weeks After the Move
One-two weeks after the move is your commercial moving guide’s settling-in stage.
Your checklist will include:
- Organize unpacking
- Verify and report missing or damaged items
- Set up your equipment
- Leave your moving company a review
As you unpack, you may find damaged items or note some items are missing. You want to verify this with your item checklists and let your moving company know ASAP.
You’ll also start getting your business back up and running. If your infrastructure is ready, all you need to start operations again is the unpacking and setting up.
Your offloaded items should already be organized by room. Your unpacking organization should prioritize what’s essential to operations, like IT equipment and communication functions.
Your IT staff will set up all the technology equipment like computers, routers, and modems. Your network connectivity should be ready for them to go.
Your office staff can get your accounts and communication lines running because your phone lines are already set up.
Leaving your moving company a review on their service will help confirm to potential customers what to expect with their reliability and professionalism.
Your research hopefully paid off and your moving company did a great job.
Your Commercial Move: Smooth and Stress-Free
Following this commercial move guide will keep your commercial move organized and get your business back up and running as quickly as possible.
With the right moving team and moving company, you’ll have minimal losses to your business operations, your equipment, and your employee morale.
For more information about commercial moves or to receive an online assessment of your upcoming move, get in touch and we’ll be happy to assist you.