In short, if you’re an office manager tasked with overseeing one, you’ll have your hands full months before your move date.
Before we dive in, here are some links you might find helpful:
- Looking for a mover to help you move your office? Check out our list of the best professional moving companies.
- Do you want to know what packing supplies to stock up on? Get the complete list of packing supplies you’ll need here.
How Do You Prepare for an Office Move?
Bar none, organization and planning are the keys to making a business relocation go smoothly.
You’ll also want to –
- Enlist as much help as possible from coworkers, department heads, and trusted office movers
- Delegate tasks and responsibilities to competent colleagues
- Communicate frequently with management, employees, and service providers
Don’t be because we’ve put together a comprehensive office moving guide and checklist to help you manage the epic event.
How Much Does It Typically Cost to Move an Office?
On average, office moves cost between $5,000 and $20,000.
Small ones (five employees or fewer) can cost less than $2,000, while large corporate relocations with multiple departments often cost $50,000 or more.
Office Move Checklist and Timeline
Six Months Before Move Day
First, it’s important to note that no one timeline works for every office move.
Remember, it’s always best to assume that everything will take longer than expected.
That said, approximately six months before your move date, you’ll want to assess your relocation from every angle.
Here we’re talking about –
- Reviewing your current lease and notifying your landlord or property management company that you’ll be leaving
- Compiling a list of considerations like moving specialized office equipment, hazardous materials (in factories, workshops, or labs), IT services, packing, document shredding, and workstation disassembly and reassembly
- Estimating the value of the items, you’ll be moving
- Finding a suitable new location
- Finding and vetting experienced, reputable office movers
At this point, it’s OK if you’re not sure which services you’ll need – as time progresses, the big picture will become clearer.
Unless you’ve previously managed office relocations and are fairly sure how much your move will cost, resist the urge to set a moving budget.
In most cases, you’re better off budgeting after you have your estimates.
Did You Know?
Moving company sales representatives are great resources. Don’t hesitate to call them in early and use their experience to your advantage. Beforehand, ask for moving company referrals from friends, family members, and colleagues at trade associations and lead sharing groups.
Three or Four Months Before Your Move
If you haven’t already, now is the time to invite office moving companies in for estimates.
Especially on more significant office moves, it’s common to have one walkthrough, which each representative can attend at the same time.
Not only will this free up more of your time, but they’ll all see the same things, which means their estimates should be consistent.
Also consider –
- Hosting a Q and A session with prospective movers, department heads, and management
- Providing a printout of key relocation dates, concerns, and objectives
- Setting a due date for estimates (proposals) to ensure that you get them on time
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Draft a Moving Plan
It may be tentative, but your overall moving plan should include –
- Key individuals and their roles
- Action items like internet and phone installation
- Responsibilities for each employee like packing the contents of their office or workstation
- Due dates for each item so you stay on schedule and can track progress
- Ample communication between internal team members and external service providers like movers and IT techs
When moving your business to a new location, you may need to have painting, flooring, and redecorating work done. Try to negotiate these items in your lease, so they become the responsibility of the building owner.
Consider Who Will be Affected
As chaotic as office moves can be for employees, they can also cause problems for customers, vendors, and suppliers if you don’t keep them in the loop.
Make sure they know that you’ll be moving, who to get a hold of in case of an emergency, vital new contact information like your updated address and phone numbers, and whether you anticipate any service disruptions.
Remember, customers will eventually go elsewhere if the products or services you provide aren’t delivered as promised.
Two Months Out
Compare Estimates, Choose a Mover, and Lock In Your Move Date(s)
Sounds pretty straightforward, right?
Maybe, but you’ll want to check out these articles before pulling the proverbial trigger –
Make a Floor Plan
Few things make office moves more efficient than good floor plans with plenty of signage.
When figuring out how and where everyone will be situated, consider –
- Their position and seniority
- Office furniture and equipment placement
- The locations of restrooms, break, and conference rooms, and common areas
Did You Know?
Since your moving rep will devise a labeling system to make sure everything ends up where it’s supposed to be on move day, they’ll need a copy of your floor plan.
Schedule Phone and Internet Services
Many professional movers will take care of these items for you, but they’ll mark each service up, and mixups are more likely when you’re not dealing with providers directly.
Better yet, delegate these items to someone in the IT department, and check in regularly to make sure they’re getting done.
One Month to Two Weeks Out
Inventory and Label Office Contents
Inventorying office supplies and labeling furniture and computers is important for claims and insurance purposes.
That said, it’s the moving company’s responsibility to tag your items to ensure efficient delivery and setup, and on big moves, they should do it days before the actual move date.
Make Sure Everyone Has What They Need
If your employees are responsible for packing the contents of their offices, you’ll need to make sure they have cardboard boxes, packing tape, a marker, and stickers or labels.
Most commercial movers will deliver these supplies a week or two before move day, but you’ll need to request them during the screening phase.
Meet With Your Moving Team to Finalize Plans
Though you may have covered most of this ground already, discussing services, dates, and unresolved issues is time well spent before an office move.
Include everyone who has been delegated responsibilities along the way and verify that they’re on top of things.
Update Accounts and Company Information
To prevent your business from becoming invisible overnight, make sure to update –
- The company website
- Business cards
- Social media accounts
- Your billing and accounts payable and receivable
- Information with banks and financial institutions
- Newspaper and magazine subscriptions
- Listings on Yelp, Google, and online review sites
- Your address with the US Postal Service
One Week Before Your Move
The week before your moving date will be hectic, but it’s when you’ll finalize most last-minute details.
We suggest –
- Doing at least two walkthroughs of your old office to make sure employees are nearly packed and ready to go.
- Ordering more packing material if they’re running short
- Meeting with department heads to verify that they’ve tied up all loose ends
- Confirming with your new landlord that your new offices will be ready
- Visiting your new office location to verify that it’s ready for move-in
- Double checking that the movers have reserved your crew, trucks, and move date
- Reviewing move plans
Finally… It’s Moving Day
First, wake up early and brew a big pot of coffee.
Even if everything goes perfectly, you’ll need that caffeine to see you through.
- Arrive at the office early
- Verify that your team is in place and that everyone (including the moving foreman) have your cellphone number in case they have questions
- After the crew arrives, have a pre-move meeting to make sure everyone knows what you expect of them.
- Review the floor plan and labeling system
Remember, on significant office moves, there will be crews at both origin and destination.
The moving trucks will make multiple trips to load and unload between the two throughout the day, so you’ll need to have supervisors at both ends.
Before vacating your current office, do a walkthrough with the movers and building manager to ensure you didn’t leave anything behind and that there’s no damage to the walls or flooring.
Post-Move Wrap Up
You’ll likely find that movers placed some things in the wrong offices during the move.
Many moving companies will send a two-person “cleanup” crew to your new office space the following day to fix these issues, but remember, they may charge you extra for it unless you address it on the front end.
- Verify that the phones, computers, internet, and IT systems are up and running
- Designate an area where employees can stack their boxes after they’ve unpacked them
If there’s no damage, the movers may pick them up and give you credit for them.
Additional Office Moving Items That Often Get Overlooked
- Cancel or reschedule trash pick up, landscaping, security, and cleaning services
- Issue new parking passes, ID cards, and security codes
- Inform your insurance companies that you’re moving
- Ask your mover to provide proof of insurance to your new property management company
- Reserve loading docks or elevators at your new building if necessary
- Block off ample parking space for the moving trucks
- Appoint representatives to oversee moving crews at origin and destination
- Donate or discard old or unused items
- Make sure your new breakroom will have coffee, a coffee machine, and a water cooler.
- Consider whether you’ll need on or offsite storage
Office Moving Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Should I have the office movers provide packing and unpacking services?
It’s generally best for employees to pack and unpack their own items, but you’ll probably want the movers to handle everything else.
What’s the best way to get a moving quote for my upcoming move?
Once you’ve compiled a list of prospective movers, hold a group walkthrough and have each company provide an itemized written estimate.
During the moving process, should I be at the old office or the new location?
Either is OK as long as you’re in regular contact with the moving foreman and coworkers on the moving team.