10 Money- and Time-Saving Tips for Relocating Your Business
Moving can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and expensive. Here are 10 tips to help you prepare for your upcoming move to make it as seamless as possible. The more time you spend planning your move upfront, the less time your business will be down.
Donate Office Equipment and Items You Do Not Need
Now is a great time to part with old phones, copiers, printers, PC's and office furniture -- even office supplies, that you no longer need or want. Why pay for moving items you do not need when you can recycle them and get a tax break when you donate to a registered charity.
If You Are Moving Yourself, Start Packing Early
Never wait until the last minute. If you are moving your own business, start packing items you do not use on a regular basis as soon as possible.
Most people severely underestimate the time it takes to pack by several days. If you have a large inventory of items to go through adding several weeks to how long you think it will take to pack items.
If you want to save on packing costs, consider purchasing used boxes and packing supplies.
If You Are Hiring a Moving Company, Call Ahead of Time
If you are planning on hiring a mover, call at least one to two months in advance. Be sure to get several price quotes and ask for proof of insurance.
If the moving company is packing for you, remember that most moving companies do not make decisions for you - they pack everything - including trash cans with trash in them and will merely unplug a refrigerator and move it with food inside. Be sure to take care of all perishable items yourself, or you could end up with rotting food and garbage.
Label and Number Your Boxes
Mark boxes and on the tops and sides so you can locate items more quickly if you need to unpack something before you move (or immediately after you move.) If you just mark the tops, you will find it harder to locate items quickly.
If you have hundreds of boxes, it pays to have a numbering system to avoid losing things on the move - this is particularly important if you hire a moving company. If you number your boxes with a brief description of what is inside them, and the moving company loses any in the move, you will have an easier time making a claim.
Take Special Care When Packing Computer Cables
Whether you have one or a dozen computers, the best way to deal with moving them is to start by removing all the cables from computers one at a time.
Put cables in large zip-locked baggies and write on the baggie which computer they belong to. Cables should be removed to avoid being damaged (or lost if they come loose) and to keep ports and pins from being bent.
Individually Pack Computers and Computer Monitors
Computers monitors should be wrapped individually in thick moving blankets or bubble wrap and taped - they should never be placed in boxes and tape should not come into contact with the monitor itself.
If you can "park" your computer's hard drive - do it. But this will not guarantee your data will be preserved if your computer is bumped around during the move.
Protect computers with heavy blankets wrapped in tape (so blankets do not come off), never stack them on top of other items (or stack items on top of computers.)
The best way to protect your data is to purchase a removable hard drive or use an online service like iDrive to backup all computers before you move them.
Follow Specific Instructions for Moving Certain Electronics
Sounds simple? Just stow your printers in boxes, right? Printers are sensitive devices just like computers. Remove printer cartridges, tape down covers and scanner lids, and be sure to follow any specific instructions for moving FAX machines, copiers, and printers since improper moving may damage a device and void the warranty.
Get Insurance Coverage
If you rent a truck - opt for the insurance coverage. Although many private insurance policies might cover rental car damage very few cover damages if you get into an accident in a rental truck (which are classified as "equipment.").
If you use a moving company, be sure to ask about insurance coverage options to protect your belongings. You should also ask to see the moving company's proof or worker's comp insurance. If you inadvertently hire "day labor" or the truck company does not carry insurance, you could be at least partially liable for moving related injuries to workers.
Tell People And Update Your Contact Information
You will need to update your address on stationery, business cards, and your website. The most important (and usually the easiest and cheapest) thing to update first is your website.
As with personal moves, you will need to notify the post office, your creditors, bank, etc. If you bill clients, be sure to tell them clearly to update their contact information for you, so payment is sent to your new address.
You should also spend time searching for your business online by name - you may find your business is listed in referral directories that will show old contact information that will need to be updated, too.
Tip: Make a list of everyone you do business with and everywhere you advertise, so you do not forget to update something critical.
Make a Checklist and Take It All In Stride
The best way to avoid mistakes in any move is to start by making a checklist of everything that needs to be done. Include tasks to be done in advance, supplies you will need, and an unpacking plan (moving takes longer to prepare for but it will also need time to put your business back together post move.)
Be sure to double check at least a week in advance that the phones and Internet will be working in your space, signs are up, permits have been obtained, and other things that often are overlooked in the haste to simply pack and move.
When it comes to moving, something often goes wrong, gets lost, or is overlooked. Try not to sweat every little thing that goes wrong. Tackle problems that arise like you packed your boxes - one at a time.