Unless you run a small office, the chances are you will employ a company of professional movers to manage an office move. Office moves are different to home moves – they generally involve more expensive equipment for example – and it’s a good tip to pick a moving company with a background of successful office moves. As always, if you don’t already have contacts with experienced companies, your best tip is to get referrals form other people. Ask the facilities managers at your current and future office for two-three names. They should be able to put you on to some reputable and reliable companies and to warn you away from the bad ones! You can also ask other companies in your building or neighborhood for referrals if they have moved recently themselves. You should always get at least three quotes and ask for and check testimonials. If the thought of managing your own move is just too much for you, you can employ a moves consultant to manage the process on your behalf. Their services don’t just cover the physical move but also all the other stuff you need to think about before and after the moving process
The services on offer from office movers aren’t that different to those you’ll be offered for a home move. You may even find that the company you hire does both. Office moves just tend to be heavier and harder. What you will find is that you need more moving personnel, as there tends to be more heavy furniture, boxes and equipment involved. You will, almost definitely, need to hire special crates or boxes from your moving company. The smallest offices can collect large volumes of paperwork and other stuff. This is extremely vital to the smooth running of your company. Pack it up in special crates in an organized way and it’ll be much easier to unpack at the other end and get up and running immediately. It’ll also be adequately protected during the move.
Costs will also vary from company to company. Some will charge an hourly rate and some on estimated volume/weight. You may also find that you’re paying a premium if you opt to move during non-working hours such as in the evening or at a weekend.
Office moves also generally involve the transportation of multiple valuable equipment such as PCs, copiers and other machinery. Chances are you won’t have kept every box for every piece of hardware in your office so you should hire suitable containers from your moving company to protect your property in transit. If you have a lot of PCs you may prefer to hire a specialist to disconnect them, pack them up and then set them up again if you don’t have these skills in house. If you lease equipment it’s also worthwhile checking your agreement in case they mention what you need to do to move it. Some leasing companies will not allow you to move equipment yourself and may insist that they do it for you (and they’ll probably charge for it!).
Also, take time to talk to your movers about how they load their vehicles to best protect your property. Ask them what they need you to do and what equipment they use that can help you. They may, for example, simply tell you to lock filing cabinets rather than empty them as they can use equipment to move them easily even when full. Some will insist that desk drawers be emptied even if they can be locked as the contents are generally easily damaged.
Time is a constant driver with an office move and you need to prepare well. Basically, the longer a move takes you, the longer it will be before you can get back to work. You will need to get moving companies into your office to assess how big your load will be and to talk you through what they can do and what you need to do. It’s always worthwhile planning out your new office space in advance and giving the company a copy so that they can simply slot desks and furniture in the right place as they are unloaded.
In-depth insurance is absolutely vital for office moves and you need to discuss the mover’s policy and check out your own before you come to a decision. With office moves, insurance isn’t just about equipment and furniture – it’s also about vital paperwork, records and the information stored on your computers. You’ll find that most movers won’t insure you for these items and you need to make sure you back-up data and make adequate provision for your paperwork during the moving process. If you need to pay extra to get the coverage you need, pay extra. If you lose something vital you’ll effectively be losing business. It’s also a good tip to get a policy that will pay you for lost business and time lost if something does goes wrong. This isn’t generally offered as standard. You also need to know about liability coverage. If movers damage your office building during the moving process (and it’s easily done!) you will generally be held responsible so you need to know you can claim the costs back. Read the mover’s terms and conditions CAREFULLY. It’s the exclusions and restrictions that will, as ever, tell you what coverage you may really need!