Peer-to-Peer: How can I reduce the pain of moving?

Written by ProfitGuide Staff


“I am the owner of a mid-sized manufacturing and distribution company in the plumbing industry. We’ve outgrown our current facility, which is close to the city centre, and are scheduled to move this September into a new plant / warehouse about 15 minutes outside the city. Needless to say, some of my employees (I have about 100 staff) are unhappy with the change, even though the new facility will be brighter and offer a few more amenities in-house. My other concern is making the move seamlessly, without a lot of downtime. Can people who have been through such a change before offer me some advice on how to reduce the pain of the move?”

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Reader responses

Dan Cadieux, infoCANADA:

Moving is never easy but it can be made a lot less stressful by careful planning. We have in the last month moved two offices and consolidated two offices into an existing location. The moves had to be done with NO downtime. All the moves were coordinated after hours or on weekends. Yes, it meant a lot of extra time was put in outside of the regular work week, however they were all accomplished as planned and we were ready for business Monday morning. I suggest the following:

  • Appoint a move coordinator — he or she should be responsible for making the move happen and ensuring the needs of each department are addressed in the move plan.
  • Have a moving committee — a representative from each department responsible for knowing all of their department’s needs and ensuring that they have been addressed in the move plan.
  • Plan, plan, plan — you can not spend enough time ensuring everything has been addressed. Remember phones, computer networks & hook ups, electrical outlets, inventory placement, machine placement, etc.
  • Do a current inventory of everything — products, desks, computers, phones, chairs, filing cabinets, suppliers, etc. Now make a plan of the new location and put everything on the plan — where is it ALL going to go?

Try taking your employees to the new location before you move in. Each employee will see something different and will talk about what they think is good or bad. That will give them an opportunity to see the location and a lot of the suspicion and rumors will be put to rest. Remember a lot of people resist change just because it is a new situation they are not familiar with.

Andre MacKinnon, www.theofficemover.com:

I will try and help the writer with some of the concerns with moving such an operation. First thing to do is to obtain 3 quotes. Depending on the time of year / month, prices will vary from mover to mover. Stop thinking that a mover is just a mover, there are some (very few) professional corporate relocations companies in most cities.

Once you have obtained your quotes, call for references and ask the following questions.

  • Were the movers on time?
  • Was everyone in full uniform?
  • Did they have proper supervision?
  • Were your bins / lids (for packing purposes) delivered on time and clean?
  • Did they provide all the necessary labels (different colours)?
  • Did the move company do a planning meeting with the heads of departments, and or all personnel?
  • Did they provide “move kits”?
  • How would you rate your experience with the move company?
  • Would you use them again?
  • Did you write an outstanding letter of reference because you were so pleased with their performance?
  • If any damages were caused did the move company take care of all damages and or claims?

Pick any of the questions above for probing purposes.

Next thing is to obtain a firm quote not an estimate. Difference being that a firm quote is the most you should pay for the move. It is generally an agreed-to number. Protect yourself from the movers and request a full inventory for the firm quote. What is the mover moving for that price? Movers in general will not provide an inventory with their quotes. One reason is, “he said, she said” does not hold water in our courts, so the mover will usually win most court cases. Unless you have a full inventory from the mover, then you may win [sic]. We call this “back-dooring the client.” Our largest competitors use this tactic often: low-ball the job and come back after the move for more money. They know you only move every 3, 5 or 10 years and they hope that you will not remember them and / or that you are no longer with the company.

Obtain all WSIB Clearance Certificates and insurance certificates. Only reputable movers have these items.

Always make sure you have insurance either from your broker and / or mover.

Also always ensure that you have full security during moves at the new facility. If your alarm system is not yet functional, hire a security guard to sit on the premises, after the movers leave for the night. Try and have as little down time as possible. No one can afford down time.

Do the moves after hours and / or on weekends. I might suggest move the warehouse one weekend and then the office the following weekend, or vice versa.

Can one move company move both the office and the warehouse? Absolutely. Can it be done in one weekend? Probably not. Do not rush your move. This is one of the worst mistakes you can do. We have 3 rules here at The Office Mover:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Keep it smooth.
  • Keep it on schedule.

We have moved companies such as yours (Noble Plumbing, Woodbridge). It took us 3 days (16 hour days) to move their warehouse and offices. We had one advantage: they bought and setup all new racking in their new facility. Here are a few things to keep in mind. If you are moving your inventory, shelving and racking, you will need time to unload, stage, knock down, move, and re-assemble all shelving and racking in new facility. Once this is done you can now move your inventory. Once the inventory is moved, it will need to be offloaded into shelves and / or racking. Warehouse moves in general will take longer that office moves.

One thing that bothers me is these IT companies that come in and charge astronomical dollars for moving your server racks. I can tell you from experience that they are a waste of your money. Simply ask if the move company is capable of moving such items. Most of us are well-equipped for moving these server racks. Ask your mover if they have any experience moving server racks. Do not let anyone talk you into spending thousands of dollars on a simple service.

Keeping everyone happy is almost impossible. People do not like change, it is very simple. Those who are making the move with your company will adapt to the new situation. Remember that you hired a proffessional designer to help with all space planning. They are trained to provide the corporation with the best possible use of the new facility premises. After the move some people will most likely need to have their space reconfigured. Wait for about 1 month after your move to do this. This will allow time for the re-adjustment period needed after a move.

I hope this was helpful, and wish you the best of luck with your move. Please see our website www.theofficemover.com.

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Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com