A new year engenders thoughts of change, which can extend to new digs for a growing business. My Business asked a commercial removals firm to share their do's and don’ts for a stress-free move.
Commercial relocations are vastly different from residential ones, explained Jake Kompani of Holloway Removals – a finalist in the 2018 Optus My Business Awards – largely because of the need to eliminate, or at best minimise, business interruption.
For this reason, his firm and others like them will project manage the entire relocation, including packing goods, managing data, phone and electrical connections at the new premises, liaising with managed service providers (such as printing companies), overseeing new furniture/equipment deliveries and set up as well as, of course, the transporting of physical goods to the new location.
“We have a completely different approach for residential,” he said.
“When you’re moving home – your personal home – there’s a lot more emotion attached to the process … you’re entrusting someone to touch your personal belongings.
“There’s less emotion attached to the process [in business].”
Know exactly what your requirements are
Commercial relocations can involve a number of processes, often considerably more complex than simply packing up and moving the contents of one property to another.
“There’s five industries that we work with in the commercial space,” said Mr Kompani.
- Business relocations
- Event logistics
- Warehouse relocations – often, but not always, tied to a business relocation
Knowing the exact requirements can allow a business to find the best options, which could be employing one central company to manage say the fit-out of new premises, relocating premises and putting certain goods into long-term storage, rather than trying to co-ordinate different suppliers for each task.
Business relocations usually cost more
It is no good comparing quotes for a business relocation to those of a residential move, for one key point.
“Most business relocations happen either after hours or on weekends,” said Mr Kompani.
“Generally after 6pm [for overnight moves], the guys work through the whole night to relocate the office – we offer a 24-hour service – it may even be done over two nights, so relocating a department at a time.”
Weekend relocations can operate over 24 or even 48 hours straight, he added, so that there is no downtime for the business over standard weekday operating hours.
That results in increased labour costs, compared with mid-week relocations typical of residential moves.
Insurance cover – yours or theirs?
Insurance is one factor that can easily be overlooked during the busy moving process.
Accidents can and do happen during relocations – the moving truck may be involved in an on-road crash, items may be broken in transit, storage facilities can be damaged during a natural disaster and so on.
Checking whether your preferred removals company is insured against accidental and negligent damage, what if any additional insurance policies they may offer, or whether your business can obtain its own transit and storage cover, is an important aspect of any relocation project.
There is nothing that can’t be moved
Think there are some things that simply can’t be relocated? Think again. While some items require specialist moving equipment, even cranes, to lift out of and into position, pretty much any item can be moved from one business premises to another.
“We do love the big weird and wonderful ones,” Mr Kompani said.
“Most recently, we got asked to move a pizza oven, which weighed over a tonne – we had to hire special equipment, cranes, six guys went and moved it.”
“Another interesting thing we moved was a brewery – it was a microbrewery … we moved 14 beer vessels out of the brewery.
“There were these huge stainless steel beer vessels that weighed well over 400 kilos, and we were having to handle them out of the building. That was a good one.”
Mr Kompani noted, however, that not all movers will take on large or unusual jobs, meaning it may be necessary to hunt around to find a company that is willing and able to take on such a job.
Advice from the pros for a smooth move
“The key to success here is preparation,” Mr Kompani said.
He suggested a plan covering at least eight weeks prior to the move date, which incorporates delegation of duties, allocation of a business point of contact with the removals company and devising the set up of the new premises, including assigning desks/offices to people so that crates can be assigned to particular desks.
“The earlier we [as the movers] have that information, the more we can plan ourselves … so we know exactly where everything is to go and exactly where everyone is going to sit,” he said.
Being prepared also allows you time to identify and pack any confidential materials and documentation yourself, in dedicated security boxes, as well as draw up a list of mission-critical items that should be packed last and set up first in the new premises.
“Without preparation, it can all go downhill very quickly. Simple things like not booking a loading dock in time, or not booking a lift for exclusive use – things like that can prolong the move, it can make it more stressful,” Mr Kompani concluded.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.