Whether it’s an exciting expansion to a new location or a downsizing effort to save money, moving your business is always a major source of stress. But Dolly is here to help! Here are our tips for a smooth and successful small business move.
Appoint a Move Coordinator
First things first: once you know when you’ll be moving, choose an organized, level-headed member of your team to coordinate all aspects of the move. Allow them to take control (and responsibility) for everything from finding a mover to delegating tasks to the team on the day-of.
Create a Timeline for the Move
Saying “we’ll pack the week before” is never a good plan, but a moving schedule is about more than just packing. If you’re a customer-facing business, like a restaurant or store, figure out when your last day of sales will be, and which merchandise items will be moving to your next location. If your business is an office location, determine when is the best time for the team’s work to be put “on hold” for a few days to allow for the move.
Tell Your Customers Early
Even if your move is months away, putting up a sign in the window (and a note on your website) about when you’ll be leaving and where you’ll be going will give both regulars and infrequent customers a chance to come find you at your new location. Once you have access to your new location, make sure to hang “coming soon” signs in the window with your logo. And once you’ve moved out, make friends with the new tenants in your old location so you can hang a sign there that lets customers know of your new address.
Fill Out the Paperwork (No, Really)
The people who need to be informed of your move the most are the ones most often forgotten. The government needs to know about your move in a few places: the IRS, your state Business Licensing Service, USPS, and in some cases, you may have to apply for a new business license and associated permits. If you’re moving between states, check with both the Business Licensing Service of the state you’re leaving and the state you’re moving to – there may be additional paperwork involved. And of course, make sure that all your vendors are aware of the move – you don’t want your produce delivery left halfway across town, rotting in an alley.
Ask Everyone to Help Pack (And Not Just Their Desks)
No busy manager wants to help pack the file cabinet of expense reports from the 1990s, but the top of the pyramid sets an example for everyone. If the boss is helping to pack boxes, everyone else will make time in their schedule to pack, too. And if the boss packs more than just his own office, the rest will follow suit. Be sure to check out these expert packing tips from our very own Helpers to help speed up this process.
Transport Valuables On Your Own
Whether you’re DIY-ing your move or hiring a moving company, extreme valuables – like cash, employment forms with social security numbers, and anything else that might be stolen – should be transported personally by the business owner or move coordinator. While it’s good to be trusting of others, it’s not worth it when the earnings of your entire company – or the identities of your employees – is at stake.
Keep Your Move Organized
Writing “front desk” on a box isn’t enough. The most important things to remember are:
- Label your boxes with where they go and what’s inside
- Pack your boxes with the right materials (bubble wrap, etc.)
- Tape your boxes (and double-tape the heavy ones!)
Most Importantly, Be Prepared
Rain, traffic, no parking, blocked loading dock, running out of gas, delays…There’s a lot that could go wrong. Thankfully, it’s easy to prepare. Grab a tarp if you plan on moving with an open-back pickup truck. Leave yourself lots of time for the move and make sure you’re filled up on gas. If you’re worried about parking or a loading dock, send someone else from the company ahead with their car to scout out the situation and temporarily snag a parking spot if necessary. When you’re ready for the worst, everything your move throws at you will feel easy.
Feeling at least a little more prepared? Don’t forget the final step! Book a Dolly for the easiest way to move your business.
Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.