Moving your company to a new office space is stressful. There's a lot that can go wrong -- from failed negotiations with a potential landlord to not qualifying for a real estate loan to movers no-showing. However, with good preparation, there are a few mistakes you can easily avoid:
1. Not Choosing the Right Type of Building
If you're planning on leasing, choosing the right type of building is critical.
Generally, large office buildings will have a structured leasing process and a dedicated property management office. They may also have onsite building maintenance teams that can fix minor issues or provide cleaning services.
However, these buildings are usually pricier per square foot and have more insurance, security and compliance requirements.
Small buildings are less likely to offer these amenities, but the upside here is that prices per square foot are lower and there are fewer insurance or security requirements. The lack of amenities, however, does mean that you'll probably be on your own for setting up your utilities or HVAC maintenance or supplying toilet paper for the bathrooms.
It's up to you to choose the right type of building based on your budget and the needs of your business (do you really want to pay for your own cleaning services or repairs?).
2. Not Inspecting the Space Before Moving In (or Signing the Lease)
Before you move into the new office space, make sure to do a walkthrough, preferably before signing the lease. You don't want to sign a lease only to find out that the building isn't actually wired for fiber internet -- something that actually happened at my company!
If possible, get written confirmation from the building owner or landlord that the building will provide the specific items you talked over or negotiated, like fiber internet hookup, installed HVAC systems, or finished bathrooms, and then have these independently verified by an outside engineer or contractor.
Having a paper trail of what you negotiated with the landlord will make it much easier to get any issues resolve if the building isn't up to par.
3. Not Checking if the Building Has Union Contracts
Some buildings may require union contracts, which can limit the number of vendors you can use for building services (internet, phone, electricity, air conditioning, etc.) and artificially inflate prices of these services.
This clearly doesn't apply if you're buying property, but for those leasing, there are a couple of ways to deal with this. The first is to simply look for a building that doesn't have labor union contracts, freeing you to find the most affordable services.
If that's not an option, make sure to shop around among the available vendors to get the best price possible.
4. Not Liquidating Your Old Office Furniture Soon Enough
If moving offices also means buying new office furniture, you'll need to resell your old furniture to a furniture supply store or liquidator. However, it make take a few dozen phone calls to find a liquidator or reseller that's interested.
That's why you need to start planning your office liquidation a couple months in advance of your move date -- you don't want to be left with a bunch of furniture and nothing to do with it.
On the flip side, thrifty business owners can get good discounts on lightly used furniture from a reseller. Another bonus is that you won't have to spend money or time assembling the furniture as you would if you purchased brand new furniture (something which can add 15 to 30 percent extra in cost).
There's no doubt that moving is a big endeavor for your business, but by avoiding the mistakes above you can save yourself from extra grief during the whole process.