What I Learned From Moving Offices — Experts Weigh In

In case you haven’t heard yet, MyCorp recently moved offices! Even though we just moved up the street, the process was a long and arduous one. We definitely learned a thing or two about moving! We were curious how other small business owners tackle the daunting task of moving.

Here’s what they had to say…

1. “We moved four years ago, out of our first office; a large, mostly empty, bland box of an office, in a typical boring office building. 

The office we moved into is a smaller, quirky space, in an old 18th century textile mill in the north of England – and it’s the best move we could have made! 

Clients coming to visit us in our old office must have thought we were closing down, instead of growing fast, because we barely filled the space. Here it’s an ideal size, there’s room to grow, and clients love talking about how weird our office is.” –Jo Kendal, SteadyGo

2. “We recently moved from one end of a Melbourne shopping centre to the other side and found out that such a move did impact impact our customers, as many of them had thought we’d closed down. We also found that even though we’re in the same shopping centre, the new end has a very different dynamic and customer base.” –Ivana Gigovic, Botagi

3. “I ran my online business from home for 3 years, but as the number of clients that I was dealing with increased, I realized that I needed more space to hold meetings and possibly even to take on new staff. One of the first mistakes that I made was trying to bring too many ‘home comforts’ to the new office. The huge amount of pictures and pillows didn’t really make it feel like a professional environment, which is exactly what I needed for meeting my clients. Besides, it’s healthy to try and keep your work life and home life separate.” –Sam Williamson, Ace Work Gear

4. “I work for a digital agency and our offices are mainly full of electrical equipment. The most important item in our office is the server. The thing we learnt when we moved is that moving electricals is not easy. What I can suggest for other digital agencies is to use a company like this that supplies special computer boxes. The other thing to consider is although you want to be up and running ASAP, the move is a good opportunity to declutter and reorganize your business for best practice. So in all the haste of moving, step back and look at what your business should be doing better or could be doing more efficiently.” –Gina Hutchings, Receptional

5. “I’ve moved a couple times between both offices and warehouses. 

One thing I learned during that process-do not be afraid to ask for help. I had a ton of friends offer to help me move and I turned them all away when we were moving offices. After all, I had hired movers, so I thought the added hands would be unnecessary. When we moved warehouses a few weeks later, I took many of them up on their offer and it made the process a ton easier, especially in terms of clean up and transporting smaller items that were breakable and would have required some extra care during packing.” –Mark Aselstine, Uncorked Ventures

6. “Slice Communications moved from a 3,200 square-foot open office to about double the size, three blocks down. As the CEO, I learned that although we are a small company, a lot goes into moving offices. You have to take account your employees considerations and what’s best for the team, not everyone will agree with your ideas. I also had a New Office Committee which consisted of a few team members who planned out the office interior and I would approve (or disapprove) their plans.” –Cassandra Bailey, Slice Communications

7. “I relocated my consulting practice in 2006 from the San Francisco Bay Area to the Cleveland, Ohio area. What I learned was that small business owners can reposition a potentially risky move to their advantage through effective communications. Instead of telling my clients, who were predominantly located in California, that I was moving to Cleveland and risk them thinking I was no longer accessible, I mailed an announcement card to my entire mailing list informing clients and potential clients that I was expanding my consulting practice nationally and opening up a new Midwest office. I kept a virtual office in San Francisco so it looked like my consulting practice doubled in size, and the following year my revenues increased 30%.” –Kris Putnam-Walkerly, Putnam Consulting Group, Inc. 

8. “We began as a single-room business; we now operate from a 40,000 sq ft facility, where we manufacture all our own products and have many departments with over 160 members of staff. In our case, we learned that businesses need to be prepared for sudden, unprecedented expansion; we never anticipated such a rapid growth, but we had saved hard and were able to afford larger premises to accommodate our new staff members and manufacturing equipment. We now turnover more than £15m each year…” –Darren Green, Roman Blinds Direct

9. “I learned a hard lesson last time I moved a business in 2013. 

I was so focused on making sure our files and computer system moved over properly and that client services were not interrupted that I forgot about one thing…. 

I forgot about Google 

I just figured that Google would get our change of address that we filed with the post office and that everything would be OK. But nothing could’ve been further from the truth. 

What I learned the hard way was that if you don’t properly manage your online profile and the hundreds of places your address is listed that you will disappear from the search results, which is what happened to us. 

NAP for short stands for name address profile and every small business has one in the digital realm that Google leverages to show or not show your business when people are looking for it online. If your NAP is inconsistent they drop you from the search results. 

My advice is to be working on your NAP profile weeks ahead of time before you go through the exhausting process of moving your business. That way the phone will still ring at your new location, too.” –Bryan Clayton, GreenPal

10. “Our agency first moved offices in 2013, from a residential townhouse to a big boy 15-story office building. The first thing that surprised us was all the hidden costs of moving to a commercial space — from having electrical and furniture installed, to the ongoing fees for things like the bigger electric bill and entry key cards. 

Also, while the move was very motivating to our team, it was also disruptive because they had to settle in to the new working environment — from the new commute to the change in office layout. Perhaps most importantly (having moved 4 times now) we’ve learned it pays to hire professional help to make the transition as easy as possible!” –Arsham Mirshah, WebMechanix

11. “Twill began in my basement. After R&D and revenue starting coming in while we grew in our local market, we decided it was time to move. Currently we are in a basement office in an office building right in Albany. Although we are in no ostentatious office with the latest hanging bean bag chairs – we are in a space to work, create ideas, and give back to our community. The upgrade to a REAL office instead of a basement may not seem like the biggest deal – but it shows that Twill has given to about 3,000 friends in need and we are able to upgrade from our growing company. A milestone of having a real desk and discussion table means we are doing exactly what we set out to do.” –Zac Halloran, Twill  

12. “I recently moved my office last November from a leased space in a shopping district to a property I purchased in an up and coming warehouse district. I was able to start and grow the business by being in an area of high foot traffic to the point when I could move to a larger, owned, and off the beaten path location. There is a tradeoff between foot traffic marketing versus potentially higher location costs. Our move, although stressful at times, was relatively smooth because we had a very good contractor who made the process as painless as possible (Infinity Construction and Design). –Dr. Lori Pasternak, Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery & Dental Care

13. “We have learned from two office moves that finding a moving company with experience moving businesses is important. We had a company that focused more on residential moves, and it was not a good experience. They took 6 hours longer than expected, and broke two of our server cabinets.” –Mark Tuchscherer, Geeks Chicago

14. “We moved our offices eighteen months ago and believe it or not there are still large pockets of a metro where high speed internet service is not available. My first screening question to any leasing agent was to find out if the building was wired for high speed internet. Adding to that, trying to actually connect to a knowledgeable sales rep at the AT&Ts and Time Warner’s of the world is frustrating and the price quotes you get from their remote call centers are the highest list price. The solution that worked was to use LinkedIn to connect with local B-B sales people working for bandwidth service providers and ensuring they knew I was also getting quotes from their competition. I was able to secure high speed bandwidth at about 50% less than the standard quotes.” –John Kinskey, AccessDirect

15. “In 1999 we had a small office with an enormous dot-com business. I took a giant leap that year and rented space on Sixth Avenue– a whole floor. It was the largest leap I’d taken as a business person. And it scared the cr-p out of me. I learned that my gut was a good one (albeit fluctuating these days!). It also taught me about vendors–particularly large ones. We had 35 employees at the time, and the phone company we chose decided not to install phone or wifi when we moved. We’re a PR firm. In the late ’90s, without Internet access or phones we were really an ESP-R company! It was the first time I used a lawyer to push a company–and I won out (after crying on the phone to a Senior VP). Our salesperson had over-promised and couldn’t deliver. It drove me nearly to the edge. Moving is tough but is especially difficult when an important vendor lies. And you have to buck up and fight. A lesson learned.” –Richard Laermer, RLM PR  

16. “The 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake damaged the building in which my office was located in San Francisco. The building was going to be closed for repairs for about six months and the overhead freeway right next to it was going to be torn down, creating a traffic nightmare when the building would reopen. 

So, I put my office furniture in storage, I applied for a government loan for earthquake assistance loan, got a loan for $10,000, and after I received the loan, I looked for office space closer to home. I was living in a suburb of San Francisco at the time. 

In the end, I got a larger office, at lower rent, five minutes from where I was living. 

What did I learn? 

1) Just take things one at a time and think them through. And thank my lucky stars that I was not hurt in the earthquake and that the government was able to help me with a loan to help cover my expenses after the earthquake. 

2) Also, don’t rent space near a known fault if you can help it. There is a lot of landfill near where we live and a lot of office space that was for rent in buildings on that landfill. No thanks, find an office on bedrock if you can.” –Robert Barrows, R.M. Barrows Advertising & Public Relations

17. “I learned to delegate as much as possible to my staff so that they could handle address changes, ordering of boxes, arranging of the mover, etc.” –Georgette Blau, On Location Tours

18. “Relocating my business was a very overwhelming process, but I learned a lot from the experience. I learned to hire professional movers that are licensed and insured because they would be held accountable for any damaged or broken items. Trying to move my office myself was a very poor choice, I learned professional movers work a lot more efficiently than me. By hiring a professional mover I can ensure my business is back into full operation within a day of moving.” –Lisa Chu, Black N Bianco Kids Apparel

19. “We recently moved our office from Charleston, South Carolina to Rochester, New York. One of the hardest lessons we learned was that changing locations can have a significant impact on SEO value, particularly for local SEO. As a result, we’ve had to scour the Internet to find any and all instances of our old information so that we can update it to our new location. It’s not an easy task, and it’s very time consuming. Something to keep in mind when changing the location of your company.” –Brandon Schroth, Doxy.me

20. “In our 8 years in business we have moved 5 times. There have been a couple keys to the process. Start looking for a new place after 1/3 of your lease is done, if you’re renting. It takes far longer to find the right space than you anticipate and it forces you to work through the ideal space requirements. Next prepare the staff. We always felt that moving was a positive company occurrence and involved them in the designing the functionality of their workspace. Our latest move was to a purchased building and even then, we’ve said that the space is going to change and our physical setting will continue to evolve as the business grows.” –Mickey Swortzel, New Eagle

21. “We recently moved a little over a year ago to a larger office. One of the challenges we faced was taking down all the computer and network equipment and getting it all back up again and working with as little downtime as possible. The process was slightly disorganized and therefore took much longer than anticipated to be back up and running. In the future, if we should ever move again, I would hire a company to move all of the equipment from the old location and placement in the new location.” –Kornel Kurtz, Webtek

22. “Even moving an office that houses 10 or less employees requires a lot of planning. New utility accounts need to be made, old utility accounts need to be cancelled, movers or trucks need to be scheduled, new office furniture needs to be planned/sized/purchased/built, and sometimes you even lose 1-2 business days of productivity during the move. Also remember the lasting effects of a move. Moving isn’t finished once you’ve unloaded the truck, what follows is a couple weeks of refinements and decoration of the new space which consume additional time and money.” –Tim Bouchard, LUMINUS

23. “Our business has moved a few times over the last 10 years with the most recent being two months ago. While our reasons for moving have generally revolved around gaining a strategic geographic or other advantage over competitors, each move has been very positive as it’s encouraged us to rethink all aspects of our business including those not directly affected by the move. As a result, as soon as the dust has settled at each new location, we seem to experience a spike in creativity that leads to an overall increase in productivity for months later.” –Jeremy Schaedler, Schaedler Insurance Agency, Inc.

24. “Quality Logo Products began in a basement, but as we experienced growth we eventually moved a significant distance away to a more established and reputable location. Prior to the move, we had been relying on local telephone numbers that our customers became familiar with as we built our brand. Our move caused our original phone lines to become nullified, thus helping us learn the value of a toll free number. Ultimately, what we learned during the expansion is that it is crucial to verify that any essential contact information for your customers is not going to be jeopardized by switching locations.” –Bret Bonnet, Quality Logo Products

25. “We’ve moved offices twice. Space planning is key: if you’re a growing company, you need to anticipate where to put new employees. Researching additional costs above and beyond the lease, asking whether the unit is pet-friendly or not, and negotiating free rent in exchange for leasehold improvements are all also super-important.” –Chad Macrae, Recruiting Social