As of April 1, 2019, our architectural office moved to a new location. We are still in Redwood City, now in a lovely tree-lined neighborhood within walking distance of our wonderful downtown. We have reserved parking at our new place, and that’s a benefit to employees and clients alike. The new office has such great natural light that electrical lights are mostly unnecessary. There are walking paths and mature oak trees nearby and even a picnic table under a tree next to the building.
We did have to downsize a bit to fit in the new space. And rents have gone up a lot since we signed our prior lease 8 years ago. Nevertheless, we think this move has worked out for the best. We are still working with the cable company to get an upgrade to fiber optic high-speed service at our new building, which is the last piece of the puzzle. We have almost finished unpacking and finding the right space for various supplies, wall hangings and office equipment.
For any business owner who is facing a big move, either because of or after construction, here are a few lessons learned:
- Change the address associated with your credit card to the new location early. Then change all of your recurring charges to use the new address. There were a few vendors that did not process the change of address quickly, causing the charges to be denied by the card company when the wrong zip code was used.
- Give utility companies as much notice as possible of the turn-off date at your old location and the turn-on date at the new one. Some companies require lead time to handle this, especially if equipment, like modems and telephones, have to be relocated.
- Get your IT people working on the set up at the new location right away. They may need permission from the new landlord/outgoing tenant to go in and see where the internet connection(s) will be, where the server will go, set up the firewall and wifi, etc.
- Line up regular service providers like janitorial service and delivery companies to understand that they will be shifting to a new location and make sure they know where it is and have access keys/codes.
- Talk to the mail carrier (in person) at your old location and your new location. They will smooth the transition so that your mail catches up to you quickly.
- Have your employees figure out the best configuration for furniture and computers at the new location. They have good suggestions to consider since you will be able to start with a blank slate.
- Order signage, new business cards, letterhead, return address labels, etc. Change the templates on soft copies of invoices, letterhead, contracts, etc. (It took more time than I expected to track down all the documents that needed to be updated.)
- Update your address on all of your social media sites.
- Tell your clients and consultants in person or by telephone if possible. We found that sending an email is not enough.
- Update your address on all of your insurance policies, banking information, business licenses, professional licenses, and tax agencies.
- Hire a good moving company. Have cash on hand to give tips to the movers. Check to see if leased equipment must be moved by the leasing company or a specially-authorized service.
- Assess any furniture and supplies that need to be ordered for the new location—kitchen appliances, restroom items, walk-in mats, fans, air filters, water filters, etc. Any eco-friendly or accessibility modifications should be considered before the move.
- Start boxing non-essentials early if they are going to be moved. Label the boxes clearly.
- Prioritize time for scanning documents to avoid moving them. (Hopefully you already have most of your essential files in the cloud.)
- Recycle paperwork that is not moving and shred any sensitive documents. Contact an e-waste recycling company if you are not taking all of your old equipment with you. Contact a local charity, incubator start-up non-profit, church, or school to see if they can use any office furniture that you are not moving.
- Make sure all of the mapping services know how to locate your new location. It turns out that Google and Bing both had wrong directions to our new office because it faces a one-way street and some landscaping blocks entry at one end of our parking lot. We were able to submit corrections to update their driving directions.
- Contact all of your business associations and membership organizations.
- If you still receive hard copy mailings such as newspapers and magazines, check the procedure for processing change of address. The U.S. Postal Service only allows forwarding for a short time on 3rd class or bulk mail.
I hope this checklist is helpful. Moving is difficult and stressful, especially on short notice. If you keep a record of what you have done and what you have left to do you can work your way through the list systematically without jeopardizing your business or your peace of mind.
If you are one of our Bay Area clients or colleagues, please visit us at our new location: 160 Birch Street, Suite B, Redwood City, CA 94062.