At some point, your small business will grow and you’ll face an exciting decision: to stay in your current space or find a bigger location. The answer may be an obvious one — if you’ve outgrown your current quarters or need a location that better represents your brand, relocating is the clear choice.
Regardless of the reasons behind your move, there are a few things you’ll need to consider before committing to the decision. The following business relocation checklist will help you do exactly that.
It’s easy to exaggerate how much space you require when your office is cramped. However, it’s equally as easy — and as problematic — to neglect planning for company growth. So before you start looking around, take some time to analyze your workforce growth projections for the next few years. Then consider the estimated number of employees, the amount of space you’ll need for office equipment, and storage demands you may encounter as you grow. Once you’ve got a grasp of your forecasted expansion, you’ll be able to better calculate your total square footage needs.
It’s critical to determine your budget before moving to a new location. Security deposits and your first month’s payment on the space aren’t the only items to account for when you move — you’ll also have to consider new utility costs, moving expenses, and possibly even renovation or redecoration needs. Business expenses add up quickly, and relocation only compounds that issue, so do an audit of your current expenditures to assess exactly how much you can realistically afford to invest in a new property.
It can be helpful to visit a few commercial offices to get a sense of space allocation. Seeing a location in person instead of in a photo or video can cement how much space you really do — or don’t — need. Additionally, doing a couple of walkthroughs can help you better articulate your likes and dislikes when working with a real estate agent or combing through online listings. You’ll learn more what you’re looking for, thereby saving you and your agent time and money.
Leasing and owning an office space both have pros and cons. If you lease, the property manager will likely take care of maintenance, landscaping, and basic security. With ownership, you’re wholly responsible for those three things, but you also gain the ability to make changes to the building, as well as the possibility of recouping more of your investment if you ever sell. Take some time to consider both options before deciding how you want to invest your resources.
As you’re examining properties, don’t underestimate the importance of a building’s location. If it will take you and your employees more than 45 minutes to commute, has little or no parking, or is in such an obscure place that very few of your customers can find it, you may want to reconsider the space. It may also cause some problems if you move into a neighborhood that already has another business that covers your niche market. To avoid those kinds of issues, evaluate the area carefully — including atmosphere and growth capacity — before moving your business.
Once you’ve found a location that you love, you’ll want to make sure that the property is properly zoned for commercial use and that it meets all business code requirements. It’s also wise to check that the space meets all elements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, as this will ensure that all employees and customers will be able to access the space comfortably.
Don’t assume that your new space will have all of the same legal regulations as your old one. A new office may come with a new set requirements for licenses and permits. It could have different taxes, too, depending on whether you’ve moved into a new city or county. Make sure you know about all of the necessary documentation to file before you move, and you’ll be much more likely to avoid legal concerns and compliance issues.
If you currently operate out of your home, you probably won’t be able to transfer your utilities and Wi-Fi contracts over to your new business space. Instead, you’ll have to find out which companies provide gas, electricity, water, and connectivity services in the area. Even if you currently have an official business space with all the necessary services, it can still be a good idea to visit with Internet providers and utility companies to see if you can get a better deal than the one you currently have.
Employees are your most valuable assets, so you should involve them in the relocation process as much as possible. While they may not need to know every last intricacy of the moving process, they should be made aware of any aspects that could potentially affect them. Further, some of your workers may know of an open building location or have connections with a moving company, which could help make the relocation easier.
By moving your company to a bigger and better location, you can open up a whole new world of business opportunities — you’ll have access to new customers, be able to hire additional employees, and potentially save on some expenses. But to accomplish those goals, you’ll have to be strategic. Think about where you’re moving and put some time into researching business solutions from providers like Frontier Business. With careful efforts, you’ll be able to grow your business and its profits.
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