Moving a Business
Date Published: 27 April 2009
This week we’re moving our businesses from an office in Kent to one in Hudson, Ohio. I thought I’d write a little bit about some of the things we’re having to deal with as part of this process, and some lessons learned. In our case, this is going to be a multi-step move, in that we are moving in to space that is not yet full renovated so that we can be onsite while further renovations are completed (and then we’ll move again into the final space).
Firstly, if you’re moving an office, you’re going to need to deal with all the usual things involved with moving in terms of services and utilities. This includes:
- Gas (unless all electric)
- Sewer (unless on septic)
- Phone (service, as well as wiring, new phone system, etc.)
- Internet (might be combined with phone)
- Cable TV (which we don’t have, but some might)
- Security System
These all need turned off in the old location and turned on in the new one. Some of these may be included in the rent of the new location. The trickiest part is getting the shutoffs and turning on of these services to coincide such that all of them are in place where they need to be at the right time. And of course, be mindful of how long your sign your contracts for (in our case, we didn’t realize until we went to shut if off that our security system contract was originally for 5 years and still had 18 months on it). Obviously, favor shorter term contracts wherever possible.
For internet and phones, a move is a great time to consider upgrading your systems. In our case, we’ve decided to upgrade to a Fonality phone system and new VOIP phones. We also opted not to go with business cable for Internet, since the cable company wanted to charge us $5,000 to run the cable to our location (or put us into a 5 year expensive service contract). We managed to get a better deal for less per month with only a one year contract from an established company. The part that galled me about the cable company is that our new office is in a densely populated area with both businesses and residential homes. I’m sure that if they ran cable to our location, they would pick up dozens of other customers, so why do they think we should foot the bill for them to run the line? I suggested that we would pay for them to run the lines if they would give us a percentage of any future business they get on those lines, but for some reason they didn’t jump on that idea.
Electric/Gas/Water/Sewer are all pretty standard. Trash is likely covered by most landlords (it is in our case). Be sure you don’t turn off your electricity before you’re sure you’ll be out of your space.
Another tricky part can be having your leases work out such that you’re not on the street and also not paying double rent more than absolutely necessary. In our case, we’re lucky that our landlord for the space we’re vacating has been very understanding. We’ve told him we’ll be out by 1 May 2009 but I’m sure even if we needed a couple more days he would be understanding (although, our utilities are all off as of 1 May so we won’t be getting any work done at that office as of Friday). Our new lease begins on 1 May, but we have access to move in starting this week, so no double rent (and in our case, we actually are our own landlord so it’s no big surprise that this end of it works out well for us).
One thing that we were waiting on to move in was some renovation work, involving painting, taking out some walls, replacing some doors, and replacing carpet. All of this work was to have been completed last week, letting us move in this week. As it happens, it’s mostly done, but there was some stress last week when some of the contractors we’d scheduled weeks in advance were telling us things like “Ok, we’ll be ready to do the carpet on the 29th (the day we’re moving in)” or “Sorry, but the Internet won’t be installed until May 6th (a week after we’re moving)”. Some heated phone calls later, and these issues were resolved, but trying to schedule things this tightly is really just asking for something to fall through. If you can, be sure to build in some slack in your schedule, as things will be screwed up along the way.
And with that in mind, I’m sure there will be more challenges this week, but I’m looking forward to next week when we are (hopefully) all moved in to our new space (if only until the final space is fully remodeled).
Steve is an experienced software architect and trainer, focusing on code quality and Domain-Driven Design with .NET.