Last reviewed 28 October 2015

The new premises have been located. The solicitors are preparing the paperwork. The move is going to happen. Val Moore lists the do’s and don’ts for a stress-free move.

Moving a business is probably more stressful than moving home — there are more people involved to begin with. Good forward planning will make the move much easier.

Do have a floor plan.

Mark all the electric sockets, telephone points, broadband access, TV aerial points, etc. Also the doors (and which way they open), windows and any fixtures (ie radiators, cupboards). This will help with the planning where refurbishment is needed, when working out where to put furniture, equipment, etc and any new installations. It will also be invaluable on removal day, so the removal men and the person directing operations at the new premises know exactly what is where and what goes where.

Organisations to contact

Do, early on, write a list of all organisations to be contacted.

  • Service providers — equipment leases, service agreements.

  • Professional services — accountants, solicitors, bank.

  • IT support — IT equipment may have to be moved and new cabling may be needed.

  • Utilities — gas, electric, phone (landline and mobiles), water, broadband providers.

  • Insurance companies — and arrange insurance for the move and the new premises.

  • Suppliers and subcontractors — materials, stationery; window cleaners, cleaners.

  • Government departments — Ofsted, Inland Revenue, DVLA if the provision has its own vehicle(s).

  • Local authorities — rates, bin collections, early years department.

  • Post office — and arrange to have mail redirected to the new premises. Re-register any franking machines.

It will be a long list. Ask others to look it over. Add to it over a period of time. These people will need to be contacted at different times (ie telephone services will probably need phone calls and letters well in advance, while a stationery supplier will just need a change of address card). An excel spreadsheet is ideal for this purpose.

It can take up to 20 days to transfer gas and electricity accounts, so do this early, otherwise you may find that you are paying on a non-contracted rate, which will be higher than a fixed rate.

Removals firm

Do use a professional removals firm.

It may be tempting to think about saving a little money by hiring a van and inveigling people to help, but it will be quicker, smoother and less injurious to persons to leave it to the professionals. You need to manage the process, to oversee it, not be involved in the minutiae of detail. Using professionals will minimise any downtime.

Do contact removal firms as soon as the move is proposed — even if the actual dates are unsure.

Obtain quotes and ask for references, speak to those referees, visit if possible to see exactly the situation and premises the removal firms were working with — could they be similar to your own?

Do give them all the information they need, including if there are stairs to negotiate.

If there is a lift, the size of the lift. Awkward corners or narrow corridors to be negotiated. Are there access problems they should be aware of? A good removals firm should happily visit the outgoing premises and if within a reasonable distance, the ingoing premises too. They may need to make special arranges for the vehicles — they know who to contact, they will have done it before.

Get organised

Do declutter.

There is no point in moving anything you are not going to need.

  • Clear out old files, scan documents you do not need a hard copy of, shred or have them securely and professionally disposed of.

  • Those leaflets, documents, etc that were being kept “just in case” and never used — they go too.

  • Donate unwanted furniture, computers, appliances, etc to charity. If not suitable for charity, arrange for them to go to the local council recycling centre.

  • Recycle wherever possible.

  • It may be sensible to hire a skip.

  • Be ruthless.

There will be some installations/requirements you will need prior to the move, eg:

  • refurbishment

  • security systems (eg CCTV, alarms)

  • cabling

  • telephones

  • computers — servers and networks

  • partitioning

  • shelving.

What else will you need?

  • New stationery, leaflets, brochures.

  • Signage — interior and exterior.

Use the opportunity

Do use the move as a marketing opportunity.

  • Keep the website and facebook pages up-to-date.

  • Send out press releases.

  • When sending “change of address cards”, put a positive spin on the move.

Do try and keep ahead of the game.

  • Draft updates to all the provision’s policies and procedures so that once the move is complete, they can be checked on-site and be ready to be distributed.

  • There may be a need to update the Staff Handbook and information for parents.

If you need new items (eg furniture), arrange delivery for just after the move. If you need items that have to be specially made (eg blinds), obtain quotes, and arrange delivery and installation.

Packing up

Do not leave the packing to the last moment — and be aware it will take longer than you think.

Do not, when packing up, mix items from different rooms and offices in the same box. This will make it easier when unpacking the other end.

Do pack heavy items (ie books and files) in smaller boxes so they can be easily lifted. With fragile items (ie computers) these should be wrapped individually by the removal firm or your IT support firm so in event of any breakage there should be little argument as to who is responsible.

Do label each box clearly, ie what is in it and where it should go in the new premises. Colour-coding will help. Have a team member on hand to direct the removal men as to where each item will go.

Do, just before the removal van leaves — check all areas to ensure that all items are on the van.

Take meter readings of your own.

Clean the premises and leave them tidy.

Keep with you water, kettle, tea, coffee, milk, mugs, biscuits, wet wipes and toilet paper.

Do not be sad about leaving. Remember, as Harvey Fierstein said: “It’s a wonderful world. You can’t go backwards. You’re always moving forward. It’s the wonderful part about life. And that’s terrific.”