Once you have decided on a location that suits your business, it is advisable to draw up a plan of action. Ideally, start making the plan six months ahead, ensuring that staff and customers are informed as early as possible. State approximate times for planning and implementation – some tasks will take longer than anticipated so it is best to allow for unforeseen delays.

Stage 1

Agree a preliminary budget, taking into account: – fitting out new premises
- upgrading equipment
- people costs (eg relocation, redundancy or recruitment expenses)
- possible sales loss due to any downtime
- new stationery

Stage 2

Then put together a small team that has responsibility for the move, making sure that one person is in charge. This person can liaise with other employees about any changes, as well as communicating with the removal company and any subcontractors. There are a number of things for the move team to organise such as:

- space planning
- furniture
- organising telephone lines to be disconnected and connected
- health and safety considerations
- changing stationery and directory entries, for example
- booking a removal company
- informing customers and suppliers etc
- drawing up a detailed configuration plan for your telephone and IT systems, working out where you will need power outlets etc
- arranging for utilities to be disconnected
- arranging for new utilities to be connected.

When it comes to gas and electricity this can upto 20 days to transfer, so make sure you do this early. You may find yourself paying for the last companies gas and electricity on a non-contract rate, which could be twice the normal rate. It’s important to sign up on a contract rate to get the best deal.

Stage 3

Try to plan your move during a quiet period and check that there are no legal problems preventing you from either moving out or moving in. Once you have done this you need to book your removal contractors, but make sure you get a number of detailed quotes and references before committing yourself. Once you have selected a contractor, arrange joint survey visits to the old and new premises to agree on parking and access issues for move day.

Stage 4

It is also important to inform customers and suppliers as soon as you have confirmed your new premises. There are a number of key communications required to ensure a smooth move: – send a change of address to customers and suppliers, including a map
- call any key customers to explain the move
- inform the authorities, banks, building societies, insurers etc
- order stationery (get written confirmation of new telephone and/or fax numbers before going ahead)
- amend any advertising/promotional material/web site
- ensure someone is responsible for maintaining service and explaining the situation if the move involves downtime
- contact the post office to arrange for mail to be redirected
- re-register any franking equipment

Make sure you draw up a detailed specification of what exactly needs to be moved, in which order and to where. And don’t forget to ensure that your property is insured for removal day – your contractor will help with this.

Stage 5

On removal day, consider the following to make the transition easier:

- colour code boxes and files
- draw up a floor plan and mark out where different boxes should be put
- print a separate telephone list of key contacts and suppliers and make sure it is easily accessible
- draw up a rota for who will be where when and ensure everyone has a copy.