Risks of Relocating a Business
Whether customers come to your business location or not, a relocation presents a variety of risks and rewards that go beyond owning and renting costs. In addition to the temporary hiccups that go with moving a business, a bad move can cause long-term problems related to zoning, taxes and employee commute times. Looking at what can happen during and after a move, you can compile a list of the risks and rewards involved with any move to evaluate if it’s worth it.
Anytime you pack and move the entire contents of a business, you risk loss, destruction or theft of equipment, supplies, furniture and data. Before you relocate, inventory everything you will move and determine what needs to be backed up or handled carefully, based on its importance to your business. Contact your insurance provider to determine if your assets are covered when in transit during a move and whether you need to add temporary coverage or use a mover with specific insurance levels.
Depending on how long it takes to pack, move and then set up a new location, your business operations will be slowed or shut down for days or weeks. Consider a move performed in modules to create a smooth transition. For example, keep a skeleton office crew working at your current location while you transfer most of your other furniture, machines, supplies and equipment to the new place. Pay employees extra to move on the weekend to decrease your down time. Plan your move with key suppliers and clients to let them know what to expect. This prevents unwanted deliveries or service calls during the move. Don’t force your customers to use your competitors because they were caught by surprise by your inability to deliver an order. Plan your move in such a way that your website and phones won’t go down during business hours throughout the transition, if possible.
No matter how hard you work to notify all of your key stakeholders about your move, it’s not uncommon for people to miss the message and send important documents or items to your old office. These can sit outside or get routed to a dead-letter office. If you’re changing phone numbers, make sure your old numbers leave a forwarding message for at least six months.
Check the zoning laws in the new area you’re moving, even if you’re relocating down the block. Your property might be grandfathered for certain provisions or operations a new property doesn’t allow. While a move might decrease your rent or mortgage, higher utilities and property taxes could eat up those savings. Look at commute times for employees to make sure a shorter distance doesn’t turn into a longer trip because of the roads required to access your new location. Examine how your new location will affect deliveries and shipments and if you can keep all of your current vendors and customers.
A key concern of any move for a retail business is customer traffic. Evaluate how much of your business is destination-driven and how much is location-driven. For example, if most of your business is impulse walk-ins, relocating to an area with high foot traffic is beneficial. If most of your business comes from people specifically looking for you, ease of travel and access to parking will be key concerns to maintaining a regular customer base.