You’ve Found The Perfect Office, Now What?
Once we had decided on which of the offices most matched our requirements, we spoke to the letting agent for the property. We expressed our intent to rent the office, and made clear our time frames for moving, along with our current notice period at our existing offices. We felt that this step was vital, to minimise the risks of any misunderstandings and so that the move could be committed to by both sides, with clear expectations for all. Clear communication is essential with an office move, as delays can cause issues with your business.
Using a Trusted Solicitor
It is important that you use a solicitor that you have used personally or that comes with recommendations from trusted friends or colleagues. We used a solicitor that came highly recommended by a member of staff.
It would be best if you also used a different solicitor to the one your prospective landlord is using. We had to go back and forth with queries on the heads of terms, until both sides were happy, and this did take time. It may be tempting to use the same solicitor to save time with communications, but it can create a conflict of interest so is to be avoided.
Once all the terms were agreed, the solicitors began work on the lease. Things were getting real!
As the saying goes “fail to prepare, and prepare to fail”!
We started preparations for the move with a comprehensive plan which consisted of over 200 actions broken down into Pre-Move, Actual Move and Future Tasks. We tried to schedule these plans, but as with all plans, we accepted that we needed to be quite fluid as changes are inevitable. Certain aspects of the move would be out of our control and, as deals can always fall through until the last minute, we did not want to be committed to paying out for a building we were not using, or being without an office space at all!
Once you have a clear guide of the lead times for the move, you should schedule the ordering process and then ensure that you monitor the orders to give you time to react to any issues.
Planning Moving Day
We had agreed a moving date for early May. This fitted well with our business and also gave us a bank holiday for contingency. We scheduled the lease signing to take place 2-3 weeks before the official moving date, so that we could arrange any installations or delivery of items if necessary.
We planned that our business would continue to operate as usual on the day of the move, but with a skeleton team as we would commence the move during the working day.
We marked up the plan to do as much as we could, as early as possible on the moving day. Our view was we wanted to do the minimum on the Friday and to make the process as slick and trouble free as possible.
You should notify customers of the office move as soon as possible after the event. Too soon before and you risk egg on your face if the move falls through for whatever reason. We had not notified customers before any signing, but we did ensure that all the emails were prepared and in the drafts folder, and that all letters were pre-written and envelopes prepared.
Communicating With Your Current Landlord
We shared our plan with our current landlord (Ann) as there were aspects of our move and future services that she was kind enough to help us out on. It is important to retain good relationships with landlords (and everyone else you deal with of course!) as you never know if you will need their help again.