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Move Your Business
(Without Becoming A Moving Target)
2004/Ed Katz

ISBN: 0-9637477-8-9
110 Pages • 26 Photos • Spiral-bound
8.5 x 11


“Don't move until you read this book.”

An office move is full of pitfalls that cause budget overruns and, if not finished on time, can put you out of business. Internationally recognized as the authority on office moving, Ed Katz shares 30 years of experience in the commercial moving business to help you Move Your Business (Without Becoming A Moving Target).

Boiled down from Katz' first ground-breaking book, the award-winning Commercial Relocation, Move Your Business (Without Becoming A Moving Target) is specifically designed to cover the whole move for small to mid-sized businesses.

What Will I Learn?

• How to uncover hidden costs and set up, manage, and spend a realistic move budget.
• When you need a move consultant or project manager and how to hire one.
• Long-term benefits of hiring a designer.
• How to plan for a smooth transition of your company's communications system and keep your phones working during the move.
• How to buy furniture.
• How to protect and store company property.
• How to find office space and negotiate the lease.
• How to hire a general contractor.
• How to hire a moving company that will bill what they quote, protect your furniture, electronic equipment, and building surfaces, and finish on time.
• and much more!

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Your Business vs Your Office Move

Starting at the beginning
Why & how much
Company Culture
Needs and expectations
A realistic budget
Getting help
Setting operational goals
Image vs budget
Developing a team vision
Handholding: How much will you need?
Setting a move date
Finding the right location
One for the road
Task List

Chapter 2
Feasibility & Budget

Is it feasible?
Recruiting costs
Incentive pay to stay
Five steps to success
Training costs
Five steps to budgeting success
Preparing a relocation budget
Existing & new business relationships
Timing and vendor payments
A realistic estimate
Watch vendor discounts and hidden charges
Spending the budget
Vendor bids and billing
Enough plain English
Monitoring the details
Closing out the budget

Chapter 3
Move Consultant or Project Manager

The role they play
Soft dollar payback
The selection process
Texas consultant sets industry standards
Maryland dealer serves up furniture anyway and any where you want it
IOMI certifies D.C. property giant

Chapter 4
Hiring A Designer

So where do I begin?
Consultants you may need
The right help at the best value
Your approach philosophy
Let's have lunch!
Pay me now or pay me later
Fee structure
Now the fun starts
Beware of low-bidder glitter
Getting there is half the fun
Building step by step
Tightening the plan
Things to think about
What to expect from your designer
Sample Request for Proposal

Chapter 5

Remember when life use to be simple?
No way to hide a stampeding elephant
Telecommunications for dummies
The push-a-button, flip-a-switch myth
How many lines and services do you have?
Verifying services
Mystery numbers?
Moving services you don't own
Changing service & planning for the future
Check with the phone company first
Other calls to make
Check leased space arrangement
Considerations affecting downtime
Other rental equipment
Space design and build-out
Moving communications services
Fax numbers
Service changes after the move
Outsourcing telephone service
Sample Statement of Work

Chapter 6
Buying Office Furniture

No longer a simple choice
Who sells what
Service differences
Deciding what furniture you need
Influencial trends
Technological forces
People, procedures, equipment, and buildings
Selecting a furniture supplier
Narrowing the field of candidates
What you need to provide
Comparing apples to apples
Evaluating service
And now for a smooth selection

Chapter 7
Protecting & Storing Your Property

Planning file space
Throw a "throwing-out" party!
Why go off-site?
There's storage and then there's service
How records storage works
Finding the right vendor
Record center costs
How secure is secure?
And what about their records of your records?
Some not-so-obvious qualifiers
Paring the field of candidates
Commercial storage: Who needs it, anyway?
Before the move
After the move
Planned off-site storage
Storage options
How it works
Inventory information
Ask yourself the following questions
Ask these questions
Terms and types of charges

Chapter 8
Planning A Sign System

The gospel according to IDRI
Sign planning for the complete - err...novice
Now that it works, make it sing
Long arm of the law
First things first
Second things...well, at much the same time
Sign system selection checklist

Chapter 9
Office Space & The Lease

Seven deadly errors and how to avoid them
Poor planning
Advantages of false confidence
Who's really working for who here?
Vague, obvious questions get only half the story
Hire your broker first
Don't forget you're the customer

Chapter 10
Hiring A General Contractor

Two approaches
Characteristics of a traditional approach
Characteristics of a team approach
Studies point to advantages of team approach
Selecting a contractor -- traditional approach
Prior to bid
Evaluating responses to qualification statements
Over budget?
Step 4 - Award
Selecting a contractor -- team approach
Timing a problem?
Evaluating RFQ responses
The interview
Sample Request for Qualifications Letter
Sample Request for Qualifications
Sample Request for Proposal Cover Letter
Sample Request for Proposals
Proposal Submission Format and Requirements
Sample Interview Letter

Chapter 11
The Physical Move

Will the moving industry implode?
Less pain and more gain - For the movers
Ask for the last five moves
Ask for what equipment is needed for your job
Demand a Scope of Services
10 steps to getting an accurate estimate
Validating move estimates
Compare Total Man-hours instead of price
Change orders - "Gotcha!"
Moving Cartons: What's the big deal?
Office Legal Tote - "Ouch, my back!"
Plastic Super Box
Insuring your move
Need a mover?
Move Security: How to prevent theft
Walk softly and carry a big wanted poster
An ounce of prevention
Moving computers and other sensitive equipment, or some of my favorite wrap tunes
Five ways to move computers
Break a leg . . . er, I mean how not to
The "boxless" move
Moving glass can be a shattering experience
The art of moving paintings
File this under moving cabinets
Do as I say, not as I did
Moving lateral (wide) file cabinets
Moving vertical (narrow) file cabinets
Moving a parts warehouse or "We're in the service business. We can't shut down!"

Read an excerpt . . .

Chapter 1
Your Business vs Your Office Move

Executive Summary: The first rule in moving your office is defining needs and expectations. Identify company goals for the move as well as the needs of departments and/or employees. Organize your move with the Task List at the end of the chapter, and don’t forget you can’t start planning your move too soon or how company culture will affect it.

Starting at the beginning

Up until now, there’s been no universally accepted formula for what task to do first and when. Every move is unique, and that’s the problem. However, based upon the advice of a number of industry experts, I’ve outlined some first steps, explained why they should be firsts, and suggested an order in which to undertake them. As you read the material, the first actions most appropriate to your move should become clear.
The first thing you need to do is identify who’s moving, where to, when, why you’re moving, and how much money you have to spend. Moving means changing a lot more than just where you’ll report for work. An office move is a very complicated undertaking requiring many specialized skills rarely found in-house. Underestimating the time needed, the degree of complexity, and the cost very often lead to disastrous results. If basic decisions have already been reached, perhaps information in this book will help confirm they’re the right ones.

Why & how much

Of the basic questions that must be answered first, why the move is needed and how much money can be devoted to it rank as most important. The why relates to satisfying some business need and, of course, available financial resources will set some pretty definite limits on how much can be achieved. While that may seem straight forward enough, arriving at answers is not nearly as simple as it might appear.
Why do businesses move? Companies relocate because of reorganization, downsizing, upsizing, mergers, product development projects, lease expirations, or any number of other developments. And although two unrelated companies miles apart may both decide to move because of a reorganization, for example, their approach to it will likely be very different because of the unique business goals and company cultures of each.

Company Culture

Understanding the subtle impact of your company culture will help you prepare for the move. Companies large and small demonstrate beliefs, behavior patterns, and traits. In individuals, these qualities commonly get lumped together in a variety of terms to describe attitude or personality. Applied to the business world, it’s called corporate or company culture. A company’s culture isn’t planned for or consciously designed and cannot be controlled. It just happens. While companies are made up of individuals who possess different attitudes, personalities, backgrounds, and desires, grouped together within a company structure, the interaction of these differences develops into a company personality or culture.
Company culture runs deep, can evolve over time with changes in leadership, and is felt to varying degrees by everyone in the company. In an attempt to explain its effects to people outside the company, employees often use the words “atmosphere” or “working conditions.” As company culture, pleasant or not, seeps outside company walls and affects customers, clients, and the general public, it influences a company’s reputation. As a genuine reflection of an organization, company culture can mirror or contradict official company policies and marketing claims.
What does this have to do with your move? The forces of your company culture are at work everyday as employees interact to get things done. Why your move is necessary -- the company goals it must satisfy -- may run counter to old, ingrained ways of doing things, and any shake-up in business as usual will bring on human responses considered normal and acceptable within the corporate culture. Being sensitive to the human side of the move and the radical changes it may mean for some employees will be key to getting the cooperation you need and to the overall success of the project.

Needs and expectations

Defining needs and expectations really means uncovering why a move is required. For instance, your company may need to reorganize because of a shift in core business. What do you hope to achieve? Better work flow processes? New opportunities? Both? Your primary mission is to match facilities and facilities support to company goals. You can’t very well do that unless you fully understand those goals, and can anticipate the effects your company’s unique culture will have on achieving them.
Throughout this book you will find that, over and over, I stress the importance of assessing and defining needs and expectations. For everything from how to lease office space to hiring consultants, efficient actions can only follow a thorough needs study. Defining needs clarifies what’s important and outlines a clear path along which to work, an easy thing to lose sight of in the frenzy and uncertainty of tackling an unfamiliar job on a tight schedule. But there’s more to defining needs than just developing a framework built upon company goals and culture; we’ll get back to that in a minute.

A realistic budget

Although move budgeting gets a thorough going over in the next chapter, it’s worth a mention here since available money dictates everything. Your budget represents a snapshot of the whole move. To arrive at a truly realistic move budget, every eventuality before, during, and afterward must be accounted for in advance. Some things, like the cost of the physical move, will obviously become a line item in your budget, but many less apparent expenses lurk in the fog. As you will discover later on in subsequent chapters, the great unknowns of a typical commercial relocation consistently cause companies to under budget, sometimes woefully so. Chiseling a move budget in stone before knowing what everything will cost can actually invite additional expense. Suppose you set an amount which doesn’t include enough to buy new furniture, then learn your space planner could save you thousands in rent over the term of the lease if allowed to figure in new space-saving furniture. Unless you absolutely must stick to a preset amount, reserve firming up your move budget until after all bids and cost estimates from potential consultants and suppliers are in.

Getting help

During your initial information-gathering phase, you’ll need help from your staff. Based upon broad company goals for the move, select individuals who can contribute relevant experience or knowledge such as construction or buying furniture, typically, the office manager or operations manager. Together you will begin developing more specific plans for the project by defining operational goals.

Setting operational goals

Think of the outcome of your move as a three-dimensional portrait of the organization benefiting from tangible improvements in design and space. For this to become reality, organizational goals must be defined which, in turn, unearth the needs that must be met in order to make it happen. To learn the operational goals of the project, talk to key employees and managers to develop a mental image of the finished space.
To learn how your new space should function and how to best integrate technology, ask key employees what they perceive their space needs to be. For instance, an operational goal of frequent meetings with visitors expresses the need to be near the reception area. An operational goal of shipping the company’s products points to the need for a ground floor location with a loading dock. The operational goal of the product-testing department signals a need for a test lab situated near development engineers. Natural work groups need to be close together. Ask about departments with which they most frequently communicate. Is the traffic mostly people or information? Do they communicate more often with internal or external people and organizations?
Identify the number of people in a department or function and determine a percentage increase or decrease in personnel you expect for the future. What kind of equipment do they use? What space and budget provisions, if any, should be made for new or replacement equipment? Do they have a services and equipment inventory or will they develop one? A comprehensive physical inventory of items and services to be moved is one of the best ways to help your designer or your landlord’s space planner help you. Walking through the office with key employees will help identify all the things that must move so that space can be allotted in the new location. Prepare an organizational chart so the space planner can meet necessary protocol.
Encourage a ‘throwing out’ party to eliminate obsolete files. Tossing outmoded records prior to a move will reduce moving costs plus save the ongoing expense of storing them at the new location.

Image vs budget

During your interviews and walk-throughs, help identify spaces for employee work stations plus special areas such as:

executive space
extra offices for expansion
secretarial coverage
special visitors
special private rooms
private toilets
kitchen / food preparation / serving / dining
break rooms / vending areas
television / stereo / bar
special artwork

plumbing and electrical
water coolers
time clocks
special lighting or equipment

special rooms or spaces
mainframe computers
communications equipment
storage and file space
bulletin / chalkboard space
mail and shipping
labs, such as dark rooms
rest rooms
sick bay
special wall covering - wear quality?
specific flooring - wear quality?
window treatments - functional or just to look nice?

The information you gather during the departmental and employee interviews and walk-throughs will help you develop your move budget, and indicate where funds will be needed in the future. It will also provide direction to consultants and suppliers you’ll be hiring and working with shortly. And though the pressure is on to complete your move on time and within budget, the project will go smoother when the people involved receive due consideration. Remember two things: people resist change, and you’ll have to live with how you handle it.

Developing a team vision

After compiling information from your employees or departments, assemble your staff or team and go over the collected details. A picture of the space should begin to take shape as each member presents the defined needs they’ve gathered. Encourage them to express their vision for the space and record the main points. Begin hammering out a concept of the new area by comparing the impressions of individual employees. To help make some sense out of it, make a weighted matrix which is a graphic representation of needs based on their importance to the project. Such sorting out exercises will help reduce confusion and speed development of a clear mission statement. Due diligence at this point in the project saves significant time and money later.
Earlier we talked about why the move is needed according to a well-defined though broader company goal. Based on that, and using the operational goals gathered during the departmental or key-employee interviews to further define the needs of the move, you and your staff then developed a clear mission statement. Now you’ll use what the mission statement reveals to find the right service providers for your project.

Handholding: How much will you need?

Given the scope of the project and the strengths and weaknesses of your in-house help, you should be able to determine the level of outside services required. Or to say it another way, how much or how little handholding will you need? If you determine that you need consultants, you can then find the ones who will bring the most value to the project.
If you retain consultants, you’ll hire some early, others later on, but perhaps the most important initial selection will be an architect, or possibly the general contractor. This will be the case if you choose not to use the space planner and contractor provided by your new landlord. Typically, your new landlord’s general contractor will provide project management whereby he’ll handle design, engineering, and construction services. If you don’t use the landlord’s contractor, you can hire separate companies for all three functions; however, you’ll need strong in-house skills and experience to manage the project yourself.
As explained in the following chapters, you’ll use different criteria to evaluate and select consultants and service providers. Chapter 4, Hiring A Designer, contains a list of consultants you may need for your project. You may decide to hire a move consultant as the first outsider you add to the move team. The right move consultant will supply the experience you lack, assist you in hiring the designer and other consultants, and help you efficiently direct the activities of all players during the process.
Using stated project goals and a mental image of the new space, your designer will start translating the vision into drawings. As this process begins, two decisions will largely determine major short- and long-term economic impacts on your company: how you communicate with the designer and the level of quality to be built into the design. If you need to economize (and who doesn’t) this is where you’ll reap the most benefit.
Get a clear, detailed picture in mind before trying to tell it to a designer. If you accidentally leave something out or change your mind, expect the necessary rework to impact costs and schedules accordingly. Second, making a conscious decision to use quality materials will have lasting repercussions on maintenance and replacement costs and employee productivity and turnover long after the move project.

Setting a move date

Afraid you’ll start planning your move too soon? Don’t worry, no such possibility exists. Time is short. If you plan to move into leased facilities within the next 12 months, you could already be behind schedule. If you’re building, allow two to two-and-a-half years.

Finding the right location

Where you move should directly relate to why you need to (there’s that word “need” again). Where will you find the place that will best realize the vision while satisfying the budget? When choosing a new site, decide what’s important and look for sites that best satisfy your needs. Ask yourself, how will relocating most benefit my company, my staff, and/or me? Categorize needs as either business or personal. In Chapter 9, Office Space & The Lease, you’ll find several examples of business and personal needs. You may think of others peculiar to your situation. Envision the ideal location, cost, and style, and then think about the purpose of your move. And one other thing; gather operating cost data for the current facility to use in evaluating possible new sites. Your findings could dramatically affect the feasibility of the decision to move.

One for the road

Whether just down the hall, to the next floor, or across town, a lot goes into moving a business. But what if you’re setting up additional offices, moving from one state or province to another, or establishing an international presence? Long distance and international moves present obvious challenges, difficulties, and expanded requirements in the planning and execution, and more opportunities for costly mistakes.
The success or failure of your move will ultimately be based upon whether you finish on time and within budget, how well employees accept the changes, and if business continues without interruption.

About the Author

Ed Katz

Almost thirty years ago when Ed Katz founded Peachtree Movers in Atlanta, GA, he moved furniture like every other mover. And heard the same complaints.

Moving means packing and unpacking and everyone hates it. Besides the drudgery and inevitable lost and mixed-up files, productivity comes to a complete standstill effectively putting the business out of business. To add insult to injury, the mover damages walls, floors, and furniture getting to the truck. Haphazardly stacked on the moving van, many items such as glass, framed art work, and computers undergo a beating in transit and emerge at the new location marred or broken, sometimes worse. After the move, the customer feels as battered as his belongings.

Ed Katz took customer complaints seriously and began developing methods and tools to eliminate or minimize the grievances.

To minimize office disruption and downtime, he developed the Spider Crane® and Space Gobblers™ and began moving the contents in the furniture rather than the contents and the furniture. Wha-la, the "boxless" move was born. By virtually eliminating the costly downtime of packing, workers now had access to records and files practically up to the minute they're rolled out the door. Customers stayed in business and loved it.

To protect computers and other sensitive electronic equipment, Katz' Comp-U-Wraps® offer all the advantages of bubblewrapping at a fraction of the time and cost, and to minimize damage to building entryways, his Mat-A-Door® protects office doors, glass entry doors, and lobby-side elevator entrances and adjacent walls.

Following the release of the award-winning Commercial Relocation, Katz developed Offce Moving for Movers, the book every moving company operator has always wanted.

Only Ed Katz could successfully pull together an enormous amount of experience with a history of solving customer problems to cover the whole move in Move Your Business (Without Becoming A Moving Target). As the "little brother" of Commercial Relocation, Move Your Business (Without Becoming A Moving Target) is specifically designed to cover the whole move for small to mid-sized businesses.

For more, visit the Office Moving Resource Center at

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