Office moves are daunting—there’s nothing simple about relocating an entire team of employees, much less moving high-value equipment, electronics, or machinery (especially if that machinery is what makes your business money).
Planning and organization are key to having an office move go off without a hitch, so we’re here to help you to coordinate logistics ahead of time to prevent any hiccups from happening along the way.
Use this business moving checklist to help your office move run seamlessly—and to prevent the CEO’s glass sculpture from ending up in the break room. We also recommend checking out our list of the best office moving companies.
Office moving checklist
Six months before your move
Plan the logistics
- Review your current lease. Are you on the hook for a deposit or fee if you break your lease early? Are you responsible for property damage (e.g., chipped paint, broken light fixtures, etc.), including anything that happens during the move?
- Get quotes from moving companies. See which moving companies fit your budget and can service your area. Check out our picks for the best office movers, and compare rates from at least three companies.
- Determine if you need moving coverage. Your business may depend entirely on a single piece of equipment or machinery that, if broken, could halt operations. But even if it doesn’t, you might want to opt for higher coverage on your move than the industry standard of $0.60 per pound. (Yes, that really means that if your 50-pound desk breaks, you’d get a whopping $30 for it.)
- Set a budget. Having a moving budget from the get-go will help prevent you from overspending—especially in areas where you can easily scale back, like forgoing professional packing in favor of having employees pack up their things themselves.
- Assemble a planning team. Have you designated a point person for the move? Does upper management need to be involved? Decide who should (and shouldn’t) participate in the planning process and delegate from there.
Ask your mover
Ask your mover
If your business has heavy, bulky, or unwieldy machinery, make sure the moving company you’re working with has enough movers and the right equipment to handle it.
Three to four months before your move
Plan the logistics
- Lock in your moving date. Once you’ve confirmed your new office space, make a reservation with a moving company or secure other moving arrangements.
- Notify your current landlord. As soon as you confirm your company’s move date, loop in your current property manager and let them know when you plan to terminate your lease.
- Create a moving plan. Draft a checklist of your move, including individuals involved, required action items (like setting up phone and internet installation), and deadlines.
- Assign responsibilities to team members. Assign leaders to coordinate the move, then divvy up to-dos among the larger group so that each employee knows which tasks to own.
- Notify all employees of the upcoming move. Set expectations for the move so employees know their responsibilities ahead of time and can plan accordingly.
- Notify local partners, affiliates, and suppliers of your move. Will your relocation affect any partners or clients? If so, make sure they know your new contact information and how the relocation might impact project deadlines.
- Review special-item office furniture or equipment. Consider any outstanding pieces of furniture that need to be specially handled during the move. Do you need professional help disassembling complex machinery or moving potentially hazardous materials?
- Hire an interior designer. If your new office needs landscaping, decorating, or any other kind of aesthetic TLC, now is the time to make those arrangements.
- Order specialized equipment. If there’s any equipment your company is replacing or upgrading that will take months to build or ship, order it now so it will arrive by moving day.
If your office is in a building with other businesses, be sure to coordinate your move with your building’s management. You may need to reserve elevators and loading docks or grant movers special access to the building on moving day.
Two months before your move
- Design a floor plan. Map out both your existing office and your new office to determine where to place equipment, desks, and furniture. If you have the information, consider things like the number and location of ethernet connections, power sockets, and common areas—that way, big items can be immediately placed where they belong so you don’t have to shuffle things around later.
- Arrange for phone and internet installation. Find a company that can provide these services, and set up installation from there. If you’re working with a full-service office mover, they can likely work with you directly to arrange this installation.
- Make a plan for setting up computers and IT systems. Confirm whether your IT staff can do this on their own or if you need to hire extra help.
- Audit keys, parking passes, and access cards. Create a master list of every employee’s keys and passes, and refer to it when you need to collect outstanding access cards before moving day.
- Discontinue any special services at your current office. If you currently use landscaping, security, or cleaning services, notify them of your move so they can terminate your service after your company has left.
Things to consider
- Research business insurance options. If you can’t transfer your current policy to your new office, begin researching available options now.
- Purchase new furniture or equipment. You don’t want your employees to walk in on the first day at the new office and see that same ratty, on-its-last-leg couch in the lobby from the last office. Use the opportunity to spruce up your furniture and decor. If you’re expanding your workforce with your move, be sure to stock up on desk chairs, buy desks in bulk, and (most important of all) get that spike ball set for the break room ordered.
- Secure offsite storage. If your new office doesn’t have space for your archived files or annual Christmas party decorations, reserve a storage unit nearby.
Did you know?
Did you know?
Some office movers offer transition planning, which means they’ll work with you to map out your current office and your new office and help you strategically place equipment and furniture.
One month before your move
- Inventory and tag furniture, equipment, and office supplies. Label and tag your office’s items to avoid losing your company’s award plaques in transit (or worse, the trophy collection). Also, be sure to take pictures while cataloging inventory in case you need to go through a claims process.
- Collect moving supplies. If your employees are packing up their own desks, make sure they have cardboard boxes, packing tape, and labeling materials.
- Transfer utilities. Set a cancellation date for the utilities at your current office, and research utility options for your new location.
- Create a change-of-address list. Send an email or snail mail notification to let your clients and customers know where they can reach you going forward.
- Update company address listings. See a list below of subscriptions, mailing listings, and websites where your current address will need to be updated so your business doesn’t fall by the wayside during the move.
- Business accounts
- Company website
- Social media accounts
- Banks and financial institutions
- Accounts receivable and payable
- Magazine and newspaper subscriptions
- Listings on Google, Yelp, and other review sit
Things to consider
- Acquire parking permits or passes for your new office. Depending on where your new office is located, you may need to pick up parking permits or passes for your employees before they arrive.
- Arrange to have your current office cleaned after the move. Some office moving companies even offer cleaning services.
Archive and back up old files before you move in case multiple computers or IT systems are damaged along the way. (This is another reason to look into moving coverage.)
Two weeks before your move
- Finalize plans with your moving team. Share a detailed itinerary for the days leading up to the move, especially if packing and hauling will begin while other parts of the office are still running.
- Order keys and access cards. Order keys for your new office in advance so they’ll be ready to hand out on move-in day.
- Confirm internet and phone installation. Make sure you’ve hired a team to set up these services so that you can get back to business as usual as soon as you move into the new office.
- Confirm computer and IT services setup. If your team has the skills to set these services up, ensure that you’ve communicated internally to figure out who will tackle it. If not, double check that you’ve hired professionals who can.
- Pare down office inventory. If your office has any run-down furniture on its last leg or outdated office decor, do some spring cleaning and cut down on office inventory. (Pssst: Some moving companies even offer disposal services.)
- Back up important documents and data. If you haven’t done so already, back up your files. In case anything gets damaged during transit or has a hard time rebooting at the new office, be sure to save any essential documents or data pre-move.
A word on furniture
A word on furniture
Moving costs with full-service movers are usually based on overall weight, so if you have a piece of office furniture you’re planning to replace, consider selling or disposing of it before the move.
One week before your move
- Survey your new office before moving day. If you already have access to your new space, we recommend inspecting it before you move in (to make sure there aren’t wires dangling from the ceiling or lights that don’t work).
- Review your moving day schedule. Go over when the movers will arrive, who needs to be onsite to let them in, what items need to be ready for movers once they’re there, who will be present during the move, and who will handle locking up the facility after the movers leave.
- Remind employees to pack up personal belongings. We recommend holding employees responsible for their personal items, but if your company provides employees with laptops, monitors, and other IT equipment, you may want to save these for your IT department or your professional movers.
Things to consider
- Load up on packing materials. If you’re worried you won’t have enough packing supplies, purchase extra and return unused materials later to avoid any last-minute scrambling.
- Stock up on surface protectors, moving blankets, or other preventative safeguards. Use packing materials to prevent paint chips, scuffs, dents, broken light fixtures, or other damage to both your stuff and your current office space.
Set up mail forwarding so you don’t miss any important correspondence, and remember to update your address with the US Postal Service after you move—you can do this in person or at USPS.com/move.
The day before your move
- Finish packing and labeling. If your state-of-the-art copier and break room foosball table need special handling or packing, communicate this to whoever’s on deck (be it your professional movers or that guy in the office who’s always selling tickets to the “gun show”).
- Gather parking passes, security cards, and keys. Using your inventory list, gather every employee’s access cards. Make sure they’re deactivated and disposed of properly.
On moving day
- Turn the lights on. No one wants to do business in the dark—or the cold. Double check that your new space is good to go utilities-wise. If the power (or water) in your new office isn’t working, call your utility companies to troubleshoot the problem.
- Set up your office. Use the blueprint or outline you created for your new office to arrange all your machinery, equipment, and furniture. If you’re working with a moving company, this is where transition planning will come in handy. (Some moving companies offer professional staging services, too.)
- Plug in phone, internet, and IT systems. If you’re working with a professional mover, this service may be included. Otherwise, coordinate with your local provider to ensure your office is fully connected.
- Do a walk-through of your vacated office and document any damage. This is important to see if you missed any items that need to be moved to your new location, as well as to survey and report any property damage that occurred during the move.
After your move
Things to consider
- Test phones, computers, Wi-Fi, cable connections, and IT systems. Test your technology to make sure your business can get back online ASAP—and troubleshoot as needed.
- Confirm termination of your old lease and change-of address updates. Double- (or even triple-) check that your old lease was properly terminated, that every client and business partner was notified of your move, and that your new address is accurately advertised.
- Designate employees to unpack, remove tags from equipment and furniture, and stock supply cabinets. If your professional movers haven’t taken care of this already, task employees with unpacking and restocking.The more hands you have on deck, the sooner your business can get up and running again.
To sum things up
Get ahead of big-picture logistics by determining the move’s budget right out the gate, delegating responsibilities internally, and seeking out professional help where you need it.
Other arrangements, like mapping out your new office and ordering new keys, should be handled before the mayhem of moving week so the move runs more efficiently (especially if any last-minute surprises come up).
And remember: Office moving companies can help with everything from packing boxes to setting up desks and chairs. Some even provide services like transition planning and junk disposal—so you have one less item on your to-do list.
Check out our best office movers list to see our top recommendations.