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Corporate Relocation Guide

Corporate Relocation Guide

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The Move Process

Relocating an office is a big task for everyone at the company. The speed, cost and efficiency of the move ultimately depends on how prepared and organized the company is on move day.  All the preparation and planning will come together during the move process. The “count down to moving day” later in this section will begin to give you a good idea about the various tasks that will need to be undertaken to make the office move successful. The majority of corporate relocations take place within a relatively short distance. The theory is that unless a company is expanding into new markets or downsizing, the company will stay in the market in which they have established themselves.  Above all, try to have some fun during the process. Moving is a highly stressful time for everyone involved and advanced planning of relaxing or fun activities will help relieve some of the anxiety involved with the move. Consider the move a great adventure.

This relocation guide is designed to prepare you for the most cost efficient move for your company.

birmingham moving company moving a company to new offices


Move Team

Just like your company is a team working hard everyday, it is important to assemble yourselves into a move team to achieve a successful relocation. There are three (3) main sections of the move team. The Move Project Manager is the overall person in charge, the Move Area Coordinators are the second part of the team, and the third is the rest of the employees. Define the structure of your move team that best fits your company’s needs. Every department and area must be assigned to a Move Coordinator to ensure it is properly handled for the move.

Move Project Manager

You have been appointed the task of managing the upcoming move for your office. During the months and weeks to come, you will find yourself involved in many of the day-to-day tasks involved in successfully planning any relocation.  While you will have the ultimate responsibility for the success of the move, you cannot do it without the cooperation of your Move Coordinators and they in turn will have an impossible task if they do not have the cooperation of the employees that are assigned to them. The Move Coordinators should be your seconds in command, each with a specific area of responsibility. Those areas can be broken down by department, building, function or location; the how is up to you and what will make the most sense in your company. You will also need, very early in the process, to have each supervisor or department head understand the moving process and which Move Coordinators are assigned to employees that they oversee. A detailed email to each employer describing the move project timing plan and responsibilities may work best to keep everyone informed.

As the Move Project Manager, you have three (3) major parts to complete. The following are the duties of the Move Project Manager:

  • Schedule Development
  • Evaluating Moving Proposals & Cost Evaluation
  • Count Down to Moving Day (Getting the Job Done)

Move Area Coordinator

The Move Project Manager for your company’s upcoming relocation has appointed you as Move Area Coordinator. While your tasks will vary based on your area of responsibility, your ultimate goal is to ensure that each individual in your area is ready for the move and that they understand what his or her role is in the move and then is able to execute the preparation in the required time to complete a smooth move.  In addition to preparing your area for the move, you will also be your section’s representative during the planning stage. It will be important that you understand all aspects of your area’s relocation. If there are machines that will need special servicing, extremely busy times, or conversely very slow times in your section, you will need to bring this to the attention of the Move Manager, so that these special needs can be addressed and accommodated early in the process, rather than causing problems or delays during the move.

You will have three (3) major areas of responsibility.

  • Assist the Move Project Manager in planning the actual move.
  • Pass information along either from the Move Project Manager to all employee or to answer specific questions about the moving process.
  • To ensure that everyone in your area is ready for the move.


While each move is unique, having all employees participate in the move is critical to the overall success of the move. Depending on the amount of packing that the moving company will do, there are several things that individual employees can do to expedite the process and in turn reduce the cost. Employees should plan to move all personal items from their work areas on their own.  This should include all artwork, personal files and books, knick-knacks, small pictures and equipment. As part of the move budget, the company may want to include several boxes per employee for their personal items. The employee should pack personal items and remove them from the office several days prior to the actual move dates. This will allow the last packing and preparation to be company materials only.  You may also want to consider as part of your overall move plan that employees rather than movers pack the common areas, storage areas and central file systems. This can be a significant savings on the cost of the move, but you should consider the time demands on employees before taking this route. One advantage is the people who commonly work in these areas are familiar with the set up and will be aware in the new facility of how the area should be set up.

House Cleaning Campaign

Two weeks before the move your company will host a clean up and throw out campaign. This gives employees the opportunity to get rid of anything they do not want or need anymore. There are four (4) parts to the campaign:

  • Trash (Lowest cost; label box Trash.)Don’t pay to move items that are not needed.
  • Shred (Dispose of confidential files; use boxes not CSMI totes.)
  • Storage (Use boxes; pack things that will be needed in the future.)
  • To new location (Use boxes or CSMI totes.)

Schedule Development

Good pre-planning results in lower final move costs. The pre-move stage of the move will be the longest and most detailed portion. First, you need to gather information about your facility and the facility you are moving into.

Pre-move Inventories – You will need three (3) sets of inventories.

  • List all furniture and equipment that will be making the move.
  • List items that will be disposed of or given away.
  • List a separate inventory of all items that will remain in the current location.(Revise any of these as you need or as changes are made.)

Pre-move Walk Through –The walk through of both the origin and destination facilities are extremely important for the moving company prospective and ultimately your prospective. You should be prepared to present the mover at the time of the walk through with the three (3) inventories that you prepared, along with a summary of workstations and square feet of your facility, any loading or delivery restrictions, and your ideal time for the move.

Evaluating Moving Proposals & Cost Evaluation

There are as many ways to evaluate moving company proposals as there are moving companies. One of the most common mistakes is to evaluate a proposal solely on cost.  Some movers will lack experience in moving offices and will tend to under estimate the manpower necessary to complete a good sized office move. Additionally, friends, family members and senior staff members may try to influence the choice of moving companies.  You should treat contracting with a moving company much as you would any other major purchase. It is generally recommended that you acquire a minimum of three (3) estimates and a maximum of five (5) estimates. You should require that all companies provide you a list of office moves similar to yours that they have completed in the last twelve (12) months along with the company name, principle contact and either phone or email information. You will need to allow time to follow up with each reference.You can also check with reliable sources such as the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, etc. about the companies you are considering. When looking at a company on the BBB, don’t just look at the overall rating, read the details on the company’s complaints. If the move is interstate in nature, you can also check with the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration to verify that the carrier has interstate operating authority. Changing Spaces can be found on all three of these sources. Since the price of the move is a major consideration, it is a good idea to work through each of the estimates that are provided and break out the major cost components before beginning your final evaluation and company selection. Make the comparisons apples to apples plus service quality.

Count Down to Move Day

Getting the Job Done –

(This is a guideline only, depending on the size and complexity of the move, this may vary.)

Three to Six Months Prior to Move Day

  • Obtain floor plans for the current office and the new office.
  • Begin establishing a budget for the relocation – be sure to add at least 10% additional for unexpected events.
  • Begin inventorying the complete contents of the current facility, including what you do not expect to move and what you expect to dispose.
  • Begin seeing moving companies – either individually or as a group to obtain their cost estimates.
  • Establish the moving coordination team within your office – make sure that every department is represented on this team.
  • Interview each department’s manager and supervisors, in their offices, to learn what factors will influence their department’s move.
  • Be sure to ask about time critical factors that could determine the order in which the departments are moved.
  • Order any new furniture or equipment that will be needed for the new facility. If it is not critical equipment arrange to have it delivered following the main move.
  • Plan a moving newsletter or memo that will be distributed to all employees during the course of the move planning and the move itself. This is a great way to pass information to everyone, stress deadlines and show there’s a plan.

Eight to Twelve Weeks Prior to Move Day

  • Select a moving company.
  • Select the level of additional insurance or valuation coverage that will be needed to protect the office furnishings during the relocation.
  • Make lists of all equipment that will need special servicing prior to or following the move.
  • Outline where each department will move within the new facility.
  • Order any new forms that will be required to have the new address pre-printed on them.
  • Order new checks. If you need to notify any county, state or federal agencies of your anticipated move, let them know the address and the anticipated effective date.

Six Weeks Prior to Move Day

  • Finalize each department’s location in the new facility and assign individual office space.
  • Prepare the preliminary move schedule and give a copy to all managers and supervisors for their approval.
  • Begin alerting vendors, suppliers, and customers about the change of address. The post office can supply forms that are easily completed.
  • If there is old furniture, supplies, cabinets, etc. that will not be moving to the new facility consider donating them to a charity or just disposing of them. Files and records that are not mandatory or necessary should also be disposed or shredded.
  • Review insurance coverage with your insurance company to determine any additional coverage that may be needed during the move.
  • Speak with your moving company about providing Certificates of Insurance (most building managers will require this before the move begins).

Four Weeks Prior to Move Day

  • Prepare a directory of all the companies that will be involved in the move, including all contact names, phones, faxes and email addresses. Be sure that all members of the moving team have a copy of this list.
  • Arrange for utilities to be turned on in the new facility one week prior to the anticipated move day and arrange to cancel all utilities in the current facility one week following the move.
  • Finalize the move schedule (order). Be sure to provide the mover with a copy.
  • Publish the schedule so that everyone can see or obtain a copy. Make sure all senior managers know that this schedule can not be easily changed.
  • Obtain copies of the moving restrictions form, both the current location and the new location. If elevators or loading docks need to be reserved do that also.
  • Arrange for elevator lockout codes, cards or keys.
  • Assign numbers and colors to all work stations at the new facility. Be sure that no room number or color combination is repeated. Let people know what their assigned room number and color will be. Provide this list to the mover.
  • Walk through the new facility with the floor plan to ensure that all structural obstacles are noted. You may find that walls will move or columns will be added and are not included on the original floor plans. During this walk through also note (and check if possible) all electrical and computer outlets.

Three Weeks Prior to Move Day

  • Assemble two (2) tool boxes each with – hammer, screwdrivers (phillip’s head and flat head), pliers, electrical tie straps, an assortment of screws and nails, duct tape, an assortment of batteries, sharpie markers, and extension cords.
  • If necessary, arrange with your public transportation office for any parking or traffic signage that will be necessary for the duration of the move to be placed at either facility.
  • Pass out the new office layout diagrams for each person to complete. These will have to be turned into you a week prior to the move.
  • If necessary, make arrangements with any crane, rigging or scaffolding services.
  • Your mover will be able to advise you of good companies with whom to work.

Two Weeks Prior to Move Day

  • Designate someone to record all employee’s names, current and new locations, old and new phone numbers.
  • Arrange for the first box delivery. This should include materials for packing storage areas and infrequently used historical files.
  • Arrange to have all painting, cleaning and refurbishing of furniture at the new facility completed.
  • It is time to really clean house. Prepare for shredding or disposing of documents that will not be moving to the new facility. Have each person seriously clean their work area and dispose of things they no longer need. During this arrange for the janitorial service to place large trash receptacles in public areas. These should remain in place for several days.
  • Distribute the labeling instructions and samples of all moving labels and packing instructions to each employee.

One Week Prior to Move Day

  • Make sure all utilities are connected and are operational in the new facility, this includes: electric, heat and air, local and long distance phone service, computer lines, internal phone system, internal speaker or PA system, alarms and security systems.
  • Arrange for a second box delivery for the more critical areas and for each individual office (if required).
  • Designate several people to be at both the old location and the new location to answer moving questions and keep the business operational up until the move begins or during the move, if necessary. These will be the first and last offices to be moved.
  • Provide each work station that will be moving with the color coded labels (15-20 labels per work station are usually sufficient) that will be placed on all furniture and boxes. These may be preprinted or manually written, but they must be consistent.
  • Prepare a list of emergency numbers, including on duty and off duty numbers for the building managers, elevator repair, electrician, plumber, moving company, all members of the move coordination team. Provide these numbers to all moving team members, senior managers and the moving company supervisors.
  • Obtain keys to all offices, conference rooms, and storage areas for both the current and the new facility. It is a good idea to test all keys and then label them correctly.
  • Test all keys for the new facility. Be sure that several people have completed sets and that the moving supervisor knows who has the full sets.
  • Make sure that you have the master copy of all office layouts for the new facility with the color code and office number clearly noted on each. You will need to provide the mover with copies of these.
  • If you have purchased new modular furniture it should be delivered and installed at the new facility at least the week prior to move day. Be sure to allow enough installation time so it will not coincide with the move. Coordinate relocation of existing modular furniture that is to be relocated at time of the move.

Three Days Before Move Day

  • Tour the current facility with the building manager making note of any existing damage. Take photographs if necessary.
  • Provide the Certificates of Insurance that you required from the mover to both the old and new facility building managers.
  • Tour the new facility with the new building manager making note of any existing damage. Take photographs if necessary.

Two Days Before Move Day

  • Make sure Certificate of Occupancy has been issued and the State Inspector has approved the freight elevator for use. If you are moving into an existing building rather than a new building this will not be necessary.
  • Have employees remove all personal belongings from their work areas. Each individual and not the mover should move these.
  • Finalize the day by day and hour by hour schedule for packing, dis-assembly and storing of files.
  • Disassemble any non-essential furniture, modular units and equipment.
  • Cut off and clean any refrigerators or freezers. Allow the doors to remain open to completely dry the inside. Have the new vending services connected or installed at the new facility. If your vending machines are moving with you, arrange for them to be reconnected the day following delivery.

The Day Before Move Day

  • Move any diesel backup generators.
  • Have all major equipment serviced for the move by the necessary vendor or technicians.
  • Arrange to have outside building signage removed and installed at the new location.
  • Plan a “saying farewell” time for the employees. This will help ease some of the stress involved with leaving the current facility.
  • Have members of the moving team inspect all work stations to ensure that moving labels are attached to each piece of furniture in the proper location for easy identification by the movers.
  • At the new facility, post individual office layouts at each work station or on the door of the office. The moving supervisor will assist you in setting up the color coding directions.
  • If employees will need new parking permits, office keys or security cards to access the new facility they should be distributed before the move. If they are not necessary for access then you should distribute them the day following the move.

Move Day

This is what you have been planning for, working towards and in some cases fearing. If you have done your job, worked with your moving company and planned, you and your team will just be orchestra leaders for the symphony ball that is the move. Throughout the day you will need to keep the lines of communication open between your team members and the moving supervisors.

  • Perform a pre-move walk through with your mover’s team.
  • Depending on the time of day which the move will take place, it is a good idea to have as few people around as possible. This is part of the reason that most office moves take place during the evening hours and/or weekends.
  • Designate a break area in both facilities for the movers to check-in, eat meals if the move will span a meal time or be able to get a soda or water during the move. This area should be near a restroom facility.
  • Remove all time clocks and security devices that will be moving to the new facility.
  • Before the last truck leaves, perform a walk through with a moving company representative to ensure that everything that needed to move has been moved.


This list describes how to pack items in your office and should be given specific consideration.

Desk: Remove all items inside drawers and pack in Changing Spaces Moving, Inc (CSMI) totes or (small 1.5 cu. ft.) boxes. Lock drawers (if possible) and take keys yourself. If drawers do not lock, you can tape keys in a top drawer of the desk or carry yourself.

Bookcase: Remove all contents and pack in CSMI totes or boxes.

Credenzas: Remove all contents and pack in CSMI totes or boxes.

Vertical File Cabinet: DO NOT empty vertical file cabinets. Empty or partially empty drawers should be packed full with packing paper to prevent files from moving around. Lock cabinets if possible and push lock all the way in. Locks without keys should be taped to prevent locking and label, do not lock.

Lateral File Cabinet: All contents must be removed and packed into CSMI totes or boxes. Lock file cabinet if possible and remove key.

CSMI Totes: Fill tote completely but not over the top. Close tote by interlocking the two flaps. Open top boxes do not stack in the moving truck and should not be filled too full. Numbered, plastic tote lock seals are available when security is desired.

Computers, Individual Printers, Scanners: DO NOT PACK THESE ITEMS. Remove all mouse, keyboard and power cords and put in a room numbered, labeled plastic computer bag and leave on desk. All attached cords should be unplugged and coiled.

Framed Pictures, Whiteboards, and Bulletin Boards: All hanging items should be removed from the walls and organized with CSMI labels along with any flat items such as desk mats. CSMI is not responsible for removing and hanging wall items.

Supply (Storage) Cabinets: Remove all items completely and pack into CSMI totes or boxes. Lock the cabinet if possible.

Liquids: All liquids such as cleaning supplies, ink, drinks, etc. should be packed in boxes only and carried by the company. CSMI is not responsible for the transportation of any type of liquid.

Drafting Table: Remove all current papers and pack in CSMI totes or boxes. To secure dust cover, unroll cover over the drawing surface and tape to the front edge of the board. Pencil sharpeners or other attachments should be removed from the tables.

Easel Flip Chart: Fold the legs in and tape bottom of pad of paper to easel. Pack pencil tray in CSMI totes or boxes

In Overall Preparation for the Move: All items should be broken down or folded up, removed from walls, and be ready to grab and go.

Labeling, Tagging & Floor Plan

Proper labeling, pre-planning, and organization are the driving force towards a successful office move. The precious time spent in the early stages of your move on labeling and pre-planning will eventually determine the speed and cost of the move. Employee labeling teams can work with their assigned Move Area Coordinator to ensure correct moving procedures and proper placement of all items. Making sure everyone does their part will result in a smooth transition to the new office.

  • All items should be labeled for new locations. Each piece of furniture that is disassembled for moving requires a label as well. If it is not labeled, it will not get moved. Items that are easily forgotten to label include: floor mats, lamps, wastebaskets, and chairs (believe it or not).
  • Miscellaneous small items of furniture not on the floor plans should be tagged with the corresponding office number.
  • DO NOT MOVE tags should be placed on items not to be moved such as vending machines, server racks, computer racks, etc.
  • Numbering system on labels should include the correct floor, room, and piece number. Use a felt tip marker such as Sharpie to easily identify what is written on the labels.
  • Tagging should comply with detailed plans and individual room layout sketches on the door frame of the office that indicate furniture placements and personnel locations. Use a different color for each floor to easily identify correct floor levels.
  • When employees are finished tagging, report to the assigned Move Coordinator to do a final check to make sure all items are tagged properly and ready to move.
  • A full floor plan that is numbered according to the labels should be placed on every level of the new office. If it’s one floor only, place the floor plan at the entrance door. Large areas such as waiting areas and cubical sections should be broken down into smaller sections and noted on the floor plan and labels correctly.

changing spaces moving label for corporate relocations
Place labels here on these kinds of items.

moving guide to labeling office furniture and equipment


Floor plan of the new office – Post this on the entrance doorway of the new building and on each floor by elevator (if applicable) for the movers to easily identify where to go. Numbers may vary (e.g., floor 1=101,102,103, etc.;floor 2=201,202, etc.). floor plan of office created for corporate move in birmingham


Single office sketch- These should be placed outside of each office on the doorframe labeled with correct room number. These can easily be drawn by each employee to show what all goes inside their office.
office layout for commercial movers in birmingham
Tips for Success

  • Remove all items from your desk, credenza, storage cabinets, and bookshelves. Pack them into boxes that will be provided by the mover. This is critical since the majority of the furniture will be turned on end during the course of the move. Any small items, such as paperclips or rubber bands should be sealed in envelopes before placing them in the packing box. Any liquids, such as ink, glue, correction fluid should be sealed tightly and then place a strip of masking tape around the top of each before packing it into the box.
  • Breakable items should be wrapped in paper before being packed or be packed by the mover.
  • Check all the wheels on chairs, rolling tables, computer stands, printer stands, etc.
  • Any that are loose should be removed and packed. Otherwise, you will never see them again.
  • If you are moving into a private office, a diagram of desired furniture placement should be completed and turned into the move coordinator at your earliest convenience. If you are moving into a modular or semi private area, you may hand in a placement diagram for equipment.
  • When you are packing, do not seal the boxes until you have completed your packing. This will help avoid the need to open and search boxes to find items or when you need to remove or insert last minute items.
  • As you complete each box, stack it to one side of your office, no more than 4 boxes high, with the label on the front, right hand, upper corner. You should be able to see each label from the entrance to your work area.
  • Double check that all labels are visible and that anything not moving to the new location is also marked as “do not move” before leaving the office for the last time.
  • Once the move is completed and you have unpacked your work area, remove all moving labels. The boxes that you used should be collapsed and returned to a central collection point.

Frequently Asked Questions Should a mover be licensed?

Honestly, it would be more accurate to say the moving company must be CERTIFIED. All movers are required by state law to possess operating authority. In addition to Changing Spaces Moving, Inc. being licensed, insured and bonded, CSMI carries worker’s compensation on our crews. Changing Spaces Moving, Inc. is also a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB), the Federal Motor Carrier and Safety Administration (CSMI abides by all rules and regulations of the FMCSA) and the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA). Our Department of Transportation (DOT) number is 1164434, Alabama Public Service Commission (APSC) number is C3822 and Federal Motor Carrier (MC) number is 468173.

When should I call for an estimate?

Call TODAY. It is never too early to begin planning your move. Some customers may require a “dollar sign amount” for planning purposes and Changing Spaces Moving, Inc. can provide this type of information. Many large moves require several months of detailed planning. It is advised that you consult your mover at the same time you consult with your space planner, furniture dealer, computer consultant, etc. Local moving ordinances, or the policies of the rental agents, may dictate moving within certain hours. The mover will prepare his estimate of probable costs based upon factors surrounding the move. The estimate will include materials, equipment and labor costs.

What can I expect from a commercial moving specialist?

An experienced commercial moving company must be able to provide the customer with information and suggestions for the pre-planning and execution of the entire relocation process. Changing Spaces Moving, Inc. is capable of executing any office move task you may have. CSMI is dedicated to deliver the most cost efficient and easy office move you will ever have.

What forms of payment do you accept and on what terms?

Changing Spaces Moving, Inc. accepts many types of payments including cash, company checks, certified checks, and credit cards. Certified checks are required on long distance moves and there is a 3% additional charge for the convenience of using a credit card.

What is a tariff?

This is the publication that contains the “price list” of the materials and services of the movers. It must include the material and labor rates for the services offered by the mover; however, local moving rates are not controlled. The Alabama Public Service Commission (APSC) tariff rates apply on moves within the state, but outside of a thirty mile radius of Birmingham.

How am I protected against loss and damage?

The legal liability of the carrier required by law is $0.60 per pound per article. This coverage is often inadequate for the protection deemed necessary. Coverage of your furnishings and equipment while being packed, transported and unpacked can be addressed through your mover Additional Valuation Coverage is available through Changing Spaces Moving, Inc. at other costs and deductibles.

Properties and building managements involved in your relocation may require the mover to provide a “Certificate of Insurance”. This coverage is for property damage, personal injury and public liability as it relates to the buildings and their owners.