It Is Never Too Early, To Build Your Move Team

We are all taught at an early age to plan ahead. We learned clichés, such as “The Early Bird, gets the worm!”, or “A teaspoon of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The essence of what we were being taught is that when it comes to most anything; being prepared, and starting early are recipes for success for accomplishing a goal. If one applies that logic to an office relocation project; then the message would be: Be prepared and start early.

Be prepared sounds easy enough; however, in the ever changing environment of relocation project that is not the case. The reality of any project is that there will be unexpected challenges that can and will arise. If the project manager (team) have prepared well enough, then these can be overcome and the project can stay on schedule. The best way to overcome the unexpected challenges is to identify as many possible pitfalls that could arise, so that you can prepare for them; thereby reducing the amount of unexpected surprises, throughout the project. This is done by establishing your move team, very early in the process, and discussing the project in detail. Most people are NOT moving experts. Most people have been involved in an office move, but they are not professional movers. Their perspective is therefore limited, and their ability to identify potential challenges, will also be limited.

Often times the mover is one of the last vendors contracted, on a project. It is easy to understand why that is the case, if you study the chronological time line of an office relocation. Let’s examine that time line, and when the team members are usually brought on board.

Real Estate Broker- Usually the first person that is contracted. He/she is needed to assist with the acquisition of the new office location, and they assist with the lease and build out negotiation with the landlord.

Architect- This is usually the second vendor that is contracted, as they will work with the client to determine their needs for space, office design-layout and assist with the overall plan.

General Construction Contractor- This is usually the third vendor contracted, in this process. They are usually the vendor that helps to establish the budget for the build out. Often times the client has a number they would like to achieve, but the GC will know the current market costs for the design that the client and the architect have created. It is now the GC’s responsibility to complete the project within that budget.

Furniture Dealer-
At this point, it is very common for the client to request the help of a furniture dealer, to purchase new and/or used furniture for the new space. The furniture is a large part of the design; often times the architect will already have had some discussions with a few dealers, to create the design. At this point one must be chosen, to implement that design. Additionally, as furniture requires a great deal of ‘lead time’, when placing an order; it is important to get the order placed in time to maintain the project time line.

As we look at the vendors who have joined the team, we notice that mover has yet to be contracted. If we realize that these vendors have been contracted six to twelve months, prior to the move, this seems to make sense. The project managers are contracting vendors that are critical to maintaining the schedule for the project. What would be the advantage to contracting the mover, this early in the process? Remember what we learned as children? “A teaspoon of prevention is better than a pound of cure”. If a moving company is brought into the process early, they can assist with identifying areas of inefficiency and assist with reducing the overall cost of the project. Since these are professionals, they will be able to identify the unexpected challenges that could arise with this particular project and suggest methods to address them, before they arise. It is always less expensive; both in time and money, for a problem to be identified early, so a proper plan can be put in place to address that issue, in the most efficient manner. The issues that arise unexpectedly are always the most costly. If the mover is brought on board with the team, early in the process, it allows the client the ability to take advantage of their expertise in these matters. Additionally, most of the time the client has the benefit of receiving the best pricing for the moving services, as they secured that vendor well in advance. Done early enough, the client can take bids from qualified, properly vetted vendors; who will compete for the business. If the mover becomes an ‘after thought’, and their services are requested late in the process. The client’s own schedule becomes their worst enemy. Movers know that the client must choose whatever company has the capacity in their schedule, rather than the most qualified company to perform the task. Price and quality become less of a disqualifier to potential vendors; not to mention the loss of the ability for the mover to identify ways to make the project more efficient.

It seems simple enough to most of us to think that if we purchase a plane ticket two days before departure that it will be more expensive than if we purchased it two months before departure. The premise being since the airline doesn’t need to fill the last seat or two (in order for that plane to be profitable), they can keep the pricing at its highest level. The consumer has lost their leverage in this case. However; if the consumer purchases that ticket two months prior to the flight, the airline will offer its best pricing, as it is still trying to achieve profitability for that flight. The consumer has leverage in this case. Additionally, once the flight is purchased, then the rest of the trip can be arranged. The other aspects of that trip will also be cheaper, as they can be purchased early as well. Items such as; hotel, rental car, airport transportation and parking, etc. All of these items can be purchased at the best pricing because of proper planning. These same principles apply to hiring a moving company.

So when planning your next office relocation, and establishing your time line for the project; remember “the early bird, gets the worm.” Build your entire team as early as possible, and allow them to help you have the highest level of success.

Dave LeRoux
Vice President
Armstrong Relocation & Companies
13855 Westfair East Drive
Houston, TX 77041