Making Your Move

Big Wheels

Once you've decided to move and have found the perfect location for your business, choosing a reliable mover is the most important decision you'll make at this point, according to Ron Dickson of Dickson Moving Technologies in Celebration, Florida. Dickson recommends soliciting detailed bids from several moving and storage companies that have experience in corporate and industrial relocation.

Mumma stresses the importance of choosing the most responsible bidder. "The low-bid option is not necessarily the best way to go because you might just get what you paid for," he says.

Many moving companies offer comprehensive consultation, planning and relocation services; choose a mover who can provide the best all-around assistance for your move. "By selecting a company with whom you can partner, you can work together to lower costs while increasing quality and productivity," Mumma says.

Before selecting a moving company, check bidders' references for the last several moves they've completed and ask about timeliness and faithfulness to the cost estimate, Dickson suggests. To protect yourself, he stresses, "everything should be in writing--in a straightforward, plain-English contract." Some movers won't touch equipment that requires technicians to prepare it for moving, so you should ask about each and every office item so there are no surprises on moving day.

Also check with the Better Business Bureau to make sure your potential mover hasn't left previous customers in the lurch. Sheila Adkins, public affairs manager for the Council of Better Business Bureaus, says that since 1990, moving companies have consistently ranked in the top 25 of the 500 types of businesses for which the council tracks complaints. They've heard many horror stories about movers who, for instance, hold clients hostage at the point of destination, refusing to unload unless the customer ponies up additional funds.

The best way to avoid surprises in logistics or price is to conduct a walk-through of your office with the mover, says Lorrie Valerio, ARB's office manager, who coordinated the relocation of the firm's 90-employee headquarters. A facilities relocation specialist from Alexander's Moving and Storage in Tustin, California, completed a walk-through of ARB's old and new office spaces, reviewed the floor plans for each and helped plan every step of the move. With a thorough walk-through assessment, both the entrepreneur and the mover know what they're getting into.

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This article was originally published in the April 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Making Your Move.

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