Relocating a business is a lot like moving your family to a new home, except the “family” includes crews, equipment, materials, an office of technology and more. Plus, you can't exactly press “pause” on your workload and take time to transition.
There are significant preparations involved in moving a business: finding a facility or property, razing a building or retrofitting an office, and then actually transferring your physical assets to the new digs. Let's not forget marketing. How will people find you if you don't tell them you moved?
This month, Lawn & Landscape spoke with three owners who share how they executed a business move and the lessons they learned in the process.
A venue with vision
A new $3-million facility for Southview Design in St. Paul, Minn., represents a growth milestone and opportunity to raise the company's professionalism. Owner Chris Clifton says the new building will “get people's creative juices flowing” when they visit the office, and employees are inspired by a space that better suits the business with room to grow.
Southview was in desperate need of space to accommodate the growth it had experienced in the past few years, tripling revenues in that time. “We simply ran out of space in our old location,” Clifton says, noting that the 600 square feet of office space and 1.5-acre construction yard provided no room to expand. “We had no indoor storage, no shop space,” he says, adding that the employee facilities also lacked. “There was not room for another single desk, and the bathroom situation was difficult,” he adds, relating that the long hours employees work necessitate a break room and comfortable facilities.
So two years ago, Southview Design began planning a move, with a priority of staying true to its St. Paul roots but finding a spot close to its mostly Minneapolis client base. The company found some desirable land in the core of the metro area in summer 2013 and purchased an option on it.
During that time, Southview Design began crunching numbers. How much would the new facility truly cost? “One of the reasons we bought an option on the land to tie it up before we actually closed on it was because we wanted to verify what the full project cost would be and make sure it was something we could afford,” Clifton says, noting that financial preparations included analyzing historical facility costs as a percentage of revenue, then estimating costs at the new facility.
Clifton also factored in that the company would be purchasing land and investing in a building rather than leasing space. “That would give us flexibility to acquire larger quarters,” he says, adding that the location is close to an industrial park and offers an option to gain more space if needed.