Relocating, downsizing, upsizing, sharing space?

Expert advice to consider before relocating, how to ensure your move goes smoothly and how to remain protected in the process.

Relocating your business? - A-Plan Insurance

Are you considering moving to a bigger (or smaller) yard or premises? Or combining a separate workshop with a yard? Or even leasing some of your space to a third party?

Trends over the last year have seen the leisure industry move to virtual, the hospitality sector move to app-powered shared kitchen space (‘dark kitchens’) and many previously owning market stalls and stores moving to online marketplaces. Even supermarkets are moving away from filled stockrooms, by ordering less and opting for a ‘delivery to shelf’ model. But how do you know what the right choice is for your business? How is your business adapting to new ways of working?

We talk to Olivier Carion, business development consultant with the Sales Master Guild (and property entrepreneur) about the current environment, and how to know if it’s fear or ambition inspiring the move.

What’s your motivation?

“The landscape has changed”, confirms Olivier. “We live in a time where uncertainty is part of the equation – and this uncertainty will be with us for some time. Businesses have fallen into two categories as a result: they are doing well and going from strength to strength, or they are not doing so well with real anxiety setting in about how to keep going.

“If a business owner is struggling with confidence, they are immediately looking at reducing costs, and one of the only ways under our control right now is to consider moving to a smaller premises or sharing with another business. Mindset plays a huge role right now, fear is potent!

“Where has this fear come from? Smaller businesses have been forced into a ‘receiving’ position – from furloughs and lockdowns to the current cost-of-living, owners don’t know what is coming next and feel at the mercy of the wait. When you can’t be proactive, it’s very uncomfortable!

Expectations have changed as well – there are so many variables, from employees clocking out at 5pm wanting a better quality of life, to those embarking on a second job while working full-time. For many their home has now become a workshop, whether for their primary or secondary career!

“Before you make the move, it’s important to ascertain where the requirement to move comes from – is it mindset, or is it an opportunity?

Working through a Motivational Map® can be a useful tool to help business owners really focus on their reasons for moving. I have also worked with smaller businesses who are ready to grow, but when an owner works 7 days a week, growth becomes unsustainable due to burnout, so there are many variables at play, which makes it incredibly important to take a helicopter view on it.

“One often overlooked element is additional Council funding, so I would advise all sole traders and small business owners to contact their council.

“And networking is key! Now that we can all meet in person, we have an opportunity to engage in conversation again, find out how other businesses are coping or thriving, and find out about funding sources you may not even hear about otherwise.”

Thinking of relocating your business?

If the time is right, consider these insights obtained from A-Plan’s Commercial team.

  • Understand your motivation and consider taking expert advice.
  • Make sure you know your moving budget: account for all moving/transitioning services, potential updates to the new location, lost revenue due to interruption and any insurance needs.
  • Speak with your accountant – there may be ways to offset increased costs against your tax bill, or at least find out how fewer outgoings, if you are downsizing or working from a home environment, would affect your taxes.
  • If you are self-employed, it may be worth ensuring you don’t plan your move (or deposit payments) alongside your tax deadlines. It’s worth pointing out that from 31st March this year, certain business COVID reliefs do come to an end, in addition to that, minimum wage increases will take effect.  
  • Consider how you are going to manage security while you move, if you use CCTV, for example. One option could be to purchase a digital security system, which you are then able to place in a range of locations during the move and use for the workshop or van afterwards.
  • Always use a fully insured professional removal company – that way, if any tools or stock are lost or damaged, you won’t be responsible for replacing them. We always advise our clients to obtain copies of the removal company’s insurance prior to engagement as part of a due diligence process. If things do go wrong, it can become difficult to make a claim on a policy you have not seen, or not know who the insurance company is. Complete a full inventory for every item that you are moving for insurance purposes.
  • Draw up a floor plan for your new space. This will help your movers know where to place everything, and you’ll quickly find out if you need temporary storage. Depending on your move dates and how long it will take to get your new site up to spec, temporary storage units for any furniture, equipment and appliances could be a sensible option.
  • Keep track of all invoices and contracts – it sounds obvious but during a busy move, while trying to support customers, and work with employees or other contractors, pieces of paper do go missing. Scan them all on your mobile phone as you go (there are plenty of free scan apps available).
  • If you have bought new tools, kit, racking, electricals or furnishings for your new premises, don’t forget to file warranty information and include the items on your inventory for insurance purposes. If you realise your contents are likely to be underinsured at any time, particularly given the rise in building material this year, contact your broker immediately and they can help you put it right.
  • Make sure you update your website, signage, marketing material, business cards and invoices!

Whether you are moving area, upsizing, downsizing, or looking to move into a premises you can sub-let to other self-employed, or even moving your business to your home address, it is important to let your insurance broker know.  

From ensuring your cover hasn’t lapsed, to adjusting your requirements based on the location or possibly even different business model, or simply adjusting your contents, van and liability insurance to a new premises, your broker is key to keeping your business up and running should the worst happen.

For more information and to speak to an insurance expert, please get in touch with your nearest A-Plan Business branch.

Follow or connect with Olivier Carion on Linkedin