Posted on by in Features

By David Corrigan and Dan Burke

As the recession grows smaller in the rearview mirror and the economy continues its slow but steady improvement, the number of commercial moves is on the rise. With liquidity comes mobility. For business and commercial property owners looking to relocate, selecting the right moving partner is critically important.

The first step is to recognize the significant professional challenges involved in any commercial move. Office, retail and industrial moves have their own set of unique demands that can impact a move. Everything from staggered timelines, to industry-specific infrastructure and specialized equipment, to unique commercial environments must be taken into account.

Those demands make it essential to select a commercial relocation specialist that is not only qualified, but also has specific and documented expertise in the logistical creativity and flexibility required to efficiently and effectively execute office and retail relocations. The right moving partner can reduce costly downtime, overcome formidable logistical hurdles, alleviate security concerns, and ultimately save businesses time, money and a great deal of avoidable stress.

With the moving season now upon us, businesses need to understand how to evaluate a qualified moving partner, including the right questions to ask, the right priorities to focus on, and the right experiences and capabilities to emphasize during the vendor selection process.

There are certain professional characteristics and capabilities that the best and most experienced commercial movers all share. The following list of tips, reminders and considerations provides business and property owners with a great place to start when evaluating potential relocation partners.


Corrigan Moving Systems carefully loads one of its many trucks as it prepares for transit. As a commercial moving specialist, Corrigan has the depth of resources — in personnel and equipment — to handle relocation of a local restaurant or the coordinated opening of dozens of stores for a major retailer.

Sophisticated preparation is key The complexities of office, retail and industrial moves make collaborative pre-move preparation that much more important. Make sure that your moving partner is willing to invest the time to work closely with you and/or your team to design a customized moving plan. There is a direct correlation between the amount of time spent on planning and the efficiency of the move itself.

Dollars and sense When calculating the cost of your upcoming move, remember that is not just the upfront expense of the relocation, but the operational and financial impact it has on your business that must be factored into the value equation. Focus on the net overall cost of the project not just a “cheap” transportation rate.

Sensitivity and professionalism Damage to the building — especially vulnerable access points such as elevators and entrances — is always a concern with a commercial move. Some moving partners will do it right every time, while others will have to be retrained and reminded to avoid damaging the facility. If your moving partner is rolling heavy dollies over an expensive tile floor, that is a big — and possibly expensive — problem. Ask the moving company to identify the steps they will take to protect your building. And, prior to the start of the project, make sure that you ask for and receive a certificate of insurance from the mover showing you as “additional insured” to protect you against property damage.

Consumer traffic and logistical challenges Unlike a straightforward residential move, most retail relocations have to occur during off hours to avoid disruption to other tenants or neighboring buildings/businesses. With that in mind, it is especially important to find a moving partner who is able to put the right resources and a productive, experienced moving crew on-site at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m., and who is able to provide an appropriate degree of coordination and flexibility with regard to scheduling.

Storage and delivery flexibilityBecause many retail, industrial or office moves are coordinated with construction, renovation or build-out operations at the new site, a mover’s ability to utilize secure containers that can be delivered, left on site and accessed as needed is oftentimes a valuable asset. Whether it is construction materials or large pieces of furniture or equipment, on-site storage and delivery flexibility is a key component.

Not just capabilities, but facilities In many commercial moves, products and retail/office infrastructure components are frequently coming from multiple suppliers around the country, or are arriving in phased deliveries. In these scenarios, it makes sense to prioritize a mover who owns or operates local warehouse facilities — and can securely store items and subsequently deploy/deliver them as needed.

Installation considerationsMake sure you do your homework and select a carrier who able to handle any specialized retail or office installation requirements. Assembly of display cases, shelving systems, floor-mounted furniture, fixtures or equipment are examples of what your vendor should be able to handle. Verify that your moving partner can handle the installation services, ask for references to support that, and ensure that the installation services are included in the quoted price.

Project managementThe complexities of commercial moving make coordination between multiple parties not just preferable, but essential. The best relocation experts are able to act as experienced project managers, coordinating communication and logistics and acting as a liaison between designers, owners, tenants, space planners and trucking companies from the manufacturer. In the same way that a wedding planner is able to integrate several disparate professionals into one streamlined event, the coordinating capacity of an experienced commercial mover can make the difference between a chaotic mess and a precise moving experience.

Logistical sophisticationBecause retail moves frequently involve large purchases or shipments of capital equipment, and sometimes months-long time horizons, it is important to be strategic about selecting a transportation vendor capable of handling those logistical demands. Relocating a small, family-owned pizza parlor requires a very different set of resources and expertise than rolling out 30 new retail stores on the same day for a national chain. With some moves, ancillary resources and planning/logistics are just as important as speed and efficiency — strategize accordingly.

Verifiable credibility— Avoid moving scams and misinformation at all costs. Make sure that a potential moving vendor is not just providing you with a slick presentation. Ask tough and specific questions. Have they done a move like this before? Who? Where? When? Who can I call to verify? Do not be afraid to ask for references. No reputable commercial mover will hesitate to provide detailed background and references.

Depth of resources — Finally, make sure that your relocation specialist has the depth of resources to handle not only your move as planned, but can adapt to the last-minute changes, delays and complications that may arise. If you have to adjust the schedule at the last minute, the last thing you want to hear is “I’m sorry, but we can’t do it that day.” Because those kinds of delays can not only be a logistical headache or impact the timing/coordination of other aspects of the move, it is important to ensure that your vendor has the capacity and available resources to adjust on the fly to any eventuality.

Business and property owners who take the time to educate themselves, and who can demonstrate a basic understanding of the challenges and criteria involved in selecting a moving specialist, will find that a little bit of insight goes a very long way toward helping them make an informed decision. Regardless of the ultimate destination, they will have already made the right move.

David Corrigan is president and COO of Corrigan Moving Systems and Dan Burke is the director of business development for the Michigan-based relocation company. Dan also serves as director of Corrigan Integrated Office Solutions. David can be reached at [email protected] and Dan is available at [email protected].

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