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How to Request and Receive a Competitive Move Quote

Posted October 7, 2019

In this commentary, I will share with you the best practices that will result in you realizing the lowest overall move cost for your corporate move.  Additionally, we will cover the consequences of not implementing the best practices, discuss the “why” behind the consequences, and guide you on what to do if you find yourself in a situation where the move is imminent and these best practices were not implemented during the planning phase.

Before we dive into the details, I’ll make some basic assumptions about the project.  Our project is going to take place in an office environment, a portion or all the systems furniture is moving, and the origin and destination location are within 20 miles of one another.

Accurate Furniture Plan

Best practice #1 is to ensure that you are working with an accurate furniture plan of the destination location.  It is critical that the furniture plan has been created by the authorized retailer of the furniture being broken down, relocated, re-configured, and re-set.  The consequence of not doing so will likely result in an unfinished installation at the destination after the move event takes place.  The reason this occurs is that the slightest changes in the furniture configuration will require new hardware to properly reset the furniture at the destination location.  If the furniture is not installed timely at the destination, the movers will be delayed in delivering the contents.  If the movers have also been hired to breakdown, relocate, reconfigure, and re-set the furniture they will not be able to complete the work during the move event and you will incur additional fees when they return to complete the installation.

Purge, Purge, Purge

Best practice #2 is to begin executing weekly purges of no longer needed files, furnishings, and wall hangings.  Be sure to fully purge the space being relocated prior to requesting a move quote. The results are two-fold.  Movers bill you for the time the laborers that are on the job, the packing materials required, and the truck space consumed by the contents moving. There is no reason to have someone pick up, take space up on a truck and unload the contents in a new location if the items are not needed.    Secondly, having an organized origin location prior to requesting a move quote will ensure the moving companies’ sales representative does not perceive an unorganized client.  If they do, they will simply ensure their fee accounts for the risk they perceive.

Inventory is Everything

Best practice #3 is to inventory everything being relocated before the mover arrives to perform the assessment.  It’s critical for you and your team to know exactly what is moving and what is to be left behind before the mover arrives to perform the assessment.  If it is unclear as to whether or not an item is to be relocated during the assessment, the mover sales rep will likely include that item to ensure that on move day he is being paid for everything that could be in scope to minimize their risk.  It is important to remember, that they are not doing this to be cruel, but rather to provide an excellent level of service by not having to say “no” to an extra item in the midst of a move event.

Proper Documentation

Best practice #4 is to properly document the plan for the move event.  Your plan needs to include all the following items:

  • Confirmation from origin and destination location property managers that the elevators and move path will be clear for the move event
  • The date and time in which you plan to begin executing the move event
  • A list of the various move groups that will be relocating with the sequence of each group shutting down their systems
  • The PC/Phone System Disconnect Resources
  • The electrician responsible for any hardwire system furniture disconnections
  • The PC/Phone System Reconnect Resources
  • The electrician responsible for any hardwire system furniture reconnections
  • The low voltage vendor responsible for pulling the low voltage cabling through the systems furniture
  • The technology resources assigned for confirming network and phone connectivity after the technology is reset

Having the plan in place prior to meeting with the move vendor sales rep will ensure you are prepared to answer all the questions needed that will result in an accurate move bid.

Bidding out the Move

Best practice #5 is to request three move bids to create a competitive bidding environment that will inherently drive down the cost of your move.  Furthermore, requesting bids in a format that enables you to receive apples to apples comparable bids is required to ensure you are not only evaluating the bid on cost but rather on the overall approach to the move event.  After you have provided the move vendor sales rep with the furniture plan, the inventory of items to be relocated, and the move plan it is now time to explain the format and the requirements that you would like to see in the final bid.  The format and requirements are as follows:

  • The bid should be a “not to exceed” price, rather than a time and material estimate
  • Line item cost for packing materials with a description of what is included
  • Line items cost for labor including the number of resources assigned to the project with an estimated duration of activity. It is important to note that movers typically start the clock from when they leave their warehouse and the clock runs until they return to their warehouse
  • Line item cost for trucks including the labor for the drivers. This line item needs to include the number of trucks to be used for the duration of the move event
  • Line item cost for the recommended insurance that covers the replacement of any damaged contents. It’s important to note that standard move insurance is $X.XX per pound.  If you start to do the quick math on a PC, monitor, piece of AV equipment, etc. you realize that you need more coverage than the “standard”

It is also worth noting that seeking multiple bids on the move (and any other relocation-related services) is not only a budgetary exercise, but also serves as a risk mitigation strategy.  Seeking multiple bids provides you with the opportunity to consult with experts that have seen many types of move projects.  Each vendor has different experiences and perspectives and therefore a different proposed method for accomplishing the task at hand.  These perspectives provide alternatives and considerations that should be evaluated.

If you find yourself in a situation where the move event is looming and you don’t feel adequately prepared to pull off the effort in a way that will ensure no downtime and won’t exceed budgeted costs, seek the help of an experienced professional.  Keep in mind that the move is just one piece of a corporate relocation.  The construction, technology, FF&E, office services, and decommissioning the origin site are all major scopes of work as part of most corporate relocations.  Be mindful that once the transaction is complete there is more to do than just calling a mover.  Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for an organization relocating to underestimate the workload required to successfully complete a timely, on-budget corporate relocation.  If you or your team are considering a corporate relocation also consider seeking professional services from an experienced resource.