The ABCs of Moving Your Small Business from Point A to Point B

Economically speaking, small business owners who are considering a move — whether it’s across the street or across the country — will probably handle the process themselves as opposed to hiring an expensive moving company. If you’re considering moving your small business, here are a few steps to help you get to your new spot quicker, safer and more efficiently.

moving business
photo credit: Victor1558 via photopin cc

Plan your packing

When most people think about loading a moving van, they think of it like a game of Tetris: what awkward object fits best with another awkward object to make enough room for more boxes? While you do need to consider how your items fit best together in a cramped space, loading the moving van will go a lot more smoothly if you follow a few simple steps:

Step 1: Sort before you store

Before you start loading the moving van, organize your items into at least four groups: heavy boxes, small boxes, awkward items and furniture. This will allow you and your moving team to easily see what needs to go in next and pack items more efficiently.

Step 2: You can’t overwrap

If it’s not in a box, be sure to wrap it in a blanket or moving pad. Even if the item is wrapped in bubble wrap or a plastic bag, that extra layer of protection will help prevent potential dings, scrapes and dents. For larger objects, hold the blanket or pad in place with duct tape, making sure the tape only touches the blanket to avoid damage. If the excess fabric seems like it will get in the way while packing or for an extra layer of protection, wrap the entirety in saran wrap. Awkwardly shaped items that are difficult to wrap should at least be draped in a blanket or pad after they are placed in the van.

Step 3: Heavy at the bottom and odd shapes at the top

If your moving van has a ledge at the back, pack couches, chairs and other unwieldy items tightly on it, bracing them in place with straps. If there’s space, you can fill the foremost part of the ledge with stacks of smaller boxes for added stability before strapping everything in. Once the back ledge is full, place the heaviest boxes and items on the bottom and build up with progressively smaller boxes. Leave the very top free for hard-to-pack items. Place furniture at intervals, keeping each item as vertical as possible, and brace these larger items with straps. Securing straps throughout the process also helps to keep items in place as opposed to just adding straps at the very end.

Safe moving practices

Since you’re moving on your own, your helpers will most likely be friends, family and employees. To ensure their safety as they help you move, remind them of the basics of safe moving practices and keep an eye out to make sure they’re following them. This will help prevent injury and make for an easier move:

Assess: Before attempting to pick up a box or object, make sure it’s light enough for one person to carry. Use a handcart, dolly or hoist first, if available. If not, don’t be too proud to ask for help. If two people are needed, make sure the helper is approximately the same height for a more even carry.

Use your legs: You’ve probably heard it a hundred times, but it never hurts to get a reminder. Avoid using your back muscles and instead lift with your legs while keeping your back straight. Tucking in your chin helps to align your back properly. Then, when setting down the object, keep your back straight and lower the object by bending your knees.

Tuck in your arms and use your hands: Get a firm grip on the object by using your palm and fingers. Make sure your arms are tight against the sides of your body and your balance is steady, with feet shoulder-width apart and one foot slightly behind the other.

Truck driving basics

Even though moving vans are set up to drive like a regular car, they certainly don’t handle like one. Before hitting the road with your entire small business riding in the back, review the following truck driving tips for a safer and easier ride:

Be aware of your size: It may sound like a no-brainer, but height limits are not something the average driver considers. Before getting in the driver’s seat, check the exact height of the van and keep an eye out for low clearances to ensure you can make it safely underneath.

Create a safe circle: While on the road, keep more of a distance from other cars than usual and drive the speed limit or even a little less. Creating as much of a clear area around you as possible will help ensure a safer drive.

Slow and steady: Trucks require a lot more space for making turns, so make sure you take them slow and give yourself plenty of room. The same goes for backing up and parking; make sure you have plenty of extra space and take your time.

Even though some of this advice may be old hat, it never hurts to review all the safety measures you can take to ensure a safe moving process for your business. And by planning ahead you can cut down on delays and improve your chances of a safe and easy move.

Have you moved your small business recently? Got any advice you would give to others considering a move? As a small business owner, what are some of your concerns about moving?

About the Author: Jay Harris has been a Home Depot store associate since 2005 in the Chicago area. Jay writes tips on equipment rentals, including carpet cleaner rentals and truck rental tips.