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Aug 20 2019

How to Prepare for an Office Move – Planning the Cost of Moving

Planning the Cost of Moving


Welcome back to our series on how to prepare for an office move. In this article, we’ll be looking at how to plan for all of the costs involved with moving office. Want to catch up on the series so far? Check out our office move timeline and top reasons to move office guides. Remember, we’ll also be publishing the full office move guide in a new ebook soon, want to get your hands on it? Sign up at the bottom of this page and we’ll send it to you as soon as it’s released!


Moving office can get expensive. There are lots of reasons for this, so it’s important to understand them and plan for them ahead of time. That way, the cost becomes an investment rather than a cost.


There are five common types of cost associated with an office move:

  1. Removal costs
  2. Office fit-out costs
  3. Rates and charges
  4. Legal expenses
  5. Operational costs


Here’s a rundown of how to consider each one.


1. Removal costs


If you’ve ever moved house, you’ve probably tried the ‘hire a van’ method. If you’ve got a big car, you may even have skipped the hiring of the van. You plan moving day with optimism, grossly underestimating how much ‘stuff’ you actually have.


Moving day arrives, you’re up at an unreasonable hour and you spend the next 8 / 10 / 12 + hours picking things up, putting them down, climbing stairs, descending stairs, loading and unloading your vehicle. It’s gruelling work and the post-move analysis almost always sounds like this; ‘I’m never doing that myself again’.


Quite right too. Moving your home life form one place to another is hard work. It’s a time of stress and requires expert help to make it run smoothly. The same is absolutely true when moving office.


You may be tempted to save on the cost of removal by asking your staff to chip in and become your dedicated removals team for the day. If the team is fit and up for the challenge then this can work, but proceed with caution. Remember that all the time your team spends moving and setting things up, the less time they’ll be spending doing what they are really good at; their jobs (more on that below, in the ‘operational costs’ section).


Asking your team to help run the move can save a direct cost, but it’s almost certainly going to make the move process last longer, so you must ask yourself whether you can afford for your team to be out of action for longer than is possible.


We’d recommend you consider hiring a professional removals team. Professionals cost money, but for good reason. A removals team will organise your day to perfection. They’ll complete the move in a fraction of the time you’d be able to achieve on your own.


A removals team will also pack and unpack everything in just the right way, meaning you could be back in business in an efficient way as possible.


How much should you budget for office removals? It’s hard to say as it depends on a few factors:

  • Where in the country you are based
  • How far you’re moving
  • How much stuff needs to move
  • Does anything need to be stored?
  • What time of year you are moving


Removals quote search site, does provide a rough outline of what you might need to budget:


Office Size Estimated Cost
3,000 Sq. Ft.+ £3,500 – £7,000
10,000 Sq. Ft.+ £6,100 – £23,000



Still unsure? Let’s put it this way; the damage of a move taking days to get over can make your team less productive, and if that happens you’re almost certainly going to miss out on revenue and profit that outweighs the cost of hiring a professional removals company.


2. Office fit-out costs


The next cost to consider is how to kit out your new digs. As ever, the cost of this element is very much dependent on some variables. The variables associated with estimating office fit-out cost are:

  1. The size of the space or number of people working in the space
  2. The level of finish required


Office design company, Office Principles has created a handy cost calculator that helps you to work out a budget for your office fit-out.


They have this to say:


As a guide for budgetary purposes, we suggest you add up the total number of staff and multiply by the figures we suggest below. This will provide you with a good indication of the likely fit-out costs that you would be looking at to redesign the interior of your office.


Basic range: allow £750 – £1,000 per person

Mid-range: allow £1,000 to £1,750.00 per person

High range: allow £1,750 – £2,500.00 per person


3. Rates and charges


Don’t forget about business rates. says, “You’ll probably have to pay business rates if you use a building or part of a building for non-domestic purposes.”


Business rates will be communicated by your local council and you’ll be billed every February or March for the financial year ahead. The website provides a tool for estimating your business rates.


Another cost to consider here is a service charge. Depending on the agreement in your new lease, you may be liable to regular payments that could be higher than your existing premises. Don’t let these costs surprise you, get them into your financial plans in order to manage them.


4. Legal expenses


If you are renting a new office, you’ll need to sign a lease. It makes sense to have a legal expert browse the lease before you sign. If you’re purchasing office space, you’ll certainly need to appoint a legal expert to navigate the process.

We’ve actually partnered with legal and professional services firm, Knights PLC to provide an extensive overview of the legal considerations when moving office. Find out all about that in our next part of this series, called Managing Your Lease.


5. Operational costs


Finally, don’t forget the operational impact of moving office. Let’s take a simple scenario. Your team of workers require a computer to work from, they access the company server and use email to communicate. When you move office, you need to pack up their computers, switch off the server and make email communication harder in the interim.


Add to this the habit of asking employees to muck in on move day and before you know it you’ve lost a day or two’s worth of work times the number of people on your team. For a team of just 20, that could be 160 hours of lost productivity.


Mitigate these costs as best you can, here are some ideas for how to mitigate disruption to work during an office move:

  • Use laptops, staff can work elsewhere
  • Provide portable wifi hotspots, commonly available from phone providers
  • Use the cloud, a physical server will shut down in an office move, a cloud solution will remain accessible from anywhere
  • Use a cloud service, such as Office 365 for your emails and collaboration, it will keep working during a move


Sometimes, a physical work location will be required to maintain full productivity, but by taking a few simple steps such as the above, you can keep a level of normality in your service, reducing the financial impact of the office move.


Up next


Coming next in our series of posts on how to prepare for an office move is everything you need to consider from a legal perspective. We’ve teamed up with Knights PLC who have provided us with an extensive guide on how to take care of all of the legal aspects associated with moving office.


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