CRE V Michigan

The logic of logistics: Key considerations for companies looking to expand, renovate or relocate

David Corrigan

Commercial moves, expansions and renovations can be complicated matters. The question, though, is this: How do companies choose the right relocation specialist to help make these moves less stressful?

Guest post by Dave Corrigan and Dan Burke Corrigan Moving Systems

Despite some recent hiccups, a slowly-but-steadily improving economy seems to have reached the point in which many businesses are no longer just trying to keep their heads above water. In many cases, they are looking to move to a bigger pool.

Across the Midwest, improving economic circumstances have led to a noticeable uptick in not only commercial moves, but also expansions and renovations of existing spaces. As a result, professional relocation specialists are in high demand. But how do you choose the right moving partner?

Whether they involve office, industrial or retail considerations, all commercial moves, renovations and expansions present significant logistical challenges. It is important to have a firm understanding of those challenges (and the accompanying solutions) before embarking on what can be a costly and consequential undertaking. Appreciating those challenges will help you select a capable and qualified vendor, minimize avoidable glitches and almost certainly save a great deal of both time and money.

Check the resume

Before you do anything else, make sure that you have a reputable and reliable relocation specialist in your corner. For business and commercial property owners looking to relocate, renovate or expand, selecting the right moving partner is critical. Beware of rogue movers, as well as sales pitches that overpromise and under-deliver. The key is to dig down into the details and ask for verifiable specifics, paying particular attention to previous projects and clients.

Prep school

The most important work that will help streamline a move and expedite an expansion or renovation is done well before the moving trucks arrive or the construction crew is on site. Because every move is different, and every renovation or expansion has its own set of logistical and operational hurdles that must be accounted for, developing a customized plan ahead of time is essential. To the extent that it is possible, preparation before moving day—pre-boxing and labeling items and preparing furniture for transport—should be completed ahead of time.

Cost is obviously a big piece of the planning puzzle, but it is important to look at more than just the top-line number. If one quote is substantially lower than another, but will require additional downtime or will necessitate costly storage or other logistical headaches, it may end up costing you more in the final analysis. No matter the project, focus on value and context when comparing price quotes from vendors.

Not-so-rough around the edges

If someone nicks a wall or scrapes the floor during a residential move, that might not be the end of the world. In the commercial sector, however, damage to the surrounding building or property can expose you to costly liabilities. When selecting a vendor, be sure to ask about what steps they will take to safeguard not only your furniture and materials, but the facility itself. To protect yourself, it is also a good idea to secure a certificate of insurance from your relocation partner that lists your firm as an additional insured party. Other logistical considerations that should be part of your selection criteria include flexibility and capability.

Because many retail relocations have to occur during off hours, you need a moving partner who can provide the resources and personnel required to execute the move during late-night or early-morning windows, and can adjust to any last-minute changes or delays. If a minor complication or unanticipated logistical hurdle arises, you need a professional team capable of assessing and adapting to the circumstances, not telling you they need to reschedule. Finally, make sure that your carrier is familiar with any unique assembly and installation requirements specific to your location, furniture or fixtures, particularly if you are relying on them for installation services.

Making it work

With more companies executing long-overdue renovations and expansions, understanding the logistical intricacies involved in those moves is more important than ever. Short-term storage is an especially significant issue. If a renovation or expansion also includes lease negotiations (or renegotiations), consider negotiating temporary on-site storage space to keep furniture and materials safe and secure throughout the construction process. If landlord-facilitated storage is not an option, consult with a relocation specialist about what storage and logistics options they can provide.

Some moving professionals offer secure, on-site container storage capable of storing and protecting everything from furniture and existing infrastructure, to new equipment and construction materials. Ideally, those containers should be both secure and fairly accessible. Another option is off-site storage in a specialized warehouse facility. The best relocation and logistics specialists own and/or manage their own facilities, utilizing a comprehensive asset management program capable of tracking furniture and fixtures efficiently and effectively. Such systems use sophisticated tracking and storage technologies and processes that make storage and retrieval a snap. This type of storage is particularly helpful with phased moves and deliveries, and in circumstances where the complexity of the relocation or renovation requires a high degree of coordination and logistical support.

Coordination and complexity

Because commercial moves are significantly more demanding and involved than a simple residential relocation, selecting a moving partner who specializes in retail, office and industrial work is important. From transport to storage, and from breakdown to setup, the resources and expertise required to execute a complex commercial move are unique. The intricacy of commercial work also impacts decision-making and vendor selection in another way: because the planning and logistics are just as important (if not more so) than the actual physical transport capabilities, the cost, speed and efficiency of a commercial relocation is heavily dependent on professional characteristics that are not always immediately apparent.

Research and in-depth vendor comparisons are vital. The best relocation experts provide not only world-class resources and infrastructure to help you execute your renovation, relocation or expansion, but also proven experience and expertise in planning and coordinating the entire process. Essentially, they serve as a kind of high-level project manager, coordinating and communicating between all parties involved in the move and/or construction. With so many moving parts, the ability to rely on one experienced professional to integrate different timelines, priorities, logistical demands, and material and operational requirements into one streamlined and worry-free process is an extraordinary added value.

The bottom line is that if your business is looking to expand, renovate or relocate entirely, selecting a relocation specialist is one of the most important decisions you will make. Understanding the process, appreciating the challenges, and recognizing how to select a moving partner who can help you turn those challenges into opportunities, is a skill that will literally and figuratively pay off for your company.

David Corrigan is president and chief operating officer of Corrigan Moving Systems, a Farmington Hills, Mich.-based relocation company. Dan Burke is the director of business development at Corrigan and also serves as director of Corrigan Integrated Office Solutions. Corrigan can be reached at and Burke at