Moving any retail space is quite a different job than when moving a home. With a clothing store, there is also more to consider than just moving the clothing (and even that is going to be different than the advice we give to homeowners). Vancouver store movers know that there will be operational equipment, furnishings and fixtures that need to be disassembled with the right tools, or handled with care.
And, retail supplies are not like ordinary furniture. If retail store movers don’t do their job correctly, any broken or missing pieces of a store can affect revenue at worst, and result in a mismanaged, frustrating store to shop in, at best. But, sometimes moving to a new commercial retail space is necessary – either to downsize your costs, or grow the traffic needed in your store.
With that in mind, we’ll give you some tips on how to move a clothing retail shop. Even if you plan on hiring professional store movers to do the job for you, it’s good to be equipped with the knowledge you’ll need to know if they’re doing a good job.
Thoroughly discuss moving rates, ask questions and plan for the unpredictable level of inventory to move
When you get an in-person estimate to move a clothing retail store, one question that will come up is: how much inventory are we moving? Let’s say your store is moving in two months. You’ll be getting deliveries or supplies in that time, to keep the store stocked. Or will you? What if you aim for liquidation, but don’t know how much you’ll realistically sell by moving day?
Since the inventory levels that need to be moved can be hard to predict, it’s crucial you discuss this with your professional movers in advance.
Another MAJOR consideration is for international movement of goods. If you’re planning on moving across borders, there may be customs documentation needed. Bring this up with your mover, especially in case they’re not aware, or forget to ask you about it. This page of the Canadian government’s website has more info: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/comm-eng.html Find out your costs, and what may happen if your movers are delayed or rejected at the border for any reason – who pays in that instance?
The next question to ask is about tear-down. You may have wall racks attached to studs, light fixtures (like chandeliers), cabinetry, wall divisions and other more-or-less ‘permanent’ materials in place for your store’s ‘look and feel.’ The store mover may not be thinking that the ‘semi-permanent’ parts are their job too. But if you need them to be, let them know! Sometimes, these can be thought of as part of renovation or junk removal services.
If this is your first time moving a clothing retail store, remember that movers are not like delivery companies. They are also not moving anything similar to your home. So these differences in your past experiences will need to factor in to your expectations.
On that note, we also recommend checking for moving insurance!
Prepare far in advance of the store movers’ arrival
While technically you could ask Vancouver store movers to handle everything about your move, chances are you’ll want to take care of much of this yourself.
First of all: consider labour costs. Your minimum wage employees may be the perfect cost saving alternative to boxing up your store. This is especially true of your store experiences down time with little traffic, and your store employees would otherwise only be holding down countertops for you.
They’re also trained to use your equipment and know how your store is already organized. So they’re going to be the most knowledgeable when it comes to keeping the right things together in the right boxes.
Some other tips for preparation of your retail move:
Have your packing tape, foam, boxes etc. ready for employees to start packing. Don’t let wasted time go by because they didn’t have the equipment to do the job. When you shop for these, you may also want to get some large paper rolls to hide what’s going on inside your store windows on moving day – though this up to you.
Take down mannequins and disassemble them if they’re not being used. Put them in boxes – either together with their individual parts, or ‘arms with arms, legs with legs,’ etc.
Find all your admin stuff – receipt rolls, price stickers, tagging guns and even your pens. Your extras may be stashed away somewhere that you forgot about. Gather them all together so they’re not loose ends that need to be cleaned up, wasting time, on the day of the move.
Hire your cleaners, or arrange for employees to do this task. Don’t forget to empty the steamer and vacuum. Best to have the dusting done before you pack up shelves and racks.
Check your lease rules to see if moving docks, backdoor access ways, delivery parking spots, or even allowed hours for moving are going to fit in with your store movers’ schedule.
Make sure your moving company will have all the equipment needed for a clothing retail store move. For example, do they have the right types of moving dollies for your needs? What about ramps on their trucks if they can’t use loading docks? Clothing racks and protections? Ask about everything!
If you have an alarm or security equipment managed by a third-party company, schedule them to come in on the same day of the move. They’ll need to re-install your systems and set you up at the new location.
Contact any utility companies to make arrangements for the move. Water hookups, electricity, phone lines, Internet etc. will all need to be operational when you are open for business at the new location. Do your address changes for other services where necessary (such as with credit card companies, banks, etc.)
Clear out personal items such as employee mugs, lockers, and whatever else may be hanging around.
Schedule your bank deposits from your cash register and POS system the night before, so that you’re not carrying large monetary amounts to the new store. You don’t want this to go missing during the commotion of the move.
If you hire a display designer, make sure they’re available to set up your store when you move. And if you’re using their staging supplies, you may want to have them pick that up on moving day, to avoid being responsible for any damages.
Find out how you’re going to take down signage, and if it can fit in your new space. You may need specialists to handle this part of the move. Same goes for vinyl wall or window decals.
We also recommend making it known on your website, and with a store sign, that you are moving, and what the new address will be. See our article linked-to below about how to preserve your SEO when moving a business, for more on this.
Sell whatever clothing inventory you can before moving day
Depending on how far you’re moving, your budget, and the markup on your inventory, it may be worth holding a massive sale before moving. That said, the case here can be different for different clothing stores. You may want to do a bit of math to find out if offloading your inventory is cheaper than paying to move it professionally.
Selling off inventory doesn’t just have to mean putting on a sale. This article by Profitguide.com explains how to move stock that’s not selling:
You can also donate to local charities, as another option for getting rid of inventory. See this article on our blog for options.
Protect your inventory when moving your store to a new location
It goes without saying that you’re going to need to take extra precautions to make sure your inventory is still sellable after you move to a new store location.
You may not have all the original packaging that your store’s clothes came in. But it may be a good idea to start collecting the plastic bags and boxes they’re being delivered in, so they can be re-boxed the same way for the move. You can also ask your suppliers for extras.
When you do pack the clothing, we do not recommend you use for-sale materials to cushion your breakables. We can give this advice to homeowners, but this is a different case. You want to keep your clothes looking as new and unused as possible. If you pack brochure displays or detachable hooks with your clothes, they might tear, and you don’t want that.
And, don’t forget about the breakables, like accessories. Do you sell nail polish and jewelry? How will you keep them from damage during the move?
When everything is boxed up, you may want to also consider humidity and moisture. If you’re moving dresses on rolling racks – even if they’re bagged in plastic – you want to keep the bottom away from puddles. You also want to make sure that the moving truck isn’t packed so that a water-filled steamer or cleaning spray bottle is sitting adjacent to clothing. Best to treat the clothing as fragile in this case, and let your movers know about the concern too.
Moving a clothing retail store doesn’t have to be difficult. But it does help to know the differences from when you’re moving a house. This can prepare you for the smoothest transition to your new space. And, by discussing these considerations in advance with your store movers, you’ll likely save money, or at least come to a more accurate estimate.
Ferguson Moving and Storage can help with your retail moving needs. Give us a call, and we’ll come by for an in-person estimate.
When you run a commercial retail food establishment, moving is not as simple as when you move house. And it’s also quite different than moving an office or other type of business. Before making the decision to move – if you have the choice – you’ll want to realize how many parts of your business can be affected. Your list of things to do will be vast – probably more work than when you set up your business to begin with.
In this article, we’ll go into some considerations when doing a commercial move for a coffee shop or cafe in Vancouver.
Licensing your coffee shop or cafe when you move to a new municipality
If you move your coffee shop or cafe to a new city or municipality, your licensing fees and terms may change. Different cities in Metro Vancouver will have different rules for businesses. Be sure that you have the appropriate license to operate, before you open at your new location.
Marketing material updates when you move a business
As we discussed in our article on preserving SEO when you move a business, your address updates will be important. This is not something you want to leave on the back burner. You’ll want to change your address on all your marketing material, and all website mentions. In today’s age of Yelp searches for local eats, you can’t afford not to do this for a coffee shop or cafe business that is moving.
To avoid confusion, also update your print material (such as business cards) or any paraphernalia.
You may also want to alert local newspapers, in the hopes you can get some press coverage out of it too.
Send out an e-newsletter, if you have one, to let your subscribers know where to find you at your new location.
Of course, for practical reasons, you’ll also need to update your address with all your service providers, suppliers, banks, licensors, insurers and so on.
Moving your cafe or coffee shop equipment and re-installing at your new location
It’s probably a fair guess that your operating equipment will be the biggest headache when moving a coffee shop or cafe. Moving a commercial espresso machine, for example, can require ensuring proper water and electrical hook-ups at your new location.
You may need a professional to come and install the espresso machine. And, while you’re at it, any maintenance that needs to be done should also be checked when it arrives at your new location. You’ll want to ensure all working internal parts are still functioning after transport, and before you open.
This article explains how to clean a commercial coffee machine.
We also have articles on our blog for moving household appliances. While moving commercial appliances may have more implications, you can get a read up on some basic principles regardless:
Moving food for a commercial business can be harder than moving food in a household kitchen. In our article on this topic, we talk about minimizing food you’ll take with you by using it up before moving day. But when doing a commercial move, your focus will be on minimizing the days your coffee shop or cafe has to close for business. You will, at the same time, not want to run out of supplies to meet your current customer demands in the days leading up to the move. Also, large inventories can’t just be thrown out without costing you a lot in operating budget.
Considering that this will likely be a short distance commercial move, you may have no choice but to take your food stuffs with you, if possible. Take advantage of commercial packaging of unopened items, and move them safely in your car. Unfortunately, moving companies often can’t move food for you (plus the weight of doing so may not be worth it). So you’ll likely end up doing this yourself.
In the time leading up to the move, ask your supplier to deliver part of your inventory to the new location, if there is any possibility of doing so. If your new location will be undergoing renovations before moving day, you won’t want food sitting in the way.
Refrigerated items will need to be handled carefully. Remember your food safety rules for things like milk and frozen foods. Do not let them cool below their recommended storage temperatures!
For coffee, flour and dry goods, be sure you won’t be storing them in moisture-rich areas where condensation can build up and ruin them. Stale or mouldy ‘dry’ foods are not great for business.
In the event you can’t transport your food inventory, consider donating to a local food bank or charity. The rest will have to be tossed out.
Costs of opening a new space for your food establishment
This article describes the costs of opening up a coffee shop from scratch. While most of those initial costs will simply transfer over to your new location, you won’t want to forget that your new location may come with new budget necessities. Your new lease, for example, may not be the same as your old one. And foot traffic can also change, affecting your profits.
There will also be costs to set up your POS system at a new location, transferring Internet and phone hook-ups, and other utilities.
Aside from that, your new space won’t be outfitted the way your old place was. This can be good or bad. Either way, you have an opportunity to re-decorate (and possibly donate old furniture to charity!). And that can involve more purchases. If you need more tables and chairs, lamp pendants, or new flooring – it can all add up. If you decide to install new commercial appliances because of space allowances, consider how that can affect your utility and maintenance bills in the long run (weighing out the benefits of profitability, of course).
Anything that happens to get damaged along the way during this commercial move will need to be replaced. Ensure your professional moving company has insurance for the items they will be transporting. If you move items yourself, see if your business insurance will cover it, just in case.
See this page with videos on how to move espresso machines, if you choose to ship them to your new location.
Also, since you’ll be moving computer equipment, you’ll want to ensure you have backups of all your data – no insurance company can help you retrieve years of records on your hard drive, if it gets lost along the way. See our article on moving an office in the digital age for more on this topic.
Hiring and training new employees
Depending on how far you move, your new location may be a dealbreaker for existing employees. And, even if they all go with you, your new location may get busier, or have longer opening hours, thus requiring more staff.
Hiring and training new staff is time-consuming and costly. Be sure to plan ahead for this before you move your business. Try to get existing staff to let you know well in advance if they will be able to commute to the new location, and possibly to work the extra hours.
Hire a trustworthy, professional commercial moving company
The digitalage is changing the way we do a lot of things. For example, the music and publishing businesses have had to adjust the way they operate. People don’t seem to be inclined to go to a physical store and buy a CD or a book anymore. Instead, they download songs or e-books. The moving business is also rethinking the way it does business. Moving an office in the digitalage is a totally different from moving in the 1990s and before. Nowadays, most offices are heavily reliant on computers and have much less paper. That translates into moving more delicate, expensive equipment and less heavy filing cabinets. We’ll talk about these differences in detail throughout this article. And it’s a good time to do so because many office spaces will probably be opening up soon in the Metro Vancouver area.
Moving an office in the digitalage requires movers to handle delicate electronics
Back in the day — the 1990s! — moving an office often meant transporting many bulky filing cabinets and documents. Movers had to be trained to handle and store paper documents. For example, an obvious no-no that all movers would probably have drilled into their head is to avoid putting paper files in damp, wet places. Imagine the horror of discovering ink dripping right off all the documents after moving offices!
Moving an office in the digitalage requires us movers to adapt the way we move office equipment. Instead of filing cabinets, moving computers and other electronic equipment has become the new norm.
That means movers have to become familiar with the equipment they are transporting. For example, good movers will have done their homework as to whether magnets can corrupt electronics. A smart mover will also know electronic computer components (e.g. a motherboard) should be shielded from static when being moved. Knowledge of what can damage electronic equipment will inform where and how items will be stored and handled during a move.
Meticulous organization is required when moving an office in the digitalage
In some cases, moving an office in the digitalage can be even harder than moving an office before files became stored in computers. We have heard of a case when an unorganized move cost a research lab weeks of precious time! The culprit? The computers and wiring were sloppily labelled, which meant that workers had to spend way too much time trying to figure out which wire connected to which!
While you may not be running a research lab, many offices use a network of computers to maintain databases or in-office servers. That usually means a lot of wires, a lot of CPUs, a lot of…well you get the idea.
Nowadays, movers sometimes have to take on the role of professional organizers. We often have to figure out a system for labelling, transporting and handling electronics. And because every office is different, we have to customize the way we do it each time! The goal? To make setting electronics up in the new office space seamless and quick!
How to choose a smart office mover in the digitalage
As you can see, moving offices in the digitalage comes with its own set of unique challenges. It’s very different when compared with moving before the times when offices started relying more heavily on information technology. So when you’re choosing a mover, ask yourself how many electronics your office has. If it is heavily reliant on computers, be sure to ask the potential movers about their procedures for handling, transporting and organizing electronics. It can save you a lot of headaches!