For us at MyTennisLessons, moving into our first office space was a big deal. We were excited about embracing this new chapter in our history, but quickly discovered it was going to be hard work securing and setting up an office that covered all our needs. Any startup will tell you that if you don’t plan ahead you’re doomed for failure. That sentiment holds true for your first office move as well.
We wanted to share our experience so other startups can get an idea of what goes into moving into your inaugural office space. We also employed the professional knowledge of Wade Lombard, owner of Square Cow Movers, who has moved countless startups. We hope both our personal experience and Wade’s professional insight helps you or your startup avoid future moving anxiety.
Plan for growth
As a startup company you can go from 10 employees to 20 in the blink of an eye so it’s important to know where you stand in terms of office capacity. “Typically, if we’re moving [a company] it’s because they are growing,” Wade says, “There is something exciting about moving a startup company into a bigger space so they can increase capacity. There is an energy to it.” We were lucky enough to find an office that was slightly bigger than we needed while staying within our budget, which was exciting in itself. Not only does it allow us to grow as a company, but for now we also can have some lounge areas (even for our boxer Heidi Klum) and extra room for some mini tennis. If you can afford more space, make it a priority.
Anything is better than your house … right?
I’ve worked at coffee shops all over Austin, our backyard deck, the kitchen table and just about everywhere else you can imagine. Having any sort of work life balance as a startup company is a challenge, so locking down office space was key for us. If you’re used to rolling out of bed and answering emails, you better be sure your office is a place you enjoy spending the majority of your time. Personal touches and familiarity can make all the difference. “Sounds crazy, but most people LOVE their office chair,” Wade says, “Maybe it’s set to the right height or the lumbar support is just perfect. Labeling something like a chair can be important to an employee.” Making sure everyone feels at home is essential.
Plan ahead, and then plan some more
“Do you have an IT company that would freak out if anyone touched those items?” Wade says, “What about the copier? What requirements do they have related to padding the elevator or covering the floor from truck to office space?” These are some of the more obscure, but no less important, questions to keep in mind when moving your whole company. If you’re like us and you need all new office furniture, you not only need to work that into your budget, but also figure out how to get it delivered. Between desks, chairs, cubicles, storage units and office supplies, costs not only pile up but can become a logistical nightmare. “A business is so busy and most of the time people are wearing many hats. It’s tough to emphasize how important it is to have your ducks (or cows) in row before, during and after the move.” Wade says, “With a business move, the prep could save or cost thousands.” Thorough planning will save you both time and money.
It helps to work next to a cafe and bar
We’re the kind of startup that likes to finish a project over a couple of beers and power through morning calls with a couple shots of espresso. We didn’t choose this way of life to suffer through stodgy business functions. We want to be able to enjoy ourselves as a company both in and out of work. We were lucky enough to move in next to The Brew & Brew, an establishment that prides itself in offering quality coffee, espresso and craft beer. It is nice be able to stay fueled all day while also being able to wind down after a long week with a growler. In fact, we’re surrounded by exciting energetic businesses, which creates a positive work environment on the whole. You probably could save your company a few hundred bucks a week by moving it to the outskirts of the city, but the palpable energy and convenience of working downtown (again, beer and caffeine) could make all the difference for your company’s culture.