If you are going to move your business… plan well!
Recently, The Print Connection made a move to a new location. The new location is at 99 Inverness Drive East, Suite 125 Englewood, CO 80112.
There are a number of lessons to be learned from a move. Even though we tried to plan all the challenges of a move, still things happen that are always issues.
In early 2013, the realization that our lease was coming to a conclusion at the end of the year was real. After leasing a space in Centennial, CO for 7 years, the time was right to seek out a location or our own. For every growing company, there are steps that need to be taken to grow the business. Some of these answers are increasing sales, increasing sales staff, increasing productivity, decreasing waste and so much more. This particular year the decision to buy a location to decrease the amount of rent and thus eliminate rent increases every 3 years.
The process began in February of 2013 with communication to a commercial real estate agent. We communicated about the type and size of a potential location. After a very short period of time, a location became interesting. The initial interest was a building of our own, however we found a “commercial condo,” which is a space within a building, not the whole building. We made an offer and that was accepted in the middle of March. Here is where one of 3 nightmares begin: (1) When a commercial building is purchased, the requirement is a 20% down payment. This can be difficult for a business to try and come up with that much money. For example; if you want to buy a building that is valued at $500,000, you need to put a down payment of $100,000. That is a lot of money for small businesses, especially. However, if you can qualify for a Small Business Association (SBA) loan then you are only required to put 10% down. The decision was made to get an SBA loan, to save initial down payment money. The problem: The bank approved the loan within 2 weeks, the SBA took over 2 months. After a ton of paperwork (the SBA wanting to know everything about your past, your present and your future), the loan was finally closed on July 2nd.
So, step 2 or nightmare number 2 began. There was a General Contractor in place to do the buildout, but of course he could not begin until the county (in this case, Arapahoe County, Colorado) gave permits to do the buildouts. As a business owner, I was dependant on the GC to get those “requests for permits” in right away. The GC did and the “waiting game” began. For you business owners, take control of getting the permits…the county officials (in this case) will be more respectful of you than they will of a General Contractor. After months of heartache and stress and us getting involved, the permits were issued finally (December 5th). Thus the buildout began.
Now, nightmare number 3. As buildout begins and the impending move drawing near, the county inspectors (again Arapahoe County, Colorado) come into play again. The inspectors are supposed to be for the good of the owner, but instead they can be ridiculous. Do to the size of the space, they required 2 bathrooms (instead of 1), they required drinking fountains (one being handicap capable), and labeling of exit doors. As a business owner, some of the items required seem ridiculous but were acceptable. At the time of the move we were pressured by time demands. We were obligated by our movers (manufacturer’s machines) to give them a 10 day advance for the move and we were trying to be out of our leased space by the end of the month. The final days were awaiting the final building inspector to give the final sign off while business was closed awaiting these inspectors to act like they are “in control.” It reached a point to where we didn’t really care what the inspector said, just sign off on the space so we can move in and work on the getting the space.
Bottom line, if you own a business and are planning to move…plan for the unexpected. The best laid plans always have a catch.