The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we work, with many businesses embracing the benefits of remote working or turning to a hybrid model which mixes remote with office-based work. As a result, many business owners may be rethinking their commercial lease and may even be considering downsizing their current office space, or scrapping it altogether. There are many components to bear in mind when moving office, and office clearance in particular could prove stressful if you haven't planned accordingly. Here's AnyJunk's five-step guide to help you get started.
1. Decide on timelines
The first step is to decide when you need the office clearance completed. Once you’ve agreed on a date, work backwards. It’s important to allow some extra time at the end as a contingency in case the clearance time exceeds your expectations. The larger your clearance, the longer it’ll take to clear, therefore requiring more contingency.
Next, you’ll need to work out how long it will take to clear your office. This depends on how large the property is and how much stuff you have, but as a rough guide, we advise allowing one day for every three Luton van loads (this is about six skips). It also depends on the availability of the waste contractor and how soon they can fit your clearance in.
The contractors will also need time to prepare their quotes and adequate resources. We suggest allowing a week for this. Rushing this stage will not only add stress to the clearance but will also restrict the number of companies you will be able to gather quotes from. Typically, the better agencies will be pretty busy, so it's worth arranging a date well in advance. Seeking quotes ahead of time also allows for maximum reuse because they’ll have more time to organise donations or sales.
2. Choose the best office clearance firm for the job
Once you've mapped out a timeline for your clearance and decided what items will need to be cleared, you will need to choose a waste contractor. A great way to find the best clearance company is to follow the 4 ‘R’s. These are review, resources, rapport and rates.
Reviews: To make sure you’re using a trustworthy and reliable company, read some of their online reviews. Ideally, the company will be able to provide positive reviews from other companies who have used them to undertake an office clearance. This is especially important if you have a large office with lots to remove. It’s good to make sure that not only are their reviews glowing but recent too.
Resources: When choosing a clearance firm, you’ll need to make sure they have adequate resources for the job. It’s vital that they really know their stuff and have enough staff to undertake the clearance, particularly if it’s a big project. Check their website or ask them over the phone about the resources you'll be provided with during the clearance.
Rapport: Office clearances can be stressful and you’ll need to be working with contractors who not only get the job done well but are easy to get on with and communicate well. If you run into any problems along the way, it will ease your mind knowing that you’re in safe hands and they can be remedied quickly.
Rates: Incorrectly priced quotes typically result in extra payment, exceeding the estimated time and a lot of unnecessary hassle. To make sure you gather comparable quotes, ask contractors to provide a total cost for the project as well as how much they charge per truckload, the cubic capacity of their vans and an estimate for how many truckloads they’ll need for the clearance. These questions will ensure you get the best comparable quotes and you’ll get a good idea of how knowledgeable the company is too.
3. Clarify the office furniture you wish to keep
When providing you with a quote for the clearance, the removal company will need to have a good idea of the type and quantity of the waste that needs removing. Without this, the clearance firm will find it difficult to estimate how long it will take to clear your office and you’ll struggle to get realistic, comparable quotes from different contractors.
The first step is therefore being clear about what you want to sell/throw out and what you'd like to take with you to your new office space. Ideally, when the clearance firm arrives, the only items left in the office should be the ones that need to be removed. If this isn’t possible, make sure to take the time to work out what you no longer want to keep.
4. Maximize rebates by selling furniture & equipment
Any reputable office clearance company will have a network of specialised second-hand merchants, charities, and recycling groups to which they can donate office furniture and IT equipment. So, after they've seen your office, don't be afraid to ask them what they're thinking about in terms of reuse and recycling and whether rebates are likely.
The market for second-hand office furniture such as desks, office chairs and filing cabinets is a difficult, often slow-moving market that only works well for huge quantities of the same item in good condition. So, if you have 20 old office chairs in varying conditions and style that you want to sell, you're not going to make a lot of money from the resale. However, the second-hand office furniture market is likely to be interested in 100 modern desks of the same style and in good condition, but you may have to wait a few weeks to find a buyer willing to accept them.
Working IT equipment, particularly PCs, are also resalable. However, you’ll have to bear in mind that any old appliances containing refrigerants are considered hazardous waste and need to be disposed of differently. The clearance company you’re working with will need to dispose of WEEE (waste electronics and electrical equipment) appropriately and provide you with disposal documentation.
5. Disposal documentation
Firstly, it’s important to check that the waste contractor you’re using is a licensed waste carrier. You can check this online here. Once the waste has been disposed of, you should receive a waste transfer note as proof of disposal. This will provide information such as the date of the disposal, weight of the waste and the name of the waste contractor undertaking the clearance.
Moving offices can be stressful, but planning ahead and ensuring you've got an office clearance company to hand will make the processes much smoother. Whether it's because you're downsizing, moving to a bigger space, or getting rid of your office altogether, be sure to follow the above steps to ensure your office move goes to plan.
About the Author
Rebecca Sheeres is a content marketing executive at AnyJunk, one of the UK’s leading providers of bulky waste removal. A multi-award-winning service, with recognition like the British Chambers of Commerce's 'UK Business of the Year' award, AnyJunk is reinventing rubbish clearance with innovative technology.