By Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber
Recently both of us had the experience of moving from our homes to new residences. For those of you who have never gone through this, it is a humbling experience. It is astounding how much we accumulate over the years and, as in our case, what you keep and what you throw out or donate to worthy causes.
As we discussed our individual experiences with cleaning, packing and moving companies, it dawned on us that we have actually done this many times before as we either opened or moved stores to larger locations.
Moving a store to a new location requires a monumental effort and precise teamwork from all involved.
It starts with the design team. How will this new location be set up? Are we looking to increase our retail exposure or will this location being predominately wholesale? Will there be a machine shop or paint mixing equipment? The answers to these and all questions regarding your business help determine store layout.
So, how do we actually accomplish this? Has anyone ever counted the number of water pumps, radiators, brake rotors, pipes and mufflers or the rest of stocked inventory? Answers to these questions determine how much shelf space and bulk storage needs to be allocated to a product line.
During the planning phase, we found this was the perfect time to clean out old inventory along with fad items accumulated over years. Remember gas tank springs to prevent gas siphoning and other similar items that are collecting dust? Why move and restock them when they have not sold for years? With manufacturer assistance, update inventory and also discuss with the manufacturer representatives what assistance or manpower they will provide to move their product lines.
So how long does it take to move a store? Of course, we all want to move over a weekend, set up, clean and be open for business as usual Monday morning. However, this is not always reality. In actuality, while we may be able to empty a store in a weekend, there will always be something left behind to deal with later.
There always seems to be one thing left out of this planning process. That is, how to do business in an efficient manner while the move is going on. We have to consider customers needs. How will they be serviced during the move?
We found that it was smart to move and unbox fast-moving parts, such as pads and rotors first so they were available for immediate delivery as we moved and unpacked other items. Unfortunately, sometimes even the best-laid plans left us opening boxes and searching for that one part our customer needed.
Another way of accomplishing a move is to close down for a few days, complete the move and then re-open for business. This is an excellent idea if your customers will understand and you have adequate manpower. The more hands available with the proper supervision will give an end-result worthy of the efforts.
Even after the new location is up and running, someone will have to totally clean out the old location, sweep, wipe off shelving, etc.
While we have done this more times than we would like to remember, like anything else, if approached properly and in an organized manner, moving a store to a new location does not have to be a nightmare.
Allen Markowitz and Allan Gerber operate Auto Biz Solutions, which provides training, marketing, management and business consulting services to both the automotive jobber and independent repair shop.
For more information, go to: www.autobizsolutionsllc.com or e-mail [email protected].