Katie and Dawn from WorkSmart's marketing team here. We’re taking some time to get to know some of the more unique services we offer at WorkSmart and the amazing people who do them. Recently, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Mike Rogers, Senior Logistics Consultant, to learn more about our Corporate Relocation services.
Mike is an NC native whose father was an architect—so he has literally been around construction sites his whole life and knows what moving a corporate office involves from all sides. He brings a lifetime’s worth of knowledge, strong local vendor relationships and a down-to-earth neighborly personality that makes moving an entire company seem like no sweat. We hope you enjoy this recap of our interview with Mike.
Which specific aspects of corporate moves do you handle? I imagine you don’t coordinate the moving of furniture or boxing up of files, right?
Well I do, actually. I took that on early in my career. There’s always a long list of vendors and decisions I coordinate: voice and data wiring, phone systems, internet service providers, the network infrastructure, security, audio/visual vendors for conference room environments. And while those pieces can vary by client, everyone moves furniture – whether it's a 5 person company or a 500 people company. It just made sense for me to start establishing relationships with all of these vendors. Whether it’s moving what they have or helping clients find new or used furniture, I’ve got tons of resources around the area.
What’s the most important thing for someone to consider when getting ready for a corporate move?
The value of their time. People often don’t consider the dollar amount of their time, and they underestimate how much of their time a corporate move is going to take. Then they try and do it themselves and find that it costs substantially more than if they’d hired us. My time is considerably less expensive than theirs!
Why do you say your time is less expensive than their time?
It’s not so much that my time is less expensive from an hourly standpoint, although it probably is, it’s just that it would take someone else considerably more time to get to the same place which equates to time and money. Along with that, the risk of making a mistake or something falling through the cracks is higher. I come with a checklist and years of experience doing exactly this work. That’s my benchmark for every single piece of the move that I'm responsible for during the transition. That list came from watching people make incredibly expensive mistakes because they didn’t have help.
I have all of the resources and relationships already in place to make decisions and get feet on the ground fast, saving our clients time. People doing it themselves have to interview multiple vendors and will end up having to get multiple quotes from each. I already know who is sincere, who takes ownership of everything they do, and who’s the most price competitive. I know how all the pieces fit together and what it’s supposed to look like when it’s done. And when you don’t do this every day like we do, there is a huge learning curve to overcome, and it will take two or three times the hours than it would take me.
Tell me about a time you made a real difference for a client.
I had a great experience recently moving a small non-profit. Before we got involved, they were going to buy a new phone system that would have cost them $15,000, and we found them a used system for $2,500 that worked perfectly for what they needed. They were also going to run new voice and data wiring for their space, and we were able to get a low-voltage expert in there to re-use the majority of what was already in place. They probably saved $15,000-$18,000 in the end that they wouldn’t have saved had they done it themselves.
A lot of your clients are not WorkSmart Managed IT clients. How do they find you?
Mostly referrals from real estate brokers and construction companies that I've worked with over the years throughout the Triangle. I’ve moved several hundred companies over time and almost all of them say ‘I didn’t realize this service existed.’
And I’m always vendor-agnostic. The whole reason I do this is to be an advocate for my client.
When should a potential client contact you?
Four to six months ahead is ideal, but not always realistic. People underestimate the time it takes to move a company and how quickly things happen once the lease is signed. They might come to me and say ‘I’ve got to move in three weeks,’ and what they don’t realize is that it takes six to eight weeks just to get the internet installed at their new street address in a lot of cases. Internet service timing is consistently overlooked. Sometimes we can make a change really quickly with month-to-month options, but the biggest mistake folks make is the amount of time it takes to get an internet service provider installed.
However, I have done workarounds. There are all sorts of creative things you can do today if you’re really in a pinch, but when I get involved ahead of time we can avoid those problems. Before a client has even decided on a new location, I can go on site with them and let them know what each possible space will need in terms of wiring, demark extensions, etc.
People can get overwhelmed by the options out there. I’ve been doing this long enough to know what’s a good fit for the size company we are working with. If it’s a small five-person company, a hosted Voice over internet protocol (Voip) platform for their phone system is a great option. If it’s a 100-person company and they’ve got WorkSmart and/or an internal IT department, then it might make more sense for them to look at an on-premise option for phones instead. If they do want to explore shifting from their current phone system to a hosted Voip platform, I can come in with lunch and do a demo so they don’t have to do all the research and sift through the options. Again, it comes back to saving time…and money.
What’s your "special sauce?"
My long standing vendor relationships. Because I have all of these relationships in place, I can tell a client if they are paying too much or if that vendor is going to be difficult to deal with after installation, etc. My gift is really the communication piece–making sure that everyone is on track and working towards the same goal.
And, my move check list. It’s taken me 25 years to create this version, and it gets updated with every client move to stay current. If a client is halfway through a move or feeling panicked, I can quickly go in with my checklist and find out exactly where they are, get my arms around it, and let them know what they need to do next. It’s the ability to see the move from a 30,000 foot view and make sure they’ve got all the mission-critical pieces in place.
How do you feel at the end of the job?
That’s a tremendous motivator for me. I get to see a space when it’s nothing but a shell and then see it when it’s a breathing, functioning company. I’m almost always there for move day. I just love walking around and checking in with everyone to make sure our vendors have done their job. By move day, It’s probably been months’ worth of decisions by WorkSmart and the client, and knowing that everything is working and I’ve created peace of mind for that client, it’s just…I can’t explain it.
I just have a real passion for what I do and for serving our clients. I'm one of the lucky people who wakes up every day and gets to do what they love.
Planning an office move and need Mike's help?