Moving your business overseas can be tremendously beneficial, but it is also significantly more complex than just hiring a truck to move across town, especially if you want to do so in an eco-conscious way.
There are a myriad of reasons why you might want to move your business overseas, from tax exemptions, to deferment, to the simple desire to live and work abroad.
Though there is quite a bit of buzz, and a good deal of misconception, about offshore business and tax evasion, the reality is that there are a number of absolutely legitimate ways to structure businesses abroad that are not about hiding money from the US government, but that are about realizing significant, honest benefits when it comes to asset protection and taxes.
But I digress. This article is about making that move and doing it in the most cost effective way possible, both for your own bottom line and for that of the environment.
The reality is that while you may want to ship some office equipment and furniture to your new destination overseas, much of what you currently have will need to be re-purposed, sold, gifted to those in need or, worse case scenario, disposed of in the United States and replaced abroad.
Generally, office desks, cubicle systems, executive furnishings like desks or wall units, reception-area desks and furnishings, conference room tables, kitchen appliances and cabinetry units are all furnishings that don’t transfer well to new spaces overseas. These types of furnishings usually just won’t fit at the new space without alterations, because office cubicles, desk systems and cabinetry are typically custom- fitted for the office spaces they were originally intended for.
Those kinds of modifications are much more difficult to accomplish abroad since the company that made them may not have service providers, or suppliers, outside of the United States. If they do, they may only be found in industrialized countries and, more often than not, expatriate moves, for a number of reasons, tend toward areas that are still growing.
Nevertheless, office chairs, small filing units, computers, printers, copiers and other equipment can be used pretty much anywhere, and it may be beneficial to ship them rather than purchase them new abroad for a couple of reasons:
- The “cost benefit” is that many times shipping is far less expensive than the cost of replacement, when you take into account high import taxes on electronics and office furniture in many countries outside the US, where the mark-up after taxes and retail sometimes exceeds 100%.
- The “green benefit” is simply to avoid adding still more to the already existing 3.5 million tons (approximately) of surplus office furniture that gets disposed of each year, and ultimately ends up in our landfills.
Preparation for your move will take some time and consideration, but is easy and your shipping company can help you with both international and domestic transfers of office supplies, furniture and equipment.
- Do a complete inventory of your company’s office assets
- Sort everything into categories:
- Items that are eligible for resale on the secondary market, which can help to alleviate some of your moving costs.
- Items that can be shipped for continued use in the new space overseas, which will help save re-furnishing costs and reduce your organization’s ecological footprint.
- Items that should be donated to non-profit organizations or those in need, which can have a positive effect on public relations as well as produce tax benefits and reduce impact on our local landfills.
- Items that can be turned in for recycling, again reducing impact and producing tax benefits.
- Items that must be sent to the landfill.
- Schedule your moving company to ship items overseas that are marked for the new office, and to ship donations locally or nationally to their recipients.