Should you stay at your current office location, or invest in moving? Researching the decision.
It’s the great contraction of our times. Work can happen anywhere at any time, but being in the right place at the right time is more important than ever. Business people have to be prepared when opportunity knocks, but they also have to know that opportunity likes to stick to known neighbourhoods. The decision to re-locate is often the cost of opportunity.
According to Business.com, there are four reasons why American businesses are moving across state lines. It’s a short list, but a practical one
- Lower taxes in other states
- Access to a better talent pool due to closer proximity to better universities and colleges
- Lower real estate costs
- Access to better amenities and infrastructure
Do Canadian businesses relocate for the same reasons?
Moving your business from Ontario to Alberta, for example, might save a company a little money come tax time, but those savings would be eaten up by higher real estate prices and higher salaries.
And Canadian businesses that re-locate won’t necessarily get access to a better talent pool without sacrificing the talent they already have on board.
A 2014 Ipsos Reid survey conducted for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council found that fewer than half of Canadians would re-locate for a job, even when a 10% raise was promised and moving expenses covered.
Where there are no tax savings, there might be other incentives
The survey results showed a new trend. Traditionally, Canadian workers have always moved to where the work is, but that has always been based on the closure of one primary industry, like fishing, and another opening up, like mining. In convincing Canadians to move to where the work is – which might not be especially rewarding or remunerative – that Canadian Chamber of Commerce has encouraged companies and even the government to offer incentives to Canadians to move.
“Incentives such as relocation allowances, tighter employment insurance regulations for those living in areas of high unemployment, grants to employers in areas where labour shortages are acute to help bring employees in, financial assistance to Chambers of Commerce to conduct job fairs in areas of high unemployment, and airfare re-imbursement for seasonal workers who consider working elsewhere during their down seasons are just a few of the incentives that the government might consider in order to assist with solving this problem,” the Canadian Chamber of Commerce recommended.
In some areas, where there has been a decline in population, municipal and regional governments are offering businesses huge incentives to re-locate to their towns and regions in the form of land grants and there are even financial grants and loans available for entrepreneurs that might be tied to a certain location. Provinces all poach entire industries from each other using grants and incentives. The province of Quebec, for example, offered tax breaks and hiring incentives to attract prominent European video game companies to its province. Just before those tax credits were due to run out, Ontario offered a similar package and same companies just moved again once province to the West.
Still, a business can’t function without customers.
If you are a video game design company whose client is based in Japan, the work can be done just as easily in Halifax as it can be in Montreal or Toronto, as long as the client doesn’t mind adding an extra three or four hours to her flight time. For most of businesses though, being close to the customer is the most important element in maintaining a good relationship and repeat businesses. Not every emergency meeting can be conducted by video conference and not every support issue or problem can be dealt with off-site. It’s called customer service and all businesses have to provide it all the time. It’s the cost of accepting an opportunity.