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What’s the Difference Between a Residential and Commercial Move?

Posted on July 31, 2020

Find out how many boxes are needed for a typical commercial and residential move.

Find out how many boxes are needed for a typical commercial and residential move.

Did you know that our moving company in Kelowna offers both residential and commercial movers across the Okanagan, BC,  Canada and North America? While you’d think that moving is moving — what’s the big deal?— commercial and residential moving can be quite different from one another. We calculate the differences for you so you know what to expect. 


House vs Office: It's What's Inside That Counts 

Typically, a house contains more fragile and large furniture pieces, while an office has more computer equipment, paperwork, and industrial-type equipment:

For example, a 3-4 bedroom residence may contain items such as:

  • Bedroom furniture (2-4 beds, dressers, stand-alone closets, side tables, etc.)
  • Antiques (lamps, heirlooms, fragile wood pieces)
  • Yard, garage equipment (lawnmowers, gardening tools, playground equipment)
  • Musical instruments (pianos)
  • Hot tubs
  • Vehicles (cars and RVs)

While an office typically contains: 

  • Less furniture (desks, tables and chairs)
  • More computer/digital equipment (screens, printers, copiers, phones)
  • Large commercial equipment (vending/coffee machines, water coolers)
  • Confidential and sensitive documents such as employee records, account information 
  • Safes


How many hands and how much time is required when moving an office or house?

It depends on the size of the house or business that you are moving, and where you are relocating.

Residential moving:

Moving out of a private residence usually involves 2-4 household movers, including the driver, to pick up and transport your belongings. The process normally takes one day for a local move, and 2-5 days if you are moving between provinces, and require long-distance moving services,

In addition, some moving companies offer packing services, which usually includes one or two professional packers and movers arriving at your residence a day or two before your moving date to prepare your belongings for transport.

Commercial moving:

 A commercial move can take from one day up to two weeks, again depending on the size of the move. Professional commercial movers will move your office after business hours, or on weekends to avoid disruption and to save time.

Relocating an office, retail business, or large commercial or industrial space tends to be a more complicated process. It can involve 4-10 office movers preparing and then transporting heavier and more complex items such as industrial equipment and safes. Confidential documents and files may need to be sealed. Wiring and cables may need to be sorted and packed. In addition, both moving and storage services may be required if the new space is undergoing a renovation.


What equipment and how many boxes are usually needed for a commercial or residential move? 

Moving a three-bedroom house normally requires:

  • Two-eight hands
  • Medium-size truck
  • Ramps and dollies
  • Blankets and other padding
  • 25-30 medium boxes
  • 15-25 large boxes
  • 10-12 extra large boxes

Moving a 10-person office typically involves:

  • Four to 10 hands
  • 10-25 pieces of specialized equipment
  • Large moving truck or crane truck
  • One large, one medium, and one small box per desk

For more office moving tips, read How to Pack and Move Electronics.


As a member of United Van Lines, Bekins Kelowna offers commercial and residential moving solutions across BC, Canada, North America, and internationally. Contact us for all your packing, moving and storage needs.