There are serviced offices in most major towns and cities in the UK. They are available through commercial letting agents or directly from serviced office providers.
The Business Centre Association (BCA), the trade association representing the industry, has a national listing of business centres and is also smart place to start. Your local business support organisation or Regional Development Agency is likely to have a list of office suppliers or, in the very least, some useful contacts.
When looking at a serviced office, you should ask yourself the following:
- Is there a policy of holding deposits to cover bills that may still arrive or charges for forwarding phone calls or mail once you have moved on?
- Do you need storage space? If you have the need for a lot of extra space, find out if it is on offer at a lower cost than prime office space.
- Do you have cover? Insurance can be tricky. Some insurance companies shy away from providing cover when you don't have your own private security system and front door, or where there are shared facilities.
- Do you know your neighbours? Business centres offer a unique opportunity for networking. Other businesses within the complex may become future customers or suppliers, or simply prove invaluable as business mentors in your early startup days.
- Would your visitors come again? After short-listing some suitable business centres, approach them as if you’re a future visitor to your company, so you can imagine the impression they will get. Be aware of everything that will affect them from car-parking charges and the service at reception, to the cleanliness of the toilets.
- Do you even need to be there? You can use the services of most business centres now without being physically located there, in order to create a favourable impression or have a base for your business.