Finding the right space for your business may not be as straightforward and painless as you imagine, especially if it’s the first time you’ve embarked on such a project.
Knowing which type of property you need (e.g. office space / workshop) is only the beginning – you also need to consider the location and available transport links and then ask yourself questions about how important common areas are to you and what standard of facilities you need.
Having decided on the building details it must be time to start your search? Not quite! Landlords used to give few choices but today’s business environment is less certain and the market has responded by providing a range of options to suit.
You should consider your business’ financial model and decide on your growth plans and the amount of money you want to spend on your move. This will give you guidance on the services you want the landlord to include in the package, those you wish to pay for and length of the lease term that suits you best.
Before you set off, calculate your budget including one off costs for items such as furniture and IT equipment as well as ongoing costs like rates and service charges.
There are many ways to find potentially appropriate units – through commercial agents, online searches, local newspapers, and even from walking the streets. Then comes the really important stage – the viewings. There are questions to be asked that go outside of the obvious, such as can you control the room’s climate and, is the building well maintained and water tight?
Once you’ve found the property that meets all your criteria (including budget) check out the landlord before you agree to take the space. Talk to other tenants in the building to establish their reputation, ask for a copy of their ‘customer service charter’ – you need to know how responsive they will be if anything goes wrong.
It’s also important to be clear on what the monthly payment covers and what services the landlord is contractually obliged to give.
Before signing the first offer that you are presented with, try to negotiate – you may be able to achieve a rent free period, for example. Finally rethink the whole process to help you decide if this is the right space for your business and for your customers.
Can you afford both the direct and indirect costs? Are you happy with the landlord and do you understand the deal and what you are committing to? If you’ve done your homework and you feel confident that you’re getting a fair deal then you should move to secure the space.