In the early days it’s not unusual for small businesses and startups to find their feet while working in unconventional spaces. In fact it is fairly commonplace for business owners to start carving a niche for themselves while working from a desk in a spare room before they begin to look for their very first commercial office space.
In a way, the process of finding the ideal first office marks a turning point in the development of a new business – it more than likely means that you have been able to enjoy some success and have met at least some of your early development goals.
The right office space has the potential to help your business thrive and set it on course to meet your upcoming goals in the short and medium term, but it can be a little challenging to know exactly what you’re looking for from your space.
One of the very first things you might want to consider when starting your search is where you think might be the best location for your business premises. To help you to decide where you might want to set up shop, think about where your customer base is, and where your current or future employees might commute from.
You should aim to find a location which is central and easily accessible using local road and public transport networks. It’s worth considering whether you will need onsite parking for employees and visitors alike. Something else you might like to think about is what the local area offers.
Central locations tend to offer plenty in terms of restaurants, coffee shops and other outlets which your teams are sure to appreciate and can provide you with opportunities to impress clients, customers and other visitors with dinners and drinks. Location also has a strong bearing on our next point.
Cost is an important factor for most business owners looking to either rent or purchase property and it is impacted by a huge number of factors including location. Average property costs vary hugely across the UK and it will come as no surprise that offices in parts of Central London top the list as being the most expensive on average.
Central London is closely followed by other sought after commercial hubs like Cambridge, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. If you are looking for a big city location but have a more modest budget then it’s worth looking at the less central locations as these can offer great value for money.
Another challenge a lot of new businesses face is choosing the most appropriately sized offices for their needs. Any office space you are considering needs to be big enough to accommodate your current employees as an absolute minimum, and most business owners will choose and office space which is a little larger than their current needs so they can accommodate some growth in the short or medium term.
As a general guideline, you should aim to acquire a space which allows for 70-80 square feet per member of staff. Of course the nature of your business will affect how much space each team member ultimately needs, for example they may need larger than average desks to accommodate specialist equipment, or you may want space for sitting and standing desks to offer your team a flexible working environment.
The key is to consider whether the space offers room for your projected growth, so make sure you go back over your initial plans and make sure the property aligns with any expansions to your business. Bear in mind that larger spaces tend to cost more to rent or purchase, and tend to have higher costs for utilities and maintenance.
Enlist an expert in commercial property management
If you are making your first choice into renting or buying your first commercial property then you might like to use the services of a commercial property management agency. This can take away much of the guesswork involved, and help you to find a property which will suit your needs and allow your business to thrive.
Once you have found what feels like the perfect office space it can be tempting to jump right in and start making the space your own, but you must resist this temptation. The move into your first commercial offices has the potential to make or break a business in its early days and it’s always a good idea to have a contingency plan in case things don’t go as expected.
In order to do this you will need to be familiar with the terms of your lease to make sure you do not face additional challenges like unexpected charges at a difficult time. Your lease is also where you should be able to find information on what, if any, property maintenance you will be responsible for.
Many leases state that the renter is responsible for interior repairs and must redecorate before they vacate the premises, so it’s important to be clear on what will be expected of you once the time comes and you move to another premises. One of the major pitfalls you might face is being tied into a lease which is too long to allow you flexibility as your business needs grow and change over time.
Choosing a space with all the facilities you need already in place is usually the most straightforward and stress free way to ensure your new offices will be fit for purpose. Furthermore, it can be very expensive to install items such as lighting, washrooms and air conditioning if you discover you need them down the line.
The best approach for those looking for their first commercial building is to list down all the facilities that you consider essential which could include lighting, heating, air conditioning and washrooms, then make another list of things that are not necessarily essential but you feel would be a benefit to your business. You can then use this list to assess each of your options critically and it should make it easier to make a decision.
Kingston CPC have over 50 years worth of experience within the commercial property industry providing a variety of consultancy services. Our team of consultants and surveyors work with every client on a personal basis to get to know their individual needs and decide how we can best serve the tailored interests of each individual client. Find out more about our rich history and the work that we do at https://www.kingstoncpc.co.uk/