Choosing commercial property is an essential step for any growing business. Making the right choice is paramount to success; the wrong lease and location can stifle your firm and bottom line.
Establishing the right location for your business is very important for a number of reasons, such as proximity to important resources, suppliers and walk-in customers. The location you require will depend heavily on the type of business you run; if you’re a starting up a hairdresser then you’ll want prime retail property with significant pedestrian traffic nearby. Service industries and those that do the majority of their work off-site may favour larger sites in cheaper areas with close proximity to main roads.
Letting agents differ in the types of contracts they provide. Traditional commercial property contracts often lock you in for a specific amount of time, often 5 or more years. If you outgrow the premises you have no option but to continue paying the lease, even if you move. These contracts can be very restrictive on start-ups who may not be able to afford monthly repayments, particularly whilst building a client base. Look for companies that offer flexible rolling contracts that do not lock you in, and consider your personal circumstances.
When looking for commercial property consider if your position there would be tenable in five or 10 years down the line. You don’t want to spend considerable money kitting out the building only to grow rapidly and need another location in three years. Make sure there’s plenty of room different types of expansion, including taking on new employees and developing new products. If you love the location but think you’ll outgrow too quickly, see if planning permission for an extension could become available.
Consider who and what needs access to your property and make sure all locations on your short-list fit the bill. If you’ll have heavy vehicles visiting your premises, you’ll want to be near a major motorway or ‘A’ road to prevent issues with country lanes. If you’ll be flying frequently, then close proximity to an airport can help reduce the financial and time burden of travelling. Clear access routes are also an advantage, to prevent clients getting lost, confused and stressed before important meetings.
Depending on your budget, you may wish to buy commercial property that’s ready to move into, or spend less on the initial cost and revamp the interior as you grow. Try to strike a balance, and work out the cost-effectiveness of each approach to ensure you emerge in your new location in the strongest possible financial position. Talk to local tradesman to see they will give you a discount for multiple jobs.
Depending on the type of commercial property you may have access to extensive on-site facilities or very little. The larger business ‘hubs’ may include a café or restaurant, in addition to shared communal space. Make sure the on-site facilities fit your industry. If you’re renting industrial space then 3 phase power, roller shutter doors and an integral office may be particularly useful. Broadband is an added advantage nowadays for all types of businesses; some centres offer free broadband as an incentive.
If you employ staff members or plan to do so in the future, extensive local amenities and a bright social scene are advantages. A mixture of bars, restaurants, cafes and entertainment hotspots is best; an excessive concentration of one may lead to boredom or noise, particularly with bars and nightclubs. Good local amenities also allow you to entertain clients easily when necessary.