Finding business premises
You will learn
- How to choose your location
- Where to start looking for a premises
- Key things to consider about using your space
Finding business premises that are a perfect fit for your business is not easy. There are lots of things you need to consider when searching for your business space, like the location, lease type, ease of customer access, and what you actually want to do with the premises once you’re in there. This article will take you through some of the important things you need to keep in mind when looking for your business premises.
Before you start looking, you first need to come up with a specification of all the things you want from your property. You don’t want to commit to a contract on a premises that restricts you from using it in the way you want. So, before you put pen to, consider:
You need your premises to be in the right place, especially if you want to sell directly to your customers. Placing a restaurant or shop where it can’t easily be accessed is going to put a serious limit to the number of potential customers who walk through your doors. Take a look at your target market and develop your ideal customer profile. Not only will it help you with your marketing later down the line, it can also help you understand where best to place your premises to attract the greatest number of potential customers.
You should also check out where your competitors are based. If you’re looking for exclusivity, you won’t want to be close by other similar businesses, but if you want to enter into some healthy competition in a place where there are lots of potential customers you might not mind being so close.
Consider how easy it will be for both your customers and your staff to come and go from your premises. Things like car parking spaces, local transport links and other amenities might need to be readily accessible for all the people interacting with your business.
Weigh up the pros and cons of locating your business in the centre of a town or city against a slightly further out or more rural location. Prime spaces in the centre of town are going to be significantly more expensive than those further out, but off the benefits of increased footfall and potential customer interest. Office developments outside out the centre often have ample parking which will be great for you and your staff provided they have their own transport. If they rely on public transportation, it could prove difficult to get to. You’ll need to check out the costs and benefits associated with the location of a premises before you commit.
What do you need to do with the premises?
Before you start looking for your premises, come up with a list of the things you want to do with it. Make sure you have a clear understanding of how you need to use the space to efficiently run your business. If you’re office based, for example, look at the space each of your staff members will need to be able to work efficiently and consider whether you’ll need space for equipment, meetings or storage. If you’re having customers move through your premises, you’ll need to think about the routes they can take around the space. Leaving too much empty space can be just as off putting as overcrowding.
What services will you need access to in your premises. Gas and electric, plumbing and internet are all musts, but there will be lots of other factors to take into consideration. Check out things like where the power sockets are in the premises and see if they will meet your requirements, and whether there are good security measures in place on site.
Are you going to need to make any changes to the premises when you move in to be able to operate? It will be much easier to get yourself set up if you don’t have to apply for a change of ‘use class’ for the space before you can start doing business. You might also need to acquire planning permissions if you’re wanting to make changes to the building and you’ll also need to get the appropriate licences registered at the address to make sure your business is legally compliant.
Business regulations are often the trickiest thing to get your head around when running a business. To make it a bit less stressful, we’ve created a free guide to regulations to help you stay on the right side of the law. Get your copy here.
Licensing, leasing or buying a business premises
You’ll have to take a critical eye to your finances and see what you’re reasonably able to pay for your business premises. Before you start looking for places, set yourself a realistic budget and maximum price. You’ll then need to consider what type of property contract you’re best suited to, whether that be to license, lease, or buy.
Licensing is, in the short term, the cheapest option and is most suited to business start-ups. They cover shorter periods of time and it’s easier for you to terminate the arrangement if you need to. It’s common for you to put down one month’s rent as a deposit and then pay monthly or quarterly. Licensed spaces often have shared meeting rooms and other office facilities so you can benefit from a business community around you. You’ll also likely not be responsible for maintaining the space, so if something structurally needs repairing, your landlord will do so.
Leases usually tie you into a premises for a longer period of time than a licensed property, giving you a bit more stability. Leases often have fixed lease prices for a specified amount of time, which will protect your money if rent prices rise, but if they fall, you’ll still be tied into that set price. You also might be liable to pay the rent for the full contract term even if you leave early. With a lease though, you probably will have some power to be able to make some changes to the premises with your landlord’s permission so you can make it fit perfectly with your needs.
Buying a premises outright comes with a lot of additional responsibilities but it does have its rewards. You won’t have to check in with a landlord if you want to make changes to the building, you’ll just need your planning permission, and you’ll also not be at risk of being asked to leave the space as it’ll be completely yours. However, if something goes wrong with the building, you’ll have to cover all the costs yourself and of course, you’ll need a large sum of money to secure the property in the first place.
Start looking for business premises
One of the best places to start looking for business premises is on the website for your local authority. York, Scarborough, Harrogate, Craven, East Riding, Hambleton, Selby, Ryedale, and Richmondshire all list the different commercial properties that are available to rent or buy that you can browse through online. Your local chamber of commerce or trade associations may also list local premises for rent or purchase so it’s worth checking their websites too.
You might also consider enlisting the services of a chartered surveyor to help you find the right business premises. They’ll have a good working knowledge of the premises in the area as well as handling contracts, so they can be a great asset to helping you find and secure your new space.
Commercial agents can also be really useful, but can cost a little more than chartered surveyors as they work for a landlord or seller who wants to get buyers or renters for their properties. They’ll have lots of details of the properties in your local area and can give you details about the energy efficiency of the property. Often, they might try and rush you into a decision before you are fully ready to commit.