Renting your first office can be an exciting turning point for you and your business. But you need to make sure that your office will support your team and allow you to grow and thrive. Below are a number of factors to consider before renting your first office, all of which will need careful consideration.
You need to consider who your customer base is and how close or far away they are from your business. It helps to know if your location is easily accessible, there should ideally be numerous transport terminals near your business. You should also make sure that there are convenient parking spaces for your employees and customers and if there are any parking costs to consider. If you value privacy or confidentiality for your business, choose a location far from high-traffic areas.
Many business owners find the location to be the main factor to consider when it comes to choosing a perfect office, but cost and size of the office is also another key aspect that you need to look into.
Working towards a budget and finding an office that will befit your company and make everyone happy is not an easy thing to do. If you spend too little you may end up with an office that you’re not completely satisfied with and isn’t fit for its intended purpose. However, its equally import that you don’t exceed your original budget, otherwise you may struggle to afford the rent and upkeep, which in the long run may result in financial difficulties and the possibility of having to downsize or re-locate.
The key is research. Find out if other offices nearby are priced similarly. Make sure you are aware of any additional costs that may be associated with the property, so you aren’t caught out further down the line. Consider whether the rent can be paid monthly instead of quarterly, which can help a business budget.
Consider if a deposit is required and if it is ask where the money is kept and on what basis it will be returned to you at the end of the tenancy.
Ask if and when the rent will be reviewed and on what basis will a new rent be determined. You do not want to expose yourself to the risk of a landlord significantly increasing your rent shortly after you have moved in.
Your new office should have all the equipment that you’ll need for your day-to-day operations. This includes proper lighting, heating and/or air conditioning, and telecommunications or Internet access if required. If you are renting a room in a multi-let property find out what other facilities there are in terms of meeting rooms, break out areas and welfare facilities.
Make Sure the Lease is Clear
Knowing what’s included is just one thing when renting your first office, however you need to make sure that all of those provisions are clearly spelt out in the lease. You don’t want to just take your landlord’s word that some utilities are included only to be charged for them later because they were not officially stated in your lease.
Think about how long you are being expected to commit to the property for. Do you need flexibility and a short lease or would a longer-term commitment be more appropriate? You can incorporate break clauses into a lease as well which may be advantageous.
Also consider your repairing obligations both during and at the end of the lease. Most leases will require the tenant to make good any damage caused, and you will normally be required to re-decorate before you leave too. If you are going to lease a standalone building consider whether you have to look after the whole property, both inside and out or just the interior. If you are responsible for the external fabric of the property you may want to take some specialist advice from a surveyor to ensure that the property is not defective.
You may also want to commission a Schedule of Condition, which will be attached to the lease to document the condition of the property before you move in, so that you don’t have to make good any defects that were there before you moved in.
Get Help From an Expert
The process of looking for office space can be overwhelming for a newbie. But if you find a commercial estate agent who is familiar with the properties in the area, they can make the whole process a lot easier.
A professional commercial property estate agent can also review the lease in detail and explain, in layman’s terms, your obligations and what you will be expected to maintain etc. A proper understanding of your first office lease can save you thousands in the long run and will also ensure that you get the most out of the premises to ensure that your business prospers.
What factors influenced your business’s choice of office space? Do you have any other questions about how to find the right space for you?
Rory Mack Associates is a dedicated team of commercial property consultants, Chartered Surveyors and commercial estate agents and are here to help. They can advise on matters to do with the lease and a building and can also prepare a Schedule of Condition. For those looking for accommodation they may also be marketing a suitable office.
Just call 01782 715725 to find out more about how they can help you and your business.