Whether you’re moving premises or locating a site for the first time, choosing the right building for your business can be both exciting and daunting. With so much to consider that will affect employees, clients and future progress, business owners have a lot to weigh up before making their decisions and committing.
Of course, some factors informing your choice may be governed by your business type or industry, but there are several universal elements that any organisation needs to consider. For those businesses in need of more information before the big move, we’ve prepared a list of things to consider when you make that all-important choice for your next commercial premises.
Though this list is not in order of importance, location is often a big deciding factor in choosing your property. For example, if your business is a restaurant or clothing shop, its location needs to be in an area that’s readily accessible for customers.
The same can be said of hiring employees. It could be tough recruiting good team members if your premises don’t have good transport links, or their potential salary isn’t enough to make the cost of travel worth their time. In small towns or rural areas, you might find it difficult to find the right talent.
Similarly, you’ll need to consider who and what will need access to your property. If your new site will be visited by heavy vehicles, it would be beneficial to ensure its within easy access of major motorways or A road. If you’ll be flying frequently, then close proximity to an airport will come in useful, while clear access routes prevent clients from getting lost on the way to meetings.
If you’re a start-up, it’s likely you’ll be hiring younger team members, and this needs to be considered when picking a location. Recent graduates and those with comparatively less work experience may be more like likely to rely on public transport as opposed to having their own vehicle to get around.
Another consideration to make is whether you’ll lease or buy the premises. Broadly, it’s better for a newer business to opt for leases on a short-term basis, typically a year, as it makes it easier to restructure your lease in the future. There’s also less capital involved than buying; so, if you need to relocate, you have the flexibility to do so.
Buying a property, however, allows you to manage and repair the building as you see fit, make a profit upon selling the building in the future and gives you the opportunity to let the property as an additional stream of revenue.
If you’re a new business, it’s important to be mindful of how you spend on renting or buying. Generally, start-ups and new business have to keep a close eye on their cash flow and avoid overspending as a precaution in case things don’t take off.
Even so, established businesses should be realistic in their approach, too. A bit of strategy always helps; consider renting nearby to a great location in order to keep rent costs lower – rather than pitching up right in the centre of the desired location.
Where do you think you’ll be in five or 10 years? Consider your position before making your decision; the last thing you want to do is spend a large amount of sprucing the place up only to expand more than you expected, and having to move location.
When considering your options, make sure there’s enough room to accommodate different types of growth, such as hiring new employees and developing new products. If the location is ideal but you think you may outgrow it too quickly, see if planning permission for an extension could become available.
Dependent on the type of commercial property, you may have access to extensive on-site facilities; larger business parks typically include a café or restaurant, as well as a shared communal space.
Does your potential property and its on-site facilities fit your industry? Some properties offer free broadband as an incentive so it’s well worth shopping around for one to fit the bill.
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Again, this will depend on your budget, but you might want to buy commercial property that’s ready to move into right away or spend less on the initial cost and customise the interior as the company progresses. Weigh up the cost-effectiveness of both to ensure you’re in the strongest possible financial position when you move in.
As we mentioned in point 1, ‘location,’ if your proposed premises are located next to plenty of local amenities, then that’s an added bonus when it comes to attracting talent. Eateries, cafés and bars are great for post-work meetups, while nearby supermarkets make it easy for staff to pop out for food and household items, too. A property with comparatively little infrastructure surrounding it may put some people off.
A commercial property might seem the real deal initially, but after some deeper investigation, it may become apparent that the building doesn’t meet a number of building regulations, which could take time to sort out. After putting a deposit down, this is the last thing you want to discover.
Be sure to conduct a thorough survey of the property beforehand. Prior to renovations or making it open to staff, it’s important that any potentially harmful substances or building errors that could put people at risk are identified and corrected. Likewise, legal considerations including planning permissions; health, safety and fire regulations; insurances; accessibility and licences must be considered, so get advice from a solicitor whether you’re buying or leasing.
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