What to look for in new business premises

29 June 2016

Finding the right premises for your business is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a business leader. Before you begin looking at available commercial business space though, you need to assess your business needs and what you can feasibly afford.

List what you’re looking for from your new premises, as well as the essentials required for the business to operate effectively. Only then can you make an informed decision on the site that’s suitable for your requirements.

To help you choose the right commercial property, we’re going to take a closer look at the issues business owners should consider.

Location

location business premises

This is arguably the most important factor to get right. Choosing the wrong location can impact staff, customers and clients, particularly if your business is reliant on passing trade.

To decide if the location of a commercial property is right for your business, it’s best to start with access. Will your customers, clients and staff be able to reach the site easily, either via car or public transport? And, if travelling by car, is ample unrestricted parking available? If you can answer ‘yes’ to these questions, you could be one step closer to finding your next business location.

Legal considerations

If you want to own or occupy a new business premises, it’s important to understand the legal obligations and restrictions that could affect your business. Here is a list of things to clarify before signing on the dotted line: 

  • If you intend to rent the premises, you must comply with the terms of the lease or license agreement. This lays out your responsibilities as a business tenant, and includes such things as required maintenance and health and safety. Read this carefully before making anything too final.
  • You must comply with the building’s fire safety and health and safety regulations. If you operate an at-risk business, make sure your day-to-day operations won’t breach safety legislation.
  • The premises must have the proper planning permission allowing it to be used for your type of business.
  • If you provide goods and services to the public, the building must provide good access for all, even disabled parties.
  • Depending on several factors, there may be restrictions on noise, pollution, delivery times, or how you dispose of waste.

 

Buying or renting — the cost of new business premises 

Whether you choose to buy or rent a commercial property, both options have their merits and pitfalls. Here, we’ll assess the advantages and disadvantages of buying and letting new business premises.

 Buying

Choose to buy a property, and you won’t need to worry about unexpected rent increases imposed by the landlord. And should the property go up in value, your business’ asset value will increase. You may also be eligible to sub-let a portion of your premises to other businesses, helping to generate further income. Plus the interest you pay on any commercial mortgage is tax deductible.

However, to secure the property you’ll need to lay down a sizeable deposit of between 20% and 30% of the building’s value. Opt for a variable rate commercial mortgage, and your payments could increase overtime thanks to interest rate rises. Remember, too, that Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) applies to all commercial properties over £150,000, and you’ll also need to pay business rates.

 Renting

 Rent new business premises, and you won’t need to shell out on a hefty deposit. Nor will you need to pay SDLT, as the landlord should cover this. Renting offers flexibility, and it may be easier to re-locate your business if needed. What’s more, your landlord is responsible for the maintenance of the building, giving you peace of mind when things go wrong.

Let a property and you may be subject to unexpected rent increases or letting fees, which could put a strain on your finances. Further to this, your business will be effectively shelling out ‘dead money’ for a property you don’t own, meaning you won’t benefit from an increase in the property’s value.

Tip: Whether you choose to buy or rent, make sure the property has a valid and in-date Energy Performance Certificate. Buyers/landlords are obligated to provide an EPC, and they could be fined between £500 and £5,000 if they’re unable to make the certificate available to you on request.

Size and layout

If your business has outgrown its current premises, it’s easy to assume that more space will solve the problem. But, while more square footage will undoubtedly provide more flexibility in terms of future growth, a larger space may not prove any more usable due to poor layout and inflexible arrangement options.

Choose a business premises with a poor layout, and you’ll find that processes don’t function efficiently, or that the arrangement and conditions don’t allow colleagues to work effectively together. These problems can be easily remedied by selecting a spacious property whose layout can be altered to suit your individual business requirements. And remember, always factor future growth into your commercial property decision — because who knows where your business might be in a year’s time?

Facilities and special requirements

After you’ve identified a ballpark location for your business premises and determined just how much space is required, it’s time to look at the nitty-gritty: facilities and special requirements. Depending on what sector your business operates in, you may require specialist services best suited to a specific type of commercial property.

Look at the facilities, access points, energy provision, and drainage available, then compare them to your current premises. Does the property have adequate water, gas and power facilities, and can these be upgraded or altered to suit the specific needs of your business? If so, how much is this likely to cost on top of other setup and rental fees?

business premises choice

Expansion possibilities

Relocating to a new property can often prove a logistical nightmare, and one that many businesses would do anything to avoid. Not only that, but relocating could actually damage the long-term profitability of the business, particularly if its location has proven to be the key to its success.

 For growing companies looking for new business premises, it might be worth finding a property that affords flexibility and the option to expand. Choose to buy a commercial property rather than rent, and you’re more likely to be able to expand the premises in-line with future growth — if planning permission allows, of course.

Security issues

No matter what your business, your premises will house valuable assets and stock that make it a target for criminals. To safeguard your business against crime, security should be a priority when searching for new business premises. If you’re renting a property, find out what security provision is in place to protect your business before you agree to let the property. If you choose to buy new premises, make sure planning regulations don’t restrict you from implementing the right security devices, such as CCTV, intruder alarms and control systems.

business security cctv

Appearance

 Appearance may sound a trivial matter when discussing commercial business premises, but for customer-facing companies or those looking to project a certain image to their clients, it’s an important consideration. How your premises looks can have a huge sway on the business itself, and could potentially attract more trade if it’s designed and considered to a high standard.

At Gazprom Energy, we understand that moving to new business premises can be stressful. That’s why we have a dedicated team in place to help ensure the smooth transfer of your existing gas and power contracts. Our Change of Tenancy team are experts in helping UK businesses switch their energy services to a new address, and aim to take all the hassle out of your business energy move.

To find out more about what we can offer you and your business, visit our homepage or call us on 0845 230 0011.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this article are those of our third party content providers alone and do not represent those of Gazprom Energy. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. Gazprom Energy accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.


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