Finding your first commercial property: A guide for small businesses

by McHale.Co Solicitors on December 6, 2013

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Embarking on your first commercial property is a daunting yet exciting prospect. You’ll have your own office, business will grow and everything will just keep getting better and better. We hope. But once you start looking at the jungle that is commercial property, office space and leasing or buying, you’ll start to realise it’s not a straightforward task at all. Hopefully, this brief guide to the key points to bear in mind when looking for your first office will help you out:

Think outside the city

Although the bright lights of cities such as Manchester and London may seem appealing, they come with a hefty price tag. Of course, you want to make sure you’re in a place where both clients and staff will find you easily, but that doesn’t mean you have to fork out for a city centre office. If you’re thinking of being in the north, it may be worth looking at places such as Leeds and Liverpool; with vibrant business scenes they’re keen for companies to set up and in turn offer attractive rents in exciting parts of the city. If you’re looking for property in the south, Milton Keynes is just as attractive as London and not far to commute, leaving you with much more turnover to enjoy.

Service a service

Most small companies will benefit massively from a serviced office, many of which come complete with energy packages, receptionists, meeting rooms and accessible parking. Some have even incorporated exciting extras to attract businesses, which will be especially good for attracting new staff, such as tuck shops, canteens, bike spaces and other novelty ideas which will set you apart from other companies. Everyone wants to cash in on good business and you’ll usually find that in areas with plenty of serviced offices bars, shops and cafes quickly realise the potential of opening up nearby. Scout the market to see what’s out there for you, and don’t forget to look outside of the popular areas, especially if transport links are good.

Know your contract

Before signing ensure you know your contract, rights and requirements inside out. Who is responsible for jobs such as emptying bins and cleaning, can you change service providers, and do you have unlimited access across the whole building? It’s also essential to know the legalities of any contract and understand who is responsible for repairs, how long you are signing for and what your rights are if your business venture doesn’t last as long as you hoped. Understanding your position completely means there’ll be no surprises further down the line and will help you find the best deal on your new office.

Think ahead, within reason

You may have just a few members of staff now, if any, but if business goes brilliantly, do you have space to expand? It’s important to think ahead, catering for both the good and the bad. Allow yourself room to grow without being overly optimistic about your success. You’ll want to settle into your office space and it should be a good size, space and location for at least a few years. It should be a working environment where you can hire staff if need be without feeling overwhelmed by empty desks should you need to scale back.

It’s also essential to know the local area – if there are planned changes to transport it’s going to have a big impact on your business, depending on whether the transport is improving or not. Similarly, if the council is planning to build a new car park, develop the area or if new properties are planned to be built, will it benefit or hinder your company, staff and clients?

Making friends

One sure way to not get completely lost in the world of setting up a small business is to network with like-minded people. There are plenty of communities, groups and meetings for small business owners and entrepreneurs, and they’ll be keen to give you advice on finding your first commercial property. Make use of the local small business scene for both personal and professional advantage, tips, advice and a bit of sanity.

McHale.Co Solicitors
McHale & Co Solicitors based in Altrincham, Manchester & Heywood provide expert legal advice on all areas of laws including property law for individuals & businesses. Visit http://www.mchaleandco.co.uk/ to find out more.
McHale.Co Solicitors

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