Top tips for businesses looking to acquire office space
Naylors’ Head of Office Agency, Simon Taylor, shares his advice on what businesses should consider when looking to lease new office space…
Leasing office space is a complex undertaking and can cause problems for those who are doing it for the first time. However when done successfully, the potential rewards to a business of securing the right premises can be substantial.
As a business owner, you’re most likely not a commercial property expert. That’s why it’s important to surround yourself with the right team of experts:
- An Accountant. An accountant can help you figure out what your business can afford on an annual basis and a budget for any initial fit-out costs
- A Solicitor. A solicitor will help you complete the lease and deal directly with the Landlord’s solicitor
- A Commercial Agent. An agent can help you identify suitable properties, negotiate the terms for you and generally let you get on with running your business.
Here are some things to consider when first starting your search for a new office:
- City centre or out of town? – Where do your current staff live and will you be able to recruit new staff easily in a particular location? Think about road access and proximity to local amenities. City centre locations generally offer the best access to public transport and amenities but aren’t as good for parking.
- Self-contained or multi-let? – Do you want to be in your own building, split over several floors? Or would you prefer to have a single floor in a multi-let building? The latter will mean you share the building with other companies and pay a service charge for shared services. If you have your own building you have more control but it is likely that your staff will not all be on the same floor. City centre normally means multi-let (but not always).
- Image – Do your clients visit your office or is it purely an administrative office? If it’s client facing then you will want an office that projects the right message for your business. Even if it’s not client facing you need to consider what image you want to give to your staff and prospective recruits.
- Layout – Most offices offer an open plan layout and it’s the new tenant’s responsibility to install internal partitions and potentially a kitchen and reception. Whilst you may find some offices with some internal partitions already installed, it’s always going to be challenging to find to somewhere that will suit you perfectly.
Ultimately a commercial agent can help guide you through the options available and focus on what’s most important to your business.
Once you have identified some suitable options is time to start appraising the costs of occupation:
- Rent – the most significant cost and normally quoted on a ‘per sq.ft’ annual basis. Rent is sometimes negotiable and/or it is sometimes possible to secure a reduced rental period at the start of a lease.
- Service charge – generally applicable in multi-let buildings and business parks and also calculated on a ‘per sq. ft.’ annual basis.
- Business Rates – normally charged by the local authority
There are a range of other issues that need to be considered including rent reviews, break clauses and your rights to sublet. A commercial agent can negotiate these points on behalf of a business enabling them to make financial savings and avoid potential pitfalls. The time it takes to navigate your way through this maze should not be underestimated so all the more reason to appoint an agent.
For more information about how Naylors can help you acquire new office space call one of our experts today on 0191 232 7030 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to give you a free consultation.