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Choosing your first commercial property

Advice for choosing the right premises to get your business off the ground


Pouring a lot of capital into a commercial property is a serious risk for a new company and making the wrong choice can have serious implications on the success of your business. Your business premises should provide everything you need without excessive costs or lengthy tie-ins that will limit your growth. Here are a few things start-ups should consider before beginning the search for the perfect property.

Building Requirements

The first thing to consider is the type of space you will need. This will of course depend on the type of business you are running and how it operates. However, some of the key points to consider include the size and layout, aesthetics, structural requirements (e.g. if you need large loading doors), facilities for staff and employees (e.g. toilets and kitchen facilities), utilities (e.g. a fast internet connection), customer and staff parking, access for deliveries if required and accessibility for disabled staff or customers.

Rent or Buy

You’ll also need to consider whether you want to rent or buy the property and if renting, what type of lease you need. This will partly depend on your budget but before going ahead you should consider the additional costs of a new property. As well as the initial purchase price or agreed yearly rental price, you may need to shell out for solicitor’s fees, surveyors, decoration, furniture, ongoing maintenance and repairs, utilities and insurance plus any alterations that may be required to meet building/fire/health and safety regulations.

Location

Location can be key for many businesses so it’s important to think about where you’re going to be based. Some of the major considerations include whether there is enough passing trade; how many competitors there are in the area; what local amenities there are (e.g. banks, postal depots); transport links and accessibility (particularly for large vehicles); and the type of area and whether it suits the image of your business.

Legal Considerations

One of the most important things to look into before buying or renting a property is whether the premises has planning permission that allows you to operate your type of business. You must also ensure that the business is compliant with all building, fire, and health and safety regulations as these can be costly to implement at a later date. You will most likely need to pay stamp duty and business rates although these may be covered by your landlord on rental properties. You should also consider the fact that you will be responsible for staff and customers within the building and will need to take precautions to protect their health and safety. Finally, you should check any local restrictions which may apply to your premises including noise, pollution and waste disposal restrictions as these could affect the running of your business.

Hopefully, this article has offered some useful advice on the points to consider when choosing a commercial property. However, this is not a comprehensive list and, if in doubt, you should seek advice from a solicitor or professional business advisor.

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