Whether you’re growing an existing company or setting up a completely new entity, where you base yourself is one of the most important decisions you need to make. It’s not just about the location you go for either; as a business owner you need to think about the property you base your firm in.
From warehouses to manufacturing premises, small offices through to expansive retail spaces, there are commercial properties throughout the UK to suit a variety of business needs.
Each type of building has its own benefits and challenges, and with the cost being incredibly high even for small space it’s important that you make the right choice before you sign yourself and your business up to pay a large amount of money for a property.
This is an important decision and there are a lot of factors to consider, so we’ve created a guide to finding the best commercial property to facilitate your business’s growth and continued success.
Work out exactly what you want
The first stage in your journey towards selecting the best commercial space for your firm is to think hard about what you need.
Make a list of the essential qualities that your ideal property has to have, then create another list with preferred but non-essential features. This will help you throughout the process of finding a new base for your business, as you will be able to refer to the list and use it to narrow down your search. Remember that any aesthetic qualities, such as carpets, wallpaper and lighting can often be changed, particularly if you’re buying your own property.
As well as the physical characteristics of your new building, you also need to think practically and consider how long you want to have the space for, whether you need to be able to grow in it or if your business will remain the same size, and any features you want to be included in the price, such as maintenance and concierge services. Create a complete plan before you move forward so that you know exactly what you’re looking for.
Think about ownership options
Once you know exactly what you’re looking for it’s time to do your research and find out how much this is likely to cost. Use a nationwide search site to explore the commercial properties on offer in the area you wish to base your business in and figure out how much they would cost to rent or buy.
Make sure that you stay true to your plan so that you know exactly how much your dream space will cost. Then work out whether you’re better off renting your space or buying it outright. If you only need the space for a short period of time or want lots of maintenance and support included in the price, then renting may be the best option for you.
Alternatively, if you need the space for the long-term and to be able to make any structural or aesthetic changes that you want, then you might be better off buying your own property.
Figure out how you’re going to pay for your new property
Now that you know whether you’re going to rent or buy your commercial property, it’s time to think about how you’re going to finance this endeavour. If you plan on renting your space then make sure you have enough money for the deposit, and factor in the cost of rent and other bills into your budget so that you know what the cost of your new space will be to your business.
Should you have decided to buy a property then you need to find a finance option to suit you. Check your firm’s budget to make sure that you have the money to make the repayments before you commit so that you’re completely prepared for the cost that your new commercial property will entail.
Consider building your own space
There’s an extensive array of commercial properties on the market currently, but if you really want a space that is completely your own then you’ll have to build it yourself. Whilst the initial investment will be large, creating your own commercial property will allow you to craft a space that is entirely designed around your business. If you want to build your own commercial property then you need to purchase land, then find a reliable architecture firm that specialises in this area.
Find someone local to where you want to base your company so that they will be able to use their local knowledge and connections to make the process of visualising and creating your ideal space as easy as possible. For example, if you plan to open an office in Edinburgh, then you can find information on a commercial architect here.
Once you have the design and planning stages finalised, you’ll need to find a local commercial property development firm to help turn your vision into a reality. By collaborating with local experts, you will not only be fuelling the region’s economy, but also making the process of creating your ideal property as smooth and swift as possible.
Search for the perfect building
Should you decide that you would rather choose an existing building, then work with a dedicated commercial property real estate agency to select the space that fits your criteria and budget. They will be able to find a range of properties that fit your wants and needs, then take you on a tour so you can discover all that each space has to offer.
When looking around, make sure you check that the space is right for you by examining all the fixtures and fittings, checking the corners and walls for mould and dampness, as well as examining the plumbing and checking for leaks.
It can be tempting to fall in love with the first property you see, but as with buying your own home, it’s important that you select the business premises that are right for your company, so visit a number of different spaces and be thorough before you finally commit.
Consult with the experts
Work with a professional surveyor to understand if there are any structural issues with the property you’ve chosen before you agree to buy or lease it.
They will be able to find and identify any problems that the property may have and alert you to them before you buy the space and for those looking to rent it’s important that you know the quality of the space you’ll be renting before you sign a lease for a specific period of time. If there are any serious problems, then consult with the landlord or property manager to see if they can do anything about the issue before you move in.
If they are reluctant or hard to deal with then they’re probably not the best people to be working with, so you can learn your lesson before you tie yourself into a long lease.
Communicate with everyone involved before committing
As well as working with professional property experts, when making a decision this big it’s important that you talk to everyone who will be involved to make sure they’re confident with your choice.
If you have fellow shareholders or board members in your company, then take them with you to view the space so that you can all make the choice together. Should your company be small then you can even consider talking the decision over with your employees so that they feel involved and know exactly where your business will now be based.
For larger organisations this level of communication and collaboration isn’t possible, but you can still work with a trusted confidant or mentor, who will be able to advise you on whether you’ve made the right decision and make you feel more confident in your choice, or give you cause to reconsider.
Seal the deal
The final stage of your exciting journey towards the perfect commercial property is to complete the paperwork and take possession of your new space. Your real estate agent will be able to help you through the entire process of renting or buying your property, including collecting references, suggesting finance providers and lawyers and getting all the paperwork together so that you enjoy a relaxed experience.
Make sure that you read any document thoroughly and seek advice on anything that you don’t understand, so that you know exactly what you’re signing and don’t receive any nasty shocks after you’ve taken possession of your new business property. Once the paperwork has been signed and you have taken possession then there’s nothing left except to move your business into its new home.
There’s no set process for finding your ideal commercial property, and it might take you a lot of time and effort to find the space that’s perfect for you and your company.
Follow the above tips to ensure that the process is hassle-free and that you come out with a space you and your staff can cherish and enjoy for many years to come.