Where you base your business premises can have a big impact on many aspects of your working life, and it can often mean the difference between success and failure when it comes to starting a new company. However, many business simply settle for what's available close-by, rather than doing research into alternatives, but a little bit of searching can mean cheaper rents, more prestigious locations, or more passing trade. Here are just a few things to consider when choosing a location for your commercial property.
Being able to get to work easily every day will make life much easier, and when you're working long hours you want to ensure you can get home at off-peak times. It's a good idea to look at the public transport in the area, especially if you're looking at a city location where your employees are unlikely to drive, and to think about parking for staff and visitors. While a city centre location is often the most accessible, it's expensive to rent, and if you've got lots of work vans coming and going then it's not always practical.
Those who work in the retail industry will know the importance of passing trade, and having a highly visible presence. However, other businesses can sometimes benefit from being in a visible location that's part of the local community. Being close to businesses in a similar industry gives you chances for networking, which is why you'll find areas such as Old Street in London taken up by tech firms, while Canary Wharf is where financial firms tend to be based.
If you're going to be relying on business from local sources, then it's worth having a look into the demographics of the area. If your business is highly specialist, then people might come from further afield, so it's also worth thinking about the potential distance customers will travel to visit you. Demographics can include the age, average income, education level and much more. This can also help when considering the potential pool of employees in the area.
Availability for the type of premises you want will often dictate the location you get, but remember it's often possible to convert a building fairly easily. Check with your local council whether it's easy to change usage, as you may need to get a permit or get planning permission.
If you are looking to change the type of building, for example from a warehouse to an office, and have the right permission, then it's easy to do so. You can organise a commercial office refurbishment which can change many aspects of the building, so if you're looking in a certain area this opens up many more possibilities.
While you may not be actively recruiting at the moment, you'll no doubt want to grow in future, and this means recruiting people in the local area. Things to consider include:
Certain areas such as London will always attract talent, but once you get outside the city it can start to be challenging to recruit the right people, and so you need to pay extra attention to this.
Certain firms rely on their reputation to attract clients, especially if they're dealing with wealthy individuals. If you have a prestigious business to do with finance or legal matters, then having an address in the suburbs or a less desirable part of town could reflect badly on your business. These sorts of firms will often pay extra to be in upmarket locations because it looks good on their business cards, and because they're close to places where their wealthy clientele live.
If you're a creative company and want to project a young, hip image, then obviously location is also important. Many areas of North London, for example, are full of graphic designers, advertising firms, and other creative industries because the areas have a reputation for being cool. In this case, it's often worth thinking about less desirable locations that are up and coming too, perhaps areas that are becoming gentrified where you can get cheap lets.
In some industries, it's good to be close to your competitors and can have advantages. However, if you're opening a shop or restaurant, then you want to be sure you don't have too much competition. Don't just look at what's on the same street, look at the area as a whole, and how your competitors are doing. For example, if you're opening a cafe, then the chances are there will be others in the area. Are these places booming, and will you be able to attract some of their customers? Or have similar businesses in the area recently closed down? These are all important things to consider.
Always have a budget in mind when looking to rent somewhere, and consider the other expenses. Some locations charge high business rates, yet go the next town across and you could save a load of cash. See what's included in business rates too. If you're serving food, for example, will they empty your bins regularly or will you need to pay more for extra collections? When you negotiate the rent, see what's included with your monthly payment such as utilities, as these will soon add up.
The location of your company is such an important factor, and will help you to get the right staff, get customers through the door, and generally affect many areas of your business. Therefore, you should make a checklist of the things you want, as well as your budget, and get an agent who has worked with commercial properties in the past. Once you've found a building in your dream location, you can start to make it into the premises you want, with office refurbishment specialists able to completely renovate the space.