Picking the right commercial property is always a difficult decision. There are so many factors to consider, and it can feel a little bit like you’re on your own. But with the proper planning and with the right adivce from a qualified chartered surveyor, you can take the hassle out of the issue.
It’s stressful enough running a business, but when choosing a commerical property things can get really tough. But, it doesn’t have to be that way, if you use the proper planning and consider your options carefully.
But where do you start?
The first, and perhaps most obvious thing to think about, is whether you can afford the property. Most experts would suggest that your rental payments should be less than 15% of your turnover.
Obviously, the higher your turnover the more luxurious a property you can afford. But the key thing is to be practical, set a budget and stick to it. Don’t forget that if the building needs work doing to it, then that will incur an extra cost, so make sure you factor that into your overall budget.
Again, this is one of the most obvious issues to think about, but if you get it wrong it can land you with crippling overheads. Think about how much space you reasonably require. Do you have a lot of stock that you need to store on-site? If so, you’ll need to factor in an added cost. And if you choose to store that stock off-site, then be aware that you will have to pay for that space as well.
You’ll also need to consider the number of staff you have, ensuring that they have room to work comfortably in a safe environment. The amount of space a typical office worker has to himself or herself can have a genuine impact on their mood and work ethic.
Location has more than one impact on your business. If you’re in a hard to reach, or undesirable location, you’ll find that customers are less eager to come and visit you. Similarly, you don’t want to be too close to your competitors, because then you’ll be battling for the same customers. It’s vital that you pick a commercial property that is convenient for customers to visit and see you.
But it’s not just customers you need to think about. We touched on staff morale in the last point, but location has a large part to play in that as well. Think about how your staff are going to reach your office. Will they have to drive there, or is there a public transport service they can use? Can the health conscious walk or cycle there? Opening a commercial property in the right location, is a great way to encourage healthy, well-motivated staff to join your company.
This is the one that people often forget. It’s great having a quirky, chic looking office in a trendy part of town, but if you’re an accountancy or law firm then it perhaps doesn’t look very professional. Similarly, a hip boutique would look out of place in a smart office block.
The space you occupy has to say something to customers about what your company is all about. And if they don’t like what they see, or if it’s off kilter with what you’re telling them, then don’t be surprised if they’re not keen on working with you.
Choosing the right commercial property is a difficult thing to get right. One of the key things to remember though, is to keep looking forward, and make sure that as your business expands so too does the property you are located in.
The RICS Small Business Property Guide gives comprehensive advice on common property decisions and actions you may need to take. Read it here.