Finding A Place To Work From – Locating your business
It may seem a trivial point – especially when you’re busily setting about the task of growing your business – but finding the right place from which to work and operate your venture is one of the key issues to consider as you take your business to the next level.
Of course, the fact remains that the “right” place will vary for each business, especially when we examine the type of business, its market sector, its geography and the way in which it sells its products or services to its target audiences. Nevertheless, there are still a number of constants that any ambitious commercial enterprise should take into account, as it takes this very difficult decision.
Are you a manufacturer, a reseller or a service provider?
If you’re making a product, you’ll need a viable workshop or place to manufacture your items. And that will be determined by the proximity or accessibility of your supply chain, both for incoming raw materials as well as dispatch to your wholesalers or retailers. Equally, if you’re proffering a service to your clients, your location will have to be a comfortable, accessible place, as well as being suitable for clients to visit your offices. In addition, members of the public may well need to visit from time to time, certainly if you’re a retail outlet.
So, how do you go about locating your business?
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First of all, you may well want to enlist professional help by contacting one or more commercial agents. Not only will they have multiple properties on their books, in a number of locations, but they will also classify them on their database by means of suitability for different styles of business, usually via their planning use, as approved by the local authority. This means that you wouldn’t be having to go down the route of expressing an interest in premises only to find at a subsequent stage that the local authority planning department rejects your usage of the building or space.
It almost goes without saying too that you must make sure that – if you’re a retailer – your customers can find you, that the premises have a decent footfall of the right demographic of passing trade and that there is adequate parking for staff and clients alike.
Similarly, unless you’re buying – which we’ll come onto shortly – you really do need to get professional legal advice on the terms of the lease or licence you’re entering into. Most commercial leases have a period of between 3 and 7 years, although some may well be of a longer duration. Most importantly for you, be aware that, if you enter into a lease, no matter what the term is, it is a contract between you and the landlord and, as such, you’re committing yourself to paying the rent and occupying the premises for that duration. So, unless you’re certain that your business will need the premises for that length of time, try to agree a reasonably short term. Of course, the downside to this is that, at the end of the lease, the landlord can either take back the premises or increase the rent.
Commercial leases sometimes have break clauses (consider negotiating one), so that if either party is unsure, one can serve notice on the other to bring the lease to an end. Some also have assignment clauses, so that you can transfer the remaining balance of the lease term to a third party, subject to the landlord’s consent. Remember though that, if the new tenant (the assignee) goes ‘bust’, you will still be responsible for the remaining rent.
Equally, watch out for other costs within the lease, such as insurance and internal or even (especially with longer leases) external reparations. It could be that these are included within a landlord’s service charge, so make sure you ask what this covers. Finally, you may be asked to keep the property in at least the same standard of repair as when you took on the lease. Try to agree a ‘schedule of dilapidations’ with the landlord, so there is no likelihood of you contributing to ‘betterment’ of the premises.
One major benefit of locating your business in leasehold premises is that, subject to the above caveats, the monthly outgoings are a known cost, which makes very attractive for most businesses. But, if you’re feeling flush and potentially want to ‘invest’, you might wish to use your own judgment and choose to buy. Many of the same warnings apply with regard to use, but also make sure that you enlist the help of a surveyor the check the external and internal state of repair of the premises. And remember, commercial loans rarely extend to the same loan to valuation ratio as do residential mortgages, and are often of a shorter duration, so the costs are correspondingly different, and the deposit you would be required to submit generally higher.
All in all, the message here is clear – when locating your business make sure you receive professional advice from agents, surveyors, accountants, insurance brokers and solicitors. There truly is no substitute to having all the details at your fingertips.
Straight talking advice from Yorkshire Powerhouse
Now you’ve read our article on locating your business – have you any more questions?
Here at Yorkshire Powerhouse, we’re happy to help as much as possible – is there anything else we can do to help you, do you have any further questions or can we help introduce you to an expert – please let us know:
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