Whether a start-up company or an established brand, the choice of commercial premises can have a dramatic impact on the potential for success and requires careful planning. A clear action plan can ensure the perfect premises are acquired, meeting the business needs both now and in the future.
Specify All Requirements
Do the premises need a particular layout or special features? Would the appearance of the building impact trade? Upon which utilities does the business rely – is three phase electricity crucial? Are facilities for employees and visitors suitably located, including kitchen facilities and bathrooms; is there sufficient access for parking and deliveries? Disabled access could also be a consideration. It is obvious that the needs of a retail situation vary hugely from that of a factory or production center, but a clear overview of the specific requirements of the individual business will certainly make the search easier. Don’t forget to plan for the future, too. Is scope to alter or extend the premises a factor? What are the long-term plans and vision for the company? Once a clear idea is held of the property’s essential qualities and other less significant yet desirable features, this can be compared to the financial situation in order to be realistic about property selection.
Several factors influence choices of location, although needs vary widely. Is passing trade important for the business, or would the number of competing for similar businesses in the area impact trade? Are there any delivery restrictions or access difficulties which could cause issues for suppliers? In addition, how accessible is the property for customers or employees – it is useful to consider public transport arrangements to your preferred location. When considering the location, it is also important to ensure there is a full understanding of the rates and local authority charges, which vary by postcode area and may cost substantially more in prime positions. It is also important to check that planning permission is available for the purposes of your business. Finally, the tone and nature of the location can impact the reputation and image of the business. Choosing the right site is key.
As a business owner, legal obligations are a serious responsibility. This encompasses planning permissions, health and safety and fire regulations and the welfare of staff and visitors, but also incorporates lease agreement terms and licenses. On a commercial lease, stamp duty is payable. The company owner may also be liable to pay business rates, although in some instances these are paid by the landlord – this is something to be certain of when choosing the property. In leased premises or licensed sites, responsibilities tend to be shared by both the tenant and the landlord. However, it is important for the tenant to have a comprehensive insurance policy of their own. A surveyor is useful to assess the condition of proposed buildings and help avoid pitfalls. It is often wisest to seek professional legal advice with regards to the legal intricacies of business premises, whether from a commercial advisor or solicitor.