20 May 2019/ Tenant Guide

Six tips when renting your first office space

If you’ve never rented an office before, your experience of the property market is probably all based on renting or buying a house. While there are some similarities between the residential and commercial markets, there is more that separates them, and much more to get your head around when you’re starting out on this journey.

The leases are very different, with a whole new set of terms that apply only to commercial space. And unlike buying a house, this is a business decision: the choices you make now will directly affect your future profits and losses, your ability to hire and retain staff, morale, productivity, company identity, and the image you project to clients and competitors.

To avoid being overwhelmed by the weight of all this, the best approach is to take it one stage at a time. And to help you along, we’ve prepared a list of six tips to bear in mind before you start out on the journey of finding, and signing, for your first office.

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The right move?

 

Before you go any further, it’s a good idea to ask yourself whether this is the right move, and the right time to be committing to a property. If you’re currently in a set up in which you and your colleagues are working remotely, from home, or in a serviced/shared office environment, be sure that changing the status quo is the smart move at this stage. Draw up a list of pros and cons both for staying as you are or making the big leap into renting your own office space.

 

Serviced or conventional?

 

Once you’ve decided that you do want and need your own space, have a serious think about what type of space that needs to be. Fortunately tenants have more options here than ever before: the big change being the rise of the serviced office sector. In many ways serviced offices, with less commitment and financial outlay, are a compromise. Whether this is a good thing or not – in other words whether it’s too much of a compromise when what you really need is a longer-term space that you can make your own – is entirely up to you.


Budget – present and future

 

A big factor in your decision, whether you are going with serviced or conventional office space, has to be what your own budget is. A serviced office means almost no capital investment, but renting on a pay-as-you-go basis can still be costly over time. Committing to a conventional office lease is much more of an investment, but if you have a medium or large team, and need constant access to meeting rooms – which often come extra – or specialist facilities, there can be savings to make when you take on the space yourself. Either way it’s vital that you get a clear picture of your current budget and, crucially, a conservative estimate of your projected earnings, to be sure that you will be able to afford to pay your rent and rates and all the other potentially hidden costs for the duration of a lease.

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Pay attention to the terms

 

With all the planning and financial prudence in the world, you can never fully predict your future in business. Things could go far better than anticipated, in which case you might find yourself expanding sooner than you expected. Or they could take a sharp downturn and, in the worst-case scenario, you might need to get out of a property you can no longer afford. Either way the terms of the lease will dictate your position, and for first-time renters in particular, you can’t afford not to listen to expert legal advice before signing the contract.

 

The building itself

 

Location, price and size can often be the overriding factors for a prospective tenant. But it’s vital that the building, and the space which you’re taking, is fit-for-purpose. Have a checklist in mind of the internal features you need and try to anticipate daily working life – for example if a lot of your staff members cycle to work, they’ll be thrilled if there are on-site bike lockers. Use this handy checklist of facilities and features whenever you’re viewing a property, and keep an eye on its condition from the floors to the ceiling.

Knowledge is power

 

It can be daunting going out on the property hunt, especially if it’s your first time renting commercial space. But with a portal like Realla which goes far beyond just showing you available properties, and includes a wide range of customisable search features, you can be confident that you’ve got the facts at your fingertips.