9 things to look for when renting your first office space

9 things to look for when renting your first office space
If your business has grown to the point that you’ve outgrown your home office, that’s great news! You might be wary of taking the next step, which is to invest in commercial premises - especially if this is your first venture and you’re worried about covering those extra overheads. Here are nine things to think about when deciding how to choose the right office space for your business.

1. Location and accessibility

If you’re an online retailer, the location of your business premises in relation to your customers is going to be irrelevant - as long as you can easily access a reliable delivery service, you’ll be able to ship your stock out to wherever it’s needed. 

On the other hand, if you need to be close to where your customers or colleagues can reach you to attend meetings, a central location is going to be more important. Choose office space that is located close to major road and/or public transport networks.

Also, make sure that your office space is accessible (e.g. has lifts and wide corridors) if you, your staff or regular visitors have mobility issues. 

2. Tie-in periods

You’ll need a decent capital buffer to cover your costs for as long as you’re tied into the contract for your office space. The longer your tie-in period, the greater that buffer will need to be. You might have a contract for a year or longer - will your business produce income reliably throughout that time? If you’re not sure and are worried about committing to a long contract that you may then struggle to pay for, think about short-term lets instead, at least until you have a better idea of the consistency of your business income.

3. Extra costs

Your leasehold contract will tell you exactly what your money will be paying for. Some leases state that the monthly rent just covers the right to use the building; other costs such as insurance, utilities, repairs and any additional services (such as telephone answering or secretarial) may be charged separately. 

Whatever your leasehold rent covers, you’ll also be responsible for paying business rates. If you opt to rent office space from Safestore, there are no separate business rates for you to pay and all of your utilities and security costs will be included. 

4. What happens if your business grows?

Hopefully, your business will grow and develop. Perhaps you’ll take on new staff, and you’ll need more space. When choosing your office, bear in mind the possibility of future expansion - is there more space available in the same building? Can you increase the size of your office or rent further square footage without incurring penalties or fees? How easily will you be able to physically move your belongings from one space to another?

5. Check the security arrangements

Does the property you’re interested in have CCTV and an intruder alarm, or will you need to install these? Will you need to arrange for overnight security? How secure is the perimeter - who else will have access to the building and how is your office secured against opportunistic theft?

6. Is there space to keep your stock?

If you’re an online retailer or if your business involves making, selling or shipping stock, you’ll need somewhere to keep that stock or your equipment. Opting for office space with easy access to self storage will reduce the amount of clutter in your office and save you a lot of time that would otherwise be spent travelling to and from your depot. 

7. Furnished or unfurnished?

Are you looking to rent office space that has furniture already installed, or a blank canvas that you can fill with the furniture and equipment that will be most useful to your business? Opting for a furnished office will cut down on your startup costs if you don’t already have desks and seating. Unfurnished offices are cheaper, and you can select the furniture that you’ll actually use - and you’ll be able to keep that furniture if you move on to other premises at a later date. 

8. What amenities and facilities are there?

Check whether WiFi and/or phone lines are already installed, or whether this is something you will need to arrange. Also consider whether there are any other facilities or local amenities that would make your work environment more pleasant - is there a cafe onsite or nearby, or somewhere to buy refreshments? Are there any rooms available in which you could host meetings, rather than having these in your workplace? A crucial consideration might be whether there is onsite parking or not, and whether there is a charge for this. 

9. What alternatives are there to a traditional office?

If you don’t particularly need a large office for admin purposes, you could consider working out of a self storage unit. You could keep your stock in your unit, add a computer and a desk and be able to run your business perfectly well without having to rent out a separate office. Safestore self storage units can double as office space for certain types of business - it’s worth checking whether this is a viable option for your business.

Safestore offers office space to rent in over 50 of our stores all over the UK. If you think that your business might benefit from renting from us on a flexible basis, paying a single low weekly rent, our team are available online or over the phone to discuss options with you and give you the information you need to make an informed decision, with no pressure or obligation to reserve any office space with us.

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