Do your homework and be prepared
If your business is new, you should speak to your bank before you even start looking for a unit. Your bank can offer advice, support and maybe even financial help to get you started, as well as helping you with a business plan. In addition, any prospective landlord will ask your bank for a reference before agreeing a contract with you. If your business is more established, it’s a good idea to have financial statements, accounts and references readily to hand.
Examine your budget
If you have your business plan all set, you can work out your minimum and maximum budget for your new premises. Remember, this budget needs to include rent and business rates. Rates can vary widely, depending on the type of building you’re renting and its location, sometimes making up half of your monthly payments.
Those business rates again
Yes, business rates can be quite hefty, but sometimes smaller businesses can get some relief, so before you give up on those industrial units in Hersham, speak to your local council as you may be able to get some help.
Get to know your location
You need to find some locations where there’s a gap in the market for your services or products, as well as locations that suit your enterprise’s particular communications and transport needs. Go and visit these places in person to check out how well the area and its business environment suit you and your business.
Give yourself some space
You know your business, so you should have an idea about how much space you’ll need to accommodate your staff and your machinery as well as how much space you’ll need outside for vehicles, storage and deliveries.
Of course there are some amazing places up for grabs out there, but you have to stick to your budget, at least for now. You have your list of preferred options, but you might have to make some concessions in order to secure premises.
Feedback to your property agent
Make sure you tell your estate agent what you think of the suggestions you get from them, as this will help them to understand your needs so they can narrow down the range of prospects they send to you.
Think outside the box
If you like the look of a property that your agent has recommended to you, don’t book a viewing before looking at the outside and the immediate area first – that’s what Google Maps and Street View are for! You should also look at crime stats for the neighbourhood.
Get legal advice
Before you sign or even propose any sort of contract or lease, you should get legal advice as well as a valuation of the property, so that you can understand and minimise any financial risks you may face.
Very often, landlords will want a deposit that’s equivalent to three months’ rent, as well as a personal guarantee if you’re a limited company. Your rent will most likely be payable quarterly and in advance, and you’ll also need to supply referees – bank, accountant, solicitor and any companies you trade with regularly. They’re your new best friends…