Negotiating the right deal for your business
Working from home is not always an ideal solution, even for the youngest of businesses. Do you really want customers to be eyeing up your three piece suite or stepping over toys and wellies?
�Do you really want customers to be eyeing up your three piece suite?�
Having your own business premises can help boost productivity and provides a sound launching pad for your plans for expansion. After all, you can't attract and retain the best staff from your back bedroom.
So how do you find somewhere that's right for you and how do you cope with the red tape it involves? Weigh up where you want to be. Ask yourself some of these questions first:
A big step
For anyone taking on their first lease, the number one piece of advice is get a solicitor to look at the paperwork before you sign anything.
Les Owen, Managing Director of Sign Metals and Plastics Ltd in Birmingham, says that as well as seeking legal advice, your local Chamber of Commerce can also be very helpful when finding new premises.
And according to solicitor Roger Gough, of RS Gough & Co, you should also seek advice from your accountant – can you really afford your desired base?
A foot on the ladder
"If you have no trading history then you may need to call on friendly suppliers to give you a reference when you want to move into your first premises," says Les.
"Your new landlord may also want a personal guarantee as security for their peace of mind that you aren't going to leave them in the lurch. They may only offer you a three-year lease as a maximum if you are a new company.
"But always remember negotiation is key. Treat getting a business premises as you would finding a new home. Whether or not you are going to be responsible for the repairs, get a surveyor in to make sure you know exactly what you are taking on.
�If you haven't had a surveyor in when you first moved in, you could be taken to the cleaners!�
"When your lease is up, you'll be presented with what's called a schedule of dilapidations – which the landlord will tell you lists any damage or wear and tear that has happened while you've been there. If you haven't had a surveyor in when you first moved in, you could be taken to the cleaners!
"I leased premises for ten years before deciding to buy the building where we are now. Commercial property is an excellent investment and you can find out about buying as part of your pension."
Whilst leasing is the most popular accommodation solution for new businesses, there are other options to consider:
The true cost
Never forget that your rent is only part of the cost of leasing a business premises. Ask about additional costs including:
Richard Lyons of Dunham, Guest & Lyons solicitors, underlines Les's advice. He says points to put on your checklist include:
Richard adds to his last point: "This is a desperately important subject. A tenant will be committing himself to future increases in rent. Specific advice about rent review provision is essential. Landlords want upward-only rent reviews."