Top tips for finding your first office space

How about this for an impressive list of companies: Apple, Amazon, Google, Nike, Disney, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft. Any idea what they might have in common apart from an uncommon level of success? They all started out in garages or similarly humble work spaces.

Of course, even given such stellar company a garage is not the ideal solution. If you’ve begun your business and things are ticking over nicely or even if you are just planning your start up, finding office space may well be a better option, especially in terms of location, convenience, prestige and the comfort of any employees.

So what do you need to consider before taking what might feel like a daunting step?

Location

Companies usually start out by deciding on an appropriate spot for the premises, so think about what you and your company need. Would a city centre close to various facilities including public transport be best? Or somewhere close to other businesses that could prove useful? Do you want to be close to home? To your potential clients? To a convenient pool of labour?

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Make sure the space being considered reflects your business plan. Do you think you might be (hopefully!) likely to grow pretty quickly? In that case you don’t want to saddle yourself with a long term commitment for which you might find yourself swiftly becoming too large.

Serviced or conventional

If you don’t want to be dealing with utility bills, maintenance, rates etc and etc it might be a good idea to consider a serviced office space. Just bear in mind that the best deals in commercial properties are not necessarily always those set at the lowest price. Buildings and building management generally have fixed costs and going below a certain limit might turn out to be a false economy, leaving you foregoing some facilities such as maintenance and security that you might not really want to be without. Try to look at value rather than just cost.

Another advantage of serviced offices is that services such as meeting rooms may be available on an ad hoc basis. You don’t want such things on a permanent basis and be paying for them when you only wish to use them occasionally. Stick to what you really need and then when it’s necessary go looking for a copying service in the adjacent neighbourhood or to booking a meeting room west end.

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Browsing and choosing

Always view more than one option and ask for relevant quotes. Pay close attention to details, read the small print and don’t be afraid to ask questions of both the leasing representative and the existing occupiers. The latter are more likely to give you a truly impartial viewpoint on such matters of frequency of cleaning.

Additionally, it’s also worth considering whether your company culture will comfortably match that of the other businesses in your prospective building. You want your company, and your employees, to feel comfortable.

Finally, talking of employees, it might be worth your while to find a place that’s easy for them to reach. After all, they are far more likely to do their best work for you if they haven”t just had to endure a 60 minute commute.

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