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Finding the Perfect Business Premises: 5 Things to Consider
Finding the right premises can be one of the most difficult tasks for any entrepreneur or business owner. But with some careful planning and preparation, you can take a lot of the stress out of the search. Read on for five things to consider when choosing your business premises.
When considering the size of your premises, it’s usually best to start small. Try to find somewhere that is adequate for your needs right now but that gives you the flexibility to expand depending on your business growth over the next few years. This is preferable to choosing rather larger premises which could prove unwieldy and expensive to run right now. One option to consider is a shared office space. An increasingly popular option for entrepreneurs and small businesses, this could entail you renting a space specifically designed for sharing or coming to an arrangement with another small business to split the costs of a property. Renting a hot desk is another great option when you’re starting out. There are plenty of hot desk spaces around Ireland - including the AIB-backed Ludgate Hub in Skibbereen and PorterShed in Galway.
Location, Location, Location
Your business’s location is important for many reasons and can vary greatly depending on the type of company you run. For example, if you’re a retail business then you’ll need a location with a high degree of customer footfall. But if you’re not customer-facing then you may be able to locate your business in a quieter and less expensive area. You’ll also need to consider your employees. An area that is too remote or lacks adequate transportation links will have difficulty attracting and retaining staff – which could have a long-term impact on your company’s potential for growth. Finally, image is another concern. Consider how the surrounding area will impact on your appeal to customers, clients and potential investors.
Counting the Costs
Undoubtedly the biggest concern when it comes to choosing your premises will be the financial costs. Firstly, you’ll need to decide whether to rent or buy. Renting is an attractive option if you’re just starting out, as it won’t require a heavy initial outlay. However, if you’re intending to stay in the same location for some time renting may not be the best choice over the long term. And don’t forget, your rent or mortgage will not be the only cost associated with the property - you’ll also need to consider your various overhead costs – including stamp duty, insurance, security and utilities. Before committing to a lease, make you’re completely happy with the terms on offer – including the length of term, statutory rights, and the presence of a break clause.
Before committing to any property, you’ll need to assess your legal obligations. This may include gaining planning permission to allow the premises to be used for your particular type of business, and ensuring your building or office complies with health and safety and fire regulations. If your business is open to the public, you will also need to take steps to make your facilities accessible to disabled people. And you’ll also need to consider noise restrictions – in certain areas deliveries or manufacturing activity may only be allowed between specific times – as well as making provision for adequate waste disposal.
Starting the Search
When you’ve decided on the characteristics of your ideal property or space it can be helpful to create a list that clearly outlines your requirements. When writing this specification document, make sure to distinguish between “need-to-haves” and “nice-to-haves” which will give you some flexibility in your search. You can then provide an estate agent acting on your behalf with the spec sheet, which will allow them to provide you with a list of properties that meet your needs. Make sure to check in with the local council or enterprise board too – there may be grants or incentive schemes available in certain areas that you can take advantage of.
Need Help Finding New Business Premises?
If you need help with finance for new business premises - or just want advice on any part of your business - make an appointment to speak to your AIB Business Customer Advisor today.
Please be aware that all of the views expressed in this Blog are purely the personal views of the authors and commentators (including those working for AIB as members of the AIB website team or in any other capacity) and are based on their personal experiences and knowledge at the time of writing.
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