How To Find a New Office in London
Whether you’re migrating your company into London for the first time, or you’re relocating from one office to another, the process of finding a suitable office in our capital can be a mighty challenge. A business’s location can make an important difference to its overall success, playing on a number of key factors including the cost of running it, perception and whether or not you can attract a suitable workforce. Poor planning and inadequate knowledge of the process can result in getting stuck in a location that doesn’t suit your company’s requirements.
As with all big decisions for your business there are a number of considerations that you’ll need to take into account before you sign the lease. Within this article our aim is to provide you with enough information and tips to get you on your way to finding the perfect London office for your business.
Step 1 – Location, Location, Location?
It’s a cliché. We all know it well, but like with most clichés there is a comforting truth behind the adage. This will particularly resonate with many business owners and directors across London, as location becomes vital to the success of their business.
But, why would the location of your office have such an effect on your company’s success or failure? Let’s take two extremes as the first example and compare an office in the heart of countryside with an office in central London. In this scenario, there are a number of factors to consider; customers, staff, support services and costs. And, what about the infrastructure of the office? Do you rely on technology? What is the mobile phone reception like? Is there high internet speed?
In our imaginary office nestled within the heart of the countryside we may face issues with reaching our customers, finding enough local staff with the right skills willing to commute and work at the right wage. However, generally speaking your rental overheads are likely to be significantly less than leasing a central London office and you may have more space, but what is most important to your business?
Whilst a London-based office is likely to be far more expensive to rent due it its prime location, your office will be closer to amenities, support services and you’ll have no shortage of skilled workers vying to be a part of your company.
Even when comparing two offices in London, what are your specific requirements? Do you need to be somewhere where there are suitable networking opportunities within your field? Can you take advantage of enterprise zones like Tech City in Old Street? Where are the majority of your customers based? For example, if you service finance clients in the City then you don’t want to be the other side of London in Shepherd’s Bush. Do you need to be near the airport or outside the congestion zone?
Ask yourself which location would best suit your company’s requirements and make a list?
In recent years the increased capabilities of technology and the Internet has enabled many businesses to reach their customers online whether it is through social media, search engines and other forms of digital marketing which opens up possibilities for the location of your business.
Step 2 – How Much Does it all Cost?
Having chosen your office’s location, or rough whereabouts, it’s time to take a further look into the costs associated with leasing your new workspace. Give yourself a comfortably affordable budget and stick to it, however you should cater for a little more in your planning just in case you spend in excess of your initial budgets.
It’ll be tempting to grab that ‘great deal’ that will inevitably find its way into your e-Mail inbox, and maybe it really is the deal of the century, but if you exceed your budget, remember that you’ll be paying that lease amount every month.
What’s Involved with Renting Office Space?
Well, it depends on which route you go down. Essentially you’ve got 3 choices when renting office space; fully serviced, managed and conventional.
Fully serviced is fairly self-explanatory; an all-inclusive package tying in all your fixed monthly costs into one single payment each month. Usually these types of rental packages provide your with a furnished office with a shared reception area and covers everything other than variable costs such as telephone calls, meeting room hire, etc. The majority of this style of office leasing across London provides office cleaning for communal areas inclusive of your monthly rent but not necessarily your office.
Conventional is similar to renting a residential property of your own. All costs are separated and the responsibility to pay each of your bills is yours. In most cases you’ll pay the rent to the landlord, then a service charge that covers property maintenance plus a contribution towards buildings insurance. Then it’s your own responsibility to arrange office cleaning, Internet and phone connections, etc.
A managed office is a bit of a hybrid between a conventional and fully serviced office rental plan. Usually these offices are unfurnished but you pay a fixed fee that covers rent, business rates, buildings insurance, and utilities.
We recommend that you research what your new neighbours are paying for their office space before committing your future to an over-priced premises. Of course, this won’t be a straight apple to apple comparison, but try to find offices of similar size to the commercial spaces that you’re contemplating renting. It’s also important to fully understand what your lease entails. In other words, make sure there are no hidden costs associated with your lease so that you don’t have a shock after you’ve committed to your new location.
Step 3 – If all else fails, Hire an Office Finder
Just like an estate agent’s job is to identify prime houses for clients to rent or buy, office finders are experts in obtaining new offices for their clients. The advantage of using this service is that you don’t have to spend weeks and months running around London looking for that ideal location only to find that someone has beaten you to the punch.
Office finders will typically ask you what style of office you want, preferred location, price and also advise you on areas that you should avoid. They will do the legwork whilst you can maintain more important tasks within your business.
Step 4 – Other Things You Need to Consider
Transportation, Access & Parking Convenience
There’s nothing worse than finding the right office and realizing that getting there and finding a suitable parking spot are next to impossible. If your office has a lot of employees, you’ll want to find a space that has ample parking, whether in a parking lot or underground. You also want an office location that’s accessible by the tube or by other public transport. After all, if your workers can’t get to the office, there’s not much sense opening for business.
Am I Eligible for Government Loan Schemes for Offices?
In the UK, and especially London, our Government offers support to small and start-up businesses looking to take the next step and grow their businesses, particularly in areas with high unemployment.
It’s definitely worth checking out if your business qualifies for either a grant to help with the cost of setting up your business (which doesn’t need to be repaid), a loan at a low rate of interest or even tax breaks from paying certain business rates.
How do you know whether professional office cleaning is for you and your business? It’s a decision that most businesses with office space will have to make eventually, but what do you have to consider before making that decision? Read our guide on whether your require office cleaning.
On the other hand you may have the opinion that some daily tasks like cleaning your office are best left to the professionals, and we couldn’t agree more! Outsourcing your office cleaning to well-established professional agencies will not only leave your office in good condition, it will also allow your staff to focus on the jobs they’ve been employed to do; rather than spending time cleaning your workspace.
Click here to read our thoughts on why a clean office is a happier office.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful and that in some way you’ll implement our advice to find the ideal office for you and your business. Please contact us by calling us on 0203 1741 723 for your free office cleaning quote. Alternatively, visit us at www.swiftcleaning.co.uk and learn about our office cleaning services in London.
By Katie Holtby, Sales Manager