It’s a daunting process when you come to pick out new premises for a business – the mere act of moving into a property is a big step for any enterprise, with the commitment that it indicates and the solid investment that it represents. It’s a long-term step to take, so you will want to be sure you’ve made the right decision before you so much as take a single step through the door – and, as it turns out, as long as you know what to look out for, it doesn’t need to be as daunting as we imagine it.
Most of us know what to look for when it comes to a residential move – the rules for picking the right house have been gone over more times than enough – but for commercial premises, there are more questions that need to be asked. It’s a much less common move to make, so the two types of move really cannot be compared. Below, we’ll look at some of the ways in which picking the right premises for your business can be simplified, and how you can get the new space you need.
Location: It’s not a simple decision to make
Anyone who has been paying attention to the developments foisted upon us by the global pandemic will have noted that some of the most worried people in all of this are commercial property realtors. Businesses have gone remote in many places, and ground rents on commercial premises are now under stress. Add to this the fact that some businesses will go under as a result of the pandemic, and it’s not hard to see how our towns and city centers could be affected when the dust has settled on all of this. What used to be a “prime city center location” may not be quite so lucrative if boarded-up shop fronts dot our Main Streets.
The “right” commercial premises now depends very much upon what your business does. If there is one outcome we can almost guarantee will hold firm for much of the next decade, it’s that people are going to act locally for the foreseeable future. If your business can function on-premises close to a residential area, then it probably should: restaurants, repair shops, and legal practices, among others, can all attract customers while benefiting from the lower costs in these locations.
Rent or Buy: A tough balance to judge
To some extent, the question of whether you will rent or buy your business premises will be made for you by circumstances. If you can afford to buy, it may be too good an opportunity to turn down; we are seeing increasing numbers of spaces becoming available, and as we’re in a financial dip right now, you could be able to get in on the ground floor before prices go sky-high again.
Buying also makes sense if you have the kind of business that will require a strong visual premise. Neon lighting, prominent signage, and even a custom shop front with metal stylings à la Jrcousa.com, all of these things can make a business stand out – and all of them will see you wrestling with the landlord for permission if you’re renting the space. So is renting a bad idea, full stop? Not necessarily. If you can’t afford to buy right now, or if you’re expecting your business to grow considerably in the next few years, then renting can be beneficial for now.
Get reliable legal advice before signing anything
Whether you are renting or buying a commercial property, it is essential that you know all you can learn about what’s required of you legally. As hinted at above, when you are renting a commercial property you will have very limited control over what you can do with the premises, and you need to make sure that the contract you sign isn’t unfairly onerous, as explained at investopedia.com. For sure, the landlord is entitled to expect that you conform to certain standards, but the contract should not make demands that go beyond what is reasonable – and a lawyer who specializes in commercial property law can tell you what does and doesn’t fall within those parameters.
Even if you now own your business premises, there will still be aspects of the law that you need to be aware of, from health and safety regulations to fire procedures. Depending on what type of property you have bought, and where it is, you may also still be subject to some restrictions on what modifications you can make to it. One way or another, it still comes down to the fact that you don’t want to be signing anything until such time as you’ve received reliable legal advice.
Consider your future and how the premises fit
If you’re going to be spending money on a new home for your business, and possibly on retooling the building, then you’re going to need to know that it will still be fit for purpose in two years’ time, or five, or ten years’ time. If you needed to start manufacturing a specific item on-site, within a certain time frame, could you buy the machinery to do that, and house it in the premises you’re looking at buying or renting? That’s just one question that you’ll need to ask yourself.
Essentially, you have to know whether the premises you are buying – or are about to rent for what may be a long lease – have the potential to house your growth as a business. That’s particularly crucial if you’re renting because paying to hang on to a location that is now actively holding you back will be one sure way of choking any growth your business promises to make. At least if you own the premises and they’re too small, you can look to rent additional space while you finalize the purchase of a new home for the business.
Location again – because it’s twice as important!
It’s not so much that location is the most important aspect of finding business premises, it’s just that it is important for more than the obvious reasons. Yes, it’s commercially important to be able to attract customers. However, if these are going to be business premises, then it stands to reason there will be people working within them. Those people will, presumably, need to commute to work – so you’ll need to consider matters such as car parking, public transport links, and accessibility. The more people that can access it without subjecting themselves to rush-hour traffic, the better.
There is a lot to figure out when it comes to the ideal location for your new business premises, but if you try to keep in mind that it needs to be close to regular bus routes, wheelchair-accessible, and easy to find, then you should be pretty close to having filtered out all of the undesirable locations you might otherwise have considered.
Choosing the right premises for your business is not quite as simple as looking for a new residential property, but once you’ve done it for the first time you’re going to be much more aware of the things you need to remember next time. Take into account the above considerations and you won’t go far wrong when it comes to finding a business location that is right for you, right for your business, and right for your employees. And who knows – with the way the world is changing, you may well find that you have a much broader range of choice in the years to come.