Whether you’re moving into your first office, relocating, or scaling up to a bigger space, choosing the right property is a major decision and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. To ensure you don’t rush into somewhere that’s too expensive, too small, too far removed or too ill-suited to your needs, we’re going to address the questions you should be asking of any property you look at.
The big L word
Location is perhaps going to be the most crucial deciding factor in where you decide to move your business into. What you need from your location depends on the type of property. Does it need to have visibility for clients or customers? Does it need to be close to transport links for your employees to be able to access it? Having good neighbours can be just as important. If you can choose a location close to suppliers or service providers, you can more conveniently access the resources your business needs without the transportation costs.
Know your specific needs
You don’t want to waste your time looking through property after property that is little suited to the kind of work that you’re doing. For that reason, you should consider looking at the real estate platforms specific to your industry. If you’re looking to open a childcare, then you should look at the current listings for vacant childcare properties. If your industry doesn’t have any of those convenient listings, then you should lay out your needs in detail so that any estate agent you work with can skip over the irrelevant options.
You need to ensure that your workspace has enough room for the whole team, too. If it’s a traditional office space you’re after, consider how much square foot every employee needs to be able to comfortably do their job. It’s not just about space for employees, too. You have other capacity needs, too, including how much electricity you need to power your equipment, and how many outlets you require to supply all the equipment the businesses. You may be able to install the additional fuses and outlets that you might need, but that’s an investment worth thinking about.
Counting the costs
Naturally, you should have a budget laid out in advance. How much property are you able to afford? Do you already have a commercial property loan laid out ahead of time if you’re buying? Can you meet the monthly rent or loan repayments? Besides the affordability, you have to get estimates of the operational costs as well. Do a little digging into things like utility costs in the area for energy, water, waste services, and other local service providers you expect to rely on regularly. Even if the property itself is affordable, local costs might so high as to make it too expensive to stay in.
Your commercial property is a big investment and not a choice that can be reversed or changed easily once you’ve made it. Take the time to ensure it fits both your needs and your means before you sign any dotted lines.