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Date: 22/01/2003

Top Property Tips For Business Start-ups

MWB BusinessExchange looks at how young companies can make property space work for them.

1. Before making any property decisions, think about what your true cost of occupying office space will be. Occupiers will often look at rent and rate charges as an indication of their total office costs, but these can account for as little as 40% of your total property cost. Consider additional costs such as building repairs and maintenance, security and cleaning, as well as the cost of 'non-productive' space such as meeting rooms, reception and canteen facilities.

2. Don't forget set-up costs. By just concentrating on rent and rates, businesses can be miscalculating their total office costs by as much as 360 per m2 (Ref : Total Office Cost Survey, Jan 2002).

3. Carefully consider the length of your lease. Conventional leases typically are between 12 and 15 years. Once committed, it is very difficult to break the contract term or assign the lease without incurring significant penalty charges. Shorter terms are difficult to find and are often more costly due to the added flexibility. The most important implication in these circumstances is that long term lease commitments do not take account of your individual business requirements such as requiring extra office space due to expansion.

4. Serviced offices can often be a viable option for many young businesses as they offer maximum flexibility. For an all-inclusive monthly fee, your business will have access to high quality, fully managed accommodation in prime locations. Additional benefits include plug and play technology and a range of business support services such as reception, call answering and secretarial support.

5. Many companies use 'hot-desking' or 'virtual office' solutions. These offer admin support and a desk where and when you need it at cost effective rates.

6. Location is often the primary factor when choosing property. Consider proximity to transport links and your customer base and remember property costs vary across the UK.

7. Be realistic about timescales. If speed to market is a business priority, consider a short term solution as lead times for space which requires fit out, furniture and installation of IT and telecoms infrastructure can take anything up to three or four-months.

8. Once you've moved in, make the space work for you. Think about style and design. Break-out areas, for example, can boost staff motivation and creativity.

9. Remember first impressions count - the professionalism of your front of house staff can strongly influence how clients perceive your business.

10. Impress important clients - consider hiring a boardroom for the day and have your meeting professionally managed.


Prepared by leading suppliers of serviced office solutions
MWB BusinessExchange
Tel + 44 (0) 808 100 1800

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last modified: January 22, 2003