How to choose premises - checklist

Light and airy office building

The type of business premises you choose can have a big effect on your productivity, your employees' happiness - and your business overheads. Here's how to make the right choice

  • Identify the type of premises you need for your business (eg office, retail or light industrial premises).
  • Consider whether you can work from home or a co-working space.
  • Consider how accessible the premises need to be for customers, visitors and for employees travelling to work (eg parking, roads and public transport).
  • Decide where you would like to be located. Do you want to be in the centre of town, on a light industrial estate or an out of town shopping centre? Do you need to be near suppliers, similar businesses or employees?
  • Determine your space requirements.
  • Plan the type of layout you will need, taking into account workflow, the working environment (eg lighting and ventilation), and health and safety.
  • Consider how important the appearance of the premises is, and how this will affect your business' image.
  • Determine what infrastructure you need (eg utilities, cabling and security).
  • Consider how likely your premises requirements are to change in future, for example, if your business grows.
  • Consider any possible restrictions on your use of the premises (eg planning permission).
  • Decide what tenure will suit you best: a licence, a lease or outright freehold purchase.
  • Decide how flexible you are prepared to be in acquiring premises which need to be adapted or improved to suit your particular needs.
  • Decide how much you are prepared to spend on acquiring the premises and paying continuing rental and running costs.
  • Use contacts, commercial property agents, local business organisations, websites and publications to find potential premises.
  • Consider employing a professional adviser, such as a local chartered surveyor, to help find suitable premises and negotiate the deal.
  • Make sure you factor in all the costs before settling on a premises and check the contract terms carefully.

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