By Peter Ames, writer for Office Genie
There comes a time when most businesses outgrow the home office. It’s an exciting phase, but the thought of an expensive office search is enough to fill many fledgling business owners with dread. However, there are ways you can cut costs without cutting corners. Peter Ames looks at a few of these.
Renting a property on a traditional long-term lease from a landlord is a really attractive option for an ambitious business. Few things feel like you’ve truly made it as a company than having your very own workspace. It’s also rather exciting to finally be able to design these spaces to reflect your company image.
Many people find such properties with the help of an agent. It’s worth bearing in mind they do charge, usually an extra 10% on top of the first year’s rent. If you want to cut costs, you could start by cutting out the agent. This could also help you find your ideal property. After all, who knows what your business needs better than you?
On the other hand, an agent might end up saving you money. They bring proven negotiating skills to the table, which could ultimately get you a better deal. Their extensive knowledge and contacts may also find you some better value properties you may not have discovered on your own.
It’s a tricky decision and there’s no one catch-all answer. Get it right and you could save a packet!
Broaden your mind (and your search)
A city centre might seem like the ideal spot: Premium business addresses, tons of services, and handy public transport links. However, these top locations usually come in at the top of the price scale. If you want to save a bit of cash, spread your net. You might find the following are a little bit cheaper:
- Out of town: Beyond the inner ring-roads of many towns and cities you’ll often find less pricey properties. What’s more, without city centre traffic, commutes may be easier and parking could be more abundant. Look out for business parks. In these (often-out-of-town) locations you’re likely to be surrounded by useful services and other businesses, whilst generally avoiding prices of city-centre levels
- Less-fashionable spots: If you don’t want to be too far out in the sticks, look for areas that are in cheaper, less popular parts of town. Definitely look for areas that are expecting gentrification. For example, businesses in pre-Olympic Stratford will soon be able to enjoy their very own Olympic legacy in the shape of the ‘International Quarter’ as the area enjoys serious post-Games gentrification.
Go shared over serviced
If you don’t fancy your own leased property, chances are you’ll be looking at serviced offices. With these all-inclusive options you’ll generally get a premium package of features but also have to pay a premium price. To cut the costs, why not consider renting desks in another company’s offices?
These ‘shared’ offices could save you a bundle. On Office Genie a single shared desk costs around £50 less per month than the equivalent in a serviced office. For a five person company this represents a saving of approximately £3,000 per year! All this and you still get:
- Your desk, chair, storage and all utilities.
- Flexible rolling month-to-month contracts, just like the serviced equivalent.
- Potentially some meeting room access.
- Room to expand: If you need extra desks, and your hosts have some available they’re usually more than happy to rent them out – just as in a serviced property.
Of course, you’ll probably get a more basic package of features: you might not have access to things such as IT support and reception services. However this could well be worth it for the potential savings! Like the sound of this? You learn a bit more and check out Office Genie’s guide to shared offices.
Peter Ames writes for Office Genie, a search engine for spare desks and offices in the UK.