Key considerations for a start-up office 

What do you need from your first office? Here, we look at the considerations you need to make when looking.

There will come a point during every successful startup that the owner will have to decide whether it is time to look for office space. Communications, relationships and often productivity can significantly increase when employees are out of the home and working with and around each other. However, an office is a big financial commitment and there are key considerations to be made.

Before beginning the leasing process it is essential to have the right expert advice to hand and all company finances in order. Building owners will often want to know who will be liable for the costs if the company cannot afford to pay the rent. Be prepared to show financial documents such as bank statements and tax returns for the past 12 months, or to pay for the first year of your lease up front.

Get the right advisers in place before negotiations begin, such as insurance specialists and estate agents, and make sure any specific requirements your business may have are catered for.

Once everything is in place for you to start looking, it’s important to really know what you might need from an office. Safestore, which offers office space in over 40 UK locations, advises on considering the following:

1. Growth – Are you hoping to expand over the next few years? If so, will the office you are looking to lease be able to accommodate this? Ensure you have spoken about potential expansion and whether this would be possible, along with any financial implications. Does your current office provider have space in other cities in case you choose to relocate or expand? Can you lease a larger space than you need and sublease the space? This could help when looking to expand in the future.

2. Access – Some offices will have set opening hours, others will operate on a 24-hour basis. Make sure whichever office you choose to rent suits your short and long term business needs.

3. Facilities – Will you have access to meeting space? Is there a conference room? Is it a private or shared kitchen area and toilets? Confirm that the space offers what you need as a business.

4. Service costs – Make sure the contract has been reviewed in great detail.  Is there an extra cost for services like rubbish removal, electricity, internet access and cleaning. If there is an extra cost, has this been included in your calculations?

5. Furnishings – Furnished offices do have their benefits but can be hard to make your own or adapt to your brand. Renting an office space that you can tailor to your own needs can really help with company identity. Companies like Safestore offer modern office environments which you can furnish and equip to your own personal tastes and business image.

6. Parking – Does the office have parking? Does the lease include parking or will you need a permit? Is there parking available for visitors? Access to parking spaces can save time, money and hassle.

Having an office can considerably improve business image and operations, as it adds a level of professionalism and creates a greater bond between employees, but with the financial implications it is important to get it right. If you have specific needs for your business ensure these are firmed up before putting pen to paper, and have the right representation and contracts if expectations and agreements are not upheld.

Be aware of the amount and type of space you need to run your business now and in the future, and negotiate for potential growth in your original agreement. Foremost, make sure all costs have been considered in any calculations, and that the office space is fitting to your business’ requirements.

See also: Guide to finding your first office space – Recommendations include selecting the location wisely, taking into consideration transport connections and being aware of your budget.

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel

Ben Lobel was the editor of from 2010 to 2018. He specialises in writing for start-up and scale-up companies in the areas of finance, marketing and HR.

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