Whether or not a start up business is initially based at your home, at some point you may need a separate office, warehouse, workshop or other space in which to work (especially if you need to store any stock, engage any employees, or have frequent visitors). If you need a separate work space, the option that will suit you best will depend on your particular circumstances and needs.
Location/Type of Premises
You need to consider whether you need to be near your clients/customers. You also need to consider what sort of location, access, parking facilities, size, type, style and layout of work space, lighting (artificial/natural) will best serve your business needs, and of course the cost needs to be affordable – you need to take into account rent, rates, utilities and service charges. Will you need to make alterations, and will they be permitted under your licence/lease? Will you need any planning permission? Consider whether a shared space might be better than a private independent office; a shared space can give you opportunities to network.
The options for acquiring an office include renting a serviced office – often cheaper and more flexible, may have an added benefit of having a conference room or other facilities on site which can be used and paid for only when needed, and there may be the ability to easily move from your office to a larger one at the same location when your business expands.
Licence or Lease
Alternatively, you might take a licence or lease of an office or other premises. A lease will give you more security but less flexibility than a licence. You need to consider how long your lease needs to be, and whether you can commit for the lease period. (Please see our Property Folder for various lease/licence templates and other business premises documents, and our Corporate folder for a number of business premises documents for use by charities.) If you have capital available, you might want to invest in freehold premises.
Your choice of particular premises might depend on the IT/Communications or other infrastructure and facilities which are already there or which can be installed. Do you need other amenities, e.g. showers, kitchen, on site canteen/café? Consider also whether you do or might need a mixed use space, e.g. office and other working areas.