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.) 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.