Thinking of a new office space, or getting an office for the first time? Perhaps your business is growing and you’ve run out of room, or maybe you’ve had enough of working from home. Or perhaps your company is a ‘virtual’ one but you need an office where you can bring your team together.
Whatever your reason for wanting your own office, it can be daunting deciding what sort of place is going to be best for your company.
Although there is much talk these days of virtual businesses and agile working – with even quite substantial companies basing themselves out of co-working spaces like WeWork – there are huge advantages in having your own dedicated space.
But what sort of space should you go for? Well, there are two main types of rented office – lease and serviced.
Most mid-size and large companies lease their office space. Leasing comes in various forms but is generally longer term with lease contracts often lasting at least five years and 10 or more is not unusual. Leases office space gives more security and control over your environment but at the cost of flexibility – it can be difficult to get out of a lease before the end of the term, so if you grow rapidly (or decide you want to move or down-size) it can be a big headache.
A full lease may seem cheaper per square foot than serviced offices, but you will have legal costs in agreeing the lease, then often you will have to pay to fit-out the space and normally you will have to pay your own utility bills and business rates on top of your rent. Oh – and there is likely to be a regular service charge too, to cover maintenance. And another word of warning – watch out for the ‘dilapidations charge’ when you move out at the end of your lease.
Serviced offices are much more flexible. The terms are often shorter – in initial term of around six months is typical and then you will only need to give around three months notice if you want to leave. Often serviced office suites come in larger buildings so you end up with a lot of companies in the same building. Serviced offices will generally come ready-to-use, no need for fitting-out and sometimes they come furnished. The cost per square foot of serviced offices may seem high but normally heating, power and business rates (the latter can be hefty) are included. Often broadband is included too. If you add all this up it can be competitive with a full lease, though often can be a little more.
But don’t forget having all this included saves a lot of administration too. Flexibility is the key with serviced offices: if your company grows, or if you decide to down-size, there is a good chance you’ll find a suitable new room in the same building, or because you’re not tied-in you can up-sticks and find one elsewhere.
As you can see, serviced offices offer big advantages for smaller businesses, especially start-ups, growing businesses and self-employed people who want their own office but don’t want the hassle of administering it.