When it comes to searching for properties, they say that location is everything. However, that may not always be the case with business premises. Yes, if you own a retail store or a hair salon, location will still be very important, but there are many other factors in deciding where to plant your roots. If you’re looking for your first business premises, ask yourself these ten questions before making a choice.
Why Is It Empty?
You may thing you’ve found the perfect property, but if it’s been empty for a while, there’s often a very good reason. Although it may be in the right location or it may be big enough to house all of your staff, you should always do thorough checks before agreeing to anything. Perhaps there is damp that you haven’t noticed or maybe the rent is too high for what the building offers. Get a professional do check through the property and report back to you instead of blindly going ahead.
Is There Parking?
You need to consider parking for both staff and clients. Although some clients may be willing to park elsewhere and make it to the building by foot, you may find that you gradually lose clients for the same reason. People want convenience these days and difficulty getting to a business can seem like a waste of time for some. Make sure your premises has ample parking for anyone who may visit on a regular basis.
What is the Footfall?
If you’re running a retail business, knowing the footfall is especially important before agreeing to a let or buy. If there isn’t enough footfall for your business to make the money it needs to stay afloat, you can’t justify being there. It’s also important to do your research into the kind of footfall in the area. If you’re running a women’s nail salon but the footfall is 70% men aged 50 and above, you’re unlikely to get much business. Knowing this information way advance will help you decide on location and premises. Not knowing could be detrimental to your business.
PWhat Work Needs to Be Done?
So, you’ve found the ideal premises, but it needs a little work. Taking on a building that needs work before opening your doors is okay, as long as you know exactly what’s involved. The last thing you want to have to do is call an emergency electrician on your opening day. Find out from different sources what the problems are and get some quotes on how much they’ll cost to fix. Ask your real estate agent, a surveyor and the landlord to give you an idea of what jobs need doing.
Can I Afford It?
It’s no good signing your name on the dotted line if you’re going to be in arrears six months later. You need to work out how much you can reasonably afford before making any commitments. That also goes for properties that require work done. Can you afford to do the work and pay the rent/mortgage? It’s important to know the business income and expenditures and figure out what you can afford to pay each month, even on a bad business month.
How Much Will My Insurance Cost?
There are many business owners who make the mistake of not researching how much the buildings insurance will cost. When it comes to using the building for business and finally putting insurance in place, you may be surprised by how costly insurance is. This can be for many reasons. Perhaps there has been a fire in the building previously or a claim made by a previous tenant. Insuring a building for business purposes shouldn’t be so costly that it makes a big dent in your budget. Make sure to find out about insurance before setting your eyes on any premises.
How Much Do Utility Bills Cost?
Paying utility bills is just part and parcel of owning or renting a building. You’ll be responsible for paying for the heat and air systems, water, tax and many others. These costs will all depend on the amount you use each month and the location you’re in. Sadly, some locations are more expensive than others, so it’s wise to prepare yourself with the information before going ahead. You should be able to work out, roughly, how much you’ll be spending each month on utilities for the building and whether you can afford it.
PHow Long is the Lease?
For businesses looking for a long-term premises, a short-term lease could be a bad idea. Although it’s easy to assume that short-term leases can be renewed when needed, the landlord may have other ideas. Just as you establish your business in a new area, you may find that the landlord wants to sell the property instead of lease it. Before agreeing to any terms, find out why the lease is short. If your business doesn’t rely upon staying in one area the way many retail businesses do, a short-term lease could be a good option.
How Easily Can I Get Out of a Lease?
There are many times when business owners find the property they’ve chosen isn’t the right fit for their business. In this instance, they may want to leave and find a more suitable property but their lease restricts them from doing so. Before signing a lease, it’s important to find out how ironclad it is. Are you able to get out of a lease early if the property isn’t suitable?
Can I Take Deliveries?
A big part of many businesses is being able to take delivery of stock. Whether it’s office supplies or clothing for a retail store, there has to be an easy way to make deliveries. If your suppliers find it difficult to deliver to you, it could create a problem in your relationship. Find out how your property can accept deliveries and if there is anything that could potentially cause a problem on delivery days.
The right property is always out there if you ask the right questions.
*This is a contributed post