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Of all the modern business premises, trade spaces are perhaps the most unique. At Pall Mall Estates, we're experts in finding our customers the very best properties in the UK, many of them available to let on flexible terms.
We pride ourselves on bringing trade spaces with good central locations, ideal for either building a new customer base or maintaining your existing one. A good location is vital to trade businesses: the more access you have to potential customers the better.
What are your unique needs?
Needless to say, 'trade' is a real umbrella term, so no two trade spaces are the same. A plumber who operates as a sole trader isn't going to have the same needs as a small builder with 20 employees. Here, then, we're going to take a look at the things you'll need to bear in mind when picking out your trade space.
Have a specification in mind
It's always a good idea to spend time drawing up a specific list of what you'll need from your new trade space. This specification should take in a number of different factors, including:
- The specific size and layout you think you'll need
- How the space will need to be structured internally and externally
- If you have any specific structural requirements - high ceilings, for instance
- Facilities you'll need for employees, or visitors to the property
- Specific utility requirements: i.e. your business might require something like three-phase electricity
- Permission to make modifications if you need them. This can be particularly useful if you plan to expand at any point.
- Parking and general access
As well as others.
Though the spec isn't a guarantee that you'll get everything you want, it's far better to know in advance exactly what you're looking for. You'll always be limited by what's available, but the last thing you need is to sign a lease and then realise you've missed something important.
Find the perfect location
As we already noted above, location is often the most important success factor for any business. Especially one like trade, which relies on working directly with customers. There are a number of key things to consider in terms of location:
- Will you get any passing trade? Not all trade businesses are going to rely on passing custom, but some will. If you depend on your shop-front to attract new customers, then you'll need a more central location than a firm using the web to find new business.
- Are there any competitors nearby? In some cases, competitors can be a good thing: estate agents, for instance, are often found close to each other. However, your firm may suffer for being close to competitors. Again, you'll have to account for this in your specification.
- Are there any restrictions on delivery or posting? The chances are that, as a trade business, you'll require your space to have good delivery access. The more often you receive deliveries, the more substantial your delivery facilities will need to be.
- What are the business rates likely to be? Business rates - the commercial equivalent of council tax - will, like the residential version, vary according to the location of the property. You'll need to take this into account: it may be that you can afford the property in itself, but that the rates take the price above your budget. Research this in advance.
- Are there any local amenities? This is particularly relevant if you have employees working alongside you. Anyone working in your premises will ideally want local facilities nearby such as banks and post offices, as well as places to eat and enjoy their breaks. This isn't a legal requirement, of course, but to keep the best employees it's a very good idea.
This is the other major factor when it comes to choosing the right property. As with selecting a residential home, you'll need to take into account all of the major costs to ensure your new trade space is well within your budget. Rent and mortgage payments aren't the only thing you'll need to pay for. Other major things to look at include:
- Any initial costs, such as legal costs in the case of buying the property, or surveyors.
- Any initial fit-out costs, which for larger properties can be substantial. Expect to spend tens of thousands to have a medium sized space completely re-done.
- Any alterations that need to be made to ensure the property complies with building, health and safety regulations and standards. (This is obviously particularly relevant to trade firms, where building site laws may apply).
- Extra ongoing charges such as water, electricity and gas. These MAY be included within the rental agreement, though that is less common these days. (It's always worth asking, of course).
- As mentioned above, business rates will be standard.
- Insurance, both contents and building. Again, the building insurance won't necessarily be your responsibility, but in some cases it can be. Ensure you've thoroughly read your lease agreement. Contents insurance will usually be the responsibility of the tenant.