Buying a commercial property for a new start-up business

Picking the right location, good transport links, and fitting out your business premises well is crucial for success. Here’s how to get it right

A new business property for your start-up company is its calling card. Reputation can be based on getting the right premises in a prime location – but should your clients and customers come to you, or should you go to them? And what should they expect to find when they use your business for the first time?

Many start-up retail, sales and hire companies stem from learning from businesses who are ‘doing it wrong’, or tapping into the wrong audience, leaving a gap for you and your business idea. One of the more common gaps available is location.

It should come as no surprise that simply moving a business to a new location could reap dividends – but many leases and property contractual terms will not allow businesses to ‘up-sticks’ so easily. This leaves your start-up immediately ahead of the competition should you be looking to buy new commercial property and get a head start.

This article will look at getting the basic location of your new company right, and refitting or refurbishing previously let or owned property.

The ‘push-me, pull-you’ effect

A key reason for picking a location, or a business’s ill-advised location, is transport links and whether clients, customers and tradesmen should be coming to you, or you should be going to them.

Where to locate wholesalers and DIY stores

In areas with slow moving inner-city traffic levels during regular nine-to-five hours, many customers might prefer to nip in to outer ring-road locations, where you might typically find large wholesalers and DIY stores.

New company reps looking to target your business would also find more time for you should they not get stuck in gridlocked traffic, as one-way systems bring busy lunchtime trade to a standstill. Large collections from wholesale companies will also be hindered by vehicle load limitations around pedestrianised areas or typical city centre roads and bridges.

Where to locate car or home wares showrooms

Car showrooms, bath-stores, furniture warehouses and industrial paint depots are best located on retail parks, usually slightly out-of-town.

Premises and properties in these areas are frequently easy to find, dependant on how much work you are willing to put into getting it up-to-scratch. New builds may offer immediate out-of-the box facilities – but their location and prices could be above your budget.

Where to locate equipment hire companies

For foot and walk-in sales, lower levels of delivery and pick-up vehicle volumes, the city centres may be best suited for your company. For tool hire companies who wish to attract out-of-town and local tradesmen, as well as contractors in city centres, the halfway mark between the city centre and outer ring-roads may be a prime location.

Where to locate cash and carry businesses

And finally, for heavy online orders, bulk sales, regular drop-offs and collections, large storage facility requirements and secure premises with great CCTV coverage from surrounding businesses, retail outlets, commercial and factory estates would be ideal to build your new company from the ground up.

Remember to check local parking opportunities the closer you get to the city and town centres, heavy load vehicular access for delivery wagons, and even internet or broadband providers for your company.

The importance of a great refit

Immediately, regardless of whether your new business is for footfall, off-the-street customers only, requires forklift trucks in the warehouse, is an e-commerce office space, includes manufacturing equipment, short, mid or long-term stock storage capabilities, or has a workforce of two to 200, you need to invest in high quality and heavy duty decorating, storage and security features.

Meet fire regulations

Refurbs and premises upgrades need to ensure that they adhere to fire regulation certification, have sufficient fire escapes and passive fire protection equipment – sprinkler systems, fire extinguishers, fire retardant paint or steel intumescent coatings on the building’s structure, walls, ceilings and any additional partitions.

Use industrial quality paint

Floor paints should be purchased from an industrial and heavy duty paint specialist company, so that they are resilient to light or heavy vehicular use, anti-slip, anti-scuff and even anti-static for the handling of electrical components.

Repair tired or damaged areas

Repair work needs to be done in advance and prior to settling in – otherwise that first impression with your new customers and client-base could be very off-putting. Commonly overlooked repair-work includes damaged and discoloured car parking bays, tired and weathered, or rusted cladding, and damp problems around storage areas.

Use your brand colours and identity

Decorate to brand, and with the best materials you will be setting your start-up off with a flying chance of social media, online print and word-of-mouth praise. Don’t forget to set-up an account with TrustPilot (or similar) for online reviews, a Google Plus and LinkedIn account, for online marketing away from Twitter and Facebook profiles, as well as publishing up-to-date opening hours with local online directories – many of which like to display a recent property/business photograph.

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