Cheap office space London

If you’re searching for office space in the capital, read on to discover the key ways to secure a space that’s best suited to your business’ needs

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Has your startup outgrown its current premises? Are you now interested in finding cheap office space in London?

Do you want your business to be based in an office, at a reasonable price? Or maybe you want the respect and prestige associated with a commercial address in the UK capital?

Whatever your motivation, there are a number of ways to find cost-effective office space in London.

In this article, we’ll cover the following methods:

Select the links above to go straight to that particular section. Or, for a more general overview, read our complete guide to cheap office space in London.

1. Refine the area

London is a massive city with a variety of neighbourhoods, each with their own distinctive vibe – and price tag.

The cost of renting office space in London is the highest in Europe. Mayfair and St James’s in the West End is the most expensive area in the capital, with a rental price of £115 per square foot, while the rest of the Docklands area (excluding Canary Wharf) is the cheapest, priced at £30 per square foot, according to data published by Statista in 2018.

Therefore, it pays to thoroughly research the different areas, and decide what is most important to you and your business: quick access to the City or West End? A range of bars and restaurants for socialising? Or greenery and a more residential feel? Bear in mind that these factors are likely to have a considerable effect on office rental prices.

2. Conduct online searches

Distances in the capital can be considerable – indeed, it can often take an hour on public transport to go from one side to another. Therefore, it can be difficult to find the time to scope out potential offices in-person.

It’s possible to find lots of information on the internet, though, with plenty of office comparison sites available. You can refine results by location, price, and features, as well as size – this makes it easier to create a viewing shortlist that only features potential spaces which stand out to you, and which you think are worth the trip.

3. Understand office types

When you think of office space, you may think of a traditional building with multiple levels and cubicles. But office space in London is as varied as the city itself. You can choose from coworking spaces and serviced offices, meeting rooms only, and virtual offices – all at a wide range of price points.

So think about the type of space and facilities you require. If it’s just you running your business, then hotdesking in a coworking space – or an office renting out its extra desk space – may be most suitable.

However, if your business has a few team members or needs a secure space, then your own dedicated office in a coworking space or serviced office could be ideal. Offices like these provide the space and security you need, as well as extras like community events and socials. They will often have multiple locations in London, too.

Meanwhile, if it’s a business address you need – as well as phone answering and post handling facilities – then a virtual office may work best. This means you can operate your business from anywhere in the world, yet still have a London postcode.

Alternatively, if you need a place to hold client meetings, then booking a meeting room on an ad-hoc basis is another solution. This provides a professional space, in a spot in the city that’s convenient for you and your clients.

4. Assess lease lengths

You should also think about how long you need the office space for: are you looking for a permanent premises, or a short-term solution?

The lease or contract length can affect costs, so consider the options available to you. These could include renting a desk or a meeting room on an hourly or daily basis, while leasing a whole office could be done week-by-week or as part of a longer arrangement.

5. Hire a coworking broker

If you decide that coworking is the most cost-effective option for your business’ office needs, consider using a coworking broker to help make the process easier and quicker for you.

A coworking broker acts as a facilitator, connecting business looking for premises with office spaces needing tenants. If you’re new to London, or finding commercial property in the city for the first time, their knowledge of the local market could prove helpful.

You’re also likely to find that the roads and public transport are quieter outside of the rush hour and peak travel periods, so you can avoid the higher travelcard and congestion charges that these busy times incur.

6. Use word of mouth

Just like you would with your business’ products or services, talking to as many people as possible and letting them know that you’re looking for office space could be an effective strategy.

Whether you’re at a networking event or simply catching up with friends, be sure to let people know that you’re interested in finding office space for your business. You never know who may have a potential lead for you – and you may even be able to negotiate some ‘mates’ rates’, or another type of discount.

7. Opt for ‘no office’

Of course, one way to find some of the cheapest ‘office space’ in the capital is to not use an office at all! Cafes, libraries, and your own home can all be used as work spaces in the short term, and help you save your startup as much money as possible.

Offering your business the flexibility to be based in different locations, there are many cafes throughout the city that have wifi and communal tables. For a more chilled atmosphere, you could check out local libraries in your borough, which offer an ideal environment for quiet, focussed work.

A home office is perhaps the cheapest option available to you, as there aren’t many additional costs to budget for. This may be particularly useful for early stage startups, or if you’re still in employment in addition to running your new business. Plus, you don’t have to worry about commuting in rush hour!

Another way to avoid the pains of peak time is to work during off-peak hours. Whichever type of office space you decide to go for, think about the times and days that you’re able to work.

For example, if you’re starting a side hustle in your free time from your day job, or you’re a freelancer that can create your own schedule, consider working outside of regular business hours for lower costs. This could be hot desking in coworking spaces in the evenings or weekends, or working in hotel lobbies and bars in the daytime.

Plus, if you normally work from home, you might want to consider working in a different space for a change of scenery, or to meet other small business owners.

8. Combine the above

If you’re feeling indecisive, you could ‘pick and mix’ from the list above to create a type of office space that is best suited to what your startup requires – and what it can afford. For example, depending on your type of business, it may be possible to work from home at certain times and rent a spare desk in an office or join a coworking space on the other days.

Similarly, you could use a coworking broker, or your network, to find office space in a part of London that you hadn’t previously considered. This could all be with the goal of buying your own premises in the capital eventually.

What are the next steps?

At this point, you’ve learned more about the different options available to you when searching for cheap office space in London for your business. This includes coworking spaces, as well as renting or buying another type of office, such as shared, serviced, or virtual offices.

Next, visit our pages on what to consider when choosing office space for your business and how to choose a coworking space for more information.

Once you’ve secured a space for your startup, check out our page on how to set up your first office space for more tips, as well as our handy office move checklist guide.

Written by:
Scarlett writes for the energy and HR sections of the site, as well as managing the Just Started profiles. Scarlett is passionate about championing equality and sustainability in business.
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