Harry Platt answers some quickfire questions about finding office space
Who are you?
Harry Platt, CEO of Workspace Group
What do you do?
We provide affordable, flexible managed workspace for new and growing businesses in London and the South East.
Why should I care?
Because we cater for businesses like yours by offering flexible leases on property ranging from 200-3,000 sq ft. You may want to open a small ‘satellite’ office. With us you get the security of tenure but none of the trappings and can expand or contract the space you require.
What mistake will you prevent me making?
A lot of companies like yours get trapped into leases at a stage when their business is growing rapidly. Our workspace isn’t just office area, we provide anything from warehousing to food production areas – so you’ll never be restricted. Too often companies can’t develop as they want to, or even amalgamate with one another, because they can’t get out of contracts. We try to keep things as simple as possible: all our contracts are in friendly, plain English.
How will you save me money?
Our flexibility and selection of premises – we have more than 100 estates of property and 5.5m sq ft – saves you money because we can provide the space to grow with your business. In addition, you’ll be located with other businesses like yours offering excellent trading opportunities. We have a community group called Trade Link where more than 600 of our tenants interact. We offer insurance and broadband services which benefit from economies of scale, and we also believe we offer a very affordable service overall.
Do you specialise in any particular sectors?
No and we’re proud of the diversity of the companies working with us. We have estates directed more at the creative industries, some focused on food production and other groupings but believe we can offer workspace for any first or second-stage company.
Give me an example of one of the clients you’ve accommodated in several stages of business
One chap first came to us in 1991 in the middle of the recession and took one of our smallest industrial units. His business gradually grew and in the end was occupying a third of one of our estates. We were looking for him to move to free up space so we procured a bigger building for him of 3,000 sq ft and agreed a lease where he’d eventually own it. The building will be his by January.
Why should I trust you?
Firstly, we’re a public company and so our accounts are fully transparent, but we also make great efforts to force that transparency through the business. But more than anything, we’d suggest just talking to our clients – they’re the best judges of what we do and we’ll always pop in and see other businesses when showing prospective clients around a space. Most of our business comes via word of mouth.
Are you as ambitious as I am?
We’re very eager to continue expanding and will have completed £90m of new acquisitions this year, confirming us as the largest provider of workspace for businesses like yours in London.
Let’s talk money… What will it cost me?
For a 400 sq ft of workspace near Tower Bridge it’ll cost you less than £10,000 a year. On average, our customers pay £10 per sq ft and take 100 sq ft.