It’s time to put down permanent roots – but what sort of premises will you choose?

You’ve made the major decision to secure a permanent office and there is no time like the present to start looking. There are options; rent direct from a landlord, take a sublet, occupy a serviced office, or buy. The last option will require a substantial amount of finance and so is quickly eliminated.

Location, accommodation and price are the key factors. Travelling to and from work is time consuming and costly and so a radius of 10 mile from home sets out the parameters for location. Accommodation is tricky; availability should be no problem in the current economic climate, but do you take space just to meet current needs, or is there good sense in renting space which is surplus to immediate requirements, but will be available for future expansion. This can be left open until it is clear what is on offer in the market place. Most of the searching is done from your desk using the lap top. In the first instance it saves time, but the problem comes down to sifting through the overload of information to find a nugget or two.

You apply the selection by elimination process and arrange to see six sets of offices. Letting agents are so short of any hint of a let that you are given the five-star treatment, with collection at your door and chauffeur driven around the premises on offer. It comes down to two runners in the end and with little to choose between them, you opt for the one situated nearest to home. It is an office located over a number of shops built about 25 years ago, open plan, with three car parking spaces. The amount of floor area will provide room for modest expansion.

The sums seem to add up: 600 square feet at £14 per square foot, with council tax and service charges will leave change out of £15,000 per annum. A five years lease; a six months’ rent free period; a break clause which operates after three years; looks good. All that is required to finance the cost is an additional fee earner and the necessary work. With the rent free period, you feel bullish that this is eminently achievable.

The walls and ceilings need a lick of paint; the lighting is good; no air-conditioning, but at least the windows open. All you require is the minimum of partitions, a carpet and a few sticks of furniture and the whole show is up and running.

A call to the agent to give him the good news and if you were a smoker you would light up a good cigar. No doubt the agent will be hot footing it to the premises to erect the “Let” sign You wonder whether it would be wise to seek advice on the terms of the lease. There seems little need to make the decision until the lease arrives when you can then take a view.