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Tue, 09 September 2003

When you are planning to start in business you may wish to work from home or find you need to take on premises and consider the additional obligations this entails.
This will cost you in terms of money and also, perhaps, time, should planning permission (for example) be required. In order that you may prepare financial forecasts, you will need to be able to estimate both types of cost.
This article, and the Related Posts below will help you to:
  • make a considered decision about the type of workspace would be most appropriate;
  • know where to find help and advice to secure premises; and,
  • know what you are required to do by law to keep your premises legal.


Types of Workspace

Industrial unit
Generally large and not especially cheap, therefore mostly used by existing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are looking to expand.
Retail unit
Shops in a central location are likely to be expensive, perhaps prohibitively so. Units in side streets are generally cheaper. Choosing such a location may prove to be something of a double-edged sword: on the one hand, the location may be exploited to help promote an air of exclusivity; on the other, it will be necessary to advertise heavily in the early stages, which is likely to prove expensive, and business from passing trade is reduced.
Mobile shop
Perhaps less common than previously, the advantages of a mobile shop are that it is cheaper, and also useful for delivering door to door. You should consult your local authority about licenses and permits and ask police about regulations relating to where you may park and trade.
Special starter unit
These are premises specifically for start-up businesses. They normally have easy in, easy out terms rather than long, complicated leasing agreements, and shared services such as reception, admin, etc. There may be a time limit on how long your business may occupy a starter unit, for example up to one year.
Converted premises
These are premises in such areas/buildings as railway arches, garages or parts of old warehouses, mills or factories. Such premises might suit a number of different types of business depending on size, layout, and/or location. Be alert for conversions that aim to bring together types of businesses, for example, design or high-tech.
Market stall
A relatively cheap option, but there may be a waiting list for sites and it may prove difficult to get a license. Most markets only operate on two or three days a week, so you are likely to have to source a number of markets that trade on different days in order to build up your business.
Managed workspace
Often run by enterprise agencies, managed workspace gives access to a business unit that suits you. Generally a range of different sized units are available on easy in, easy out terms.
Office complex
These normally have shared services such as reception, admin, and so on, and may offer short-term leasing options. They may be run by commercial landlords and can help a small business project a bigger image, due to the range of support services on offer.
Science Park premises
For new, high-tech businesses that are related to academic research. Established near a number of major universities.
Enterprise Zones/Incubators
Created by the government and designated for a period of ten years to encourage enterprise, these may be anything from an industrial estate to a quite small area. Incentives to use Enterprise Zones exist and may include exemption from business rates, tax allowances, and speeding up or relaxing the application of statutory or administrative controls (eg those surrounding planning permission).

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