Small Business Premises in 5 Steps

How do I choose my business premises?


One of the biggest decisions you will make when starting your small business is where you will be based.

Choosing your premises isn’t a decision you should take lightly and often the success of your business will be dependent on location.

Here are 5 Steps to help you choose the right premises for your business.

1. Determine your needs

Your needs will depend on the type of business you’re operating as well as your budget.

Do you need a physical location? Do you have storage requirements? Could you base your business from home?

There are a number of options available to you which include:

  • Warehouse
  • Serviced office
  • Home office
  • Retail shop
  • Technology or business incubator
  • A co-working space.

Consider whether you are interested in buying or leasing your premises and set yourself a preliminary budget.

If you’re specifically interesting in basing your business at home, check out our article on must knows for home businesses.

2. Choose a location

It’s critical you consider the location of your premises carefully.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you need to be near specific transport links or public transport?
  • What would be convenient for your target market?
  • Is there a location where your target market may already be visiting? For example a dog grooming store may set up next to a pet store.
  • Are there complementary businesses nearby eg. A bakery may want to set up next to a butcher.
  • Are their competitors nearby and do you want to be located near them?
  • Do you need exposure to a lot of the general public eg. would a busy road or shopping centre be a good option for you?

3. Create a checklist

You should create a checklist of all the different requirements you have and what are non-negotiationables. This list may include:

√ Transport options

√ Visibility

√ Access and parking for customers, employees and deliveries

√ Convenience – for your customers, yourself, suppliers

√ Access to target market

√ Surrounding businesses’ health

√ Neighbourhood and safety/crime rate

√ Competitors

√ How many work stations do you need to fit?

√ Storage

√ Fixtures (included not included)

√ Lease options (length of lease, options for renewal and price increases)

√ Purchase price

√ Running costs – utilities, building services, security, parking

√ Landlord’s reputation

√ Condition and appearance

√ Costs for refurbishments, additions, furniture or building work

√ Options for future expansion

√ Current and future zoning restrictions

√ Licenses, permits, inspections required eg. What approvals do you need to carry out any works or put up signage? Do you need a health inspection? How much would these items cost?

√  Inclusions and exclusions eg. do they offer a reception service?

√ If it’s a shared space what exactly do you get and what insurances do they have in place?

If you have chosen to base yourself from home instead, you will still need to consult a similar checklist especially in relation to local approvals and insurances.

4. Research and identify business premises

Once you have pinpointed a location, you should conduct research into what’s available. You can conduct online research, consult a real estate agent specialising in commercial properties and speak to your network of friends and peers.

You will want to inspect the premises in person. You may want to take a colleague, family member or friend with you to give you a second point of view.

Check the suitability of the premises using your checklist.

You may find after this research that you may need to compromise on some items or revise your budget.

Then you should be able to finalise your preferred option.

5. Make arrangements

Now you will want to organise the purchase or lease of the premises.

You will want to compare different purchase or lease agreements. Consider why some may be more expensive than others? Cheaper may not mean better for you in the long-run. Consider lease renewal options and ongoing costs and maintenance.

You should also consult a solicitor for advice on the terms and conditions before you sign anything and speak to a financial adviser or accountant to help confirm your budget and ongoing costs. You may also like a professional building inspection undertaken.

Remember not to take the decision about business premises lightly. The wrong location can be one of the costliest mistakes for a business.

Don’t forget to check out our 5 Steps to Starting a Business.