Home versus office? Where to base your business

Holly Thomas / 26 January 2016

If your business needs a physical presence, should you work from home, rent an office or hire desk space?

Small business owners must choose the perfect location for their business if they need a physical presence. With so many internet-based firms around today, many people save costs by working from home.

But this isn’t always possible as not everyone has the space or the right environment in which to do this.

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So where can you set up?

Renting an office

Renting an office is the first option. This will mean committing to a set period, and of course, cost money. 

Given that landlords prefer lease terms of three to five years, it can be a significant commitment. Sometimes landlords offer incentives to sign up for longer, such as the first 12 months free, which can help with cash flow enormously.

There are other things to consider, such as location. The commute is a crucial factor. Ask yourself – can my clients get there without a hassle? Can I and my employees get there easily?

The image and reputation of the area is also important. Being based somewhere with rock-bottom rates will be a false economy if it’s a dodgy area that loses you business.

However, not everyone will want to shell out for premises before they are at least established. That’s why sharing an office is a popular option as it is cheaper and far more flexible.

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Sharing an office

Check out sharemyoffice.com where people advertise single desks for those who work alone but want company. 

Much of the advertised space is in London but there are plenty in and around other UK cities such as Manchester, Walsall in the West Midlands, Warwick, near Aberdeen in Scotland, as well as Dublin in Ireland.

Sharing space with another company saves money not only on the office rent, but also on the cost of common areas like kitchens and bathrooms. 

For referral purposes, it's ideal to share with complementary businesses, such as an architect with a builder or a PR firm with a web designer. 

There should be a formal agreement between tenants, even if it's month to month. So make sure there’s some paperwork drawn up.

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Hiring desk space

Alternatively you can use companies, such as Regus, which own office space in cities and offer a choice of shared and private office spaces for part-time use – all of which can be selected at just a day’s notice.

Working from home is another option for those who want to start small and minimize outlay. 

If you need somewhere to meet clients, or even just a break from working alone there’s lots of support these days to get you out and about. 

“Tech hubs” are springing up all over larger cities encouraging development. These so-called hubs offer the opportunity to work in an office space with other start-ups, giving you access to a wide range of events and connections with key business institutions and experts. You pay a monthly fee to use their desks and have access to meeting rooms, which may be invaluable for when you want to host client meetings.

For more useful tips and information, browse our business and work articles.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.