A key part of a great company is often having somewhere centralised where people can come together into a creative and relaxing space and share their ideas but, in London, it’s usually not that easy to find. In fact, if you’re doing all the leg work yourself, it probably feels like you’re ramming your head repeatedly into a wall.
At YLD (where I’m now helping out with Ops and HR) we’re currently in the process of finding somewhere to lay our hats, and so thought it would be worth sharing some of the sources we’ve found useful (especially if you’re a start-up and/or have limited funds).
An important point to bear in mind, as with house hunting in London, is that if it’s on with an Estate Agent it’s probably already gone. For commercially licensed property there’s not too much advertised on mainstream sites like Rightmove anyway, but worth knowing.
- Start looking early – probably a good 6 months before you actually need the space, if possible, as this will give you more choice.
- Decide what you need – is a private office essential, or could co-working space be an option? There are some great accelerators and co-working buildings you could look at, and these probably have a lot of facilities/infrastructure already in place which you can start using immediately.
- Decide how much work you want to do – if you want to use your existing network to find out what might be coming up (ask friends, colleagues, spread the word about what you’re looking for) or if you want to use a specialist to help with the search. They promise to take a lot of the pain out of the process, but they will charge a fee.
- Budget – have a clear idea of your budget and start to get a feel for different areas of London and what they cost. Some are very pricy but may not actually suit you best in terms of your travel needs. Something in Zone 2/3 might be more convenient and much cheaper. Think about Service Charges (charged for maintenance of your building) on top of Business Rates (payable to your local Council), electricity, gas, cleaning, internet and phone lines, as well as installing any desks/features.
- Consider residential – decide if you want to go for a pre-licensed commercial property or get your own residential space and go through process of getting it licensed. May be easier to find.