The offices in which a business is based can have a massive impact on the success of the business. Not only must the location be convenient for workers and visitors to reach, but as it forms a major expense to the company, it is critical that the office provides what the company needs, and hidden charges are not over looked. The three main office types offer different facilities, however it is often very hard to make direct comparisons due to the variability in what is included within a quote. Here is a simple guide of what to expect from each property type and a few questions to ask future landlords, which may highlight any additional costs.
- Leased Space– a fixed term and price agreement, typically over 3 years. All property occupation costs are paid by the tenant. For stable established businesses (not growing or shrinking) this may be favourable. (Similar to a house with a mortgage.)
- Serviced offices – a furnished office or suite provided with a range of included services normally charged on a price per desk basis, that is to say the number of people not area, therefore as the company grows, so will the cost of the rates! (Similar to living in a hotel.)
- Managed space – offices with a negotiated range of services, e.g. furniture, rates, heating, meeting room and car parking included, but internet, phones etc are not included. These premises are charged at a price per area basis, and so allow more flexibility for growing or shrinking businesses. (Similar to renting a flat.)
Here at Send Business Centre (SBC) we can offer you any of these models depending on your preferences, and will always be upfront about all of your costs. Below are some important questions to ask when enquiring about office space (and what we would answer!)
How much car parking is included? Often locations will fail to mention that with your rent, only 1 or 2 parking spaces are included- additional spaces will add a lot on to your initial estimates. For example an average parking space in Woking last year cost £2340 per annum and in Guildford, prices reach over 3k! Here at SBC we have unlimited parking for all your employees and visitors at NO EXTRA COST.
Can we keep the same telephone number? Have you just had your business cards printed, but due to a move now need to change your contact numbers? Many offices own the numbers at their locations and will not allow number portability.
SBC are more than happy for you to use existing numbers or to take your numbers with you if you decide to leave, so that you save the hassle of changing all of your contact details.
How much are telephone charges and is there any flexibility in what provider you can use? Are you forced into a package for both phone and internet? At a number of serviced and managed offices, businesses have no choice but to use the service that the building offers and often VOIP (voice over internet protocol) services are blocked and so using skype is not an option. Package deals can result in a great expense on top of your basic rentals.
What is included in my line rental? Are there any extra charges? Many centres will charge extra for additional numbers and 0202 or 0845 numbers.
SBC offer low charges for VoIP rental (significantly cheaper than BT – SBC offers 0.69p and 6p in comparison to BTs 1p and 9p, for mobiles and landlines respectively), however the option is yours. Our telephone service allows many numbers to be picked up from the same physical phone (eg. 01483 and 020 numbers both call to the phone on your desk). Also, the same number can be picked up by three different phones in different geographical locations (mirroring), allowing you to receive those all-important calls from home or while you are away from your desk and answer calls from your mobile using the office number (included in the price – see VoIP telephony document for more details). Other services such as 10 direct dials, hunt groups allowing ID of incoming calls by origin and number called, daily call log emailed overnight, voicemail, voicemail to email, call queuing, divert to mobile, web log in to manage diverts, voicemails and personal address book are included free unlike our competitors who charge extra for these services.
What is the broadband/internet speed? Some offices may quote you an impressive speed (mbps) for uploads and downloads, but are they giving you the full story? Did they ever mention a maximum contention ratio? If the office is fed internet from a BT exchange box then during peak times (for example 6-8pm at home), performance may significantly drop due to high demand (similar to energy surges that occur due to the high demand for putting the kettle on in ‘the break’ before Eastenders). SBC owns its own fibre optic providing broadband to the building. This means that no one can share the mbps and so not only do we have a very fast speed (100mbps), our maximum contention ratio is always low due to our dedicated fibre (only SBC occupants can use it!! In addition, our service is symmetrical ensuring that your uploads and downloads occur at the same speed. SBC can also offer dedicated leased line services and provide a free fixed IP address.
Is the charge per workstation/desk or a flat charge per room? This should be carefully considered depending on the future of the company. If you are charged per room, this will allow flexibility for the growth of your company. If you are charged per desk, then the growth of your company will be followed by a growth in your rent! SBC charges per room and so your company can grow without an increase in fixed costs. Additionally, we are often able to adapt the space to your needs and so instead of moving your business miles away, it may be possible to just move down the corridor, or we often carry out partitioning/work as required to suit our clients needs.
Why do serviced/managed offices often seem much more expensive than leased offices?
A simple answer… You get what you pay for! When leasing an office there are many unforeseen costs, therefore projecting a budget is very difficult. At SBC we offer you a huge range of facilities all INCLUDED in your rent so there is no need for you to worry about it!
These include: Free cleaning – emptying of bins and hoovering nightly
No VAT is payable as the buildings are exempt
Air conditioning and heating
Free parking for employees and visitors
Fibre Broadband through cat 6 connections
Not for profit phone charges
Wireless enabled canal garden
CCTV monitored security
SBC offers a flexible service which will ensure the perfect work location for you! Every business is different and we feel this must be matched with tailor made office spaces and options. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any enquiries about our site and the office or studio space we could offer you.
As Owner-managers we are different to other centres and it is our aim to under promise but over deliver. With an average stay of over 5 years in an industry which averages 15 months in serviced offices, we must be
doing something right!