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London’s office market is fast paced and unforgiving, and as a startup, finding your first office can seem like a daunting task. But in reality, it really doesn’t have to be.  While it’s true that London is one of the most expensive office markets on the globe, there are a number of tips and tricks that if followed can land you quality yet affordable space. For a small or growing business your options can seem limited upon entering the market, but keeping an open mind to alternatives can save you valuable time and money.

How to Search for Offices

Coworking

Before you start your search it is probably wise to ask yourself the question: Do you really need private space? If you’re not 100% certain the answer is yes then it may be an idea to look at coworking options. These can work out a good deal cheaper for smaller teams and are actually preferred by a lot of startups for their open and collaborative nature. But if privacy is of the essence then let’s move on.

Compromise on Location

If you are willing to expand your search area you may be able to bag yourself a bargain. We wouldn’t advise compromising on things such as transport links and useful amenities, but if you are considering certain areas because of their cool image or impressive addresse then it is sensible to broaden your horizons for a better deal. There are a number of central locations in London that are still throwing up cheap deals so it’s definitely worth while spending some time redefining your search boundaries if you want to keep costs down.

Try to get office space that is fully fitted out

In the past it was habit to strip offices of all fixtures, fittings and partitions for the purpose of sale. The intent behind this was to present offices as “carte blanche” to potential tenants with the idea that they could visualise transforming the space into their own. Despite this, in recent years astute tenants have been seeking out space with toilets, partitions, kitchens and other facilities already in situ to save significant amounts on their budget. By getting in on a deal before the office is returned to its empty shell you can save a substantial amount money that would otherwise have been spent kitting out the empty space.

Take over Someone else’s Lease

One way to negotiate an excellent rate is to take over someone else’s lease. You will have to be fortunate enough to catch a business looking to move mid-term, but this is more common than you may think. This usually occurs when a business quickly outgrows their space and are in desperate need for someone to take over the cost when they move to bigger lodgings or indeed smaller ones. Due to the companies predicament some are even willing to take a loss, as long as someone covers the majority of the costs.

Look for Offices That Have Been Left Empty

Looking for space that has sat empty for long periods of time is a great way to get an office below the market rate. The longer a building has sat on the market, the more likely you can negotiate a deal down. Finding spaces like this may take some work which leads us nicely onto our next point…

Get help from professionals

Getting professional help is important for a range of reasons. Professional firms will be able to sniff out the kind of deals we mentioned above and through their extensive knowledge of the market they’ll be able to get on top of the best bargains before everyone else.  Remember, rent is always negotiable and having an expert’s knowledge on your side can be of vital importance when trading blows with landlords.

Going it alone  can throw up various problems with unexpected costs and legal issues and can waste a large amount of your time and resources which can be better spent focussing on your business.

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