Commercial Expansion? Making Sure your New Location Fits the Bill

Embarking on a commercial expansion for a business of any size is a big risk if you haven’t done the proper research. Even if you know there is demand for your product or service in that particular area, the location of your new branch or office can greatly affect sales and enquiries. If the property is not in an ideal location but the property itself is sublime, you may want to invest in local advertising although this in itself can have setbacks. You might have chosen the perfect location for a new branch, but the property in itself is a little lacking. Read on for our guide on what you need to check for when making sure your new location fits the bill.

Condition of the Property
Before you look at anything else you should pay close attention to the property itself. Is it a quick renovation job that is likely to take only a few weeks, or are you looking at underlying problems that will take months to sort out? It is important that you make this judgement now and not when your employees are spending weeks in a shell of an office waiting for both the carpet and the ceiling to be installed simultaneously. More serious defects such as mould, damp and asbestos removal can take longer and can be expensive depending on the severity of such defects, so a detailed survey or building condition report in these situations Is essential.

You will also need to think about what you want to install in the property; does this property have everything you need? Are there enough plug sockets? Will you need to knock down a wall to make more room? Consider everything you will have to do in order to get it to working standard and weigh that against the benefits of the location you are looking at. There is no use putting more and more money into a project that doesn’t make for a good return investment. See what needs doing and tally it up.

Shop Front Appearance
Do you work in an office that is not client facing, or are you a retailers or service shop that regularly deals with customers, perhaps even on a daily basis? Depending on the style of your industry, you may have different options when looking at the new location for your commercial expansion. For office businesses where you are unlikely to interact with clients other than through email and by phone, you can afford to look in locations other than the town centre. You can look at office blocks or blocks that have been repurposed and you don’t have to worry too much about an accessible office, particularly if clients are not likely to walk through the door.

With retail, you have a duty to the customer and it is important that your shop front is appealing and accessible to customers. You want it to properly reflect your brand and cast your business in a positive light. If the local area and the shop front appearance seems to be a little run down, this will have to be rectified when moving. A good overall appearance will help your new consumer base to trust the work you do.

Accessibility
Is your new office easy to access? Will your staff members and clients be able to easily reach it, or will you have to send them directions? If there are any discernible landmarks in the local area, this is a good time to use them as reference points. If you can, try to choose a location that is easily remembered or in plain sight from a car. While many offices prefer to be out of the way, if you want your business to be reachable by clients and potential clients alike, it is good to be visible.

Can your business be accessed without a car? Whether you work in an urban or rural environment your business may suffer if it can only be reached by clients who have a car. For client facing businesses, accessibility is essential, as you want to be available for your clients, even just for a quick ten-minute meeting.

Parking
Both clients and employees will need parking unless you are willing to provide a carpool. If your new business location is off the beaten path, parking is essential and is something you will certainly have to look for when looking at candidates. If there is no site parking, look into the options available to see whether or not your employees will be able to park properly. While pay and display car parks are convenient, it is unacceptable in all honesty to expect your employees to have to pay for them every day. If there is a building manager who has a number of assigned parking seats, try to work something out with them. Having parking at your new location will be a huge plus!

As a business owner, whether it is a small, family run business or a national multi-location business spanning decades of experience, choosing the perfect property for a new branch or retail store is crucial. You need to weigh up both the pros and the cons of the location of your choice and to see if you are likely to make up the costs of a commercial expansion. A project such as this is not likely to come lightly, so it is important to take into account professional opinions and a realistic planning period. But if you’ve done all the research and feel confident in the new location, then go for it!

Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Chartered Surveyors firm Tim Greenwood Associates, who were consulted over this post.

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