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If you have a start-up that’s coming out of the fledgling stage you might be thinking about moving from your spare room to an office of your own – you first need additional info about the movers and packers you would be hiring. And then, you need to decide whether it should be a leased or a serviced office.

The traditional option is the leased office, but start-ups often opt for serviced premises. If you look at the office space you could get quite bewildered, so let’s make things simple.

The serviced option

Serviced offices are ready – they’re fully-equipped with sonic internet, phone lines and usually furniture – and they’re maintained by a management company. They also tend to offer more flexible rental deals –months rather than years.

The leased option

A leased office means you rent from a commercial landlord and you’re responsible for the upkeep and facilities yourself. Additionally you’re usually locked into a medium to long-term contract.

Leased or serviced offices suit businesses at different stages and sizes. Which one suits you?

Budget and equipment

The cheaper leased office looks better initially, but you’ll spend time and money on installing phones, internet and furniture. You’ll also be tied in for three or more years with the obligation to pay a penalty for moving out earlier.

Serviced offices are pricier, but everything’s set up for you and you pay just one monthly bill for everything. Plus, you only have to give as little as a month’s notice to quit, which is reassuring if you need to move back to your spare room.

The benefit of leased offices though is that you can get the exact specialised equipment you need. For example you may want an adjustable chair which may not be an option with a serviced office. Some serviced offices may also be slow or reluctant to replace faulty or malfunctioning equipment, therefore discretion is advised.

Where is your business at and where’s it going?

You have to think short-term v long-term here. If your business is already fairly established, running well and with no immediate plans to upscale or downscale, and you already have furniture and so on, then a leased place is right for you.

If you’re a start-up, and you don’t know how big (or small) you’ll be in a year’s time, it makes more sense to look at a short-term contract with a serviced office. If you need to move, there’s only a short notice period.

Do you have more time or more money?

Leased offices cost less per desk, but they might soak up a lot of time and organization. Even the long-term contract needs a legal eye casting over it before it’s signed and that’s before you get in the electricity, the phone, the internet, the janitorial services, and source repair companies. With a serviced office, you’ll be delegating all that to a management company. If you’d rather spend more and not worry about improving the dodgy internet connection, a serviced premises is for you.

Company brand and identity

Your office should reflect your brand, and the greater control afforded by a leased office means you can add your identity. This is a consideration that becomes more important as your business matures, however.

For start-ups, brand identity is secondary to looking professional – serviced offices have receptionists and meeting rooms, for example. It won’t be as personalised, but it’ll function and you can work on establishing your brand before you imprint it on a more long-term place.

Andy McGowan
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