Serviced offices making a difference to SMEs

Once a small business has been established, often from the dining-room table or spare bedroom, its next headache is often trying to source suitable office accommodation to support its growth says commercial property agent Prop-Search.

The conventional leasing market cannot always meet the demand for space and flexibility from the growing number of SMEs in the UK.  All too often a standard commercial lease will be for a fixed period, often a minimum of three to five years, and many small businesses cannot accurately predict their requirements over this time span.  Furthermore, there is the dilemma of the size of accommodation to take on – too small could stifle development and inhibit organic growth, whilst premises too large may prove expensive and take-up valuable cash reserves.

Samantha Jones, an Associate Director at Prop-Search, says: “The key for many SMEs is being able to control risk and being suitably agile in responding to changeable economic conditions.  Managed business centres are ideal for adaptive businesses because they offer short-term contracts, often alongside provisions for office support services such as manned reception areas and facilities for refreshments.”

The serviced office sector has expanded its market exponentially over the past decade to meet with the growing demand.  There are now various options throughout Northamptonshire, but to the east of the Country centres such as the Linden Enterprise Centre, the Belgrade Business Centre and Tingdene House – all in Wellingborough – and the Wollaston Innovation Centre have been launched are filling up fast.

Flexibility is one of the key drivers that persuade an organisation to use serviced offices as are fixed operating costs.  By their nature, serviced offices include most or all of the running costs such as rent, business rates, lighting and power, water rates, security, cleaning, building and plant maintenance, elevators and insurance.  Often additional support services such as access to office equipment and additional services such as book-keeping, broadband etc can be bolted on.

Samantha Jones concludes: “Many of the occupiers attracted to these Business Centres are expanding rapidly, but unwilling to commit to long leases for conventional office space.  They see the option of serviced offices as providing a greater choice to accommodate their ever-changing needs.”