When your business has been living in the spare bedroom, moving it out into a home of its own can be exciting. It can also provide it with a lot of potential to grow in a way it could never manage in the confines of a home office.
However, there are a number of very significant costs that can arise as a result of moving your business into a real, purpose-built office. Make sure you consider these in full, weigh them carefully against your business’ growth potential, and preferably discuss the financial implications with your accountant before taking the plunge and taking out a lease on a new home for your business.
Obviously you will have to pay rent on your new premises (unless you purchase outright in which case you will have to consider the price and/or mortgage in much the same way). Think about how much you think your business can realistically grow as a result of moving into a real office, and think about whether this will really justify the cost compared to a rent-free spare bedroom – and be sure your business can afford it during the period before this growth has been fully realised. It is likely this will indeed be worthwhile if your business is truly ready to move out into the world, but if your business is not ready you should put these plans on hold until it is better-poised to take prompt advantage of extra room to grow.
You may well have to fit out your nice new office according to your needs, and this can carry significant one-off expenses. If the office you are renting is entirely unfurnished, then you will need to think about the cost of things like desks, chairs, filing cabinets and even little things like bins. It is usually not only less disruptive but more cost-effective to fit out the office in full, including desks for employees you hope to take on, from the start. Even if the office is nicely furnished, you will still need to think about costs such as supplying any new employees you plan to hire with the necessary equipment to do their jobs, such as enterprise-standard computers.
Once your office has been fitted out, you will be faced with several ongoing costs besides the rent. Business insurance may be greater than it was when you are in a home office, if for example you previously added your business’ assets to your home insurance. You will also be faced with utility bills – again probably greater than the amount added onto your household bills when your business was at home. There may also be costs associated with maintenance, repairs, and services such as office cleaning. It is a good idea to clearly delineate from the outset which maintenance costs will fall to you and which to your landlord, assuming you will occupy a rented rather than owned office.