Things to consider when comparing serviced and non-serviced offices
When you rent (or lease) non-serviced offices then you are responsible for all costs with exception of renting office (or indeed any commercial property). On the face of it lower rent can look appealing but you need to lock out the following costs that you will incur that are normally included with serviced offices (you should use the following as a checklist to ensure that they are indeed included)
1. Business rates. As you will appreciate this is the second biggest cost and therefore can offer a considerable saving when going for serviced offices. Please note that registered charities can quite often get 85% relief and therefore it is not quite the same advantage.
2. Electric. The standing charges and electricity used should be included within serviced offices although quite often subject to a fair use policy.
3. Heating. This also includes the maintenance and repair of the heating system as well as the standing charge for the gas/electric is one of the energy use.
4. Telephone installation and line rental. This tends to vary from serviced provider to provider some charge for the installation and setup of the handset etc while others include this in the rental. Most charge for the cost of calls, although this is normally more economical than going direct to BT as the landlord uses his book buying capacity and passes a portion of this on. Please note one of the main UK suppliers of serviced offices does make quite a high charge as an extra for this item.
5. Broadband. The line rental and basic supply is normally included within serviced although can be subject to fair use policy.
6. Building insurance. This will be included with serviced offices although with on service offices and commercial properties are tenant is usually reliable.
7. Maintenance. Maintenance of building envelope will be included within the cost of serviced offices. In this can go either way with un serviced and it is something to watch out for. for example I was involved in the lease of the shop and within a listed building and whilst I only occupied something like 2% I was charged a proportion of all the ongoing maintenance and improvement of the building which was quite a considerable cost of which the landlord was the only benefactor.
8. Cleaning. The cleaning of the circulation areas etc will be included in the cost of serviced offices and sometimes the basic cleaning of the office itself is included.
9. Meeting/Board room. Quite often serviced offices include a professional meeting room or boardroom which tenants are able to use either free of charge or at a nominal cost. Whilst you can not personalise this it does give you the opportunity to present the right impression to your clients and enables you to have better facilities than you would have in non-serviced offices. Again please note that one of the main UK suppliers of serviced offices does charge quite a high rate for meeting rooms that is based on per person per hour as a cost come soon mount up. Smaller serviced office supplies tend to be more reasonable and just charge them all in per hour rate or day.
10. Furniture. Whilst not normally being included in the basic rate this can quite often be quite economically added to the rent and helps with cash flow and budgeting.
In conclusion taking into account all the costs serviced offices can work out cheaper and take away the headache of the Administration in dealing with all these other items. So when comparing the two it will be worthwhile just finding out the cost of each heading and jotting down to do an accurate comparison. Serviced offices also have the advantage that you know your monthly costs and therefore budgeting can be so much easier with no severe shocks.
I hope this has been helpful.