Setting up your office

How to find the best location for your business and what you need to do to set up your perfect office.

1. Planning the perfect office

Planning your office begins with thinking about how many people you’ll need to accommodate, how you’ll need to adapt as you grow, and the look and feel you’d like from your office space.

Do…

  • Employ a professional designer and/or project manager. Choose a fit-out company that has experience of setting up overseas companies in London.
  • Decide whether you are going to replicate your other offices, or adopt a London look.
  • Decide if you need separate offices or open-plan. What about meeting rooms or any unique specifications?
  • Consider your IT needs: server rooms, video conferencing and laptop or PC-based solutions.
  • Think about how your office could attract the right talent.

Don’t…

  • Attempt to deal with the statutory regulations, contractors and suppliers yourself.
  • Assume additional space can be added as the business expands.
  • Assume that services and costs will be the same as your home market.
  • Rush. It’s important that you set a realistic timetable and understand how long the search, negotiation and fit-out process is likely to take.

Without London & Partners it would have been difficult to get our new office set up. Frankly, we probably wouldn’t have done it.

Anthony Pereira, CEO, altPOWER

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2. Negotiating a lease

The UK’s standard leasing practices are based upon UK land law. It’s always best to seek advice from professionals who can navigate these practices on your behalf. The key things to consider include:

Rent reviews: most leases allow the landlord periodically (typically every five years) to increase the rent.

Rent-free periods: the length of any rent-free period will depend on the overall terms of any transaction.

Lease length: 5 to 15 years is typical, although break clauses can be negotiated.

Insurance and repairs: a professional team should make sure that your premises are in good condition, and negotiate insurance and repair liabilities.

Ancillary costs: explore rates, value-added tax, stamp duty, Land Registry fees and service charges on multi-tenanted buildings.

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3. Serviced office costs

If your business can’t commit to a long-term lease, a serviced office is an ideal option. Use our quick guide to serviced office costs per month across London.

  Central London North London South London East London West London
Top £900 - £1,100 £550 - £600 £350 - £400 £350 - £400 £450 - £500
Middle £700 - £900 £400 - £550 £300 - £350 £300 - £350 £400 - £450
Bottom £500 - £700 £350 - £400 £250 - £300 £250 - £300 £350 - £400

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4. How London and Partners can help

London & Partners is the Mayor of London’s official business development company. Our expert team offers free advice to potential investors, from start-ups to established companies. We can:

  • help you find the best location for your business based on your needs, London demographics, access to suppliers and key customer markets
  • connect you to our professional network of commercial property agents, lawyers and architectural/workplace planning consultants
  • offer you one free desk space for up to 12 months with our Touchdown London scheme

Contact us

Find out how we can help you set up in London

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Guide to setting up business

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This information is intended for general guidance only. You should always seek professional advice.