4 Checks Before Buying or Renting a Retail Unit

If you’re considering upgrading your current retail unit, expanding your business into different locations, or buying your first retail unit, read on as we’ve got you covered. There are so many different commercial property spaces available to purchase or rent for your retail unit, that finding the most suitable one for your needs can seem like a minefield. This, in combination with the added stress of trying to find a commercial space that has no hidden costs and won’t give you any trouble further on down the line, can make the entire process extremely daunting.

We’ve found four checks and considerations that you should take into account when looking around for your next commercial property, so that you can ensure you aren’t struck by any surprises in the future that could seriously undermine your business and its profits.

Reflect on What You Need

It’s important to consider how you will be using your retail unit, so that you can gain an idea of the ideal size, facilities and location that you will use as a criteria when seeking out commercial properties. The space needs to suit you as a business owner, but also your intended customer base. There’s no point opening up a clothes shop in a complex with hardware supply stores nearby, nor is it viable or worth your time and money to rent a retail unit in the middle of nowhere, without any train stations or public transport facilities around. If customers cannot actually commute to your shop, how will you be able to make any money?

Additionally, consider whether you need the biggest retail unit available on the commercial property market, or whether a smaller shop space is more suitable for your business and customer needs. This could save you time, energy and money when searching for the perfect property, and perhaps make it easier to find a property quicker if you are not looking for a big space.

Consider the Finances

Before launching into commercial property shopping and locking yourself down in a deal, it’s worth taking some time beforehand to find out what the current rental and buying trends are for commercial properties in your desired location. This will give you an informed stance when it comes to buying or negotiating a rental contract, as you can use previous trends to determine whether you are going to be over- or under-paying for your retail unit. You might also be able to predict the monthly outgoings for utilities and the additional fees that you’ll need to pay on top of rent or purchasing the property outright. Being ready and prepared for these extra financial burdens means that you won’t get yourself into money troubles in the future when you’re already tied into a contract.

You should also think about why you have made the decision to launch a new retail space and whether it is a cost-effective strategy for your business. This might mean you need to consult your accountant and business’s finances, to see whether or not a new retail space is the right direction for your company at this given time. If you can’t afford to purchase a retail unit just yet, perhaps try renting first, or putting aside money each month to realise your dream in the future.

Perform Safety Checks

Prior to purchasing a commercial property or signing a rental agreement, you need to make sure that the space is safe, secure and hazard free for not only your customers, but your staff too. There are a number of different safety checks that you should ask to be performed after your initial visit to the retail unit. Whilst asking whether certain tests have been performed in the past, or whether they can be checked soon can seem like a hassle, these essential considerations can be vital to saving your time and money in the future.

You should check whether there has been a recent electrical safety report, which will detail the condition of the electrical fittings in the property and will be recorded as either a pass or fail, with recommendations on how to improve the electrical wiring in the property. If the retail space that you are interested in has failed an electrical safety report, you should consult an electrician to find out how much money and time it will take to repair or improve the electrics in the property. Similarly, if you are going to be using the retail unit to prepare food, whether for customers or for staff on their breaks, you should check whether there is a gas monitor report, so that you have peace of mind about the safety of the commercial property. If these reports haven’t been conducted, you can ask for this to be done before agreeing to sign any contract.

Avoid Serious Health Hazards

One of the biggest problems facing commercial properties is that it may have been built using asbestos, especially if it was constructed before the year 2000. Despite the awareness of the dangers of asbestos, including breathing problems, lung scarring and lung cancer, nearly 5000 workers die every year as a result of being exposed to asbestos. Companies such as  Oracle Solutions in the UK offer a range of services that can help you to identify whether a property has asbestos, and can advise you on how best to tackle the problem. With many years of experience removing asbestos safely in both commercial and private properties, it means that you can trust them to do the job right.

Whilst this list of considerations when purchasing or renting a retail unit is long, the extra time that you spend checking on the safety, suitability and state of the property could actually end up saving your business in the long run! Cutting corners and avoiding the problems at the beginning of your new retail space can put much more at risk than you might have first considered. Save time, money and lives by investigating and working through any red flags that show up when you first express interest in a commercial property.



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