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Serviced Office Space vs Conventional: Which London Office Space Is Best For You?

May 24, 2008
Upsizing or downsizing, establishing a second or even third office, relocating to a more prestige location or simply finding somewhere that is more affordable in uncertain times - these are many of the reasons that you may be looking for a new office space in London.

While location, location, location is always going to be the mantra when it comes to finding residential property - and may still be a significant factor in choosing commercial office space in London, depending on your sector and your particular needs - there may be another more important choice to make before you decide exactly where you're going to move to: should I rent a serviced office space or a conventional leasehold commercial property in London?

Each has its benefits and its drawbacks. However, the following key factors should help you decide:

1. Flexibility of contract

There is no real question that serviced office space is more flexible in terms of your financial commitment - contracts tend to be extremely short and can be terminated with little or even no notice. A standard leasehold agreement for a conventional commercial office space in London would be for 5 years with a break in the 3rd year so represents a far more long-term commitment. However the flexibility of serviced offices comes at a premium and generally you would pay much more compared to a conventional space.

2. Flexibility of space

While contracts are flexible with a serviced office, your use of the space will not be and it is likely that, not only will you have to abide by regulations when using the space, but you will also be unable to redecorate or personalize the space to suit your business needs. That said, you can upgrade or downgrade as required - so if the physical nature of your business changes you can adapt quickly and easily.

Conventional commercial office space provides a much more bespoke environment for your office - you can redecorate, refurbish and redesign the space totally according to your needs: for customer-facing and cutting-edge industries such as design agencies, media companies or architects for example may require a more flexible space that reflects their business more effectively, provides a showcase for their services and an attractive place to bring clients. Of course, such a space will mean a certain loss of flexibility in terms of ability to expand or contract at will and therefore will suit well-established, essentially predictable businesses better than new, uncertain or rapidly changing businesses.

3. Price

For most businesses, the bottom line with office space is going to be cost and, while serviced offices offer a great deal of flexibility they are not a cost effective way of housing your business in the long-term. A conventional office space in London, particularly if you have sourced it through a company who can aggressively negotiate rents on your behalf (rather than a commercial estate agent who represents his clients interests first and foremost) will virtually always make the most commercial sense for an established business.
About the Author
Shivani Gurtu-Louth - Operations Manager of Devono Property Limited. Devono are the only commercial property agents in London to exclusively represent tenants looking for office space in London to rent. Our aim is to secure the best commercial property at the best price. For interviews, quotes, images or comments contact: Shivani Gurtu-Louth Devono Operations Manager Tel(DDI): +44 (0)20 7096 9911 E-mail: sg@devono.com
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