Squeeze the Very Last Penny out of ... Your Business Premises

19 November 2009

Some gloomy so and so said to me this morning that, statistically, more businesses go bump when the country is climbing out of recession than at any other time.

But in the UK we do have a bit of an advantage over our continental colleagues, or at least a reprieve, as it has been gleefully trumpeted in the business press this week that we’re recovering more slowly than the rest of Europe. France and Germany I can understand, but Macedonia, for goodness sake! Anyhow, while everyone else partake in a frenetic scrabble for cash we can at least enjoy our turkey and sprouts safe in the knowledge that we’re still in the mire.

I must be careful who I listen to – I’m starting to sound like the lovechild of Paxman and Jack Dee.

Anyhow, assuming the present bust is followed by another boom of sorts; actually I prefer slump and rally, let’s get ready for the upturn and make sure that we’re not one of my moribund friend’s statistics.

The biggest expense, for a business or indeed an individual, is often in property. And while this is a buyers market for both, canny tenants are seeing how they can make the most of their current premises before leaping headlong into the market for a move.

So here are the top seven tips I have collected to help you make the most of your rental property.     

1. Consider refurbishing your accommodation as an alternative to relocation. Your landlord will be keen to encourage you to stay and be open to discussions on meeting part of the cost.

2. Have a robust plan for maintenance over the term of your lease to avoid major disrepair and a surprise with unnecessary cost.

3. You may be able to obtain rates relief on vacant space. Review the Rateable Value of your premises, and an appeal could reduce your bill.

4. An imminent lease expiry presents an opportunity to negotiate improved terms to remain in the building.

5. Your landlord would like to remove break options and extend your lease term. If that’s right for your business negotiate a cash payment in return.

6. If you have spare space, consider subletting to offset your rent and rate liability.

7. And keep looking for ways to reduce your energy consumption and therefore your running costs, such as replacement of old or inefficient plant and machinery or improvements in insulation of the building fabric.

While there is a growing feeling that we may be over the worst, nobody will tell you that cash is going to be in abundant flow in 2010.

I know we’re not quite at Christmas just yet but I’d like to think there’s a little bit of Ebenezer Scrooge in all of us.

Stuart Wilkin writes for Insider

Posted  19 November 2009


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