When it comes to finding a small office, your options are limited. There is plenty of office space out there but it’s mostly large suites covering thousands of square feet. The alternatives are usually small high street shops or serviced offices.
The former usually come with what is known as a “full repairing and insuring lease”, which basically means that you are responsible for any repairs that need to be carried out. It is essential to get a surveyor to check the condition of the property before signing anything. Oh, and the other thing is business rates. The Valuation Office Agency assesses each non-domestic property and gives it a rateable value (i.e. how much they think it should be rented out for) and then you pay a percentage of that value as business rates. The percentage you pay depends on your rateable value, with lower values qualifying for small business rate relief.
I went down the route of serviced offices where you generally pay a fixed price that includes rent, rates, heating, and electricity. It is important to check what’s included and what’s not. You can expect to pay extra for your internet and telephone, but some places include free tea and coffee and handle outgoing mail for you. There is usually a communal kitchen area with fridge, kettle, and microwave. Other facilities such as photocopying and meeting rooms are generally on a pay per use basis. Office furniture may be available as an optional extra, otherwise you will have to supply your own. Other things to ask about are parking, office cleaning, cycle racks, and showers. For me one of the most important things was judging whether the place had a friendly atmosphere where I could feel at home and produce my best work.