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7 Ways to Attract Commercial Tenants to an Investment Property

Posted on: September 26th, 2023 by Imperial Support

Thankfully, Imperial Building Solutions have years of experience in the refurbishment of commercial properties. We’re here to offer advice to ensure that prospective tenants are keen to base themselves in your building.

Undertake a Full Fit-Out

You would not attempt to rent a home that was in need of improvements. The same applies to commercial property.

Put yourself in the shoes of a business, excited to take on new office space at significant expense. Would you consider taking on a property that has not undertaken a full fit-out when an alternative is available, thus saving substantial time, effort and expense?

As a landlord, you need to consider which office fit-out category you want to pursue.

  • Category A fit-outs focus on the fundamental qualities of a building. The infrastructure of the property will be reviewed and refitted, ensuring that a property is bare and ready to be populated by a tenant. Power, heat and lighting will be provided, but the rest of the building can be populated by the tenant.
  • Category A+ fit-outs are increasingly popular for landlords. Think of this as a combination of Category A and B fit-outs, ensuring that a property is ready to be used and utilised by the tenants almost immediately. Category A+ fit-outs bring the property to life without the need for specification from the tenant. This makes the area look a lot more appealing to the tenants looking to get into the property quickly and sets it apart from other properties.

Imperial Building Solutions specialise in all the office fit-outs at appealing price points. To ensure that your commercial property looks its best, feel free to contact us and request a quote. Imperial will undertake work that ensures your building is irresistible to tenants.

7 Ways to Attract Commercial Tenants

Think Logistics

“Know your audience” is among the very first rules of business. The same applies when looking for tenants to populate a commercial building. Do your due diligence, and tailor the offering of your property to appropriate users.

Things to consider include:

  • What business models are most commonplace in your area, and how are they set up? Would prospective tenants benefit more from vast open-plan spaces or multiple smaller, private rooms?
  • What additional services, such as gyms or childcare facilities, would your target audience be attracted to? Install these yourself, or explain the potential to install them to a tenant
  • Why are businesses leaving their existing premises (if applicable)? What pain points are they experiencing that you can improve upon?
  • Are tenants looking for long-term or short-term leases? Would all parties benefit from a break clause within the arrangement in case things are not working out?
  • How will you handle the vehicular needs of the building – does the property offer sufficient parking spaces and access to commercial buildings?

Do not make assumptions about this. Roll up your sleeves and do some market research, gaining answers directly from your potential tenants. If you understand what is most important to your building users and meet these needs, you are more likely to enjoy a fruitful, long-term relationship.

Of course, knowing what your tenants want is just part of the puzzle. You also need to meet these expectations. This is where Imperial Building Solutions shine. Browse our portfolio of previous office fit-outs and installations to take inspiration for your commercial property.

7 Ways to Attract Commercial Tenants

Advertise

Once you understand who you want to attract to your commercial property, you need to gain their attention. Just hanging a For Sale sign is not enough. Take an active approach, ensuring that anybody seeking a property is aware that you have the perfect building for their needs.

Techniques to consider here include:

  • Promoting directly to commercial landlords in a variety of industries
  • Widespread social media campaigns, including the use of influencers
  • Advertising in the industry press of your target audience, not just property websites and magazines
  • Incentivise word-of-mouth recommendations from your staff team and friends

As more potential tenants become aware of your vacancy, it becomes increasingly likely that you’ll find the perfect occupants. No business owner ever rented a property they did not know was available. In addition, though, ensure that you make the property look as appealing as possible.

If you take the time to fit out and decorate an office before taking photos, you’ll surely experience a rush of interest. In many respects, the approach to renting a commercial property is the same as a residence – the less work required to personalise and accommodate tastes and needs, the better.

7 Ways to Attract Commercial Tenants

Ensure Cost-Efficiency

The cost of the monthly rent will be a crucial factor in whether tenants choose to lease your building. Naturally, you will be looking to turn a profit on your investment and to charge a rental value consummate with the area in which you’re located. If competition is particularly fierce, however, ensure that rivals are not undercutting you.

One way to offer financial appeal to tenants outside of rent is energy efficiency. An SME will likely be keen to conserve outlay wherever possible, and an increasing number of businesses are emphasising environmentally friendly practices. Consider the installation of double-glazed windows, wall and floor insulation, solar panels and energy-efficient lighting.

In many cases, you’ll be able to take advantage of tax breaks and government schemes to finance these environmental concerns. Even if this is not the case, you’re likely to find tenants keen to sign on the dotted line and commit to a rental rate that you place before them.

It may feel overwhelming to battle through the red tape involved with these discounts, though – or even to fully understand what financing options are available. Rest assured, a third party that undertakes a refit of your property will know where to apply and how to achieve maximum cost-efficiency.

7 Ways to Attract Commercial Tenants

Invest in Smart Technology

In addition to the eco-friendly approaches discussed above, think about setting up your commercial space with smart technology. In the 21st Century, this is growing increasingly commonplace. A commercial building that already boasts wireless lighting, for example, will attract tenants as it will not need a refit a year or two down the line.

There are many reasons for a business to consider smart lighting – which, in turn, is why a commercial property landlord should also investigate its installation. Smart lighting can save money, especially when attached to motion sensors and bolster security.

Smart lighting can also be programmed to mirror the circadian rhythms of the human body, improving efficiency. More income for your tenants means they’re increasingly likely to remain in your building!

Of course, lighting is not the only form of smart technology available to businesses today. You could consider equipping your property with smart locks and other approaches. The more smart technology your property offers, the more it will be future-proofed – and the more control you will be able to maintain from afar.

Undertaking an office fit-out or refurbishment ahead of seeking commercial tenants is the perfect opportunity to upgrade to smart technology. Imperial Building Solutions would be delighted to discuss these needs with you if applicable.

Partner Up

If a business chooses to rent a building in a set area, they’ll likely be keen to become part of the community. Make your property appealing by leaning into this, partnering up with other local enterprises.

This could involve regular catering or deliveries from local restaurants, cafes or delis. It could mean opening an account with a local taxi business, ensuring a fleet of cars is typically available to the property occupants. Maybe it just means subsidised pricing with other facilities. Think back to the childcare facilities and gyms that we previously discussed – if you cannot build these into a property, maybe an external company will offer a partnership.

Of course, any of these approaches will have financial implications. They can be built into the rental cost of the building, though. It’s certainly preferable for you as the building owner to maintain these relationships and partnerships. Tenants come and go, but your building is sticking around. By establishing relationships with suppliers, you have an additional selling point to attract tenants. In addition the building looking immaculate and having undergone a recent fit-out, the best possible deal on regular utility expenses has already been struck. This is one less thing to think about.

7 Ways to Attract Commercial Tenants

Choose Wisely

The final point is perhaps the most important. The relationship between a commercial landlord and tenant is currently believed to skew in favour of the latter. If your business tenant experiences a downturn in fortunes and cannot pay their rent, the authorities are unlikely to force the issue for a prolonged period.

Think carefully about to whom you lease your building, ensuring that you’re confident they will not leave you high and dry from a financial standpoint. Open a frank and transparent dialogue before signing any contracts. If you have any reason to doubt the veracity of a business model, look for a different tenant – or, at the very least, request a sizable bond.

Naturally, once you are ready to welcome tenants into your commercial property, Imperial Building Solutions will be delighted to aid you in preparing it through refurbishment. If you’d like to discuss our services, do not hesitate to get in touch.

Planning the Perfect Office Move

Posted on: September 25th, 2023 by Imperial Support

Throughout this guide, we’ll offer guidance to office managers, operation directors and business owners who are planning a move. Read on to learn how to prepare for the perfect office move.

A team planning an office move

Find a new office location

First thing’s first. If you’re thinking about moving your office location, you’ll need a new destination in mind. Many factors will play into choosing an office location, so do not rush this choice. 

The main thing to consider is how much disruption the move will impose on your team. For example, if your current workplace has a free car park, aim to replicate this in the new location. Employees will understandably be annoyed at the idea of paying substantial fees to pay-and-display. 

Equally, think about your employees that rely upon public transport to get to and from work. If they need to catch a bus home, choosing a location that has limited or no service after 5pm will cause no end of trouble.  

Review the expenses

Once you have found a new location, crunch some numbers and ensure that your business can sustain the expenses involved. 

Rent and utility expenses are the primary ongoing concerns, but do not overlook the initial costs involved in an office fit-out. Find the best way to finance these steps without risking your revenue streams.

Announce your office move

Once the decision is made – though ideally not before an iron-clad contract is in place, lest somebody involved in the process changes their mind – announce the impending move to your team. 

It’s an open secret that many employees dislike change. Announcing an office move, and all the disruption that comes with it, will likely lead to at least some grumbling. If you make the announcement early, though, employees will have plenty of time to adjust their expectations accordingly. 

If employees decide they do not want to be part of the move, it’s also better to inform them in plenty of time. You’ll have enough on your hands during the physical relocation. A raft of resignations amid the project will just add to your workload.

Announce your office move

Pull together a moving task force

Office moves typically fall exclusively within the remit of an office manager, operations director, or other senior administrative team members. This approach makes sense, as people in such roles often have experience in office relocations – and the organisational skills to make the process as smooth as possible.

One person can only do so much though. The burden of an office move can grow overwhelming for one employee. It’s advisable to pull together a committee of team members to drive the project. Ideally, these will be volunteers. As a business leader, you may need to step in if nobody raises their hand!

The benefits of the committee approach are two-fold. Firstly, as discussed, it reduces the risk of one person handling the entire move. Even the most reliable and agreeable admin staff get sick or have family emergencies – what will you do if the only person managing the project cannot attend work? 

Equally, a committee means that your employees will feel actively involved in the decision-making process. Your team will consider their voices heard and their wishes for the new office respected. This will, in turn, reduce any sense of disgruntlement associated with the relocation.

office workers moving offices

Plan a new office layout

Take a look at how much space your new office offers and how much furniture you’ll need to fit in. These logistics may dictate how you arrange your new working environment. Alternatively, see if your new landlords will pre-arrange desks. Some property owners will offer this service to attract commercial tenants.

You can also involve your moving committee here to consider where to place employees. Inviting an open forum can complicate things. You may find that Jane does not want to sit next to Peter because he has a loud telephone voice, Peter does not want to sit next to Mary because she has a personal heater that he finds too hot, and Mary does not want to sit next to John because he never takes his turn to make tea for everybody. Office politics will always pose an issue!

On the other hand, inviting feedback from the ‘shop floor’ can also benefit your business. Happy employees are more efficient and likelier to show loyalty to your company. As a result, there could be sizable gains made by considering the wishes of your team members when assigning desks and seating in a new location. 

Plan a new office layout

Conduct a full audit of your existing office

Take a walk around your office, and at every turn ask yourself a simple question – “does this need to come with us?”

Some things will be essential. Unless they are part of the building rental agreement, you’ll likely need to move any furnishings. Computers, landline telephones and anything similar will also need to come with you. If it’s not critical to the running of your business though, think twice about packing something.

Dispose of anything unnecessary

The next step is very straightforward. If something does not need to come with you to your new office, trash, archive, recycle or shred it. Remember, this move is a chance to unburden your office of clutter. A substantial clear-out will feel liberating.

You’ll likely need to keep some paperwork, especially anything pertaining to finance. Encourage your team to be ruthless though. Printouts of old emails, several drafts of work before a client signed it off, materials are replicated and stored digitally … these are not going to enhance the running of your business in a new location.

Arrange movers and cleaners

It’s unlikely that you’re going to want to physically move the furniture from one office to another by yourself. Equally, you’ll need to leave your location spick-and-span. Unless you like the idea of pushing a hoover around and polishing every available surface, hire professional cleaners and moving teams ASAP.  

Cleaning an office when moving

Pack up the existing office and back up digital files

Encourage your team to pack their desks and belongings, ideally before the last day of trading in your old office. Insist that cleaners will throw away anything not housed in a box to ensure that people take the time to pack up appropriately! Have these boxes labelled with the employee’s name to be distributed in the new office.

Your final act in an existing office is to prevent any IT drama when you move. Bring in a specialist and ensure that all digital files and documents are backed up, whether to an external hard drive or a reliable cloud service. This way, your team will be able to get up and running again ASAP in their new surroundings.

Prepare the new office

Finally, set up the new office for use ahead of the first day. That means ensuring that all furniture is in place according to the seating plan you devised in step 4, internet connections are live, and landline telephone extensions connect to the appropriate desk. Employees can unpack their possessions – this is why labelling each box by name is so important.

This can be a lot of work, so consider bringing in external support for this task. Give serious consideration to a full, professional office fit-out, as this will benefit your business greatly. Embarking on a full fit-out will provide your new office with a clear and distinct identity, bringing an immediate and comforting familiarity to employees. Imperial are proficient and experienced in office fit-outs, so feel free to seek help and support in this critical time. We can provide your business with ideas and suggestions for a layout that enhances and encourages productivity.

If you follow these steps, you’ll be ready for your new office – and to enjoy a smooth transition from your existing workplace to this new locale. Imperial will always be ready to hear from you if you need our assistance.

7 Ways to Maximise Rental Income from Commercial Properties

Posted on: September 22nd, 2023 by Imperial Support

Increase space

The term “less is more” never applies to space in a property, whether commercial or residential. The bigger your property – or at least the bigger your property appears – the more you can charge a tenant.

 

The best way to gain more space in business property is to undertake an office fit-out. Some tenants may be willing to do this themselves, but others baulk at the prospective expense of doing so. If you can balance the books of a fit out the process will be an investment, not an outlay.

 

Here at Imperial Building Solutions, we have years of experience working with commercial landlords and agents to maximise rental opportunities. Our projects have ranged from complete office fit-outs to making improvements to increasingly dilapidated premises.

 

Embrace technology

Installing the latest and greatest technology can be a great way to attract tenants to your commercial property – and, of course, to keep them there. If you provide sufficient upgrades on the facilities in a building, you can justify a rental increase to recoup your costs.

 

For the avoidance of doubt, we’re not referring to IT equipment here. That remains the responsibility of your tenants. Things to consider installing, however, include:

 

  • Enhanced infrastructure to enable faster internet speeds
  • Smart lighting to mimic circadian rhythms of tenants
  • Smart locks and similar approaches to strengthen security
  • Bluetooth availability throughout the building
  • Charging ports – USB or, ideally, wireless – throughout the building

This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what technology is available. Do a little market research and confirm what would appeal to your core tenant base. Choose wisely, and the expense of installing these upgrades will be recouped and greatly enhanced upon.

7 ways to maximise rental income from commercial properties

Dress the property

Comparatively, minor, aesthetic changes will not justify a significant rental increase. However, a handful of additions to dress a property can make a difference to tenants. That will make adding to a monthly asking price an easier pill to swallow.

 

Applying decorative touches to a property, such as full-sized mirrors, can give an impression of more space – in addition to helping a workplace feel modern. Even small flourishes, such as flowers on a reception desk, can brighten the demeanor of the building and leave occupants more amenable to discussing rent increases.

 

Perhaps the biggest value offered by dressing a building is offering furnishings, though. From sofas and armchairs in communal areas to essential desks and chairs for staffing teams, contributing to dressing a property as part of a fit-out can be a great way to impress tenants and prospective clients. 

7 ways to maximise rental income from commercial properties

Provide maintenance services

One of the most reliable ways to increase rent without attracting complaints is to enhance value by offering more bang for the tenant’s buck. Consider making commercial maintenance services part of the rental agreement with your tenants (assuming your business model can provide these!)

 

You’ll need to handle this carefully. Do not spring the agreement upon your tenants without consultation, as they may already have a contract in place with a maintenance business. Also, ensure that you draw up favourable terms that can be maintained. Substandard maintenance that leads to health and safety risks can leave your business at risk of withheld rent at best and legal action at worst.

 

Overall, though, bundling maintenance with rent is arguably the best of all possible worlds for commercial landlords. You’ll increase your monthly yield, retain control over the supervision of the property, and leave your tenants feeling they are getting a fair deal on their increase.  

7 ways to maximise rental income from commercial properties

Allow vehicle parking

Never underestimate the impact that offering parking within a commercial property can have on value. Recent events have made commuting by public transport undesirable for many people. The ability to drive a personal vehicle, and leave it close to a workplace, carries a great deal of appeal.

 

If you can invest in the land surrounding your commercial property or find another way to offer a car park, you will have a failsafe reason to increase monthly rents. In many respects, a car park in a commercial building is as appealing as a private parking in a residential property. Remain on the right side of health and safety law surrounding parking at work, and the investment will pay for itself many times over. 

Arrange additional events

This will not work for all commercial properties, but it’s something to consider. Could you earn some extra income by leasing out part of the building for private events?

 

You will need the full cooperation of your existing tenants for this, and they have every right to say no. Reasons to decline could include concerns over the security of private data, property damage, or other explanations the tenant is under no obligation to provide.

 

If the tenant does agree, though, think of ways that you could bolster your income. Parties on the roof or any gardens on the property? Using the boardroom as a conference centre? Additional work desks for businesses that are experiencing pinch points in terms of deadlines and need to bring in extra hands? The opportunities are potentially endless.

7 ways to maximise rental income from commercial properties

Enhance your reputation

If you are looking to gain the maximum yield from a rental property, we recommend working with a high-quality commercial agent.

 

The logic behind this is relatively straightforward. Consumers of all shapes and sizes, working in any niche or industry, are prepared to pay more to providers they trust. It’s the old adage of being “reassuringly expensive.” 

 

Great work from a commercial agent will reflect well on a landlord. In turn, the better your reputation within the sector, the less likely tenants will raise an eyebrow when it’s time to renegotiate rental contracts. 

 

Conclusion 

We hope these tips will help you increase the rental income for your commercial property. If you need any further information or want to discuss your option in more details then please do not hesitate to get in touch with us – 020 3375 9075 or email us at enquiries@redr58.sg-host.com. 

Balancing the Books of Your Office Fit-Out

Posted on: September 22nd, 2023 by Imperial Support

In the interests of complete clarity, let’s review the options open to any business considering an office fit-out and how you can finance the task. Armed with such information, decision-makers can make the ideal choice for their circumstances.

Investing Capital

Investing Capital

On paper, investing capital is the most risk-free option for a business considering an office fit-out. After all, it’s cash that is in the bank in the here and now. You will not be tying your company to any scheduled repayments in the future, protecting your outgoings if circumstances should change. 

In addition, paying upfront ensures that all the contents of your office belong to your office – no questions asked. These could be treated as liquid assets or simply utilised with the peace of mind that everything is fully paid. What’s more, a business can theoretically reduce their corporate payable taxes by up to £1,000,000 following a capital-financed fit-out, claiming an annual investment allowance.

So far, so tempting? It is advisable to consider the potential negatives to this approach. The most obvious is that your business’s cash reserves will be significantly depleted by the fit-out. What looks like a reasonable prospect today could become a costly error in a year or two. Assess whether you are comfortable releasing such a substantial amount of your business income in one fell swoop, ensuring it will not impact your ability to invest in other, equally critical areas.

You may also find that purchasing items for your refit outright becomes a false economy. Technology is arguably the most potent example of this. IT makes sizable steps forward at breakneck speed, and what is deemed at the leading edge of science today could be obsolete in three years. This will leave a business with the unenviable task of refinancing an entire tech revolution. It may be wiser to sink cash investment into longer-term safe bets, such as furnishings.

Loaning Cash Business Loans

Loaning Cash

An alternative to paying outright using business capital is to seek out a bank loan. This may seem like the best of both worlds if you can find an agreeable interest rate. You’ll have the financial resources in your reserves to ensure that you can make repayments, but you can sleep a little easier at night knowing that you have not emptied your business accounts.

Taking out a loan should be tied in with the lifetime of your needs. For example, if you have a lease on your office for another seven years, it’s inadvisable to take out a ten-year loan. There is nothing to gain by paying for equipment or furnishings that have long since been consigned to history.

There are other concerns to consider when taking on borrowing, though. The first – and arguably most compelling – is the complete absence of any tax efficiencies. You will also be committing to placing your business into debt for a set period. That is not necessarily a concern – managing debt, and knowing how much is appropriate, is an integral part of a business – but you will not hold any power in this arrangement. 

Your business will need to make repayments on an agreed schedule, come rain or shine, and your financier may increase the interest rate payable at any time. Taking out a loan may seem like a swift solution in the short term, but it can have longer-term repercussions that you must consider.

Leasing

Finally, we have leasing – an approach that we consider the most advisable. Leasing an office fit-out is an undeniably effective way of spreading the expense of your outlay into fixed-cost instalments, usually over several years. You will not need to make any substantial payments at the onset of your fit-out, and your decision will not impact your company’s bottom line. 

These repayments can be scheduled to suit your business, and a lease will not be considered an official debt. As a result, leasing will not negatively impact opportunities to borrow in a formal setting. Leasing also resolves any concerns surrounding advances in tech that we discussed previously, ensuring that your business will always enjoy access to the latest and greatest IT. Should you decide that you wish to take ownership of the items you lease, a single payment will invariably afford this opportunity.

Perhaps the most significant benefit of leasing is the tax advantages that such an approach provides. All lease payments can be declared a business expense, thus reducing your declaration of profit for tax repayment, while any VAT payments can also be reclaimed. These savings can be invested elsewhere in the business, building to an impressive sum over time. 

Office Fit Out Meeting Room

Embarking upon an office fit-out is an exciting time for business owners and employees alike. Whether you are starting as an SME for the first time or considering a redesign to accommodate the changing workplace landscape, a fit-out should be exhilarating rather than intimidating. By ensuring that you are financially aware, this will be the case.

If you are interested in investigating leasing equipment and components of an office fit-out, consider the offer of Imperial Building Solutions. We have recently entered into a partnership with Bluestone Leasing for any company interested in such an arrangement. 

Please feel free to get in touch and discuss your options with our experienced and knowledgeable team for more information.

Creating a Budget for Your Office Fit Out

Posted on: August 25th, 2023 by Imperial Support

What kind of office fit-out are you looking for?

First thing’s first – you need to decide whether you’re looking for a Category A+, Category A or Category B office fit-out. This will be the most prominent factor in the cost of the work.

Category A office fit-outs are best for empty spaces that need to be populated. The good news is that you’ll have a blank canvas to work with, and your fit-out can be tailored to anything you wish for and can afford. You can then add furnishings and flourishes of your choice, through preferred providers, before moving in. This fit-out simply focuses on the logistics necessary for a workplace, such as power and lighting. 

Category B fit-outs will include the basics covered in Category A, plus finishing touches that ensure you’ll be able to move in and start work the moment the fit-out is complete. This includes flourishes such as carpets, branding and furnishings. As you can imagine, the cost difference between these approaches can be significant.  

Category A+ fit-outs, meanwhile, offer a combination of both approaches. While Category B fit-outs are made with the needs of the occupant in mind, Category A+ tailors more to a landlord. This fit-out involves the basic logistics of Category A and parts of Category B, such as carpeting. It will not be tailored to one particular business’s needs or provide furniture. This means that the space can be rented to any possible tenant, who can bring their own additions and move on at their leisure without needing to adjust the layout.

Creating a Budget for Your Office Fit Out

What is the size of your office?

Your next step needs to be reaching for a tape measure and measuring the dimensions of your office. As you can imagine, the size and shape of an office will impact how the job is tackled. More empty space means that more square footage needs to be filled, while offices with uncharacteristic layouts may require some out-of-the-box thinking. These measurements will help any business, including Imperial, get an idea of the size of the job.  

You may find that you lack sufficient space to complete a fit-out that will meet your needs. If that’s the case, you may need to plan an office move. Before taking such action, be sure to get in touch with Imperial to discuss potential options.

What utilities and access must be taken into consideration during an office fit-out?

Arranging an office fit-out is rarely as simple as reshuffling desks. You will need to think about access to electricity and telephone points. Lighting will be a consideration – is this a chance to upgrade to smart lighting in the workplace? Are there any health and safety concerns to consider, such as accessibility for wheelchair users? 

All of these logistics will come at their own expense. Take the time to sit down and think through everything you’ll need to consider. It may require additional payments up-front that will influence your budget, but it will be considerably more cost-effective than rectifying mistakes after the event.

Creating a Budget for Your Office Fit Out

What would you like to prioritise in the new office fit-out?

Before commencing work on a fit-out, ask yourself why you are doing so. Are you an investor hoping to attract new tenants to your property? Are you a business owner that wants to maximise productivity with a new layout? Have you recently expanded and need to make space for new employees? Consider browsing our portfolio for inspiration. 

Understanding what you’re trying to achieve will play a significant role in costing up the office fit-out. If you need to start knocking down walls and divisions or building new boardrooms, this will all lead to more expense. You may need to sacrifice some of your loftier ambitions to save money or seek further financing to turn your plans into reality.

Does your office fit-out also require new furniture and hardware?

We previously discussed Category A, A+ and B fit-outs, some of which can include furnishings upon request. If you need to purchase your own desks and chairs, though, factor these costs into the final expenses of your fit-out to ensure you do not stretch yourself too thin.

You may also need to consider hardware, especially when expanding your staffing team. Computers, desk telephones, company mobile phones – these are all expenses, whether paid up-front or leased monthly. Avoid assigning every resource to your fit-out and leaving nothing for these critical additions.

Creating a Budget for Your Office Fit Out

How will you finance your office fit-out?

If you have sufficient capital in your business bank account to pay for your office fit-out up-front, that’s great.  Not all companies have this luxury though. You may need to investigate financing options, such as a bank loan. 

Factor these loan repayments – and, most importantly, any interest payable on them – into your total budget. Ensure that you borrow at a sustainable level based on your predicted income for the loan duration. Allow yourself some emergency breathing space, too. 

The good news is that you may be entitled to capital allowances on your office fit-out. That will not reduce the initial outlay, but it can undoubtedly improve your bottom line when filing your year-end taxes and reporting your profits and losses. 

How will your team work during the office fit-out?

While Imperial does everything in our power to minimise disruption to your staff while we’re working, there will be times that we need to clear the area. Part of this will be due to noise, but it will primarily be a health and safety issue. We comply entirely with HSE regulations so some work must be conducted alone.  

Due to the global pandemic, many employees are now equipped to work from home. This means that you may experience minimal disruption to operations, and by extension, not accrue any financial concerns. If you need to pay for a temporary working space, that’s another expense for your budget.

Final thoughts on setting a budget for an office fit-out

Do not be intimidated by the idea of financing an office fit-out. There are ways that you can enjoy the workspace of your dreams without plunging your business into financial ruin – it just takes a little more planning. 

The Art of Managing and Mastering Client Expectations

Posted on: August 8th, 2023 by Imperial Support

Why managing client expectations matters

Managing expectations is critical to a business and its clients alike. The reason for this is comparatively straightforward. Setting targets and goals as a commercial agent will keep your agency motivated and encourage personal and professional growth. 

Of course, managing client expectations will also lead to a positive working relationship. Boundaries must be put in place, ensuring that all parties understand what will be offered as standard, what should be considered added value, and what would be considered an unreasonable expectation.

A big part of setting appropriate expectations with your client base is under promising and over delivering. The opposite approach – blindly making assurances and agreeing to cater to every request without due consideration – will almost certainly end with a negative outcome. Staffing teams will be exhausted and overworked, standards will slip, and clients will be dissatisfied in the longer term.

How to manage client expectations

Having discussed that managing client expectations is non-negotiable for any business, it’s important to understand how to achieve this aim. There are four steps to the process that will enable any commercial agent to enjoy a strong relationship with a client base.  

Agree reasonable and realistic targets

If you’re going to manage expectations with a client, you’ll need to discuss and agree to them in advance. A commercial agent must meet clients’ needs, but this needs to be achieved in a realistic manner and time frame.

The best way to ensure that you keep these expectations on track is to adopt SMART goals. By keeping your aims Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound, you’ll know if you risk promising more than you will realistically be able to deliver. Equally, it will help your clients to understand what is reasonable to expect from you.

Another tip here is to anticipate what your clients may need. If possible, do not wait to be asked. There is a fine line between anticipation and assumption, though. As a commercial agent, it’s your responsibility to stay on the right side of this division. Use your previous experience to tap into what may be needed, offering this in advance – without creating a rod for your own back. 

The art of managing and mastering client expectations

Maintain constant contact

Communication is essential to maintaining a positive relationship with clients and managing their expectations. Remain vigilant about sharing information – good, bad or indifferent – with your client base. It’s arguably even more important to share bad news and potential delays to delivery as early as possible, whether the initial issue was within or beyond your control. 

This dedication to communication applies internally as well as externally. If your entire team assumes that somebody else is taking care of client needs, critical tasks may fall through the cracks. Keep touching base with your employees and colleagues, as well as those that have enlisted your services. In the process, you can also ensure that your entire team understands the thought process behind business decisions.

Keep in mind that communication can also come in many forms. Agreeing to a shift in deadline over the phone or during a face-to-face meeting is noble, but it can end in confusion. Always follow up with your clients in writing when discussing needs and expectations. This protects your reputation and provides clients with a record of a new agreement to refer back to.

The art of managing and mastering client expectations

Set limits to added value

One of the best things a commercial agent can offer their clients is to make them feel valued. When a business or personal client takes on a commercial property agent, they agree to set deliveries for their financial outlay. We all enjoy the concept of something for nothing, though, and by offering more than has been promised, a client is sure to be thrilled.

Take care when providing added value though. Once additional services become expected, they are no longer added value. To continue impressing, you’ll need to push even harder to deliver more and more – without being financially compensated for your efforts.

This does not mean that a commercial agent should avoid providing added value to a client base. Just set limits and boundaries on what you are willing to offer, keeping it reasonable. If you step up and work a weekend as a favour to resolve an emergency, that’s great. Just ensure your clients understand this was a one-off based on extenuating circumstances, not a permanent adjustment to your working parameters. 

The art of managing and mastering client expectations

Regularly review performance

Finally, arguably the best way to manage client expectations is to meet regularly and discuss performance. That means reviewing the dynamics of the relationship internally, as well as periodically discussing progress with your clients. If all parties are on the same page in terms of performance, disputes in expectations are less likely to arise.

This does not always need to take the form of lengthy, potentially awkward sit-down meetings. Consider requesting anonymous feedback periodically, using sites like Survey Monkey. Keep a list of all ongoing projects in a shared space, such as cloud software like Basecamp or Trello, so everybody can see that tasks are being completed. 

Perhaps most importantly, do not be afraid to ask questions. You can only know what you know – if a client is unhappy with a level of service, it’s better to learn this while you have time to rectify the discontent.

If you are comfortable with your performance as a commercial agent, compare notes with your clients. If you can feel with all sincerity that you are meeting reasonable expectations, and have communicated this accordingly, take solace from this. Not all client and agent relationships are destined to last forever. Take what you have learned and apply it elsewhere.

The art of managing and mastering client expectations
 

7 Signs of a High-Quality Commercial Agent

Posted on: August 4th, 2023 by Imperial Support

Flexibility is critical in a commercial agent

An excellent commercial agent is always available to meet the needs and answer the questions of a client. This is far from a 9 – 5 job, so be wary of a commercial agent tied to their desk. 

The truth is, you should expect your agent to be constantly on the move, only contactable by mobile. The keyword here, however, is contactable. A high-calibre commercial agent will always ensure they are reachable and respond to queries and concerns promptly. 

There will be times that somebody cannot answer the phone. If the agent is driving, meeting with clients or otherwise indisposed, they will be unable to speak. Missed phone calls and emails should be returned within the hour though – ideally even sooner.

7 Signs of a High-Quality Commercial Agent

Commercial agents must understand their audience

The relationship between a commercial agent and a business tenant is built on trust and mutual understanding. Each party must feel valued, but it’s particularly critical that the tenant is heard and recognised. The term “know your audience” is rarely more appropriate than when discussing the dynamic between business tenants and commercial real estate agents.

A firm grasp on how a business likes to trade, and the sector they operate within, puts a commercial agent at an immediate advantage. It ensures that prospective tenants will be shown properties relevant to their needs. This in turn, enhances the likelihood of a lengthy, positive working relationship. 

 

Local knowledge helps commercial agents stand out

If you’re seeking the services of a commercial agent, it generally means that you’re starting a new business or planning an office move. Either way, you are likely to be physically entering a new and unfamiliar geographical space. 

While it can be exciting to discover new terrain, you’ll have plenty of other considerations on your plate as a business owner. The option to lean on the knowledge of a local professional can be invaluable. 

This way, you’ll avoid any pitfalls that could be associated with undiscovered terrains, such as poor parking for visitors, antisocial behaviour from residents or limited access to facilities and amenities. Insights from experts can be invaluable – and bolster your business prospects.

7 Signs of a High-Quality Commercial Agent

No request is out of reach to the best commercial agents

It’s no secret that we live in unprecedented times, and today’s world is very different from that of 2019. Businesses and commercial agents have needed to adjust to this new normal, leading to a range of variations on how we work. 

Some of these restrictions are enforced by a code of practice instilled by the central government, while others are matters of personal preference. Either way, a commercial agent should be prepared to do whatever it takes to make a client comfortable.

This brings us back to our initial point – the necessity of flexibility. Client requests should always take priority. If the agent does not agree with these wishes, but they remain reasonable and respectable, an agent should bite their tongue and proceed with a smile. 

 

Commercial agents must interpret and share data

In the world of property, data is a form of currency. Great commercial agents always have a range of data and information at their fingertips. 

That means reeling market value increases in the area over a set period, the sector’s general financial health, the core demographic of a particular region, and much more. 

The ability to collate and share these insights – ideally in layperson’s terms – builds trust in an agent. Any way a representative can enable a tenant to manage their expectations will be welcome.

7 Signs of a High-Quality Commercial Agent

Great commercial agents have a speciality

It’s tempting to judge a commercial agent on the width and breadth of their knowledge base. Surely the more an agent knows, the likelier they are to meet the needs of tenants? This is true to an extent, but we recommend finding an agent with a core speciality. 

We previously discussed the importance of local knowledge. However, further considerations include whether the agent typically works with smaller or multi-story buildings. Whether the agent has only managed new facilities or often oversees complete office fit-outs of older locales. 

Of course, your representative does need a broad knowledge base – the words “I don’t know” should not be in the vocabulary of a great commercial agent. However, having a core, niche expertise in the real estate sector can hugely benefit prospective tenants.

Commercial agents should have a vast network of contacts

Finally, the best commercial agents do not work alone. Your agent should have a name and telephone number for anything a commercial tenant may need. Whether it’s a tradesperson, a caterer, a chauffeur service or a commercial builder, commercial agents should be walking, talking Rolodexes.

These do not need to be close, personal friends of the agent. It’s better if they are not – a little professional separation is always advisable. It just makes life considerably easier for a business tenant if they know that if a commercial agent cannot answer a question or resolve a pain point themselves, they know somebody that can. This is the kind of added value that makes a good commercial agent a great one.

7 Signs of a High-Quality Commercial Agent

If you have any further questions about commercial agents or their relationship with business property tenants, Imperial would be delighted to help. Just get in touch, and our friendly, experienced team will share their wisdom.