Do I need an office when setting up my business in the UK?

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Do I need an office when setting up my business in the UK?

As an overseas business, there are a myriad of factors to consider when you’re looking to branch into the UK. One of those factors to consider is whether or not it’s important to have an office when you launch.

There are pros and cons to both sides of the coin, so in this post we’ve delved deeper into this issue, to give a more well-rounded look at your options.

Office or no office?

Whether you decide to set up in an office or not entirely depends on how you work as a business, and what your plans are for the future.

Remote working is becoming a more popular option these days, with some businesses choosing to be 100% remote, and some opting to keep an office base and offer more remote working flexibility. Technology and globalisation could be completely shifting the way we work, and the future may well be remote!

But for now, in the present, it’s about looking at the pros and cons of office vs no office, and deciding what works best for you.

What to think about on the Office side

Are you going to rent or buy? This is possibly the most important consideration for anyone starting up a business in the UK and thinking about having an office. There are pros and cons to both options:

Renting your premises

  • PRO: Renting an office means you may get a chance to locate your business in an area you wouldn’t be able to afford to buy in. This could be advantageous if you need to go where your market is.
  • PRO: There’s less financial commitment – you’re spared the cost of buying your premises, and often your landlord will be responsible for any major maintenance, taking that responsibility out of your hands.
  • PRO: If your business grows exponentially during your tenancy, you’ll find it easier to relocate or buy down the line.
  • CON: Your landlord could increase your rent, and you don’t have a lot of control over that.
  • CON: Though some contracts are more flexible, you will need to keep your office to the contracted standards. This means you may not be able to have your office exactly how you’d like it.
  • CON: The downside to growing exponentially and wanting to move to a bigger place, is that if it’s earlier than the end of your tenancy, you may need to pay a large sum or find a tenant to replace you before you can leave.

Buying your premises

 

  • PRO: You have full control of what you do with that space. From maintenance, to the decor, to signage. You won’t have any restrictions from landlords, and you can make big changes if need to.
  • PRO: Your mortgage payments may work out less than rent on a monthly basis, and you do have the option to rent a part of your property out to tenants if you want that additional income.
  • CON: You will be solely responsible for all costs associated with the ownership of your building – the upfront cost of surveyors, estate agents, and initial kitting out can be costly, and then there’s potential future maintenance and major repairs.
  • CON: You’ll also be responsible for all legal considerations – planning permissions, health and safety, fire, and building regulations will need to be in order.  
  • CON: If you outgrow your property or you want to relocate, you may be forced to sell.

 

Not having a premises at all

Is it just a few of you? Or a big team? If your team is small, remote working could be a great option for you when you set up your business in the UK. Many have shown that it’s also possible with much larger teams.

Either way, the key to remote working is trust. If you have the right people working for you, it can be really beneficial to be able to work flexibly, from anywhere.

You’d have:

  • The ability to work from anywhere around the globe.
  • More opportunities for hiring, because you’re not restricted by area.
  • A happier team, if they’re able to work from home and cut commuter costs.

But you might want to consider:

  • That without the right systems in place, there’s a risk of lower productivity.
  • That you’ll need to rely heavily on technology to do business.
  • It will work best with the right people, because trust is imperative.

To summarise, there are advantages and disadvantages to both options, and this blog post will give you a foundation on which to base your decision.

But always remember that if you decide not to operate from a physical office in the UK, it will affect your VAT registration, and you may have to register as soon as you start making sales in the UK.

If you’re still unsure what’s right for you, talk to one of our team about what’s right for you and your business.