Setting up your office space in London

Take a look at advice on how find the best office space locations in London for your business and what you need to do to set up your perfect UK office.

1. Planning the perfect office

Planning your UK office space begins with thinking about how many people you’ll need to accommodate, how you’ll need to adapt as you grow, and the look and feel you’d like from your office.

Do…

  • Employ a professional designer and/or project manager. Choose a fit-out company that has experience of setting up overseas companies in London.
  • Decide whether you are going to replicate your other offices, or adopt a London office space look.
  • Decide if you need separate offices or open-plan. What about meeting rooms or any unique specifications?
  • Consider your IT needs: server rooms, video conferencing and laptop or PC-based solutions.
  • Think about how your London office could attract the right talent.

Don’t…

  • Attempt to deal with the statutory regulations, contractors and suppliers yourself.
  • Assume additional office space can be added as the business expands.
  • Assume that London office services and costs will be the same as your home market.
  • Rush. It’s important that you set a realistic timetable and understand how long the search, negotiation and fit-out process is likely to take.
Without London & Partners it would have been difficult to get our new offices set up. Frankly, we probably wouldn't have done it.
altPOWER

2. Negotiating a lease

It is a good idea to instruct a commercial surveyor and a real estate lawyer to advise you on your lease, but some key points to consider are: 

  • The premises: consider not only the space you need now but also your options for the future. The lease will govern your ability to sublet, share or assign. You will need the landlord's consent to make alterations to the premises. 
  • Rent and service charge: you may be able to negotiate a rent free period or a stepped rent and also a service charge cap.
  • Repair: you will be responsible for the standard to which the premises must be maintained during the lease as well as the condition they must be handed back in at the end of the lease. You may want to negotiate a schedule of conditions to qualify the standard of repair. 
  • Break rights: if you need the option of terminating the lease early, a break right must be negotiated. The break will be subject to conditions. 
  • Use: you need to ensure that the premises can be used as you intend - the position under planning law should be investigated.
  • Data cabling: if you need new cabling then you must ensure that the landlord will help you put in place the necessary agreements with the data operators. 

 

3. Serviced office costs

If your business can’t commit to a long-term lease, a serviced office is an ideal option. Use our quick guide to serviced office costs per month across London.

Outer west and north west
West London - Chiswick, Heathrow, Ealing:  £350-600
Inner north
Angel: £650-900
Kings Cross, Euston:  £650-1000
City
Bank, St Pauls, Liverpool Street:  £500-1200
Inner east
Old Street, Shoreditch:  £650-900
Aldgate, Whitechapel: £500-750
Outer east and north east
Stratford:  £400-500
Greenwich: £450-500
Canary Wharf:  £700-800
Outer south
Croydon: £350-450
Inner south
South Bank (including Waterloo): £550-1100
Vauxhall: £500-750
Victoria: £650-1000
Inner west
West End, Mayfair, Soho, Covent Garden and Piccadilly: £850-1500
Paddington: £650-800
Hammersmith: £550-800

Sales and marketing

Sales and marketing are both key in ensuring your UK business launch is a success and that it reaches the right people. 

  • Get your products and materials ready for the UK: set up a UK Limited company with UK contact details and website for your customers to get in touch with you. Ensure all your marketing and website materials are properly translated - when you are converting your rates and pricing into pounds, take a look at your competitors prices in case the UK offers an opportunity for bigger margins. 
  • Start promoting your business: take some time to understand who your UK target audience is going to be - what is important to them and how you communicate with them may be different from the audience in your home market. 
  • Consider a PR Consultancy: make sure your communication goals are clear - who are you trying to reach and what do you want them to do? A PR Consultancy can help you in this stage and should be able to provide insights based on previous clients. Make sure all your goals are UK specific and don't assume that it will work the same as in your home market -  it probably won't. Create specific, measurable time-based goals that will keep you on track and always review what is working and what is not to continue to improve. 

Content provided by Progress Work Place Solutions, Bates Wells Braithwaite, JLL and Rochester PR Group.

How London & Partners can help

London & Partners is the Mayor of London’s official business development company. Our expert team offers free advice to potential investors, from start-ups to established companies. We can:

  • Help you find the best London office location for your business based on your needs, London demographics, access to suppliers and key customer markets
  • Connect you to our professional network of commercial property agents, lawyers and architectural/workplace planning consultants
  • Provide information on desk space for your first 12 months

Get in touch

Our team can advise you on every aspect of how to start a business in London, free of charge.