Top tips on choosing the perfect retail property
Choosing a retail property is a big decision that could make or break your business, so getting it right is absolutely essential. If you’re looking for the first time, here’s a short check list of critical factors to consider.
Location, location, location
You can change the look and feel of a property as much as you like but you can’t move it!
Think carefully about footfall and the profile of customers that are likely to frequent the area. Quiet streets are obviously to be avoided but you should also consider the types and ages of people the location attracts.
A good way of understanding an area’s footfall is to look at other businesses in the area. Are they thriving? Will they support and complement your business?
You should also take a look around for competition. If there are already lots of competing outlets in a small area, your business might struggle, unless you are offering something that can compete on price, quality or niche.
And finally, check that the local authority doesn’t have plans for significantly changing access to/from the street. This should come up in a Local Authority Search if you’re buying property but if you’re letting, the current property owners and tenants in the street will be a good alternative source of information.
Does the location feel safe?
Safety and security are important factors – choosing the wrong area could result in severe losses. Take a quick look up and down the street where the property is located. Are there any signs that security might be an issue? Broken glass, extra-heavy shutters and damaged storefronts are all things to question as they will deter customers and carry high insurance premiums.
Check if the building has a good alarm system, if anyone is around to hear it and if it alerts the police directly. It’s also worth talking to existing business owners.
Is there easy access to the retail property?
The chances are, if you’ve found a secure property in a prime location, it will offer good access but this isn’t always the case.
Parking is crucial – both for your customers and staff. Is there enough? How close is it to your premises is it? How much does it cost? If it is prohibitively expensive to park, this will put off staff and customers so beware!
Access within the building itself must also be considered. Does it comply with the Disability Discrimination Act? Or will you need to install ramps, lifts, and wider doorways to meet access regulations?
Alternatively, you could go a different route and let a more unusual commercial property from Transport for London, in which case you wouldn’t need to worry about parking or road access.
Renovating your retail property
Finally you should consider how many aesthetic changes you would need to make to the property. Customers are often initially drawn to retail space by the appearance of the shop front. If you don’t have the time or funds to make the shop front look nice, then a building that needs a lot of work probably isn’t the one for you.
Good luck with your search. Why not check out retail space to let on Novaloca?