Identify your requirements: Before beginning your search, it is important that you identify your requirements as this will not only save you time, but also make the whole process less stressful.
You need to consider a number of factors before you start searching for the right space.
Location: The location of your space can have a huge impact on your creative business/practice:
- Consider how far you want to travel from your home or to your clients or suppliers.
- How far do you want your clients to travel to you?
- How accessible do you need to be? Think about the importance of having good transport links such as tube stations and bus stops to or from your organisation.
Working on your own or with others: Do you want to work on your own or with other creative people? If it's the latter you could look for a studio or incubation space with other similar creative people who can share the costs. Working with other creatives will create networking opportunities, as well as support and help with generating ideas and learning best practice. If you want to work on your own do you want to work from home or have an individual studio in a building with or without other creative organisations?
Services: What services do you need? e.g heat, light (natural and/or electric), power, toilet, water (hot and cold), parking, lift, tall ceilings, wide entrance doors etc.
Size: How much space do you really need? If you have infrequent client meetings do not take on extra space for a meeting room.
Security: How important is security to your operation? Will you be working with expensive equipment? Are the premises suitably secure for your use?
Cost - work out your budget: It is vital that you establish a budget before starting your search for space.
Many individuals/organisations make the mistake of only using the rental or mortgage repayment figures when working out their budget. It is crucial that other financial implications in renting/buying space should be worked into your budget, such as:
- Move in/Set up costs - Including fixtures and fittings, furniture and general decoration.
- Property cost - Including rent, business rates, services charge and insurance.
- Most landlords require a deposit which should be returnable when you quit.
- Running costs - Ensure you take in account the general running costs including gas, water, electricity, telephone bill and cleaning/maintenance costs.
What kind of space are you looking for? There are various space options ranging from professionally run studios to individual workshops. Think about what the best property solution for you is, you should consider:
Professionally run studios: Professionally run studios provide an easy and quick way of taking up a space. These often provide administrative support and training opportunities. An inclusive monthly fee usually covers the space and running costs which means you can don't have to worry about additional ongoing costs. Many professionally run studios also run open studios to allow the general public, trade and press in.
Setting up a co-operative: A co-operative brings together a group of creatives to hire or buy a shared workspace. It is important to have a solicitor draw up a contract for each person involved to sign, and to ensure it runs smoothly you should draw up a set of house rules that everyone agrees to.
Individual workshops: If you prefer to work on your own, you may want to hire an individual workshop. Individual workshops are usually advertised via various arts magazines, e-newsletters and websites.