Small businesses & the rental conundrum

  London is crazy (amazing, but crazy). We all know that. One of its crazy points is commercial property, especially for an SMB. We at DAC Group started trying to find a new ‘home’ eight months ago. Maybe uber cool and in pricing-hot Clerkenwell was a bold ambition, but as a media and technology business, it will help us attract and retain the best talent. Not to mention how easy it is for our clients to get to. So, naively in I plunged (with the help of very patient property agents).

20 properties viewings later, including two gazumpings, and once getting screwed over by a duplicitous agent, we have just signed to move into the very first property we saw. What a rodeo ride it has been! And then comes the real fun: Do you, as a business, have an appropriate provenance of profit history when you have only been in business for a couple of years? Or do you have annual profits that equate to 6x the rental cost? (if I did I would not be renting; I would be buying outright!!!) Do you have 9 to 12 months’ deposit to tie up for 5 to 10 years? Do you have spare cash to pay the Government Stamp Duty (really?? I am renting not buying!!!!) Do you have £5 to £10k to pay lawyers? That’s before you even consider the £45 per square foot for a fit out. Surely there is more the Government could be doing to help with some of these immense upfront costs when an entrepreneurial business is trying to get moving through the growth gears. For us, it will all be worth it in order to create a permanent home that reflects and indeed helps us cement our own culture when we finally move in during April.

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