What SMEs should know about renting offices in December

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By Henry Wisbey-Brown

Christmas can be a quiet time for businesses, as staff begin to wind down in anticipation of the holiday season and eggnog to come. This often means that the big decisions are left to the New Year when activity starts to ramp up again. In large part, this makes sense – there’s no point queueing up lots of changes that won’t even start to be implemented until January comes around.

However, in one key area it pays to take advantage of the festive lull – finding new office space.

For most small and medium sized businesses, the big decisions on whether to stay or go are left to January, meaning that December tends to be relatively peaceful for the commercial property industry. But, that means for the intrepid few willing to brave the winter chill and begin their search for a new office a little early, there are deals to be had.

First off, many landlords are willing to offer a rent-free month as an enticement to move. Saving a twelfth on premises costs for the year isn’t insignificant, and can be the difference between getting an adequate space and being able to go for an exceptional one.

It’s not just a rent-free month in a brand new office space that’s up for grabs if you beat the rush. Because of the quietness of the season, it’s often the case that you’ll be able to negotiate a more favourable contract, securing the space you want at a price much more affordable than the offers you’d get in January or February. It’s a little like Uber’s surge pricing – by finding new office space at a time when other’s aren’t looking, you avoid the price multipliers that factor in as more businesses move into the market.

Skipping the queue doesn’t just save money. By starting early you ensure that a maximal amount of space is on offer, increasing the likelihood of finding the perfect premises.

It also makes intuitive sense to move at a time when your business isn’t making other big decisions or large scale changes. Moving premises isn’t always a painless process – things can, and do, go wrong – but by doing it in December you keep disruption to yourself and your clients to a minimum.

Of course this doesn’t apply to all companies or business models – if you’re a high street retailer or a gift shop it’s probably in your best interest to wait until the festive season is well and truly over before thinking about changing spaces…

But, for many SMEs December offers unplumbed opportunities to make the most of the quirks of the office space market and save big money in the process.

Henry Wisbey-Brown is PR & Communications Manager at FreeOfficeFinder