Dangers To Watch For When Moving To Commercial Premises

I’d love to share my own real word experiences as I’ve just recently moved to commercial premises and whilst I am a ‘seasoned’ business owner, I certainly learnt some valuable lessons. Some of my business principles and practices came in very handy plus I learnt quite a few other things. Please let me share:

1. Do a budget.

Specifically for the move, prepare your budget as you will soon discover the costs can quickly run up. Signage, removalists, new phone systems, computers, furniture, legals, deposits and so much more. This doesn’t even cover any refurbishment you may need to do. The costs really can escalate, so prepare a realistic budget and ensure you have the cash to fund this project. Naturally of course, ensure that ongoing you can afford the premises, including rent, electricity, security, telephones, etc.

2. Always get a quote!

And absolutely ensure that not only the quote, but all discussions are in writing. Are you buying a new computer without all the necessary software or perhaps your phone system is supply of hardware only and still requires installation and setup costs? Ask the question “do we need to do/get anything else” and always ask everything in writing (and get the answers in writing) so you have a reference. I know with one supplier, I got a quote (thankfully in writing) and then got a bill which was substantially more. Thankfully I referenced the quote and the supplier agreed to re-issue the invoice for the quoted amount.

3. Shop Around.

Prices seriously do vary, whether it’s getting new computers, or signage, there are variations in pricing which can seriously mount up, so compare, but be sure you are comparing the same thing, so ask lots of questions. Always check if the price is GST inclusive or not? Whilst it’s illegal in Australian to quote without GST (unless you very clearly say GST Exclusive) many businesses still do it, and try to add GST when they invoice … so always clarify or request that the quote is GST inclusive.

4. Stay on Task.

A move is a big project and needs at least one person at the helm coordinating it. You may well get various team handling different matters, but ensure one senior person (who is a decision maker) is running the show. Somewhat like a wedding (actually from memory, my wedding was easier to organise!), you need to confirm and reconfirm. Many telecommunication companies are the worse culprits and whilst they may promise service on the 12th, it probably will end up the 15th, so give yourself a buffer and advise them you are moving in on the 9th … then very likely you will actually have service by the 12th. Unless of course you’re quite happy not having phones or internet for several days?

5. Check the fine print.

When it comes to contracts, and a commercial lease is absolutely an important document, please, please, please seek legal advice. As I said, I’m a seasoned business owner, but a commercial contract can include clauses which are detrimental to your business. Seek out a solicitor who will work with you on this document and ensure there is nothing in there detrimental to you. And on a final note, before you hire your solicitor for the task, ensure they always act for the landlord (don’t assume they don’t) and if they do and suggest they can act for both parties successfully and put up a ‘Chinese wall’, I would personally NOT accept this. Have a solicitor who is 100% working for you.


Donna Stone is a business consultant with three decades of experience. She grew her own business from a garage to be a multi award winning operation that spanned five locations nationally. She shares her knowledge and expertise with clients to guide them in their own success. She is the author of the Stepping Stone series of books. Visit www.donna-stone.com.au