In recent years London’s property prices have soared, seemingly unhindered by the declining incomes of UK residents. Much has been written on the effect of this on tenants, but a recent study has suggested that this phenomenon is not unique to the capital’s residential properties; the property bubble has enveloped commercial office space too, forcing local entrepreneurs to demonstrate their capacity for thinking outside the box.
Sky High Prices in the Commercial Sector
A recently released list of the most expensive commercial locations has shocked UK residents, with London coming in fourth behind New York, Hong Kong and Paris. This means that the average price for renting one square metre is now a shocking £14,774 per annum.
Thankfully, the enterprising spirit of Britain’s hardworking businessmen has not been dampened by the news. Instead, they’ve come up with some truly innovative solutions to their problems.
Virtual office innovators such as Landmark Plc. have proved to be one of the winners of the property crisis. The concept they turn on is a simple one: they offer external office support, and premier office space as and when it’s needed. They’ve proven particularly popular amongst small businesses and start-ups, which often struggle to command the necessary funds for renting London real estate. Their services include the provision of a City of London business address, a mail collection point, and a forwarding service. An experienced and professional receptionist is also provided to work externally on the client’s behalf. This assistant can take company calls, screen unwanted messages, and forward information to the business owner. This latter service has proven particularly appealing to smaller businesses that do not have the capital to employ administrative assistance in the traditional sense.
Other innovators have turned to serviced offices as a solution to the problem of spiralling rental prices. Managed or serviced offices are becoming increasingly prevalent in the capital. Located in prime commercial space, they come fully equipped and managed by a dedicated team. Individual offices are available to rent within the main building at a fraction of the price of an ordinary rental, and with the added advantage of flexible terms for business owners.
Some particularly bold and unconventional businessman have foregone offices altogether, turning instead to meeting room facilities. These generally offer meeting rooms in isolation for short-term rentals, providing businesses with a professional space for client meetings, but none of the cost of renting an office full time.
With Britain’s most innovative businessmen and women finding ingenious ways to combat the rental price crisis, one question remains: how long can London’s landlords continue to command these fees before business owners turn away from them altogether? Time alone will tell.