Selecting the right location and premises for your business is a critical decision.
Your options for business premises may include:
- locating your business at home
- buying or leasing business premises
- using co-working spaces or business incubators
- market stalls
- mobile vans
- pop-up shops
The type of business premises you select will depend on:
- the products or services you intend to provide
- your customer demographics and location
- your financial circumstances
TIP: It is important to seek financial, legal and business advice before making a decision regarding your business premises or signing any binding agreements.
Operating your business at home can be cost effective when starting a business. However you will need to:
- obtain local council approval
- ensure that your insurance policy covers business activities
- ensure a safe work environment if you intend to employ people
- understand the tax implications for your business
TIP: Contact your local council to discuss their requirements for home-based businesses or use our business licence finder. Failing to obtain the right approvals to operate your business may result in fines and having to find alternative business premises.
Read more about locating your business at home.
Depending on your financial circumstances, you may decide to purchase premises for your business. Investing in property can have tax implications so it is important to seek financial advice.
An alternative to buying premises is to lease them. Leasing business (or commercial) premises has advantages and disadvantages. It is very important to find the right location and to negotiate a good lease; getting these wrong can be costly.
TIP: You should obtain legal, financial and business advice before signing any lease documents.
Read more about finding the right premises to lease.
Depending on the nature of your business, you may consider using co-working spaces or business incubators. These office locations offer short to medium term accommodation for business start-ups. They generally provide access to a work space, meeting rooms and telephone services for a fee. Some also include mentoring, networking and training sessions for an additional cost
Co-working spaces generally offer a range of options from a single day to full-time use over a short-term period. Co-working spaces encourage collaboration so it is important to research their target market. Many provide a creative space for tech-start ups while others cater specifically for consultants and professionals.
Business incubators are similar to co-workings spaces and generally offer the flexibility of short to medium-term accommodation options. Businesses can usually rent office space, as well as shared facilities such as meeting rooms, at a competitive rate. Businesses tend to remain in the incubator for up to two to three years before moving to other premises. Facilities offered by incubators can vary from office and retail space, to light industrial and commercial cooking facilities.
Market stalls have become increasingly popular, particularly for food and retail businesses. It is important to understand that while a market stall may provide an opportunity to sell your products without the expense of committing to a commercial lease, you will still need to comply with certain regulations and obtain the correct licences and permits to operate. Check with your local council to find out more.
Most markets will require you to obtain a permit and take out your own insurance. Depending on your products you will also need to comply with:
- product safety regulations
- measuring and labelling standards
- food safety regulations
TIP: Food stall operators must be registered as a food business with their local council and inform them that they intend to sell food at temporary locations. The Department of Health has more information available on temporary and mobile food businesses.
Mobile food and coffee vans are an alternative option to renting business premises. However, there are a number of issues to be considered.
Before committing to a mobile business, consult your local council to determine what approvals and licences you may need. Often councils require you to comply with planning and health approvals. Also check for restrictions regarding:
- where mobile vans can operate
- height or size of mobile vans or trailers
- the storage of food products
In addition, you need to comply with local council requirements to register or licence your business if you intend to operate it from your home. If you sell food products you must also register as a food business.
The Department of Health has more information available on temporary and mobile food businesses.
A pop-up is a store that sets up quickly and is open for only a short period of time. A pop-up store is a good way to try a location and research your market before committing to a long-term lease.
Although your signage and temporary fit-out is likely to be minimal, you will still need to plan your opening.