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Renting Your First Office Space in London For Your Exporting Business

Renting Your First Office Space in London For Your Exporting Business

So you want to set up shop in London, the beating financial heart of the world.

First things first — you need to find an office space. From selecting a location, and budgeting, to considering transport connections, there are various factors to think about.

Don’t worry. We’ve prepared a comprehensive guide for exporters looking to rent an office space in London — including everything from rental costs to helpful tips.

Check out this article, if you’re still on the hunt for a corporate bank account.

This article at a glance:

There are many things to consider when choosing an office space in London — the location and its amenities, your budget, and how much space you will need. You need to engage with a commercial agent who has access to a wide pool of information and consider the type of message you want to send to potential clients.

How much does it cost to rent office space in London?

It all depends on where you want to be. Any Londoner will tell you that London isn’t simply a city — it’s a sprawling collection of little towns, all varying in rental prices.

The cost of renting office space in London can vary significantly depending on factors such as location, size, type of office space, amenities, and lease terms. London is known for its high property prices, so office rental rates in the city can be relatively expensive compared to other locations.

According to Statista, the average cost to rent an office in London is as follows:

AreaPrice per square foot
West End£112.50
The City£70
East London£40

New to London? Need to set up a UK business bank account as a non-resident? Find out more here.

Choose a location

Expecting to host clients regularly? Begin by shortlisting locations that are convenient for your employees, suppliers, and clients.

Consider the following:

  1. Is the office easily accessible by public transport?
  2. Are there allocated parking facilities? Otherwise, where are the nearest parking spots?
  3. What is the condition of the building — both internally and externally?
  4. Are there loading and unloading bays for delivery personnel?
  5. Are there amenities nearby, including recreational spaces, pharmacies or restaurants?

Office Space Options in London

London offers a wide range of office space options to cater to various business needs. Here are some common types of office spaces available in London:

Traditional Offices: These are standard office spaces found in commercial buildings. They can be leased or rented on a long-term basis. Traditional offices often come unfurnished or furnished, and tenants typically have access to amenities such as meeting rooms, kitchens, and reception areas.

Serviced Offices: Serviced offices are fully furnished and equipped office spaces that are ready for immediate use. They are managed by a serviced office provider who offers services like reception support, IT infrastructure, meeting rooms, and communal areas. Serviced offices provide flexibility in terms of lease length and can be rented on a short-term basis.

Co-working Spaces: Co-working spaces are shared workspaces where individuals or businesses can rent a desk or workspace in a communal area. These spaces are popular among freelancers, startups, and small businesses. Co-working spaces often provide a collaborative environment, amenities like high-speed internet, meeting rooms, and social events.

Virtual Offices: Virtual offices provide businesses with a professional address and phone number without the need for physical space. They offer services such as mail handling, call forwarding, and access to meeting rooms on a pay-as-you-go basis. Virtual offices are suitable for businesses that do not require a dedicated physical workspace.

Flexible Offices: Flexible office spaces, also known as agile workspaces, combine the benefits of traditional and serviced offices. They offer short-term leases with the flexibility to expand or downsize as needed. These spaces often provide amenities and services similar to serviced offices but with more flexibility in terms of lease duration.

Business Centers: Business centers are comprehensive office complexes that provide a range of office solutions. They typically offer a mix of serviced offices, meeting rooms, co-working spaces, and virtual office services. Business centers are designed to accommodate businesses of various sizes and provide a professional environment.

When looking for office space in London, factors such as location, budget, size, amenities, and lease terms should be considered to find the most suitable option for your business requirements. It’s advisable to consult with a commercial real estate agent or explore online platforms that specialise in listing office spaces in London.

What’s the aim of your office?

Before embarking on the search for your dream office, take some time to establish what you want and need in your office space.

  1. How often will your employees be coming into the office?
  2. Will you be hosting daily team or client meetings?
  3. Do you want the office to be situated near your home or your clients?
  4. What first impression do you want your office to give?
  5. Can your office space accommodate business expansion soon?

These answers will streamline the office hunting process, allowing you to evaluate your options with greater clarity.

How Much Does an Average Office Space Cost Per Person?

The cost of office space per person can vary based on location, included facilities, and the size and view of the office. Prices can start at around $ 300 per month and increase accordingly.

For office suites, the starting price can be $ 3,000 or higher, depending on location and other factors mentioned.

Co-working spaces offer the most cost-effective option, with prices starting as low as £78,30 per month, depending on the level of service provided.

Although these rates are per person, office spaces for lease in larger buildings generally cater to a range of 4 to 100 or more people.

How much space do you need?

Space is crucial to making an office functional, but how do you know how much space you will need?

Start by listing down your company’s daily operations. For example, a reception area may be useful if you foresee frequent client meetings.

In London, the general rule is 100 sq. ft. per employee. This includes accommodating an estimated 50 sq. ft. for desk space and another 50 sq. ft. of room for communal areas like meeting rooms, breakout spaces, and kitchens.

However, high office rental prices in London mean that many businesses go for the more cost-efficient ratio — an estimated 70 — 80 sq. ft. per employee, meaning that spaces have to be used more efficiently, with solutions including using benches as a communal work desk and minimising storage facilities.

You will also need extra amenities, such as kitchens and meeting rooms. Consider the following:

Amenity Estimated number Space
Reception or waiting area 4 people 80 sq. ft.
Pantry 5 people 100 sq. ft.
Conference room 20 — 30 people 300 sq.ft.
Boardroom 15-20 people 220 sq. ft.
Small meeting room 2 — 4 people 100 sq. ft.
Big meeting room 4 — 8 people 150 sq. ft.
Small server room Up to 5 racks 40 sq. ft.
Big server room Up to 30 racks 120 sq.ft.

Co-working and shared office space

With the COVID pandemic changing the way we work, co-working and shared office spaces have become increasingly popular in London.

If you are looking for a short-term lease, co-working and shared office spaces will be significantly cheaper than your usual office lease. All you have to do is to lease rooms and simply move in. This saves you the trouble of spending money on things like office furniture.

Co-working and shared office spaces provide flexibility for when the team grows. Instead of searching for new office space, you can simply lease more desks to accommodate the expansion.

If this option sounds good to you, the below platforms can help you find a co-working or shared office space:

Private office space

There’s no one-fits-all solution. A co-working or shared office space may not work for you if:

  • You require warehouse space
  • You frequently host clients
  • You require your space to reflect your corporate branding

If that’s the case, you can begin your search for the perfect office space here:

Arrange for viewings

Engage a commercial agent — they have access to a wider pool of information than you, and can organise viewings on your behalf and provide information on the spaces that fall within your requirements.

Sometimes online photos are misleading. Arrange for viewings to make sure that you’re getting what you’re paying for.

The Office Condition

  • Is there natural light? Artificial lighting can negatively impact mental health.
  • Does the office provide all the equipment you require?
  • Does the office have an open floor plan, or is it separated by cubicles?


  • Do you need 24/7 access to the office?
  • Does the building have security measures in place?

Office Surroundings

  • What are the office surroundings like? Are there nice local restaurants and cafes? A decent park for lunchtime strolls?

Draw up a tenancy agreement

Now sign the tenancy agreement. This is a legally-binding agreement laying down the terms and conditions of the tenancy contract. Check the following:

  1. What is the length of the lease?
  2. Are there any break clauses?
  3. How much is the rent? Are there any rent-free periods?
  4. When and how will the bills be paid?
  5. When and how will rent reviews be made?
  6. Do you have access to shared facilities within the floor or building?
  7. How much are the service and maintenance charges? What do they include, and whose responsibility is it?
  8. Can you sublet the premises?
  9. Are there options to renew the lease?

Seal the deal

Once you have prepared the down payment, you will exchange contracts. This deal becomes legally binding, and the deal is completed when the balance amount is paid. If any parties breach the stated terms, the other party can file a compensation claim based on the tenancy agreement.

Do your research

While it is tempting to rush into setting up your new office in London, take the time to do your research and ask questions before arriving at a decision.

Can I rent office space in London for one day or just a few days?

Yes, it is possible to rent office space in London for a short duration, such as one day or a few days. There are flexible office space providers that offer short-term rentals to accommodate the needs of businesses or individuals who require temporary workspace.

Coworking spaces and business centers often provide options for daily or short-term office rentals. These spaces typically come fully equipped with amenities such as desks, chairs, Wi-Fi, meeting rooms, and sometimes even reception services. Some popular flexible office space providers in London include WeWork, Regus, Spaces, and The Office Group.

You can search online platforms specifically dedicated to flexible office space rentals, such as LiquidSpace, ShareDesk, or HubbleHQ. These platforms allow you to filter and book office spaces based on your desired location, duration, and other requirements.

When considering short-term office rentals, it’s essential to inquire about pricing, availability, and any additional services or amenities that may be included. It’s also advisable to read reviews and compare different options to find the best fit for your specific needs.

Have one less thing to worry about

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Can you rent office space and live in it UK?

In the UK, it is generally not permitted to live in office spaces that are designated solely for commercial use. Office spaces are typically zoned and regulated for business purposes, and residential use is typically not allowed within such premises.

Residential properties and commercial properties are subject to different regulations, safety standards, and planning permissions. Additionally, office spaces may lack the necessary facilities and amenities required for comfortable residential living, such as sleeping areas, kitchens, bathrooms, and appropriate insulation.

How much does it cost to rent an office in central London?

How long is a piece of string? London’s rental market is surprisingly wide-ranging. The rates of central London office space varies between £25 per sq ft to £120 per sq ft.

The amount you can afford to rent depends on your operating budget. Find out more here.

How do I find office space to rent in London?

To find office space to rent in London, you can consider the following steps:

  1. Determine your requirements: Clearly define your budget, preferred location (s) within London, required space size, desired amenities, and lease duration. This will help narrow down your search and make it more targeted.
  2. Utilise online platforms: Several websites specialise in listing commercial properties, including office spaces. Websites like Rightmove, Zoopla, Office Freedom, and Regus can provide you with a wide range of options to explore. You can use search filters to refine your results based on location, price, size, and other criteria.
  3. Contact commercial real estate agents: Reach out to local commercial real estate agents who specialise in office rentals in London. They have access to a broader range of properties and can assist you in finding suitable options that align with your requirements. They can also provide guidance and negotiate lease terms on your behalf.
  4. Networking and referrals: Utilise your professional network, industry associations, or local business communities to seek recommendations or referrals for available office spaces. Sometimes, word-of-mouth can lead to hidden gems or off-market opportunities.
  5. Attend property exhibitions and events: Keep an eye on property exhibitions, trade shows, and networking events in London. These events often feature commercial property developers, agents, and landlords who showcase their available office spaces.
  6. Engage with coworking spaces: If you’re open to a shared working environment, consider coworking spaces in London. They offer flexible rental options, shared amenities, and networking opportunities. Some popular coworking spaces in London include WeWork, Regus, and The Office Group.
  7. Verify lease terms and legalities: Once you find a suitable office space, carefully review the lease agreement, terms, and conditions. Seek legal advice if needed to ensure you understand your rights and obligations as a tenant.

Remember to conduct due diligence, visit potential office spaces in person if possible, and compare multiple options before making a decision. It’s also recommended to start your search well in advance to allow sufficient time for the process of finding and securing the right office space in London.

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