Deciding where to work
Working from home will be the cheapest in financial terms, especially if you are setting up on your own, but if you are intending to set up a larger practice or grow quickly it probably won’t be an option, except in the very short term.
Don’t forget all of the non financial considerations to working at home such as having a dedicated space to work, somewhere to keep your client files and technical publications etc, making sure you can keep clients papers confidential and secure and consider the intrusion to your family life of clients knocking on the door at any hour, (as clients may not always stop to think that it is your home they are visiting unannounced out of hours), and coming into your personal space.
Depending upon the type of clients you want to attract, you could always try an insist on having meetings at your clients place of work or home, after all, invariably information you require will be with them in their environment and not on their person if the meeting is at your office! So, time you waste travelling between clients may be saved by always being able to collect the information you need and be a small price to pay for your own privacy.
If you are setting up entirely on your own, you also need to think about the discipline of working from home. You may think you’ll be motivated enough, but it can be a big shock going from a bustling office to working alone. If you struggle, set yourself targets, to be in the ‘working space’ set for yourself by say 9am or earlier, and try not to let distractions take over, give yourself a lunch break, and then return to your ‘office’. Come the end of the day, try and ‘switch off’, have a trigger, just as you would for the start of the day to get you into work mode, such as closing the door to your office. If you have a young family, or other people in the house, try and get them disciplined not to disturb you save for set lunches and coffee breaks, get them to understand that a closed door means you are working.
Owned or rented premises
If you are setting up other than on your own, you will need space for your colleagues and staff to work. If you are planning to grow your practice try and source facilities that will accommodate your growth.
If you are going to try and attract passing trade then a High Street presence maybe your preference. A high Street presence means that you are bound to be close to public services making it easier for office based staff to get to work, though not so easy for them to park close to the office to load and unload client files and computer equipment (including printers that have become the normal way of working, younger members will not know anything different, but older members will remember the time a modest briefcase, and not one on wheels, carried all you needed to work out of the office). It might not be easy for clients to park when they visit you, and that could impact on their choice of adviser.
Premises in out of town business parks are growing in popularity for professional firms, you will get less passing trade, save for the businesses in the same park, but you may prefer the benefit of clients being able to park easily and visit you without too much effort on their part.
Security and confidentiality will be high priorities if you work from services offices, to ensure you can your clients papers be kept safe and secure. If you are working on your own, working from serviced offices can give the impression you work for a larger business, and, although the services will differ from place to place, you will often benefit from such facilities as reception services; message taking; board and meeting rooms and IT support.