SMEs and Professional Property Advice

How can a Chartered Surveyor help my SME?

The acquisition and occupation of commercial premises is costly. Chartered Surveyors are here to save costs, ensuring businesses make the right decisions at the outset and during the term of occupation.

As a Chartered Surveyor with experience of acting for Landlords and Tenants of commercial property, I am all too aware of how often SME business owners do not get professional representation in property dealings. The lease cycle includes:

  • Acquisition of property
  • Rent reviews
  • Payment of service charges
  • Lease renewals
  • Payment of business rates

The absence of professional advice can have long lasting implications for the running costs of a business.

Rent, rates and service charge form a sizeable portion of the running costs for most small and medium sized businesses. A Chartered Surveyor will represent you at each stage of the lease cycle and demonstrate an ability to save you costs. The best Chartered Surveyors will look to understand your business goals and form a strategy to compliment these.

There are many decisions and complex implications associated with agreeing and performing the terms of a commercial lease. A solicitor will help you to understand your rights and obligations and ensure the lease is executed correctly. A Chartered Surveyor can help to ensure these rights and obligations suit the operation of the business and compliment the business plan.

How do I find the right Chartered Surveyor?

There are numerous ways of finding a surveyor, from the RICS website to word of mouth recommendation. Choosing the right Chartered Surveyor, as with all business service relationships, depends on your confidence in their ability to perform. Always take the opportunity to have an informal discussion with the candidates and ask them about their experience with businesses in your sector and location.

The right Chartered Surveyor should take an interest in your business and circumstances in respect of property dealings. Ideally, at the end of the conversation, you will feel you know a little about the individual and have a good idea on how they think it would be best for you to proceed.

If you decide to go ahead, the issue of professional fees will need to be addressed. These are often divided into:

  • Fixed fee
  • Performance fee
  • Hourly rates

Most property dealings will require some form of fixed fee for initial investigations and reporting. Thereafter, you may wish to agree a performance related fee with the surveyor, where the fee is calculated as a proportion of cost savings resulting from negotiations. However the fee is structured, it is important you understand how you are benefiting and the surveyor should endeavour to demonstrate this at the outset.

In conclusion, once you have chosen the right surveyor you should have the confidence that your property associated costs will be streamlined, giving you more time to focus on growing your business.

This article was written by Tim Wordsworth, Senior Associate Chartered Surveyor at Anderson Wilde & Harris a multi-disciplinary practice of Chartered Surveyors and Architectural Consultants

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