Hampshire-based software company that needed premises to support growth
Challenge: A specialist cloud-telecom software developer who had grown steadily and needed self-contained premises without a huge rent increase. Having started life in a small farm building, I helped NVM with its early growth, by adding floorspace in a multi-let office in Basingstoke. They could have remained in that office and it would have been a cheaper option but it was not the best solution.
Result: The directors entrusted me to find that best solution. I found a suitable property and negotiated a deal that included new heating and cooling plant as well as naming rights on the property - NewVoiceMedia House, alongside other terms that resulted in an attractive deal.
I showed the directors they could have their own office space and their own parking, all of which they could control without it costing a fortune and that’s what I delivered. If this story resonates with you or if your business needs new premises on the right terms, ask how I can help make it happen.
New serviced offices for global umbrella charity for visually impaired & eye health
Challenge: The charity had been operating from serviced offices in the City of London. They had approached me for advice as a dramatic increase in their rent was on the horizon. Costs were projected to double. The MD's workload was considerable and involved travelling to nations afflicted by poor eye health. Researching and sourcing new premises for an economical rate was proving a challenge for the management team in terms of a lack of time and the experience to address the issue effectively.
Result: I worked closely with both the MD & FD to produce a specification and budget. They ended up moving to offices in a similar location to their previous base & the new contract offered comparable services. We also saved the charity a substantial amount -the cost increase was 20% instead of the expected 100%.
Specialist unit found for pharmaceutical production
Challenge: The UK subsidiary of a pharmaceutical production unit manufacturer needed to move premises swiftly into a 30,000 sq ft 'clean' industrial site. When I was called in six of the allocated eight weeks' search period had expired without progress.
Result: Using every medium at my disposal I established a rolling schedule of search and inspection along the M3, M4 and M40 corridors. The right property - meeting the company's very specific requirements - was found within two weeks & put their relocation back on schedule.
Property lease negotiation for a retail outlet in Portsmouth
Challenge: This client had identified his ideal location and received a weighty document from his prospective landlord setting out the terms of the lease. I was approached for advice and reported that, of the 22 proposed terms, 7 were non-contentious, but the other 15 offered opportunities for savings.
Result: We finally reached agreement on all 15: the fact that the landlord’s profit also depended on the tenant’s turnover made it a ‘win-win’ deal. The savings to the tenant amount to more than £50,000 per annum.
Lease negotiation for overseas law firm delivers stress-free accommodation
Challenge: This New Zealand law firm was coming into the UK to take over a specialist practice, and naturally had an imperfect understanding of the English commercial property system. I helped them to source the best accommodation options and then to lead the lease negotiations for an office in Kent to ensure the right outcome for the merged company.
Result: The focus of this project was not just to save money, but rather to save them the time and stress of trying to learn the UK system and how to get the best from it. The fact that the stakeholders were absent for much of the process meant that it would have been extremely problematic for them to try and do it themselves. However, this situation enabled me to project manage the entire undertaking and achieve a successful result.
“Change of use” negotiation for multi-site holistic practice in Hampshire
Challenge: The owner of this practice knew his expertise didn’t extend to commercial property lease transactions. He had identified what they thought was a suitable site, but it emerged that there was a massive amount of maintenance and repair work needed, which the landlord had no intention of doing. The building was also fundamentally unsuitable in other ways.
Result: I was able to explain all of this to the client. We then identified a much more suitable unit on a business park with workspace on two levels plus parking. A complicated “change of use” was required and after a tricky negotiation, I secured a highly satisfactory result for the client.
Lease renewal advice delivers 46% rent reduction for Surrey charity
Challenge: This church-based café and resource centre in Farnborough Shopping Centre contacted me – luckily – 18 months before their lease renewal. Their turnover had fallen, their rent had become unaffordable, and they did not see how they could carry on.
Result: During a mentoring session with them, I teased out the fact that their drop in revenue had coincided with the departure from the Centre of some anchor tenants. I tutored them on the main commercial lease terms and introduced a range of negotiating techniques, which were new to them. This enabled them to argue that their new rent should reflect the Centre’s diminished ability to draw footfall. Consequently, their rent was substantially reduced.
Acquiring an enhanced, fit for business manufacturing unit in Farnham
Challenge: This company wanted a better working environment than the cold, damp, unlined building they occupied. They had failed to find anything suitable without paying a lot more, so they called me in.
Result: I found a self-contained, insulated and heated premises with its own yard, where the rent was no more than they were currently paying. Working closely with the Managing Director, I managed the negotiation and dealt with a slightly complicated planning application on his behalf, saving him both time and money. The MD commented: “Jim understood immediately what we needed and dealt with everything whilst keeping me fully informed. It was a great weight off my mind allowing me to focus on my business, which involves a good deal of travel overseas. I always felt in control and in the picture. We are very happy with the result.”
Property acquisition in Andover for a firm of solicitors
Challenge: This firm of solicitors wanted to expand into the building adjacent to their existing premises. Although clearly able to undertake the legal aspects of the project themselves, the firm called me in to handle the commercial negotiation.
Result: In the course of the negotiation, I managed to change the rental plan from a flat rate to one that rose over the first four years, as well as securing a longer rent-free period after completion. I also agreed more favourable terms on such aspects as the liability if and when they want to move on before end of contract. In all, I saved the company more than 13% of the rental cost across the first four years. In addition to this, I made it much easier for them to pass on the liability for the property if/when they wanted to move out. Very importantly, I saved the partners countless hours of negotiation, allowing the firm to continue business as usual throughout the acquisition period.
Negotiating a 25-year lease to enable a Ringwood based aeronautical firm to expand
Challenge: This airframe designer needed to expand. They had identified an ideal property across the road from their existing site, with much-improved facilities. The offices were, however, dilapidated, and the company was taking over the last five years of a 25-year lease with a full structural obligation.
Result: I negotiated for the outgoing tenant to pay for the office’s restoration, and limited our client’s liability, eliminating the risk of costly future repairs. Through skilled negotiation, I brought monetary benefits – including an extended rent-free period – which covered fees and the cost of moving many times over. Of equal value to the client was the financial certainty that I delivered.
Negotiating & securing the best lease deal for a furniture factory located in Chichester
Challenge: This company had already identified a new unit but recognised that they did not have the experience to negotiate the best deal on the lease. They called me in to perform the negotiation, and help identify the key issues, one of which was the existence of certain structural problems.
Result: I achieved acknowledgement in the lease that the problems pre-existed and were not the tenant’s responsibility to put right. I also negotiated a significant rent-free period. The saving on rent in the first two years amounted to £75,000, in addition to the saving implicit in avoiding liability for the structural problems.
Acquisition for a local jewellers
Challenge: This jewellery designer had identified a shop that she wanted to occupy. I advised that two of the commercial property aspects that were so crucial to her business – security and shop frontage – were poor.
Result: Together, we quickly found much better premises, with first-class security, excellent frontage and natural light in which to work. The right lease terms and economical rent completed a successful move. By taking over this commercial property transaction – and completing it in the owner’s absence whilst tey were abroad – the result was a more secure, more visible and more congenial shop, occupied on far more favourable terms.
Acquisition for a Hampshire procurement company
Challenge: Short of space, with little parking, this company unsurprisingly wanted to move from its high-rent, low-quality accommodation. The directors wanted to use their pension fund to buy a building and then lease it back as tenants. Proposed changes to pension fund regulations meant that the deal had to be completed quickly.
Result: I found a new building with the right location and specification, and negotiated a ‘first purchaser’ discount. Since the client principal was travelling in Africa for most of this period, I performed a valuable interim management role, including assisting in the negotiations with pension fund trustees and the lender. As well as the significant financial advantages that I was able to deliver, I was able to lead the complex of negotiations and adhere to the tight deadline for their completion. The acquisition simply would not have been successful without my expertise.