The exciting thing about having a home business is that you have visions and goals for one day having a studio or an office space. Maybe you are at that cross-roads now. Do you choose to dedicate more of your home? Or, are you finally ready to head out and find yourself some creative space? Is it finally time to rent some warehouse relocations specialists and start separating home and work?
Rather than spend the next few years floating from one space to the next, here are a few tips on things you should reconsider before you put pen to paper and sign on the dotted line.
Know Your Budget
When it comes to the space that you rent, you are likely going to be looking at a bit of a premium. Most studio spaces are going to be within a building that is subject to specific rules and regulations. Add taxes, utilities, insurances on top just for good measure – plus any maintenance. Don’t plan your budget based on what you are hoping to sell, but rather base in below the income that you are making right now.
Think About What You Need
While you might want to get the most significant amount of space for the smallest amount of money, you might not actually need as much room as you think you do. Will you be using it to store work? Are there anything specific items that you need to have there? Machinery? Screen printing? Will you be there regular hours or are you going to need a spare bed in there for those extra late nights when inspiration hits?
The chances are you will need to be banking a serious amount before you have the premium penthouse studio with facilities etc., in the meantime think about if you could share a studio space with either an artist you know or get in touch with some specifically warehouse real estate people and see if they can help you out.
A lot of what makes the difference will be what medium you use to work in. You will probably need, as a minimum, windows, proper ventilation, water and as much good light as possible.
Most artists work around a full-time job elsewhere, so keeping regular hours isn’t usual. Make sure that you have 24-hour access at all times, but remember that in co-working spaces this might not be a given.
Location, Location, Location
The chances of you having a great office space close to where you live are slim. Else you would already have this under control. Most sizeable studio spaces tend to be where you find slightly more industrial buildings. Talk to other artists that you know and see where they have space or if they know of anyone who would recommend certain places.
Try and factor in travel time to and from your space. Consider traffic, parking, public transport and perhaps a coffee shop too.
As well as making sure that any space you rent is entirely up to date with all fire inspections you should make sure that you take the time to install fire alarms, and carbon monoxide alarms yourself too. Double check that the sprinklers have all recently been tested and when the next inspection is also.
This is also the time to consider your personal safety in and around the studios. If there isn’t a camera and sufficient locks already installed, then you should either request for some to be fitted, or get permission to fit your own. Not only with this help in the case of a break-in, but simple things like floodlights can deter theft and personal attacks. To add to this, you should check the crime rate in the area.
The area you are in will affect your ability to work, and the hours you can work too. If the building management has rented out more than one studio and you find you are the next door neighbour of a heavy metal band with no noise cancelling insulation, then you are not going to be having those serene art producing moments you are dreaming about. Before you sign anything make sure you know a little something about the rest of the tenants.
Are there any building works planned in the next year. Either in that building or in the surrounding area? Trains or main roads close by? All of these will have peak noisy hours, and if you know about them in advance, you can be either accept it or find another location.
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Vinh Van Lam & Stuart Horrex
Your Coaches ArtSHINE industries