Buy or lease business premises

When starting out, you'll need to decide where you will conduct business. If you sell products, this might be deciding where to set up a shop. If you're a professional service provider, this might include long or short term leasing of a business premises.

Not sure how to go about finding a business premise? Here are some suggested steps to help you along the way.

1. Location – which area is best for your business?

The location of your business can be an important factor in its success. When choosing a location, carefully assess what's the right environment for your business.

Gather information about the demographic and economic characteristics of the areas you're interested in. Contact local councils for detailed information about business activity in their regions.

Can your business benefit from the location? For example, a location may be ideal for your business because:

  • your suppliers or distributors are nearby

  • it's a known centre for the products or services you are providing

  • many of the people who work or live in the area are your business' target audience

  • businesses in the area complement yours (for example, a children's clothing shop could benefit from a childcare centre or toy shop nearby)

  • it's a growing business hub with many opportunities in the near future.

  • 2. Premise – which one is best?

Some things to consider when looking at premises to buy or lease for your business include:

  • What are your business requirements? E.g. traffic, growth

  • Do you need licenses or permits for your business

  • The term of the lease and if you are granted an option at the end of the lease

  • Vacancy rates in the area

  • Physical condition of the premises

  • Fit out – are permissions and approvals required and who is responsible for paying?

It's also important to know that if a person with disability cannot get into your building or cannot access your goods or services, they could make a complaint of discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Although the law allows for some defences (for example, the costs of improving access are prohibitive), it makes good business sense to ensure all potential customers can visit your business premise.

To understand what makes a business premise accessible, read the Access to buildings and services guidelines on the Australian Human Rights Commission website.

3. Buy or lease?

Once you have chosen your location, you need to decide whether to buy commercial property or enter into a commercial lease.

At this stage, it's advisable to seek professional business advice. Accountants, solicitors and other business advisers can advise whether it's in your best interests to buy or lease your business premises and equipment as well as the tax implications of each option.


If you're a business owner and are considering signing a retail lease, make sure you completely understand and agree with the clauses in the lease.

If you are a service provider such as an accountant or consultant, you might decide to rent or hire a premise for short periods, as it is required by your business. Examples might include hiring out a meeting room in preparation for a customer meeting, or for formal business meetings or functions. Do your research to understand the options available for short term office rental in your area.

It's important to seek financial and legal advice before signing any contract to avoid expensive misunderstandings that could cost you your business.

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