Decisions about business premises and showrooms can be vital for your wet leisure business. Here are some things you should bear in mind.
Do you need a showroom?
Decisions about premises can make or break a business. The first big consideration, of course, is whether you actually need them.
Some wet leisure businesses find that their showroom is vital to success and some have done very well without having a showroom at all. So it seems that there is no hard and fast rule.
A pool company may not need a showroom as such, but they will need premises of some sort to store materials and machinery and that may also give them an opportunity to showcase specific items and examples of pool finishes to the public.
Modern saunas are much more beautifully designed and built than many members of the public expect and can look striking in the right showroom environment. However there are sauna businesses that do extremely well without a showroom.
For the hot tub industry, showrooms are often seen as a given, particularly as many people like the opportunity of wet-testing a spa before they buy.
In any event, either having or not having a showroom will have a significant effect on your marketing mix.
If you choose to do without a showroom then your products will have to be showcased elsewhere – perhaps on a well designed website.
If you do have a showroom then a significant amount of your marketing effort will be dedicated to getting customers to come and visit your premises.
Business premises are usually the second biggest overhead for any business after the wage bill.
And premises are a fixed cost – that is they stay at the same cost no matter how much, or how little, business you actually do.
Only take on premises or a showroom if there is a genuine business reason to do so. It isn’t enough that having a showroom will make you ‘look more business-like’. There are plenty of other ways to achieve that.
You need to take all the costs into account when thinking about taking on business premises – or possibly getting rid of them.
As well as paying rent or possibly a commercial mortgage, there are business rates, utilities and the cost of insurance. There may be service charges as well and you might need to invest in the look of your premises, including décor, furnishings, equipment and signage.
Trying to keep the costs down can be counter productive. If your premises are cheap, they might look cheap and what does that say about your business?
Being in the right location.
Most wet leisure businesses take their premises on industrial estates or near garden centres.
Although garden centres used to generate a fairly high footfall of potential customers, the recent economic climate has hit their business harder than many and so those numbers have dropped off.
Industrial estates can work well and it is well worth trying to be in an estate, or in a part of the estate, where there are other businesses that will attract people who are also your potential customers.
Try and be near bathroom showrooms and other leisure or home-improvement businesses rather than business units who will mostly get trade customers.
Wherever you are, your premises need to be easy for people to find and remember that being in the right ‘neighbourhood’ makes a big impression.
Other things to consider.
If one of the reasons that your business needs premises is for warehousing stock then look at the possibility of self-storage facilities either as an alternative or as a way of freeing up part of your existing premises.
The quality and fit of your showroom will say as much about your business as the products that you are displaying in it. It’s better to have a smaller, better space than a barn that looks like a barn.
Your premises, whether open to the public or not, will have to conform to the appropriate health and safety regulations.