Today I just focus on the effort to setup a small office, as setup of a business would probably require a book. First of all, you need to scout for a place. The place must have the following criteria
- Near to everyone (at least the business owners)
- Acceptable address for business
- Quiet and office-friendly
- Plenty of free parking
- Plenty of food
- Cheap Rent
- Fully or semi-furnished (hoping the ex-owner run an office there)
How to actually start a small office?
- Identify the area, like Puchong, Sri Petaling, Subang Jaya, etc.
- Spend months scouting for the best spots and best bargain, like going there at least once a week to see if any new options popup. Can’t really just rely on the agents, as some owners choose not to use the service of agents.
- Get the landlord to agree on at least one month of rental-free moving and renovation period. There are bound to be a lot of delays, especially time consumed by planning, arrangement, multiple contractors, moving and cleaning.
- Pay the deposit immediately once you find the right spot.
- Prepare the rental contract (if possible, get the landlord to do it, as all these paperwork is quite troublesome, such as draft contract, printing, signature, stamping, etc)
- Plan and contact the contractors. Electrical: Air-Conditioner, wiring, lighting. Renovation: Partition, carpet, painting, ceiling, door, window, toilet.
- Go to Telekom and get the phone/fax/Internet line ready. Deposit and rental/usage charges for commercial shops are more expensive, usually 2-3 times more than residential. Tips: Transfer your existing line from residential address. Why not choose a residential address? It might seem dodgy, to the potential clients and future employees. Though I like the idea of working in a bungalow unit very much, with private parking and a garden.
- Monitor the contractors (an absolute must, no matter how mundane you think it is, or how much you trust the contractors). Else, you might suffer from poor workmanship or lots of delay.
- If you have budget to spare, you could pay the contractor for everything. Else, you might need to do your own painting and cleaning.
- Furniture moving (lorry plus two workers could easily cost RM 300–500, so you could choose to rent the lorry and move the furniture yourself). Do bear in mind furniture get damaged easily during the moving process, so prepare for some casualty. If you bought new furnitures, then everything is pretty straightforward.
- Buy tons of office supply like equipments, stationeries, cleaning tools, electrical items, mailbox, door bell, and etc
- Prepare some new locks or change the door (or add new doors)
- Disposal of large garbage left by previous owner or contractors (is the such a service?)
- Hang up of large and huge whiteboards (is there such a service, of we just have to drill, stubs and screw ourselves, haha)
- Put up signboards (do we need any license?)
- Arrange for monthly cleaning (RM 100-300)
- Arrange for water supply (RM 300 for 50 barrels)
- Finish office setup (do we need any license?)
- And perhaps, employ receptionist cum office admin, if we have the budget.
- Remember to pay the monthly rental, water/electricity/telephone/internet bills which are 2-3 times the residential rate.
I found Puchong is a nice place to start a new business, especially more prominent area like Bandar Puteri. Puchong is a fast growing town with landmarks like TESCO, GIANT and IOI Mall, near to Subang Jaya, USJ, Cyberjaya/Putrajaya, Sri Petaling, Old Klang Road and Petaling Jaya. Bandar Puteri is a prominent commercial area, with lots of nice and new shops, with plenty of food options. I found that many IT companies choose to starts their operation there as well. The downside about Puchong is the toll and occasional traffic jams, and not connected by LRT at the moment.
PS: Try not to move office too often, as it is tiring and incurred quite some cost.