Quarterbridge Commercial Director, Hayden Ferriby gives you his top tips for successfully letting market units.
Letting units in any market hall can be very tough going, regardless of the location. As with all property lettings, there are key points to follow to ensure presentation is excellent to attract the perfect business to your market.
The appearance – sell the vision
It goes without saying that high levels of cleanliness and maintenance should be upheld within your market; make sure the unit you wish to let is the same. Remember, you are selling a prospective business their new home – not everyone has the foresight to imagine how a unit could look when occupied, and not just how it looks as an empty shell.
- An unused unit is a magnet for children’s rides, rubbish and other tenants’ old stock – make sure it is kept clear, clean and presentable
- Undertake minor repairs – small, simple fixes can make the world of difference Make sure the unit number is visible
- Turn the lights on, ensuring all the bulbs work!
If there is any equipment being let with the unit (coldroom, serve-over counters, for example), check they are fully functioning, are odour free and clean. Ideally, ensure they are serviced and the service history is up-to-date. This will make life much easier for the incoming tenant.
Advertising – find the right tenant
Gone are the days that passive advertising alone will find you the perfect business for your market. These days, market managers need to go out knocking on doors to attract the best businesses – though luckily there are ways of doing this ‘virtually’ to save both your time and shoe leather.
- Decide on the user clauses you wish to attract to your market – set yourself a goal and don’t just accept the first business that comes along. Prepare to be flexible though – you never know when someone will come up with a completely different idea that will be perfect for you.
- Use social media to advertise for new businesses. It is free, easy to use and wide reaching across age ranges, demographics and geographical areas.
- Facebook advertising is cheap, easy to control and simple to use. This can help you reach out to thousands of people for very small outlay.
- Use internet search engines to source contact information for local and regional businesses that fit your user clause aspirations. Write to them all, showing how your market would be the perfect home for them. If possible, include some well-taken photos of the unit and the market hall. Describe the fantastic environment they will be joining and sing the praises of the events you run. Remember to follow up with an email or letter.
And very importantly… make sure you put a big, bold To Let board up in the unit with the correct contact information on!
The process – keep it simple
Once you’ve found the perfect business to fill your empty unit, you need to take them through the lettings process. You will need to advise them on whether they are signing a lease or licence, what documents they need to provide, deposits to make and how long the process will take. Even if you have gone through the process hundreds of times and it seems simple to you, remember this will be an exciting but probably anxious time for the applicant so explain everything clearly and make them feel at ease throughout. Having worked with many markets across the UK, we know that the lettings process varies from one market to another with some markets even including elements such as approval of an applicant by all existing market traders. Whatever your lettings process, ensure it is as seamless as possible by adopting the following points:
- Simplify the process as much as possible.
- Make a step-by-step applicant’s guide to the process.
- Include an explanation of key phrases such as ‘licence’ or ‘service charge’ – this is especially useful when dealing with start-up businesses.
- Keep in regular contact with the applicant and let them know how their application is progressing.