As you know, we are now well on our way to starting up our tremendous bookshop. I’ll admit that before we started this process, I was rather naive about rent negotiation and the drawing up of contracts. We have our own house and I remember only too well what I lovingly refer to as ‘the screaming down the phone phase’ of the proceedings. Nervous parents edging away from me in the playground as I explained that we needed to exchange immediately if not sooner. Oh, memories. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger, right? However, I just assumed that the process for beginning a business would not be quite so traumatic.
I don’t do this often, so make a note of the date, because I will admit that I was wrong. Very wrong. We have been in negotiations for the property of our desire for four months and have only just reached the point where ‘Heads of Terms’* have been drawn up. For those of you in the know, it probably doesn’t seem too long, but when you consider that the said property has been vacant for nearly seven years, it all seems a bit bizarre.
Why aren’t the landlords biting our hands off (not literally of course, I like my hands)? I’m not complaining. Not because I haven’t got anything to complain about, it’s just a bit pointless to be fair. And, to the landlords’ credit, they are carrying out a lot of the work for us, so we can move in and make it look groovy, without worrying about the cost of flooring etc.
What I would say is, if you are considering setting out on such a venture, be wary of time frames and be prepared for the fact that they have a nasty habit of shifting along the calendar without your knowledge. For us, our saviour has been a bit of blind faith and a truly brilliant agent who has kept us informed every step of the way. Now that contracts are being drawn up, I can honestly say that it has been worth the wait. We have the shop of our dreams in our line of vision and are one step closer to making ‘Chicken and Frog Bookshop’ a reality for the people of sunny Brentwood in Essex.
Now, who can we find to cut the ribbon on our opening day… *Heads of Terms are the pre-curser document to the final contract between tenant and landlord.