How To Find Tenants For Commercial Properties Cheaply

My local high-street letting agent wanted to charge me £4,400 + VAT for finding a tenant for a commercial property, an online agent charged £160 + VAT for the exact same service!

Let me explain how and where, so you can also find tenants for your commercial property for peanuts!

Commercial Rental Properties

The process for finding tenants for a commercial property is just like finding tenants for a regular BTL, only it’s generally a little more expensive, but it typically involves the same steps:

  • Market the property
  • Process the enquiries
  • Schedule and take viewings
  • Create a tenancy with the most appropriate applicant.

Sound familiar? Good!

Most commercial landlords will naturally use a traditional high-street letting agent to source the tenant, and consequently result in paying through the nose for the privilege. What? It’s true :)

But in this digital age, there’s a cheaper alternative to sourcing commercial tenants that is arguably just as effective. That option is called an Online Letting Agent. You may or may not have heard of them. And if you have, you may not have realised that they cater for commercial landlords.

Many BTL landlords have already cottoned on and quickly made the switch over from using traditional high-street agents to online letting agents, but commercial landlords aren’t shifting as quickly, and I suspect that’s largely because BTL landlords have a higher tenant turnover, so they’re forced to be more active and informed with the latest trends.

Either way, if you’re a Commercial landlord, it’s important to realise that you can use an online Commercial letting agent to advertise your property on “Rightmove Commercial” to find tenants for a fraction of the cost compared to a traditional high-street agent, and generate just as many enquiries.

How to advertise on Rightmove & Zoopla Commercial!

Letting AgentRatingTermIncludes / NotesPrice
TrustPilot Reviews
3 months
Includes / Notes

Commercial Let package
  • Key features
  • Zoopla listing
  • OnTheMarket listing
  • PrimeLocation listing

Discount available

£141.55 Inc VAT
(Normal price: £149)

Visit Website5% Discount Code: PIPComLet

What is a Commercial Online Agent? How do they differ from a high-street agent?

Don’t be misguided… Online agents have the same aims and objectives as any other traditional high-street agent, and that is to find tenants as quickly as possible.

However, they do have a few primary differences, and I’ve listed the main notable one’s below…

Online Commercial Lettings Agents don’t have local branches/offices
Unlike traditional high-street letting agents, online agents don’t have physical branches/offices on the high-street. Instead, they typically have a centralised office(s) where the operations are managed and telephone communication is the key to providing support. All their services and selling is managed online via their website. This set-up explains why online agents can offer a much cheaper solution to landlords, simply because their running costs are drastically smaller.

Makes sense, innit?

Online agents will pass all the enquiries received for your property onto yourself to process (e.g. to contact the prospective tenants to arrange viewings), while a high-street agent usually keep all the enquiries and process them internally.

When using an online agent, the landlord is typically expected to take the viewings, whereas with a high-agent, a local agent will typically take the viewings for you, and you’re reliant upon their feedback.

Personally, I always prefer to meet all my prospective tenants, and I know many landlords feel the same. And that’s because there’s a lot to be said about meeting potential tenants face-to-face on the viewing, allowing the landlord to get a clearer picture of who they are and what they’re like.

If you’re happy to take the viewings (which most commercial landlords are prepared to do), and wish to save a buttload of money on finding tenants, then using an online letting agent to source commercial tenants could definitely be an ideal solution for you.

No hidden fees
High-street agents are notorious for applying hidden fees, which are strategically stuffed into the contract. Of course, they usually surface after it’s too late.

From my experience, online agents operate on a “Fixed fee” basis- your property stays advertised for a single payment, and they don’t charge any extra commission or administration charges. In fact, I’m unaware of any online agent that doesn’t adhere to a fixed fee policy, because that’s kind of their selling-point and how they differentiate themselves from the high-street bandits.

The importance of being listed on “Rightmove Commercial”

I’ve ranted and raved about how important it is for landlords [of all varieties] to market their vacant property on Rightmove to statistically stand the best chance of finding tenants quickly. Regardless of whether you use a high-street agent or an online agent, I wouldn’t recommend going without an agent that utilises Rightmove.

Rightmove is by far the most popular UK property portal, and that’s because they get more prospective UK commercial tenants viewing their stock compared to any other UK website. “Rightmove Commercial” alone receives over 2 million monthly searches, and they have over 40,000 commercial properties listed, including office, retail, leisure, hospitality, industrial, and warehouse spaces and facilities.

That’s a whole lot of marketing power (which every UK Commercial landlord should be exposed to)!

And the reality is, most high-street agents get the vast majority of their leads from Rightmove, and NOT from local marketing.

More on online letting agents and how they work

I’ve written more of an in depth blog post on online letting agents, which provides further information on the general concept of an online agent, and how they operate and differ from high-street lettings agents. However, that article is specifically for BTL landlords, but the general principles apply in most cases.

8 Join the Conversation...

Guest Avatar
Martin Knowles 17th May, 2018 @ 13:21

Are you able to take an option on a commercial property say for 6 months while you try and find a tenant to occupy the property?
Martin Knowles

Guest Avatar
Nick 26th June, 2019 @ 08:14

This blog says that it is possible to market commercial properties on OpenRent but that isn’t correct. It is only possible to market residential properties on OpenRent.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 26th June, 2019 @ 08:30

Hi @Nick,
Apologies, that was a small technical glitch which caused OpenRents details to appear in the table. Funny enough, I noticed it late last night and planned on resolving it today (which I've just done).

Guest Avatar
Akbar 14th July, 2019 @ 21:07

99HOME states the voucher "PIPComLet" has expired.

Also the £99 let is for first 3 months only and not "until let".

Guest Avatar
Gary 5th October, 2019 @ 15:42

This is clearly written by someone who doesn't understand commercial property. Letting residential and commercial real estate is worlds apart and there is a reason why commercial agency is so much more expensive. Any landlord would be well advised to stick with a qualified commercial agent (RICS) and ensure an experienced commercial solicitor draws up their lease. If you start using unqualified online agents, you may live to pay a much higher price later down the line.

The Landlord Avatar
The Landlord 5th October, 2019 @ 19:32

Residential agents say the same about online agents.

The process of finding tenants is the same, only difference is the paperwork. I get that it's probably with in your best interest to make it seem so complicated, but as said, high-street agents say the exact same thing about online agents and their fees.

Guest Avatar
Neilt 16th December, 2019 @ 11:52

I've been a commercial Landlord for nearly forty years, splitting larger premises into smaller lettable units. Originally, I advertised in the local paper but that's all gone now. First and foremost is to get an up to date rental valuation - I still use agents to do that although it's as simple as checking out similar properties online, which is probably all that they do. Then put up a 'to rent' sign and back that up with internet advertising. £99 for three months sounds cheap to me, so I will definitely be using this site.

Years ago a kindly solicitor advised me to use the Law Society's lease which can be bought online. I've used it ever since for lease periods of up to 5-years. I generally contract it outside of the LL and Tenant Act 1954, as amended, which is simple once you know how to do it correctly, but I'd suggest getting legal advice first.

May I point out that my rents are generally no more than 15K pa which should indicate to you the level that I'm working at.

I do hope that this helps.

Guest Avatar
Doug Hill 25th November, 2020 @ 09:16

I am a Commercial and Residential Landlord of 20 years experience and have always used a Letting Agent but have now switched to using an on line Lettings Agent for the advertising which saves me a lot of money. On the commercial, I have a bespoke lease for a small shopping arcade, we went to a solicitor and a RICS surveyor and combined their opinions to create a balanced lease. We then decided to pay for a challenge on our own Lease with another Solicitor, to acquire a final Template. This final template has served us well over the years. We are fully transparent and we always offer a break on all Leases to ensure there is an exit route should it be needed.
There are of course professionals that try to over complicate things for obvious reasons and often take too long resulting in the prospective Tenant backing out.

















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