Frequently Asked Questions

Pikhaya is an online market intelligence service helping you assess opportunities and risks for every commercial property in England and Wales.

We aggregate open data on rents, staff numbers and salaries, vacancies, and economic activity to bring you comprehensive business intelligence for industrial, office and retail business premises.

What calculations and analysis do you produce?

For each commercial property in England and Wales:

  • Rental value (assessed): based on Valuations Office Agency National Non-Domestic Rates assessment (i.e. the official, but not necessarily market-related, valuation);
  • Business rates: based on the standard business rates multipliers (i.e. before any exemptions or reliefs for which the business may qualify);
  • Employment costs and numbers: based on the Employment Density Guide produced by the Homes & Communities Agency, complemented with data from the Office of National Statistics on regional salaries;
  • Estimated breakeven: see the response for that question;
  • Revenue: see the response for that question;
  • Occupation status: based on individual responses from Local Authorities declaring whether properties are occupied.

How do you calculate business breakeven?

As a rough rule-of-thumb, most businesses should aim to ensure that the ratio of Rent + Employee Costs should be about 20% of total business input costs (or breakeven). This is confirmed based on analysis of the ONS Gross Value Added dataseries, along with the ONS assessment of business profitability.

We use the rental valuation from the VOA, and the combination of employment density and regional salary data to assess the staff cost for each business property.

Note: this can only be a very rough guide since each business’ circumstances will vary from each other, and your actual staff costs and numbers, and negotiated rent, may differ substantially from those used in our assumptions.

How do you calculate business revenue?

The ONS Gross Value Added series provides the total GVA, by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC), for businesses across the UK.

Our assessment follows this process:

  • Map the VOA categorisation for each business property to a corresponding SIC (e.g. ‘Shop’ to ‘Retail’);
  • Total the floor area for all map properties for each SIC;
  • Divide the GVA less Employee Compensation by the floor area, this gives us profit per square metre;
  • Multiply profit per m2 by the floor area of a particular property for its specific industry type and add breakeven;

Note: this can only be a very rough guide since each business’ circumstances will vary from each other, and business success does involve a great deal of luck (for good or ill).

What data sources are used to develop the market intelligence?

Data are sourced from three key areas:

  1. Office of National Statistics (ONS):
    • Regional Gross Value Added
    • Population Estimates
    • Place of Work (Work Geography)
    • Employment
  2. Valuations Office Agency (VOA):
    • National Non-Domestic Rates
    • Business Rates Multipliers
  3. Local Authorities in England and Wales:
    • Local rates data

How current or up-to-date are your data?

There are a range of update schedules for each of our sources:

  1. Office of National Statistics (ONS): Annual
  2. Valuations Office Agency (VOA): Monthly
  3. Local Authorities in England and Wales: Quarterly to Annually (where provided)

Do you have complete coverage of empty properties in England and Wales?

About 70% of the 348 local authorities are able to provide empty property data. Around 70 authorities refuse our Freedom of Information requests. At the macro level, we are able to give guidance on the likely level of premises vacancy rates across England and Wales, but we cannot identify individual properties for those authorities which refuse to provide data.