Choosing premises for a new business & California State College – IELTS General Reading Passage

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 15-27.

GT Reading Sample: Choosing premises for a new business & California State College

Read the text below and answer Questions 15-20.


What you need
Three factors dominate the priorities of small businesses looking for premises: cost, cost and cost. Nobody ever has enough money, so there is an overwhelming temptation to go for the cheapest property. It is a mistake that can take decades to rectify – and even threaten the future of a promising business.

Ironically some firms swing too far in the other direction, committing themselves to a heavy initial outlay because they believe in the importance of image – and that does not come cheap. Finding the right premises is the real secret. That can, and will, vary enormously according to the type of business. But there are some general rules that apply to any operation.

High street premises are important for shops which rely on passing trade – but these are expensive. Rents fall quickly within a few metres of main roads. Offices, however, need not be located centrally, particularly if most business is done on the phone or via email.

Manufacturing and storage relies heavily on access. Think about how vans and lorries will deliver and collect goods from the premises. Nearby parking can be important for staff, and public transport can be even more so, as traffic restrictions tighten.

This is a crucial decision. Health and Safety laws provide basic guidance on how much room is required per office desk or manufacturing operation. But remember to allow for growth.

Every small business aims to become a big business, but this prospect can be obstructed if the wrong decisions are made early on. It is important to consider flexibility from the start. Can a building be physically altered internally by knocking down walls or by extending outwards or adding extra floors? Is there spare land next door to expand later if necessary?

Landlords obviously have to agree to any changes so it is important that the contract includes details of what will be allowed and how much extra will be charged on top of the costs of rebuilding or alteration. Planning rules must also be considered. Local authorities are not always open to discussion about the future of premises. They may have rigid rules about increasing density of development. The building may be in a conservation area or near housing, in which case it will be much more difficult to consider changes.

Questions 15-20

Complete the sentences below.
Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 15-20 on your answer sheet.

15. Some people choose expensive premises because they want to create an impressive ………………… for their company.

16. Businesses which depend on ………………… need to be on or near the principal shopping areas.

17. Businesses which produce goods must check there is ………………… to the premises for delivery vehicles.

18. When choosing a building for your premises, find out whether ………………… could be removed to create more room.

19. Make sure that the ………………… states what type of building alterations might be permitted.

20. If business premises are located close to …………………, extensions may not be allowed.

Read the text below and answer Questions 21-27.



Employees are paid every other Friday. If Friday is a holiday, payday will be the following Monday. Generally, employees pick up the pay checks in their department; if not, they may be picked up at the Business Office.

All time worked over eight hours in one day and forty hours in a workweek, and also the first eight hours worked on the seventh day of work in a workweek is considered overtime for non-exempt employees. The supervisor must approve all overtime before overtime occurs. Hours in excess of eight hours on the seventh day and in excess of twelve hours in one day will be paid at double time. Exempt employees receive no additional compensation for overtime hours.

All employees who will be parking in a staff parking zone must obtain a parking permit. A monthly pre-tax payroll deduction can be made by visiting Human Resources. If you wish to pay cash, present your staff I.D. and license number to the Cashier’s Office. The Safety Department will ticket cars without a parking permit and a fine will be applied.

I.D. Card
All employees are required to carry an I.D. card. If an employee loses his/her card, there will be an automatic charge of $5.00 to issue a duplicate. If an employee gives up employment, his/her I.D. card must be returned prior to the release of the final paycheck.

All regular and temporary full-time employees generally receive approximately 13 paid holidays during the course of each calendar year. Regular part-time employees will receive holiday benefits worked out using a prorated system. The holiday schedule is initiated annually.

Personal Holiday
Each employee is granted one extra day as a Personal Holiday at the time of hire, and at the beginning of each calendar year, Personal Holiday hours must be taken at one time (eight hours full-time or prorated based on the employee’s time). Employees requesting Personal Holiday will be required to complete ‘Leave Request’ forms. No more than one Personal Holiday is authorized annually.

Birthday Holiday
All regular and temporary full-time or part-time employees are entitled to take their birthday off with pay. An employee has a fifteen-day span before and following his/her birthday to take the paid day off. What is known as a grace period through January 15th is given to those employees whose birthdays fall between December 16th and the end of the year.

Questions 21-27

Answer the questions below.
Choose NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the text for each answer.
Write your answers in boxes 21-27 on your answer sheet.

21.  Where do most employees collect their wages? 
22.  Who has to authorise any overtime an employee wishes to do? 
23.  Who is not paid extra for working more than 40 hours a week? 
24.  Where should employees go if they wish to have the parking charge taken off their salary? 
25.  What method is used to calculate part-time employees′ holidays? 
26.  Which documents must employees fill in to select their Personal Holiday? 
27.  What is the name of the special entitlement provided to employees with birthdays in the second half of December? 

15. image
16. passing trade
17. access
18. walls
19. contract
20. housing
21. their department
22. (the) supervisor
23. exempt employees
24. HR/ Human Resources
25. (a) prorated system
26. Leave Request forms
27. (a) grace period
[Note: Words in brackets are optional – they are correct, but not necessary for correct answers.]