I am making the plunge and starting a business to design and manufacture electronic devices. I don't have a background in electronics myself, though I have some knowledge and other technical skills.
My question is this. What kind of commercial space do I need to be able to do this kind of work? I have a great opportunity to rent space in an office building. The rent is reasonable and the setting is great. However, I'll occasionally be using a soldering iron. That potentially means putting small amounts of hazardous chemicals in the air. I've told the landlord and he doesn't seem to be concerned, but maybe he isn't informed. I'm worried that this could become a problem down the road.
For the most part, space is space. What amenities are available? Sufficient HVAC air flow so no one chokes on fumes? Reliable power, telephone, internet? Enough offices, conference rooms? Sufficient parking for employees? Sufficient lighting so no one gets eyestrain?
You'll need a sheet of graph paper; lay out the assembly/test benches, test equipment, inventory and storage areas. You'll need to allow space for people to move in the aisles; don't forget a bit extra for carts and pallet jacks. The fire marshal might have issues with inadequate escape routes.
How's the power/wiring? Is it adequate and well laid out, or do you need an electrician to add a few (dozen) more outlets? Do you need to run cable trays for your computer network? Don't even *think* about going wireless...
You might want to investigate lead-free solder, especially if you plan to send your products to Europe (google RoHS). It's a bit trickier to use, but not too bad...
Then get it written in stone in the lease...
Be sure someone with an Electrical or Electronic Engineer designation signs off on your designs; otherwise, if one of your products sets someone's house on fire, or electrocutes them, you're toast. If Fluffy the Poodle chews through an 'inadequately protected' (you'll hear *that* phrase in court...) power cord, Fluffy's owner's lawyer will be inserting a judges gavel up your ass without lube.
Solder smoke isn't an issue, but get one of those little benchtop smoke scrubber/filter things if you're concerned. We have one big one, central blower box with HEPA filter, with piping everywhere and gooseneck slurper hoses at every bench.
Microwave popcorn turns out the be the real hazard.
But I wouldn't spend money on real estate until I had so much business I absolutely needed more space. Start in your garage or something.
Starting out by *looking* successful is not a path to success. I've seen too many people who say "you have to spend money to make money." That's silly; you make money by NOT spending money.
Others have given good advice already. But it's not clear from your question whether you plan to actually fabricate your own circuit boards, or have that farmed out. If you are going to roll your own, you will need some additional considerations like having a "wet" work area for etching and rinsing, and you'll have to deal with exhausted etchant disposal. If you use the photo-resist method you'll need a semi-dark exposure area. You'll need to drill the boards (use a Dremel with a ball-tip burr instead of a drill bit for one-offs), which means there will be dust generated that you will want to keep away from the assembly and test area.
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You might want a small desk fan to keep the flux fumes out of your face - your normal HVAC should take care of what's in the air. If it's lead you're worried about, just wash your hands before you eat.
Do you have enough money to live on for about a year? That's rent, taxes, wages, equipment & tools, parts stock, etc., etc., etc.
But what could possess you to get into a business that you know nothing about?