Tips for Renting or Leasing Your First Office Space

July 10, 2017

There are approximately 28 million small businesses across the United States. Whether you are just starting out or have run your business from your home for years, you might want the ideal office space. There are probably several options to choose from, but because this is your first experience with commercial real estate, you might not know what you’re looking for.

Don’t end up renting a space that won’t meet your small business’s unique needs. Instead, consider a few tips to help you find the commercial property your business will need to flourish.

Consider Your Needs

First and foremost, it is important to consider your small business’s needs. For example, if you are seeing clients, you may require a waiting area and separate conference rooms or meetings areas. Additionally, if you have multiple employees, you need to provide enough space for each to work.

A cramped workspace can negatively impact productivity, so keep this in mind when determining how much square footage you will require.

Additionally, if your business houses sensitive documents, such as your clients’ social security numbers or bank account information, it is important to consider the types of security provided by the building. For example, in cases where you will need to ensure your or your clients’ information is protected, consider a building that provides video surveillance or a guard at the front door.

Keep Your Costs Down

Keep your long-term costs and revenue in mind when determining how much you can spend each month on the rent or lease payments. This is especially critical if you are just starting out or if your revenue and costs fluctuate throughout the year.

It is critical to find a space that works for your needs, but you must also be able to afford it. You will also need to pay upfront costs before leasing the space, such as the first few months’ rent and a security deposit.

Don’t forget to factor in the operating costs that you will also need to pay on a monthly basis, including utilities, janitorial services, marketing services, insurance, other professional services, and any licensing and permit costs.

Also, consider the length of the lease. If you sign a multi-year lease but your business isn’t as profitable as you had hoped, you could wind up paying for office space that you will no longer occupy.

Look for the Ideal Location

If you own a home, chances are the property’s location was a huge consideration. The same holds true of renting an office space, so keep this factor in mind when making a final decision. Here are a few points to keep in mind when determining whether the location of a potential office space will work for you, your clients, and your employees:

  • How’s the commute? You and your employees will be driving to this office space every day of the week, so it is important that the office is conveniently located.
  • Where are your clients located? If the majority of your clients live or work in a certain area, such as downtown, choose a location that is convenient for them, as well.
  • Are other amenities available? If you’re trying to attract new clients, or if you want a variety of coffee shops or restaurants near your workplace, choose a neighborhood with plenty of amenities.

There is one additional factor you need to consider when choosing the ideal location for your small business: parking. If you will see multiple clients or have multiple employees, you will need plenty of parking.

Look at the Potential for Expansion

As you take on even more clients and employees, you will need an office space that can accommodate your growing business. If this is a possibility, consider renting or leasing in a building that will allow you to expand. Ask the property manager or listing agent whether the leasing company is willing to allow you to expand to an adjacent space in the building.

However, if you choose this option, you must be aware of any costs you may take on in changing the building. Many leasing agents or landlords will allow their tenants to customize their business to meet their needs. This could include adding or knocking down walls or changing the layout. However, if there is a pre-existing condition clause, the landlord or leasing company will expect you to return the office space to its original condition.

If your contract has this kind of clause, keep the potential cost in mind. When expansion in the near future is a possibility, consider renting a property slightly larger than you initially require. You might spend more money each month, but when the higher rent is compared to the potential cost of returning a space to its original condition, choosing more space could be a wise choice.

Finding the ideal office space for your needs and budget can be tricky. If you’re in the market to begin or expand your small business, don’t hesitate to contact the professionals at Hartman.