Brenner: Blog

Searching For Office Space? Five Tips For a Successful Hunt

Added 9/14/16 by The Brenner Blog Team

You can’t put it off any longer – it’s time to look for new office space. Whether you’ve outgrown your old space or you have a new business to launch in new space, it’s basically the same process. Arm yourself for the hunt with these five practical tips.

1 – Location

Can you imagine if you ended up in an office in a location that does not work for you? How does that happen?  It happens when you misunderstand the purpose of your new space. The purpose of the move is NOT just to save money on your lease. Analyze your location in terms of:

  • Traffic. How important is it that you reach I-95 easily? How about I-595 or Florida’s Turnpike? And on a more local observation, is it easy to exit your parking lot? Is there a light or U-turn opportunity to help you go either way easily? Go to the new space during rush hour and watch the cars leave for the day. Is there congestion that makes you think twice?
  • Demographics. Your office location should be surrounded by one of three things: Either other businesses such as if you are in an office park or business corridor, complimentary businesses to yours that can be feeders to your door, or households containing your ideal end consumer. Examine household income, and age, perhaps highest educational level achieved. (what else here) (does a HH reference make sense for office space)
  • Transportation nearby. Your location should suit your staff needs. If your business is a call center, for instance, it would be advantageous to find office space near a bus line or rail transportation.
  • Image. How important is image to your business? Are you an artsy graphics boutique, or a buttoned up financial advisor to high end clients? Research the types of locations that successful competitors have chosen. What sets the tone of your business before a customer walks in? Your location is part of your branding and image.

2 – Budget

Be well aware of your budget. Know that maintenance fees, real estate taxes, common area maintenance fees and other miscellaneous expenses are going to be part of your outlay. What’s a good way to determine how much per square foot (or per month) you can afford for your space? Keep it simple. How much (including the fees) can you afford per month? How much square feet do you need? Do the calculation and come up with your monthly rent per square foot. Search for office space options that fit that calculation.

 

3 – Idea of Layout

What are your “must haves?” How should the space flow? Do you need a space in a multi-tenant building that has an impressive lobby? Or, should customers be able to drive up to your door and walk in, greeted by a receptionist? Other must haves are often conference room, break room, bathrooms in the space instead of in the hall, and kitchenette. Know what layout works best for your company and what you can’t compromise on.

 

4 – Financial Readiness

Make sure you have stellar company credit. Your lease contract will require your first deposit and last payment of the lease term, and security deposit. The Landlord will look at your company financials to qualify you. Most require a personal guarantee. As uncomfortable as that may seem, it is common, so be sure your personal credit score is good. If it is, you may be able to persuade the landlord to put money into improvements.  If this is your first office or a startup, you may be surprised by unexpected expenses. Be ready for necessities like cleaning supplies, coffee, water, and perhaps electric per square foot.

 

5 – Hire a professional commercial realtor

Don’t waste time fending for yourself. A professional commercial realtor knows how to get the best rate, uncover availabilities you can never find, pinpoint the location you need, negotiate the lease terms, and explain everything in the lease. And, don’t think about the commission involved, because it is well worth it. Think about the cost savings you are experiencing because you are not using YOUR time for market investigation…you are working your business while your commercial broker searches for office space. They can also show you comps of other office spaces nearby, and possibly connect you to business resources you never thought of.  A professional realtor will have software and networking capacity that you don’t. They can find terms hidden in the lease that may affect your rent in future years that you don’t even realize yet.

 

What other tips can you add for companies looking for office space?

-The Brenner Blog Team

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