Real Estate Curve

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Jan-30-2008

Office Space Lease – 6 Tactics to Help You Rent Your Ideal Space

Most business owners fear the day they will have to look for office space.

Whether your business is growing or you are starting a new venture, you will always face the same problem: finding the perfect location.

It will take you time, effort, dedication and money to go through hundreds of classified ads and internet referral websites. Of course, you could let a commercial real estate broker do the job for you, but like any consulting services, it will cost you a lot.

The challenge is easier than you think!

By asking yourself the following 6 questions, you will be able to identify your needs and optimize your research. This small reflection will save you time and money. And maybe most importantly, your search will be stress less.

1) Where is my target audience located?

We often confuse where we want to be, and where we need to be. A health professional recently contacted me asking for prices on offices in the Broadway Corridor (Vancouver, BC). He was about to launch a corporate massage therapy business and needed some office space. Instead of talking numbers, I simply asked him where his clients where coming from. His answer was “Downtown Vancouver”.

He suddenly realized the magnitude of his mistake. He wanted to save money before building his clientele. Yet it was more important to be close to his customers.

2) Will an accessible location benefit my business?

Not only should you consider this question from a customer angle but also with your employee in mind. There is nothing more frustrating than driving around the block until you can find a parking spot, or walking half a mile because your office is too far from public transportation. For example, an international language school needs to be central, and handy to travel to.

Keep that in mind and you will see smiling people instead of irritated ones!

3) How should the space be configured to create an efficient work environment?

This comes back to how you want your team to operate. Do they need privacy, and therefore a fully partitioned space, for example investment banks or law firms? Or do they have to work with one another most of the day and consequently would fit best in an open layout (i.e. graphic design firms)?

Few landlords are flexible on customizing their space. Give preference to the ones who can accommodate your requirements.

4) What corporate image do I want to show my clients/customers?

For most businesses, image is everything. It took years of hard labor to take it to the top, and your image should be taken in consideration when choosing your office space. You should consider both the exterior of the building, and the interior of the suite.

I remember going for a job interview and being shocked by the poor condition of the carpet in the reception. Is this the image you want your business to project?

On the other hand, a friend of mine recently invested a large amount of money with a Vancouver private bank. Despite being relatively new in the business, they appear to be trustworthy and stable thanks to a luxurious office located in a stunning building Downtown.

In other words, look for owners who are willing to renovate their space prior to leasing it. This will show that they are serious about their business, as they recognize that you are improving their office and increasing its value.

5) What type of tenancy aligns best with my company’s objectives?

Do you have a short term or a longer term business plan? Are you in a market where the vacancy rate is below 5% and you need to secure a space for 3 to 5 years? Can your future landlord provide you with alternatives while your business is evolving?

Planning ahead is your best option in such a tight commercial market. Securing long term leases will give you stability. Negotiating lease portability will help you anticipate the growth of your business.

6) Will I be using amenities such as a boardroom or reception services?

“There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch”
Who has never heard this sentence from Robert A. Heinlein? Nothing is free in the corporate world, and these services are no exception. They will either be included in your monthly rent, or charged separately. So think twice before choosing an office for its extra features!

Will you really use a boardroom, and how often? If you only use it once a month, then it doesn’t make a difference whether it is billed on top of your rent or not. However, if you need it more frequently, then prefer a contract where the executive services are included in your monthly charges.

Posted under Lease

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