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Renting Your First Office Space
Finding offices to rent that meet your needs while being budget-friendly can be a challenge, but your efforts will pay off in the end. As a business owner, your largest expense is labour, with real estate running second- meaning that you should take your time in finding the best office space. Renting a quality office in a good location at a fair price will free your mind to focus on the growth of your business, rather than worry about your location. Here are some steps to follow and things to look for when renting your first office.
Learn About the Market in Your Chosen Location
If the office space you want is close to your location, or is in your town, you may think you already know enough about the market. Here’s where it pays to do some research- real estate brokers offer plenty of information on both metro and suburban markets, usually at no charge. By reading these market reports, you can get a good idea of the conditions (such as net absorption and vacancy rates). However, you should only use these reports as a guide; for more in-depth information, you will need the guidance of a professional tenant representative.
Find a Tenant Rep
The next step in the process is to form a relationship with a tenant representative. If you don’t need that much space or you’re the business’ only employee, consider a short-term lease in an office suite. If your needs are more complex, a tenant rep’s help will be valuable because they can suggest offices to rent based on your needs and a knowledge of the local market. Tenant reps will also help you deal with your potential landlord when it’s time to negotiate. Most reps are paid on a commission basis, but they aren’t all created equal. Before hiring a tenant representative, check their references.
Determine Your Space Needs
When deciding how much space you need, it pays to be honest. You’ll need to determine how much space you need right now, and how much you may need in the future. For instance, a small medical practice may not plan to grow much, but a medical equipment distributor may need more space later on. If you have employees to consider, location is also important- if you choose a space far from where your workers live, they may leave you to find work closer to home.
Narrow the Field
With your tenant representative’s help, narrow your options down to a few and examine all your choices carefully. When renting office space, you’ll need to estimate the cost of doing business in the location, apart from rent expenses. Business owners need to choose the property that offers the best value for their dollar, but they also need to pay attention to the unseen benefits of a particular location. If you can, you should consider additional space in your current location. Dealing with people you already know is easier, and your current landlord may be willing to make a deal in order to encourage you to stay.
Negotiate a Price
Once you’ve found your perfect office space, it’s time to bargain with the landlord. Your tenant rep should be able to give you a price range appropriate to the local market; if you can’t get a number close to that, don’t be afraid to walk away and find another space. Most landlords are willing to offer concessions like lower-than-advertised rent, or a couple months’ free rent in the beginning; some are willing to improve the office space to suit a prospective tenant’s needs. In return, landlords ask their renters to commit to a lease of a certain term. Your lease length is a matter of negotiation between you and your landlord, so you’ll need to consider your growth projection and current needs before committing to a long-term lease.
This article was written by James Harper on behalf of Foxhall Business Centres, providers of offices to rent. Take a look at their site to see what offices to rent they have available.