Looking to expand into a new office? Congratulations, that means your business is growing. Keep that momentum going by finding an office space that works for you. A wrong decision could impact your employees, your customers, and your brand. So, before you start packing, consider these questions to find a productive, affordable workspace.
What are the hidden costs?
Your cost is more than the monthly rent or lease fee. Consider whether you need to make any modifications to fit your business needs. For example, do you need more electrical power to run machinery? Will you have to move walls? Is the Wi-Fi adequate to reach all areas of the floor? Determine whether you must pay for the changes or if you can negotiate with the owner to share the cost.
Does the space fit your brand?
Your office is an expression of your brand. It’s what potential customers experience. And it frames the environment where your employees must work. So, you want the space to reflect your image. Brick walls with exposed ductwork might be great for an innovative tech business. But conservative clients of tax preparers may view it as unstable. Find out who else is in the building to see if they’re compatible with your brand. A retirement planner may not want to share space with a tattoo salon. You’ll also want to be sure a competitor isn’t a tenant either.
Is there room to grow even more?
You don’t want to incur the expense of moving only to discover that you’ve outgrown the space in a year. Find out whether there is flexibility to expand. What is the lease status of other tenants? For example, if the adjacent office will be coming up for renewal in a year, you might negotiate an option to assume it, especially if you are projecting continued growth.
How convenient is the location?
This is an issue for both customers and employees. Will they have to travel further? Look at factors like traffic patterns, the availability of nearby amenities, and safety of the neighborhood. Even something as simple as parking can influence whether a customer will shop with you or go elsewhere. An unfavorable location could also impact your ability to attract and retain employees. Let them know in advance what locations you’re considering. Their reaction may sway your decision.
How responsive is the property management?
Colliers International reports that the number one factor in tenant satisfaction is quality of contact with the property manager. The most common complaint is building temperature. Take the time to ask other tenants in the building about their experiences. For example, how quickly are maintenance issues addressed (during business hours and after hours)? Is the building secure? How quickly do they respond to a question or problem?
For More Information
Looking for more help to find an office space? These two resources may help you probe further to find the space that’s right for your small business:
- Boxer Property’s How to Rent an Office – This resource helps you identify what you need, understand common terms, start a search, and negotiate a lease.
- Small Business Administration’s Leasing Commercial Space – Includes information on how to read a lease and protect your business’ interests.