Open for Business: Smart Strategies for Finding the Right Rental Space

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

You want to make money so badly, you can smell it. You have entrepreneurship flowing through your veins. The problem is, where do you start? Here’s how to find the right rental space so that you can get the foot traffic necessary to get your operation off the ground.

Go Cheap

Now is the time to be cheap on your office space. Odds are, you don’t need a huge space anyway. Make sure it can accommodate you and your staff, and that’s it. Always negotiate the price down with the landlord. Not every landlord will be willing to haggle, but you’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Some welcome it, because they can then raise the rents later – especially on multi-year leases. If you suspect that your business idea is worth pursuing, you may be willing to sign on the dotted line for a multi-year lease, with the first year’s rent being less than the market rate in exchange for subsequent years being higher than the market rate.

In this scenario, the landlord is giving you a deal and essentially financing you for the lower cost of the first year. The second, and subsequent years, may be higher than normal, to take into account the artificially low rates charged in the first year.

Make sure you read the fine print on any deals set up this way. You should be willing to pay more, but you don’t want to end up paying what amounts to exorbitant interest on your lease.

Get Help

If you can get the help of a tenant broker, do it. You don’t want to sign a lease and then find out, after the fact, that there’s something terrible about the location and you can’t back out because you just committed yourself.

Tenant brokers know the good landlords and the slumlords and they can help steer you away from the people who would put you in a poor office location. You could also contact jgmproperties.com.

They can also keep you from paying hidden costs like electricity that shouldn’t be included in the rent or other miscellaneous charges that some landlords try to sneak into the lease.

Who Pays For ADA Accommodations?

Most businesses are subject to the American’s With Disabilities Act and must provide wheelchair-accessible ramps and other accommodations to ensure that disabled persons are able to access the premises.

But, it’s not always clear who is responsible for providing this access and maintain the grounds.

If your landlord is the one responsible, then make sure there are no miscellaneous charges showing up in the rental agreement.

Do Not Sign A Multi-Year Lease If You’re Not Sure

Many businesses get themselves into a multi-year lease when they shouldn’t. Unless you have a proven business and you’re expanding your location, it might be a bad idea to sign on for more than one year. Many landlords try to lock you into a contract for as long as they can, upt to a maximum which coincides with any increases in property taxes.

If your business either grows more slowly or faster than you expect, you might need a different building, and you don’t want to be stuck under the thumb of your landlord.

Lease Equipment and Furniture

Rather than spend a lot of money buying overhead items in the first year, consider renting them. You’re just testing out an idea, you don’t want to spend a lot on something that you’re not 100% will work out.

Keep in mind that the total cost of renting a space isn’t just the rent payment. You also need to pay utilities and furnishings as well as any equipment. So, buying might put you into a cash-crunch.

Leasing also means that you won’t be stuck with equipment and furniture that’s unsaleable in a year or two.

Know What You Need

Most businesses need 1,000 square feet for every 4 to 6 employees. It all depends on the layout. But, plan on this as a general rule of thumb.

Be Considerate To Your Employees’ Needs

While you’re trying to save money in the first year, you need to make it a comfortable place for people to work. Make sure it’s easy to get to, and that it’s not too cramped. And, make sure that there are the kinds of amenities that an employee would find reasonable, like clean and functioning bathrooms, a break room, and accessible parking.

In some cases, these things may not be amenities but requirements by local or state law. So, keep that in mind too.

Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

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