Locating the right commercial space is imperative to business success, but many factors must be considered before the lease is signed to ensure you’ve chosen wisely. While you’ve certainly heard the most important factors are location, location and location, there are other considerations that should weigh heavily on the decision if you want to find just the right spot. Take the following 10 steps before signing your next commercial lease.
1. List Your Priorities: No two spaces will be exactly alike, so having a list of components that are absolutely necessary for your business will help you compare different locations on a more even scale. Compile lists of essential and desirable non-essential features and use them to evaluate each location individually. You may even want to keep a tally of how many features each location offers in order to gauge the attractiveness of differing areas.
2. Balance the Budget: When dreaming of your new retail or office space, it can be easy to mentally create an ideal that turns out to be totally unaffordable. The rent should be one of the first factors you evaluate for any given location. Decide on your budget amount prior to beginning your search so you aren’t tempted to bend the budget to fit the space. Getting into a lengthy lease that stretches the finances too tightly won’t prove successful in the end.
3. Scout Out the Location: Once your search has begun in earnest, try to think like a customer. Look at the appearance of the property, the neighboring businesses and the area of town. Consider what each will reflect about your company. If the landscaping is unkempt, or the area of town isn’t safe, the location will likely turn customers away. Search for a spot that has neighboring businesses that will complement your company. For example, a women’s clothing store may want to consider locations near other businesses that women frequent, such as home décor shops.
4. Consider Access: You will want a parking area that has ample room for customers and employees and is easy to access. Lack of convenient parking can make even the most attractive-looking retail spot unsuccessful.
5. Check Zoning Regulations: There are many state and local regulations that can determine the types of businesses that are allowed in certain locations. Check with your local planning agency for more information regarding possible zoning restrictions.
6. Map Out the Space: If you’ve found a spot that meets all your criteria, it’s time to visualize how the space will work for your company. Measure offices and furniture or map out a rough draft of the retail floor to ensure you have enough space to fit all the necessary components of your business.
7. Evaluate Security: Security is a major factor for both people and possessions. In addition to being located in a safe area, the building and parking area should include safety features such as outdoor lights, commercial locks and possibly an alarm system.
8. Check the Systems: At this point, you will want to assess all the systems that affect your space. Do the heating and cooling units work? Is the roof watertight? Customers and employees need a comfortable environment to do business in, and you need to focus on running a company, not worrying about maintenance concerns.
9. Plan Improvements: Many locations, especially retail spots, need a little remodeling to make them into exactly what your company needs. Be sure to get estimates for construction before signing the lease, and make improvements part of the negotiation process. Many landlords will compensate you for some or all of the modifications to entice you to sign with them.
10. Hire a Professional: Many times it can be a good idea to seek out a second opinion or hire a professional broker to aid you in negotiating a new lease. Investing in an upfront opinion can save you a great deal of money in the long run.
While you have a lot of steps to follow, each is designed to help you find the perfect space for your business.
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