New Services Offered by Tenant Advisory Group


PSM Partners - Tag

We are proud to announce our newest partnership with Dan Porcaro of PSM Partners. This exclusive partnership lifts your phone and data concerns through the elite services offered by Dan Porcaro and PSM Partners. We are excited about our newest affiliate and the phenomenal range of services and solutions they can provide for your business.

About PSM Partners

Porcaro Stolarek Mete Partners, LLC (PSM) is a business and technology consultancy located in downtown Chicago. They focus their business strategy efforts on strategy development and strategy execution for firms under 500 million in revenue. Their technology consulting offerings center around getting small and mid-sized businesses to the cloud, managed services and IT strategy consulting. PSM also has a carrier services group that brokers voice and data services for their clients.

Dan-Porcaro

About Dan Porcaro

Dan Porcaro has spent the past 25 years growing and developing companies.

From 1998 through 2012, Dan founded and ran Project Leadership Associates (PLA). PLA was a business and technology consulting firm headquartered in Chicago. PLA had five practice areas that include network integration, managed services, software development, business intelligence and business strategy. Starting from one employee, Dan grew PLA to 250 people, 50 million in revenue and 6 offices across the country. PLA was one of the most profitable, successful firms of its type in the country. PLA also had a ten year period where voluntary turnover was less than 2%. Additionally, Dan is proud to say that PLA never lost money in any month of its existence.

Prior to founding PLA, Dan was an equity partner in Workgroup Productivity Corporation (WPC). WPC was a Lotus Notes consulting firm. Dan was asked to join WPC to grow the firm, nationalize its services and find a buyer if possible. He accomplished the growth plan over a 3 year period and found a buyer for the firm. After this transaction, Dan left to start PLA.

Prior to WPC, Dan was an Executive Director at Lansystems. Headquartered out of NY, Lansystems was a nationwide network integration firm with an east coast and west coast presence. Dan started the central region for Lansystems and quickly grew it to 60 people and the most profitable region in the country for the firm.

Overcrowding an Office is Bad for Business


OVERCROWDING AN OFFICE IS BAD FOR BUSINESS - Tenant Advisory Group

When building your office floor plan, it’s always better to have more room than not enough space. Packing people into an office lowers employee satisfaction and can lead to a counterproductive work environment, which may negate any money you save in rent. By offering your staff more free-space and a comfortable office, not only will you leave room for growth, but morale will maintain a healthy level, leading to a happier and more efficient business.

Office Environment

The structure of an office plays many roles from safety (overcrowded spaces can block exits) and employee happiness to an effective recruitment tool. For example, the open office design has become popular among employers and employees in recent years. Originally, the idea was that it promotes collaboration and enhances the energy of the office. However, the reality of this layout is that only a small subset of businesses benefit from it. Oftentimes, this style of office layout amplifies the negative effects of overcrowding, as finding a quiet moment to compose emails, reports or make phone calls can be a challenge. A poorly strategized, overcrowded work environment can have a direct effect on the productivity of a business.

Less Productive Employees

Employees are the lifeblood of any business, and their productivity is directly tied to their happiness. Smaller, packed offices have a negative impact on the mental and physical health of employees. Not only are environmental stressors increased by the higher noise levels and reduced concentration, but funneling employees into a compact space can also increase the risk of communicable illnesses. (This means colds can incapacitate more of your workforce). Additionally, more workplace conflicts can arise from the frustration of a packed, loud environment. More sick days, frustrated workers and a lack of privacy all lead to a decline in employee happiness and productivity.

Prepare for the Future

A strong business model considers the future growth of a company. In order to avoid overcrowding an office, search for an office space that accounts for reasonable projected growth. Oftentimes, an extra ten or twenty percent of office space can prevent a lot of issues from arising. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, it has the potential to provide greater returns in the future by avoiding terminated lease fees, increasing the lifespan of office equipment and better lease terms that come with a longer lease duration. Not only that, but a company that places its employees first with a comfortable work environment will attract more top talent.

Properly building your office for its current population plus future growth will offer many long-term benefits to your business. Increased productivity, safe workspaces and a boost in employee morale all stem from providing employees with a comfortable workspace. Speak with a professional broker when searching for a new office, as they will be able to offer valuable advice that can contribute towards the success of your business.

Three Reasons Why Businesses Are Investing in Chicago


THREE REASONS WHY BUSINESSES ARE INVESTING IN CHICAGO - Tenant Advisory Group

Site Selection magazine has listed Chicago as the best city for corporate investment for the fourth consecutive year. This comes as little surprise with the long list of large corporations that have been moving their headquarters into downtown Chicago. So, what makes this city such an attractive investment for businesses?

Home to Headquarters

Since Google moved to Chicago, a number of other large companies have thrown their hat in the ring, such as McDonald’s, Wilson Sporting Goods, Cars.com and Motorola Solutions. While the stream of corporate giants relocating to Chicago appears to have slowed, other large businesses (Kraft-Heinz, ConAgra and GE) have announced their plans to relocate to downtown Chicago as well. This trend has extended beyond the corporate giants, as World Business Chicago reports that the entire Chicago metro area saw 350 corporate expansions and relocations in 2016.

Top-Tier Talent

Within Chicago’s city limits is one of the country’s largest concentration of universities. Which unsurprisingly leads to 36 percent of people in Chicago earning a four year college degree, compared to the 30 percent national average. Corporations are moving to be closer to where their employees want to live, which allows them to create a greater range of amenities to provide a higher quality of life for their workforce. Compared to California, New York and Boston, Chicago has a low cost of living while maintaining a high caliber quality of life (clean parks, museums, elite restaurant scene, iconic sports teams, etc.).

Good For Business

Chicago leads all major U.S. cities in direct foreign investments, which is a critical element of creating a successful global economy. With the 350 corporate expansions and relocations in 2016, came nearly $2.8 billion in new investments and roughly 14,000 jobs. Chicago is a leader when it comes to business growth, and that doesn’t exclude small businesses. The city of Chicago ranks among the best in the world for tech startups to plant their roots, as Chicago has a reasonable cost of living and cost of operating a company. After three consecutive years as the leader of corporate relocations, more top talent is following. This has helped lift Chicago to become a renowned technology hub, as well as a location for companies and their employees to flourish.

The last four years have been significant for the city of Chicago, as it grows into its role as the nation’s best location to invest. With access to highly educated talent, an elite business community and a leading startup scene, Chicago appears poised for ongoing, long-term success.

What You Need to Know About the FASB Updates


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE FASB UPDATES - Tenant Advisory Group

Recently, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) updated their standards effectively changing the way companies must list their lease on their balance sheet. This will undoubtedly have rippling effects on businesses, and the leasing process as a whole. The update has the potential to alter the landscape of the commercial real estate lease.

What’s New?

The FASB updates aim to maintain consistency among accounting practices. The update will make businesses account for the entire value of a lease in year one. While it is purely an effect on paper, bankers, lenders and investors will need to understand the changes that will show up on a company’s ledger. The impact will be felt the most by large businesses, however small- to mid-sized businesses will still be affected. The updates will be implemented as of December, 15 2019 for publicly held companies, and Dec. 15 2020 for privately held companies. While this may seem far down the road, preparations to compensate for the potential change in your business’ ledger should start now.

The Impact

Commercial real estate leases need to be negotiated with the new changes in mind, as the new standard will inflate the debts of a company during the first year of the lease. This could impact compliance with current loans, affect future loan approvals and potentially mislead investors. The mandatory listing of a full lease as a liability will be a challenge for accounting teams of larger corporations who strive to maintain consistent earnings. The new standards may throw a company’s books out of balance, and this will be a major factor to consider when negotiating a lease.

The Advantage of a Professional

A professional broker who is trained in understanding the new FASB regulations will be most effective at negotiating optimal lease terms to minimize the impact on your balance sheet. This will include new ways to structure the base rental rate, timing of rent increases, separating out operating expenses and focusing on expansion rights rather than lease renewals that would leave a larger mark on your financial ledger. The ever-changing policies and guidelines are an important reminder to seek the assistance of a professional broker, such as the ones at Tenant Advisory Group. We work closely with our clients to advise them of the best way to proceed in signing a lease while keeping in mind the various impacts of the new FASB guidelines.

Three Important Aspects of Proper Space Planning


THREE IMPORTANT ASPECTS OF PROPER SPACE PLANNING - Tenant Advisory Group

Organizing the layout of your new office space is about more than just configuring desks — this complex art is actually an important contributor to your overall company culture and happiness! You’ll need to consider important factors like gathering areas, noise level and relaxation stations. Here are a few key factors to keep in mind while planning a new office space.

Remember the Employees

Employees will spend a significant amount of time in the new office, so it’s important to consider their wants and needs to increase workplace satisfaction. A well-designed office should adapt to the needs of the workers, and match the culture of your company. For example, a collaborative business will want an open space and less private offices, as that will promote communication. Space planning can also set aside an area where employees can personalize their work environment to create a sense of ownership and encourage productivity.

Plan for the Future

A company is never done growing, so leaving room for expansion when space planning can save money down the road. Consider how fast growth will happen and how many employees the company may need to accommodate down the road. Don’t forget about storage as well. How much will your company need? Every business has different storage and filing needs, but it is always a critical aspect of a successful office layout.

Attract Top Talent

Proper space planning can create an inviting place to work, allowing you to attract top talent. Everything you can do to increase the quality of life for your employees will be reflected in the productivity of your office. Americans spend almost as much time at the office as they do at home, so building an office space that makes your employees happy is vital to the success of a company. It is definitely worth the extra budget to create an inviting and comfortable work environment.

Companies with several departments may want more than one type of layout within the office, as each department may thrive in different layouts. (Accounting may want cubicles, marketing may want an open floor plan and executives may want private offices). Working with an established broker will give you access to other professionals, such as an architect, who can help design your office layout.

Don’t Forget About These Things When Moving Your Office


DON’T FORGET ABOUT THESE THINGS WHEN MOVING YOUR OFFICE - Tenant Advisory Group

There are a lot of moving parts when moving an entire office to a new location. Planning ahead makes for the smoothest moving process, so here is a brief checklist to assist with the transition:

  • Receive quotes from several movers and line up a company well in advance
  • Line up the phone and data broker to set up the phone and data lines so they are ready by the time you move
  • Contact your IT support and let them know about the move at least six months in advance, but no later than 90 days
  • Recycle or donate unwanted electronics and furniture
  • Consider meeting with a furniture vendor to decide on reusing existing furniture, purchasing new or purchasing refurbished furniture
  • Gather any necessary paperwork for potential tax write-offs
  • Obtain a copy of the building rules and regulations
  • Identify the best point of contact from the building for all moving-related, space buildout and daily space operations questions
  • Understand the acceptable moving procedures in terms of hours, parking, unloading and elevator access
  • Establish a packing schedule to determine what can be packed in advance or last minute to reduce disruption to productivity
  • Setup mail forwarding from your old address
  • Order stationery, business cards and envelopes with the new address printed on them
  • Change your mailing address on your business registration with the city, website, social media, Google, credit cards, bank accounts and other professional organizations
  • Notify your network of clients and vendors that your company has a new space and address to proactively avoid any interruptions in productivity

While there are many other considerations involved in moving a business, this checklist should help get you get started. Tenant Advisory Group is experienced in assisting companies to move into new offices, can connect you with ancillary professionals and will quarterback the entire process to ensure it is as smooth as possible.

Bill Himmelstein Interviewed by The Juna Sales Network!


Juna Sales Interview - Tenant Advisory Group

Bill Himmelstein sat down with Andy Mack of The Juna Sales Network to discuss Bill’s approach to networking, sales and curating success in his business.

Opportunities Lie Within the Complexity of the Transaction Process


Transaction process - Tenant Advisory Group (2)

After finding the right office for your business, you’ll enter into the transaction process. This next step will consist of several important items: such as the lease negotiation, review and planning the buildout. Many of the opportunities that lie within the this phase rely on the success of your lease negotiation. If it’s handled properly, it can provide a number of long-term, tangible benefits for your company. Having a knowledgeable broker on your side throughout the transaction will simplify the entire process and provide long-term benefits for your company.

Lease Negotiation

Perhaps the most innately complex piece of the moving process is negotiating a fair lease, and executing a successful negotiation can provide direct benefits to your business for years to come. At the beginning stages, your broker will gather multiple proposals to gain an understanding of market comparables to increase your negotiation leverage. The key to doing so is understanding the market as well as the varying terms and clauses laid throughout the lease. Experience is critical to being able to expertly navigate the twists and turns of a lease. Beyond market knowledge of fair rent values, having a deep understanding of the language a lease is written in will help you negotiate for rent abatement, tenant improvement allowances, escalations, securitizations, rights to expand or renew, and termination rights.

The negotiation process will include several rounds of back and forth offers which will continue until acceptable business terms are agreed upon. Tenured brokers will be able to evaluate the financial impact of each proposal to submit a reasonable counter offer to advance negotiations toward your goals.

Lease Review

After business terms are agreed to, it is heavily recommended to have an attorney read through the lease. Should you not have an attorney on-hand that specializes in real estate, a broker will be able to refer a qualified real estate attorney to assist in the process. The broker will work alongside the attorney to evaluate the language within the lease to ensure it accurately reflects the agreed upon terms, as well as search for any terms or clauses that may be unfavorable to the tenant.

Check the language for mention of the common area maintenance fee to ensure it is based on the total rentable area rather than just the rented area. Another consideration might be to ensure the building cannot rent to your direct competition. Small changes such as these can have a profound impact on the longevity and quality of your new location.

Working with a Tenant Advisory Group representative will add many benefits. They will quarterback the process to ensure it is completed efficiently and to your specifications. Clients that work with the Tenant Advisory Group brokers will gain access to a deep pool of knowledge on current market values and apt negotiation skills.

Searching for a New Office Space? Know What Truly Matters.


SEARCHING FOR A NEW OFFICE SPACE- KNOW WHAT TRULY MATTERS. - Tenant Advisory Group (1)

Beginning the search process for your next office space can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not considering all of the necessary factors. Look beyond the rental costs and explore other ways to get the most value out of your new location. Access to amenities, ease of transportation and how an office translates to company culture should all be on your list of needs.

The layout of an office plays a leading role in reinforcing the culture that you wish to cultivate within your company. Does it inhibit or nurture employee communications? For example, if you strive to build a collaborative environment, then consider an open space with communal gathering areas. If focus and concentration is the goal, go with traditional cubicles and private offices. Even if a potential office doesn’t have a pre-established layout, consider how you can reconstruct the space to fit your needs.

Once you know what the inside of your office should look like, it’s time to expand to external factors. Is the new space easy to get to? Accessible transportation options are crucial in retaining your current staff and attracting new employees. Take your cue from McDonald’s recent move from suburban Oak Brook to the buzzing West Loop neighborhood. Employees want to be able to get to work quickly and have top amenities right at their fingertips. Paying more in rent for in-building features like a gym or cafeteria are well worth the cost. If that’s not an option, close proximity to popular restaurants is another added benefit.

While you’ll notice the benefits of a low rent on your financial ledgers, it’s important to remember that the office space is more than a place for work. Retaining and maintaining a happy roster of employees can bring tremendous value and inspire long-term growth within your company. Not only will your current employees appreciate the gesture, but you’ll be more likely to recruit top talent.

With an endless sea of potential dream offices, it will take a serious dedication to close on the space you want. There are many moving pieces involved in relocating your office, which is why it’s recommended that you seek the advice of a professional to ensure everything is completed with the little to no headaches.

What to Expect When Looking for Office Space


WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN LOOKING FOR OFFICE SPACE - Tenant Advisory Group

Chicago is the third largest city in the United States which means there is a deep pool of potential office spaces to fit just about any business. Prior to beginning the search for new space, many of our clients are interested to know what exactly is involved in the process. Through our experience we’ve assembled a list of the most important steps involved along with tips and tricks we think will help business owners.

Timeline

Aim for a minimum of nine months before you’re ready to lease or purchase a space. Keep in mind that at least six months worth of time is essential to account for site selection, business term negotiations, attorney review, architectural design, permitting and any interior construction or design work to fit your specific office needs. 

The Search

A tenant representative will start with a survey of the market to deliver relevant property options that fit your specifications in terms of a budget, location, type, size and quality of a space.

In addition to the standard software that all CRE firms use, Tenant Advisory Group has established a network of resources to efficiently uncover both newly on- and off-market listings that will be increase the quality of your search.

Assuming a budget of a certain amount per month, desired office size, building class and neighborhood proximity to transportation are all variables that can be adjusted to stay within your means.

After you’ve selected a list of properties of interest, a tenant representative will organize tours of all potential buildings, helping to guide you through considering all the logistical factors involved with each space.

One great way to get the most out of your dollar is to consider reducing the number of private offices in exchange for a larger bullpen area to reduce the square foot per capita. However, if individual offices work better for your type of business, and you are not looking to compromise on size, then shifting from a Class A to a Class B building can still maintain relative quality building finishes with amenities while substantially reducing rental rates.

Business Term Negotiations

Once the list is narrowed down to a handful of properties that seem like a potential fit, the next step is to submit RFPs that seek to achieve all of your goals, both financial and in terms of space quality and layout.

Even if you’ve chosen one property for your top choice, seeking proposals from multiple properties will provide you with market comparables to facilitate more negotiating leverage.

In addition to appropriate rental rates, a tenant representative broker will understand terms and be an advocate for you to achieve fair market concession packages such as rent abatement; tenant improvement allowances; escalations; securitizations; rights to expand or renew; and termination rights.  Working with a tenant representative who possesses a deep knowledge of fair market values will be indispensable to this process and overall cost savings.

Upon receiving proposals, a broker will run analyses to outlay the financial impact of the Landlord’s response and will submit counters to advance the negotiations toward your goals until acceptable business terms are agreed upon.

If there is a need for a build out, this will also be the time that a tenant representative will coordinate efforts of an architect to design the space to your specifications. A space planner might be provided from the building, particularly if they will turnkey the work, or an independent architect may be involved.

One thing to keep in mind during the negotiation process is to organize your paperwork. Prior to signing a Letter of Intent with a particular property, the landlord is most likely going to require you to show them financial statements and/or the last two years of your tax returns to be assured that you will be able to pay your rent in a timely and stable manner.

Attorney Review

Once both sides have come to agreement on the key business terms, a tenant representative will coordinate the attorney review process. The will work alongside your attorney to ensure the legal language reflects the negotiated terms.

If your business does not have an attorney you use that specializes in real estate, Tenant Advisory Group is available as a referral source to qualified and affordable real estate attorneys.

Navigating Construction

Upon lease signing, Tenant Advisory Group will continue to assist with coordinating walk-throughs of the space for meetings with the architect and contractor bidding. We will be there to track progress against the project completion dates to make sure everything and everyone is moving forward efficiently.

Tenant Advisory Group is also available to make introductions to quality furniture vendors, movers, phone & data brokers, IT vendors, insurance brokers, and other ancillary professionals to help facilitate the process.

Moving Checklist

  • Receive quotes from several movers and line up a company well in advance
  • Line up the phone and data broker to set up the phone and data lines so they are ready by the time you move
  • Contact your IT support and let them know about the move at least six months in advance, but no later than 90 days
  • Recycle or donate unwanted electronics and furniture
  • Consider meeting with a furniture vendor to decide on reusing existing furniture, purchasing new or purchasing refurbished furniture
  • Gather any necessary paperwork for potential tax write-offs
  • Obtain a copy of the building rules and regulations
  • Identify the best point of contact from the building for all moving-related, space buildout and daily space operations questions
  • Understand the acceptable moving procedures in terms of hours, parking, unloading and elevator access
  • Establish a packing schedule to determine what can be packed in advance or last minute to reduce disruption to productivity
  • Setup mail forwarding from your old address
  • Order stationery, business cards and envelopes with the new address printed on them
  • Change your mailing address on your business registration with the city, website, social media, Google, credit cards, bank accounts and other professional organizations
  • Notify your network of clients and vendors that your company has a new space and address to proactively avoid any interruptions in productivity

Why Use a Tenant Representative

  • The tenant does not pay any commission for the brokerage services they receive. The services are paid by the landlord. Even if the tenant negotiates direct, the landlord still pays a commission to its in-house brokers. Shouldn’t you have an experienced advocate on your side, too?
  • An attorney can negotiate legal terms, but typically does not have sufficient micro-knowledge of the changing local real estate market conditions to ensure you receive favorable business terms.
  • Tenant Advisory Group has established a network of trustworthy, qualified and affordable real estate-adjacent professionals to incorporate into the transaction, in order to fully service all of our client’s needs.  
  • Tenant Advisory Group is committed to bringing best-in-class commercial real estate services to every end user, and proudly saves our clients an average of $15,000 per person on leasing costs and over 20% on purchases.
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