Lease Commercial Office Space Like a Boss
Over the last few years of my career, I’ve been asked all types of questions when it comes to leasing office space. For people interested in leasing property, some questions I commonly hear are things like: How far in advance should I be looking for a new space? What are the benefits of starting early? How can I grow my office space to fit the needs of my company?
Layout, location and quality of space – all make an impact on your business. I’m a firm believer in that the planning phase doesn’t stop when you sign the lease papers – in good businesses it’s constantly occurring. As you begin your new office space search, you may want to consider a few of these ideas:
Negotiate early on for flexibility as your business needs change. One of my favorite parts of real estate planning, is the flexibility. Sometimes you have to be ruthless and negotiate tons of things within the lease. Anything from the term length, to utilities, to upgrades should all be on the table prior to signing a contract.
Think about what you need now… And evaluate what you’ll need later. It’s perfectly fine to consider your company’s growth plans – just be realistic about those numbers. When you’re at the negotiation table, be confident in the size space that will currently fit your business. Don’t base your leasing rights and fees based on wild predictions. A helpful way to control costs is to take what you need and negotiate for the rights to additional space if and when you need it – later.
Consider the interests or needs of your employees. Before signing any agreements, get feedback from your employees. Whether it’s in-person, or anonymous, their feedback matters. If the majority of them commute in from one side of town, it may be worthwhile to look for office space closer to them. Happy employees make successful companies, and if you’re able to cut down commute times, you will raise office morale.
Your business extends outside of the building’s walls. Think of your surroundings as an extension of your business: One thing some clients don’t focus enough on is the location. Most companies want to have a 50th story high-rise downtown, but be realistic about it. If many of your clients are in the suburbs, then you may want to consider an area closer to a major highway.
Technology’ impact on your organization. As we’ve mentioned in an earlier blog post, the “work from home” trend is growing – in fact, 2014 boasted a 26 percent increase in open remote job postings over the year. If your company is a proponent of working from home on certain days, then it may not make sense to have a big office. With growing technology to enhance remote work, you will definitely have to take this into consideration. Additionally, look for green buildings who promote energy efficiency. Buildings that have better ventilation can cut electric costs by a large margin.
Be present, act now. Procrastinating on making future decisions is a very bad idea. Setting growth expectations should be at the forefront when looking to lease a place. As mentioned before, look at your current space usage. From there, set a 5 year plan as to where you want to be. If you’re comfortable moving around a couple of times, then this may not be as important to you. However, if you’re a bigger company and in the tech industry, then moving is an enormous pain.
The vision and plan of the owner determines everything. As you enter into new lease negotiations, always discuss with a trusted broker or advisor in your area to determine the right property for your needs.
P.S. There are four reasons why you should re-consider your traditional office space. Find out what they are in our previous post.