It’s a story we hear every so often at the Better Business Bureau: Someone starts a small business in her home office. It’s not too long before she can hire an employee or two. The day comes that the home office is too small. It is time to consider leasing commercial space.
That’s both exciting and overwhelming. The BBB compiled a few tips when it comes to moving into a commercial building.
What are your needs? Before you start your search, spend time thinking of them. Consider your company’s growth over a lease term. Also keep in mind common areas such as break rooms, a reception area and conference rooms.
Location, location, location. The perfect site depends on what kind of business you run. If you regularly expect clients in your office, you’ll need a convenient, safe spot. How’s the parking? Do you need foot traffic walking by? Are you primarily looking for offices or warehouse space? What are your potential neighbors like?
Get professional help. Finding the right commercial office space is not as easy as finding residential property. Consider working with an agent or broker to navigate you through the process, and make sure to check them out with the BBB. You’ll also want to research prospective landlords. Get referrals if possible. Make sure everyone you work with has the licensing they need. If they are willing to cut corners on this step, where else might they cut?
Consider the improvements. Take a good look at the space and assess the condition of the building. Discuss with the landlord any remodeling work you may want. You’ll likely hear this referred to as “tenant improvements.” Sometimes, the landlord foots the bill. Other times, it’s on the tenant upfront or over the lease term. Negotiate this before signing the agreement, and make sure all upgrades and associated expenses are clearly outlined in the lease.
Review the lease carefully. Read all of the fine print and have your attorney go over it. There are a number of things you may need to negotiate. Again, that’s where your professional help comes in. Don’t be shy about this step. This is a major investment and a big step for your company.
Dale Dixon is chief innovation officer for Better Business Bureau Northwest. 342-4649, firstname.lastname@example.org. This column appears in the June 15-July 19, 2016 edition of the Statesman’s Business Insider magazine as part of a special section on commercial construction. Click here for the e-edition (subscription required).