Businesses often choose to rent office space rather than investing capital in buying a property. There are lots of good reasons why this makes sound business sense. First, renting as opposed to buying means you are free to upgrade to larger premises as and when the business expands, quickly and economically. And second, if the business is struggling and cash flow is poor, you are free to move to a cheaper rental unit to save money. So if you are considering renting office space, what should you look for and why?
Location, Location, Location
For some businesses, location is the most important criteria when looking for office space. For example, having the right address is critical if you are an upmarket lawyer or architect. Your customers will expect you to be based in an affluent part of town and anything less than a smart address could cost you potential clients. For other businesses, however, address might not be so important.
How Much Space Do You Really Need?
Office space varies considerably in size, but in general, the more space you have, the higher the rental cost will be. With this in mind, it is critical that you don’t take on more space than you actually need. It might be nice to have a vast open-plan office where employees are free to spread out, but if you don’t need all that space, the monthly rent could end up costing you dearly and crippling your cash flow.
Does the Overall Layout Match Your Requirements?
Carefully consider the type of space that your business needs. Do you need a combination of office and retail space? Or does your business require plenty of warehouse storage capacity or industrial floor space? Depending on your individual requirements, it might be hard to find office space that fits your criteria exactly, so check with the landlord whether you are allowed to make renovations to suit. And if so, who will be footing the bill.
Check the Lease
The rental lease is a critical document. It outlines your responsibilities as a tenant as well as what you can expect from your landlord. Check the lease for any hidden fees and costs; how much notice you are required to give if you decide to leave the office; and who is responsible for common area maintenance and utilities. It is sensible to ask a legal expert to check over the lease before you sign, or you could end up tied into an unsuitable and costly agreement for far longer than you want or need.
Does it Suit Your Employees?
The final question to consider is whether your employees will be happy in the new space. If they are forced to travel a lot further and there are fewer facilities, the answer is probably going to be a resounding “no”, so you may wish to include them in the decision making process or you could face the prospect of looking for new employees as well as new office space. Whether you are looking for a popup meeting venue or long-term office space, make your decision carefully or you come.
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