When you consider how important your office space is to the success of your company, you can't afford to make a hasty decision when it comes to your commercial lease. To ensure that you make the best possible decisions regarding office leases, follow these ten tips.
1. Start As Soon As You Can
Often, companies are surprised by just how long it takes to find an office space that is a good match for their needs and negotiate a fair lease agreement. Starting your search up to a year before you will need to move into your new office can help to ensure that you have enough time to conduct a thorough search and fully evaluate prospective spaces and lease agreements.
2. Consider Your Strategic Plan
What is your overall vision for your company? Make sure that you have a clear vision of your strategic plan before you begin your search for an office. For example, if your plan included expanding into a new line of business, you would want to look for an office space that could accommodate new team members.
3. Do Your Homework
You can't properly evaluate prospective lease agreements if you don't understand current market trends. Take the time to educate yourself about what companies like yours are paying for rent and which buildings and locations in your geographic area are the most highly sought.
4. Involve Your Team
Make sure to get input from every member of your management team at the start of your search and provide regular updates for ongoing feedback. Each team member has their own unique perspective on your needs regarding an office. When you involve everyone, you're less likely to overlook anything.
5. Conduct a Survey
Poll your employees to find out what sort of office amenities are most important for them. You can also find out how many of them drive to work, carpool and use public transportation. This information can help you determine if various buildings will match the needs of your employees.
6. Crunch the Numbers
Be sure to go into the search process with an understanding of how much you can afford to pay for rent and common area maintenance fees from the get-go. Also, forecast your finances for the life of prospective leases to see how much your company can afford to pay in terms of rent escalations.
7. Get the Help of a Pro
A tenant rep broker can help you make more informed decisions. Representatives bring a wealth of knowledge to the search and negotiation process, and their services are paid for by the landlord, not your company.
8. Have a Backup Plan
Avoid allowing your focus to narrow down to just one building. Submit proposals to more than one landlord, so that you'll have at least a second choice already underway if negotiations for your first choice fall through.
9. Go Beyond the Building
The surrounding area outside the building is as important as your office space. Don't forget to walk the streets and take note of the general atmosphere and what businesses are located nearby.
10. Examine the Lease Thoroughly
Be sure to review the lease carefully and ask for any clarifications before you sign. Commercial leases are lengthy documents and can be overwhelming to peruse; however, it's important that you carefully read over every section to ensure that you understand the agreement.
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