When you fall in love with an office space, it's tempting to simply sign the contract and secure the site as the new home for your business; however, skipping due diligence could end up trapping you in a space that ends up being far from ideal. To ensure that you select the new site for your office wisely, be sure to complete the following:
1. Thoroughly Evaluate your Business Needs
What does your company really require when it comes to office space? Don't just consider your current situation. Make sure to think ahead to the future and how your business needs are likely to evolve and change over time. This will help to ensure that you don't outgrow your space or end up with costly unused square footage in the future.
2. Gain Insight Into the Market
You may think that you have an understanding of the current market conditions but until you've actually analyzed the numbers, you can't be certain that you're getting a fair deal. Look beyond basic demographics data satellite imagery and combined market survey data to ensure that you have a clear view of the market in the surrounding area. A tenant rep broker can help you with this process with access to advanced market stats.
3. Consider the Environment
Access environmental surveys to assess whether there are any immediate or looming threats. This will allow you to avoid areas that are possibly contaminated and at risk for sick building syndrome, which can lead to increased sick days and lost productivity.
4. Check Local Laws
Don't assume that your landlord is up to date on local zoning laws and regulations. You don't want to waste time negotiating a lease in a building that you ultimately can't occupy due to your line of business. You should also consider what restrictions are in place for signage.
5. Conduct a Background Check
Never sign a contract until you've investigated the landlord and property management company. Start by conducting an online search for news articles and online reviews. Then, set aside some time to visit the neighboring businesses of your prospective office space. A quick conversation can give you a feel for how satisfied other companies are with the location, landlord and management.
6. Drill Down Into the Cost of Doing Business
Your true cost of occupying a specific office space may go beyond the monthly rent and CAM fees. Find out if you will need to obtain a special business license to operate in your prospective location and what types of employee benefits there are. In addition, find out what the going wages are in your line of business to ensure that you can offer competitive salaries.
7. Investigate the Surrounding Area
Take a walk through the neighborhood at different times of day and see how safe you feel coming and going. Also, take note of what businesses are nearby and how easy it is to access public transportation for your own location. Do some research to determine if any major construction projects are in the works for the near future.
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