Real Estate Management, Development, and Brokerage

Tenant Login

 

Category Archives: Small Business Articles

SNOW DAYS For Small Business?

snow days for small businessWhen should small business owners give snow days to employees?

Winter is here. Last month’s bomb cyclone, courtesy of winter storm Grayson, and several heavy snowfalls in the past couple of weeks made sure to remind us of that. But what’s a small business to do when the roads are iffy or weather conditions are just downright dangerous? Are you required to close the office?

The answer is, it depends. We’ll do our best to help you dig in to the rules, regulations and requirements so you can keep your employees safe and your office running.

Calling it a Day

There are no hard and fast rules regulating office closure for private businesses or snow days for small business specifically. In most cases, even a government-declared State of Emergency does not mandate administrative policies for individual businesses or employee travel.

That being said, your number-one priority should be the health and safety of your greatest assets – your employees. Requiring them to report to the office on days when plows can’t keep up with snowy, icy roads or situations that pose a threat to public safety does nothing for employee morale. And calling for an in-office workday when schools are closed due to inclement weather creates a hardship for many working parents. But as a business owner, we know you’ve also got to keep your eye on the bottom line.

Knowing When to Pay

According to the Labor Law Center, state laws vary regarding business closures during inclement weather, but most states abide by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Under the FLSA:

  • Hourly (non-exempt) employees need only be paid for hours worked. If you close your business for a day, requiring hourly employees to stay home, you are not required to pay those employees for that day.

New York also has Call-Back/Report-In pay laws that require employers to pay hourly employees a minimum number of hours when they work less than their scheduled shift. In New York state, if a non-exempt employee reports to work, he must be paid for the full shift or four hours of work (whichever is less), even if he’s sent home early because of bad weather.

  • Salaried (exempt) employees who are willing and able to work (and have worked at least a few minutes during the payroll week) must be paid their salary each day your office is closed due to inclement weather. The same holds true for exempt employee who stays home on a snow day, but does an hour or two of work from home.

Making a Plan

It’s a good idea to develop an office policy about how your company will handle employee work hours and payroll in the event of inclement weather or other emergencies. The policy, a written copy of which should be provided to all current and incoming employees, should include:

  • How your office defines an inclement weather day or emergency
  • How and when employees will be contacted about office closures (for both full-day and partial-day closures)
  • How/if employees will be paid on days they are not in the office due to inclement weather

You might also address possible alternatives to working in the office on inclement weather days. Options include allowing employees to work from home (keeping your employees safe and your production flowing) or allowing employees to take a personal or vacation day when your office is open but they can’t make it in due to weather.

Whatever you decide, be sure to balance your business needs with your employees’ needs. Have questions about FLSA or other labor laws in New York state? Visit the New York State Department of Labor website or contact your corporate attorney.


The Anderson Group helps small businesses do business. Looking for commercial office space? Contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

 

 

Also posted in Ask The Expert, Managing Your Business | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

To buy or to lease office space? That is the question.

125 Wolf Road Albany NY Office SpaceThe pros and cons of buying and leasing office space.

If you’re considering new office space to upgrade, downsize, relocate or expand your business, you’re faced with making one of two choices: purchasing a building or leasing space in one that someone else owns. Which one is right for you and your business?

Your decision ultimately comes down to your business finances and a realistic plan for where it’s heading over the next decade. Here are a few other things to consider:

Benefits of Leasing

  • Tax deductions. If you lease commercial office space, you can deduct lease payments on your taxes, saving you some money on the back end.
  • Repairs and maintenance. When you lease, the landlord is typically responsible for keeping your building in good shape and working order. Be sure to clarify who is responsible for repairs and maintenance when you enter lease negotiations.
  • Location, location, location. Leasing in prime business corridors can be a lot less costly than buying in these areas.

Benefits of Buying

  • Tax deductions. Although you can’t deduct full mortgage payments on your taxes, you can deduct your mortgage interest payments. Every little bit helps.
  • Build equity. When you buy, you’ll build equity, which can be used to grow your business in the future.
  • Income potential. If your building has more space than you need right now, you can rent out the extra space and pay down your mortgage more quickly.

Disadvantages of Leasing

  • Lease increases. When you lease office space, you may be subject to annual or term lease increases that are out of your control and hit your bottom line. Be sure to discuss lease increases with your landlord when entering lease negotiations.
  • Lack of control. If your aesthetic is modern, but your landlord’s is mid-70s department store, your surroundings may not adequately reflect your brand or feel like “home.” As a tenant, you might not have a say in property improvements and decor.
  • Growth concerns. If you plan to lease office space in an existing building, discuss the potential for future expansion and growth with your landlord. Many building owners are more than happy to accommodate and plan for future growth and changing space needs.

Disadvantages of Buying

  • Loss of flexibility. Your business – and business needs – will change over the next decade, from fluctuations in staffing and client loads to course corrections in business strategy. Owning a property can tie you to a location and decrease your flexibility.
  • If you’re a business owner, you already expend a lot of time and energy on maintaining and building your business. Add the stress of maintaining a building to your to-do list, and you’ve more than doubled your commitment.
  • Financial commitment. Purchasing real estate is a major financial commitment requiring a hefty down payment. If your business will take a hit due to a shift in resources, buying might not be your best option.

If you’re thinking of buying or leasing your next office space, contact The Anderson Group. We provide full-service commercial property management and office space leasing – from general facility management and maintenance to housekeeping, landscaping and office space planning.


For more information or to view properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

Also posted in Ask The Expert, Commercial Office Space | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Workplace Water Efficiency. Quick tips to save water and money.

workplace water efficiencyThe summer months are upon us, and July’s heat and humidity are taking a toll…from droopy landscaping to cranked-up air conditioning units. It all adds up to a strong case for money saving water-efficiency practices in the workplace.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, commercial and institutional buildings account for 17 percent of the nation’s yearly water consumption. In addition, over the past decade, water and wastewater rates have risen “at a rate well above the consumer price index.” The EPA warns that as municipal water systems age, building owners can expect water costs to increase to offset the cost of replacement.

The good news? There are some simple, cost-effective measures you can employ to conserve water and save on operating costs in your commercial building. The three biggest culprits when it comes to water usage in office buildings are restrooms, landscaping and HVAC equipment.

RESTROOM UPGRADES

Did you know that something as simple as a leaky toilet can waste as much as 21,600 gallons of water per month? That can cost up to $2,100 per year. Toilet and urinal flushing typically account for one-third of a commercial building’s water consumption.

Inspecting restroom faucets and other fixtures for leaks is a simple, yet impactful way to make sure you aren’t flushing water (and money) down the drain. You can also replace bathroom fixtures with more efficient models, such as low-flow or ultra-low-flow models. Look for plumbing fixtures certified by the EPA’s WaterSense Program. Certified products use 20% less water without compromising performance and include water-saving toilets and high-efficiency faucets.

OUTDOOR WATER USE

We’ve all seen it: A sprinkler system aimed directly at pavement or going full tilt during a rainstorm. The fact is, landscaping water usage can account for 20% of your facility’s water consumption, making it a great area to target when looking to conserve water and lower your bill.

There are a number of practices you can employ to conserve water outdoors and save money in the process, including using native plants, reducing grassy areas, weather-based and seasonal irrigation schedules (adding a rain sensor on your irrigation system and watering less on cooler days) and installing WaterSense-certified irrigation products. Even something as simple as fitting your hoses with automatic shut-off nozzles and spreading mulch around landscaping can save water and reduce evaporation.

HVAC COOLING SYSTEMS

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, water used in HVAC cooling towers accounts for almost all of an HVAC system’s water consumption.

The fact is, all cooling towers lose water through evaporation, drift (water lost when water droplets are transported in exhaust air), and blowdown (water drained from cooling equipment to remove mineral build-up) and, therefore, consume a significant amount of water. Keep your cooling towers in good working condition through regular inspection and maintenance so your system operates at peak efficiency.

workplace water efficiency

Source: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, WaterSense program

Other ideas for conserving cooling tower water include investing in cooling towers that use recycled water, such as storm water and using cooling tower blowdown to water your landscaping.

Develop a Water Management Plan

It’s good practice to routinely monitor your facility’s water usage. If things seem off or you’re paying more than you anticipated paying, there’s a good chance you have efficiencies that can be corrected.

Develop a workplace water efficiency water management plan to cut down on water usage and trim your water bill. Because leaks are a major culprit, they should be one of the first things you look for. Check regularly for leaks and make repairs as quickly as possible. Swap your outdated fixtures for water-efficient ones. Adjust your landscape-maintenance routine based on seasonal and daily weather changes. A few minor adjustments can add up to major cost savings and help the environment in the process.


The Anderson Group knows small businesses. To inquire about commercial properties in The Anderson Group portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

 

 

Also posted in Ask The Expert, General News, Office Productivity, Office Space Efficiency | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Making a Quick Office Space Move

office space albany nyOne facility manager’s tale.

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a facilities manager for the Albany, NY office of an international provider of financial services technology solutions. Now let’s imagine that you have a week to find a new office space that not only accommodates your employees, but also meets strict security and data-protection standards. Sounds daunting, right?

That’s what happened after Broadridge Financial Solutions (Broadridge) purchased DST Systems’ North American Customer Communications Division. Competition between the two companies made sharing office space, networks and phone lines an impossibility. So Broadridge had to find new office space…fast.

Finding new space quickly was further complicated by a host of technical and security issues that needed to be addressed prior to employees moving in. The new Broadridge space needed to be outfitted with a secure network, cable, fiber optics, swipe-card readers and new door locks.

So Broadridge, headquartered in New Jersey, gratefully accepted Joe Gunther’s offer to find the company new office space. Gunther is a lifelong Capital Region resident and a system administrator/facilities manager in Broadridge’s Albany, NY office.

Through word of mouth, Gunther found The Anderson Group and gave them a call. The very next day, he was looking at office space on Madison Avenue Extension in Albany, NY. He says he knew right away that the office building was a perfect fit in terms of size, immediate availability and close proximity to the company’s former office building.

“The Anderson Group gave me access to the building right away so I could get measurements and layouts and get contractors and tech vendors in for estimates,” Gunther says. “There was such a feeling of trust, commitment and flexibility. I never got a ‘no’ from them on anything I asked. It was nice to know that the last thing I needed to worry about was my landlord.”

In addition, Gunther said he thought he needed more space than he actually did. It was The Anderson Group that advised on square footage based on the company’s very specific needs.

“Anderson was able to meet our needs and save us money. They also worked with us on flexible lease terms that met our company’s strict guidelines,” Gunther says.

Broadridge now calls 28 Madison Avenue Extension, Albany, NY, located in the historic Pine Bush Preserve, home. Its employees moved into their new Albany office in February, a full week ahead of schedule.

“The Anderson Group’s crew took care of everything. Basically, we had to pick up the stuff on our desks and move right in. Our secure network was up, and our cubicles were moved in. When our people arrived on Monday, they were working,” Gunther says. “On Day One, all of our security systems were in place.”

Gunther says although making a quick corporate office move can be stressful, it’s far easier when you find a real estate partner not only capable of helping you find a new space, but also with the resources and expertise to make sure you have what you need when you need it.

“Ours was a complex move because of very strict technical aspects. Some people thought there was no way we’d be able to pull it off in such a short timeframe,” Gunther says. “Working with The Anderson Group, not only did we pull it off, it was smooth and extremely easy. If I ever had to do this again, they would be my first call.”

Andy Anderson, partner at The Anderson Group, says that’s the kind of experience they’re known for.

“There’s an old adage about things ‘moving at the speed of business.’ We know that every day a business is down is a day the business loses money,” Anderson says. “Our goal is to make finding and moving into office space as efficient and worry-free as possible. We’re very happy that Broadridge put their trust in us and that they are happy in their new location.”


The Anderson Group helps keep your business running. For information about commercial property management services or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

 

Also posted in Albany NY Business, Albany Pine Bush Properties, Commercial Office Space, Tenant News | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments closed

Commercial Office Lease Terminology 101: What to know before you sign on the dotted line

commerical office leaseYou’ve found commercial office space, and you’re ready to sign your lease. But before you do, make sure you’ve done your homework.

Whether you’ve hired an attorney to help you negotiate or you’re a seasoned professional going it alone, it’s a good idea to brush up on your commercial office lease terminology. Here’s a quick primer on common lease types and commercial office lease terms and what they do – and don’t – mean.

Common Area Maintenance (CAM)

Common area maintenance costs derive from the care of building areas that are used by all tenants. CAM areas can include spaces such as hallways, lobbies, restrooms, sidewalks and parking lots. Your lease should spell out the CAM areas (and related maintenance services, such as snow plowing, landscaping, etc.) included in your rent.

Double Net Lease (NN)

A double net lease incorporates taxes and insurance into your lease payment, but the landlord is responsible for paying maintenance costs.

Gross Lease

When you sign a gross lease, you agree to pay for your space’s square footage, and your landlord agrees to pay for all other operating expenses, including utilities, maintenance, insurance and property taxes.

Leasable Area

“Leaseable area” is a blend of your office square footage plus a percentage of the square footage in the building’s common areas.

Improvements and Alterations

If you plan to customize or otherwise alter your leased space, make certain that you and your landlord are on the same page about who is responsible for doing the work, how long the work will take, and who will pay for it. You will also want to iron out how the changes you plan to make will impact your rent now and in the future.

Insurance

Your landlord may require you to carry insurance to supplement policies they carry on your building. It’s a good idea to discuss your insurance needs with your insurance agent before you sign a lease. To learn more about commercial insurance needs, see Commercial Renters Insurance: Does Your Small Business Need It?

Maintenance and Utilities

This clause spells out your responsibility to maintain your leased space. Are you responsible for paying utilities or are they included in your rent? Is routine maintenance covered under your lease terms? How about housekeeping services? This section of your lease should answer these types of questions.

Net Lease

A net lease includes your cost per square foot, as well as some costs associated with daily operation of the property, including common area maintenance (CAM) costs, utilities, insurance and property taxes.

Permitted Use

The permitted, or general, use clause will define how you are allowed to use your leased space. Permitted use will depend upon a number of factors, including building location and zoning laws, but might include such uses as manufacturing, retail and food service. Communicate your business as fully as possible when searching for space to ensure that your prospective landlord and prospective office space can meet your needs.

Premises

The premises clause should clearly define the space you’ll be leasing. In addition to physical office space, for example, your lease may give you access to common areas, such as conference rooms, break rooms, parking lots and storage rooms.

Renewal Option

You may have a renewal clause in your lease giving you the right to extend your lease term. The renewal clause should include a start and end date and specify rent costs.

Term

The term clause states your lease start and end dates. Although it seems like a no-brainer, be sure to read the fine print. Some lease terms begin the date you sign the lease; others begin upon move-in. Be sure the lease you’re signing defines your start date so you know when you can move in and when rent begins.

Triple Net Lease (NNN)

A triple net lease is a lease agreement where the tenant (or lessee) is responsible for the property’s ongoing expenses, including real estate taxes, building insurance, and maintenance, in addition to paying rent and utilities.

Signing a lease is a big step for your business, so it pays to make sure you know what you’re signing before you put your name to it.

“Don’t be afraid to ask your landlord to walk you through your lease, and be sure to ask questions along the way,” says Willard Anderson, partner at The Anderson Group. “A reputable landlord and a fair lease have nothing to hide.”


The Anderson Group helps keep your small business running. For information about commercial property management services or available commercial properties in our portfolio, contact Susan Touhey at 518-458-7726 or stouhey@tagny.com.

Also posted in Albany NY Business, Ask The Expert, Commercial Office Space, Managing Your Business | Tagged , , | Comments closed