Leasing commercial office space is a big step for your businesses, so it’s important that you do your due diligence. Greg Anderson, partner at The Anderson Group, offers answers to the top eight questions prospective tenants should ask when considering an office space move.
- How much space does my business need?
There are general industry guidelines for commercial office space (i.e., 150 square feet for a standard office and 25 square feet for a standard cubicle), but these guidelines fail to account for the corridors and common areas included in most leases. The best way to determine your business’s size requirements is hiring a space planner who can help you visualize your space based on your unique business needs and workflow. A good commercial developer / property management company may offer this service for free, saving you time, money, and the hassle of hiring an architect or space planner who must develop unique plans for each office building you’re considering.
- Should I rent the square footage my business needs now, or find space with room to grow?
Unless you know for sure that your business will grow significantly in the near future, it makes sense to rent only the space you need now. In many instances, when a tenant realizes substantial or unexpected growth, property management companies are happy to place that tenant in a larger space without penalty. Your ability to expand will depend upon the building you’re in. Ask for “right of first refusal” if space adjacent to yours becomes available.
- Can I make improvements and modifications to my office space?
In many cases, new office space is either “plain vanilla” (unfinished walls and floors) or is tailored to the previous tenant’s needs. In either case, you likely will want updates and modifications to bring the space to your standards. Many property management companies will price your construction requests and amortize the amount over the length of your lease. Some will give you an allowance per square foot (typically around $2 per square foot per year) that you can use to complete construction with an approved contractor. Your best-case scenario is finding a property management company that offers free construction management services and will invest the time to help you customize your space on time and on budget.
- How can I make sure this space supports my brand?
Many business owners hire interior designers to ensure that their office space supports their brand. A good commercial real estate developer / property management company provides professional interior design services free of charge to prospective tenants. Whether you want an open office layout or individual offices, or specific wallpaper, paint, lighting, furniture and carpet, experienced in-house designers can help you tailor your space to fit your business needs and ensure that your space sends the right message about your company.
- Does the office space meet my technology needs?
Most commercial properties today offer a variety of networking options, such as cable, DSL, T1s and fiber. Tenants whose business practices demand heavy bandwidth should verify that potential properties have the infrastructure to support their business needs.
- How do I know if I’m choosing the right location for my business?
You’ve heard it before: in real estate, it’s all about location, location, location. And where you locate your office may depend upon the type of business you operate. Do you need a central location close to airports and train stations to accommodate out-of-town clients and heavy business travel? Do you need to be near major highways or bus lines to make it easier for your employees to get to work? Are ample parking and proximity to shopping and restaurants important? Or are you looking for a quiet location away from the hustle and bustle? Consider all of your options and weigh the pros and cons of each property before you zero in on the one that’s best for your business. You’ll be glad you did.
- What is included in my rent?
What is included in your commercial rent will vary dramatically from company to company. Many property management companies offer modified gross leases, which means you’ll be charged a base rent, plus an additional fee per square foot. When you sign a modified gross lease, items such as utilities, housekeeping, maintenance, and insurance are often additional—and can significantly add to the cost of your rent. A modified gross lease can also mean that you’ll be financially responsible for major mechanical, electrical, and plumbing issues. Don’t like surprises? Find a property management company that offers full gross leases, which means you pay a base lease with everything included.
- Is the property owner trustworthy?
Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you’ve done your homework on the property owner and/or property management group. Is the owner creditworthy?
Does the owner have a good reputation? Are they responsive? What kinds of security measures are in place? Is the property up to code and ADA compliant? Be sure to ask, and don’t be afraid to ask other building tenants. A reputable property management company has nothing to hide.
For more information, or to begin searching for your commercial office space, email Greg Anderson at email@example.com or call 518.458.7726.
About The Anderson Group
The Anderson Group is a full-service real estate management, development, and brokerage firm offering premiere commercial real estate across the Capital Region of New York. Experts in office-space efficiency, productivity, and profitability, The Anderson Group offers leases with flexible terms tailored to fit your needs. All leases include utilities, housekeeping, construction services, space planning, interior design services and more.