Looking for your first commercial office space is an important part of growing your venture from a profitable side job to a viable, full-time business. But the process of leasing commercial real estate can be difficult and filled with financial pitfalls, especially for those who are inexperienced in commercial leasing. If your new business has outgrown your basement or home office and is ready for a new, more permanent location, using the following tips will help to make sure you are prepared to successfully navigate the commercial leasing process and find the best possible space for your needs.
Partner with a professional
The first and most important thing a business owner can do to make sure they find and successfully negotiate the terms of leasing their first commercial real estate location is to partner with an experienced professional. Choose a locally successful commercial real estate agent with a good track record for commercial leasing and be prepared to evaluate several properties before choosing the one to lease. Your commercial real estate agent can assist you in navigating the entire process and will be especially useful in helping you:
- find the type of property and location your business will need
- work within your available budget for leasing fees, utility costs, insurance, moving, and any renovation or furnishing costs you will incur
- look at currently available properties, as well as suitable ones that may be available soon
- negotiate the best possible terms for the lease and any renovations the owner may be willing to provide
- work through problems that arise during the negotiation process
Gather necessary documentation
Commercial property owners will want to know that your business has the financial stability to afford the leasing fees for their property before they will agree to move forward. By taking the time to gather financial documents relating to your business income, such as banking records, tax returns, and information about any available cash reserves or lines of credit will help to prove that you have the financial resources to maintain the cost of leasing the commercial property.
Consider future growth
It is also important to carefully consider your company's future space needs when considering any commercial lease and discuss this matter with your commercial real estate professional. To help you determine what size space will house your company comfortably, both now and for the next few years, project your expected growth rate and the number of personnel you expect to employ. Ask your real estate professional to help you use this information to choose a space that can be easily adapted to house a growing staff without the need for costly major renovations.