Category Archives: Office Leasing

The Essential Guide For Renting A Good Office Space For Your Team

Office SpaceLike most real estate sectors, the rental market for commercial office space has increased in cost significantly since 2018. Based on data gathered during the second quarter of the year, the asking rents rose to 3.4 percent per year to $25.71 per square foot. Yet despite the increase, small businesses still opt to rent office space instead of buying their own buildings for a lot of reasons. These include minimal financial commitment and tax deduction. They can also provide more flexibility for expansion. Renting an office space vs remote working can be beneficial for your business, especially if you know how to choose the right location. But aside from looking for a good venue for the operation of your business, here are some tips that you need to consider if you want to rent your office space.

Consider Your Budget

Before signing the lease for your office, determine whether you can afford the big move. You need to ask yourself and talk to your financial advisers to ask if the time is right for your  company to have a larger space. When choosing the office, you must think about how the new office rental expenses will affect your bottom line. Think about your other  expenses like the furniture to purchase or rent, and other necessities including your small business insurance, utilities, and Internet services. In some cases, an executive suite or coworking space may be a better answer than going out on your own. Typically, they are furnished and you know the total cost each month without having to pay other expenses such as utilities.

Think About Your Staff

If you are running a small business with a few team members, you need to look for a space that can fit everyone in. The area needs to be spacious enough for the desks of each member of the team. If you are still planning to expand, you must allocate a few extra spaces for future employees. The office rental must also be conducive to the health and safety of your staff. It should be located in a safe spot where access to hospitals, police and fire stations is readily available.

Study The Lease Thoroughly

Always have a clear idea about what you will need in the space. If possible, consider taking several trips to different locations to know if the area has the right vibe for your business. Your tenant rep must also know how to negotiate with the landlord to give you the best discounts. Make sure they are experienced, like the ones we have at OfficeFinder. Thoroughly read and analyze the contract before signing the papers. The document must point out all the provisions that both you and your landlord had agreed upon. Make sure to thoroughly review the rules and relgulatons, too. Otherwise, you may not notice the necessary rules that coudl affect yourbusiness operation.

The process of renting out an office space for your business can be tedious and time consuming. That is why having a tenant representative on your side is so important. You need to think and consider a lot of things before finalizing the deal. Your tenant rep will make sure that you don’t make any costly mistakes and consider all the necessesary factors. But as long as you and the owner can come to agreement when making decisions, this will set a solid contract that will last for years to come.

6 Mistakes to Avoid When You’re Renting Office Space for the First Time

renting office spaceStarting a business entails a lot of planning from what type of products or services you’ll be selling, whether a franchise or your own startup, you will need to figure out about renting office space.

There are several factors to consider, and if you’re not careful, you may end up making costly mistakes that can hinder your company’s growth.

Online resources like us, OfficeFinder, can help you acquire the ideal location for your company headquarters in a particular city. If you’re renting office space for the first time, it is crucial that you are aware of these common mistakes that you must avoid when renting office space.

  1. Not Being Able to Differentiate Needs from Wants

In today’s modern world, many entrepreneurs do just fine in their home offices or with coworking spaces. However, you may need a dedicated office for your business to survive especially when your customers have to purchase your product or service in person, such as in coffee shops or shoe stores.

  1. Not Determining Your Budget Beforehand

There are plenty of commercial locations to choose from, and not establishing a budget before doing your research would only make you run around in circles. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on office space and stick to it. You can filter out suggestions that are too hefty for your estimated cost. If possible, you should be able to pay a full year’s worth of rent upfront and give time for your customers to be familiar with your site.

  1. Not Doing Enough Research

In business, it’s not sensible to make impulse decisions over something as important as your office or shop location. Here is a list of important considerations when renting an office space.

  • Rent – Inquire about how the landlord measures and calculates the chargeable square footage. Gather the same information from other possible spaces and compare prices.
  • Lease Term – You should be informed as to when the lease will start and when it will end. Would opting for a long-term contract end up with a better deal? Or would you rather have a short-term contract that can be renewed? Landlords will let you know what their preference is depending on their needs.
  • Rent Increases – Are they negotiable? How do the owners calculate it? Does the price of the rent increase automatically per year or term?
  • Deposits – To secure the lease, landlords often ask for a security deposit, which is usually the rent equal to a specified number of months. You should know how much they expect for that specific commercial space before you decide.
  • Cost of Renovations/Improvements – Generally, landlords pay for renovations and improvements on the building and splits the price into the rent. Agree with your landlord over how this process will be done.
  • Cost of Repairs and Maintenance – Commercial leases typically let tenants pay for maintenance. Find out the extra fees as well for utilities, taxes, and insurance.
  • Exclusivity Rights – This is especially important for retail businesses. You should know whether you have the sole right to rent part of a building or complex and be assured that competitors cannot open a store in the same location.
  1. Not Reading the Fine Print

A major no-no in business is being lazy and irresponsible in going through the contract and not reading the fine print. Review the lease terms, and ask for the help of an expert attorney to look over the document so that you’ll get a better understanding of the contract and its impact on your business. Take note that most contracts are made to be favorable for the landlord.

  1. Not Asking for Help from Brokers

You may be tempted to skip the middleman and purely rely on listings to save on costs. However, real estate brokers can be valuable in the search for your office space. They have insiders’ information on commercial buildings direct from the owner of the property. Plus, they can help you with negotiations for the lowest rates.

  1. Not Considering Customers’ Needs

Your office should be near your customers. It should be easily accessed from freeways or public transportation. Moreover, find a place that has a dedicated secure parking space for both cars and bikes. Your customers will want to go back every time since they can park their cars or bikes without problems.

Conclusion

To do it right, renting office space will cost you time, effort, and financial resources. Make sure that you get your money’s worth by conscientiously going through the nitty-gritty. Think of it as an investment that is necessary for your company to thrive in today’s cut-throat business world.

6 Ways to Improve Office Safety

Business owners have a lot on their plate. They have to worry about improving growth, hiring the right employees, managing office space and making the most of the time they have left over. However, there might be a hidden concern many offices today are failing to pay the right attention to. Office safety is an essential part of maintaining a quality workplace. Injuries and safety problems are expensive for the company, and it also puts employees at risk.

There’s an outdated idea that businesses have to make a decision between making a profit and safety. No matter the industry, that’s no longer the truth. From the risk of an intruder to injuries, no stone should be left unturned. Here are 6 ways to improve office safety today.

Office Safety

Image via Pexels

1. Invest in an Alarm System

An alarm system is a must no matter your office size or industry. Many new businesses make the mistake of assuming an alarm system is only needed for larger businesses, but that’s hardly the case. Intruders and thieves target businesses of all sizes, and offices are notoriously home to expensive electronic equipment that’s tempting to criminals.

Using an Alarm system gives you a layer of protection. Even when you’re not currently in the office, you can monitor your status in real-time to ensure everything is safe no matter the time.

2. Keep a Clean Office

Did you know slip and falls are the most common type of office injury? It’s true that an unclean workspace is more than just unorganized. It might actually be a danger to your employees. Keep your workspace clutter-free and maintaining a clear line of vision will go a long way to preventing slip and fall injuries. In addition, encourage employees to be careful in their own space. For instance, use a step stool instead of a chair to reach a high location.

3. Provide Equipment Training

If your office uses any kind of equipment, it’s important to provide the right training. Don’t assume your employees know how to use equipment safely. Always be proactive with quarterly reminders about equipment safety and ongoing training. Even an adjustable chair can be unsafe when the employee isn’t trained to use it properly.

office space safety

Image via Pexels

4. Have a Fire Safety Plan

While you might think your days of emergency evacuations were left behind in school, you might need a refresher on fire safety. Not only should you always have your fire sprinklers and alarms checked regularly, but you should create a plan for your office in case of a fire emergency. This should include a designated meeting area, fire safety tips, and a clear escape route.

5. Run Background Checks

How well do you know your employees? If you’re not careful when hiring, you might unwillingly let in a criminal. While this doesn’t mean you can’t hire someone with a criminal background, knowing their history will help you make a smarter decision. Background screening is important, and it’s easier than you think.

6. Reward Safety

Finally, reward your best employees for practicing safety in the office. Make it easy for employees to report suspicious activity or anything they feel needs to be improved. Open a dialogue with your employees about being safe in the workplace.

Ultimately, office safety comes down to many factors. Is your physical location free from obstructions or unsafe condition? Are your employees themselves safe? Do you have a security system for keeping intruders out? All of these things together will create a safe office that works for everyone.

3 Tips to Help You Effectively Run Your Business from a Coworking Office

coworking office spaceBeing a business owner can get quite lonely. This is especially true if you offer remote services or freelance from your computer. Luckily, there are coworking offices that can allow you to get your work done while being around other people. These shared spaces can help you feel like you’re part of the community and keep you focused and productive.

Coworking offices are great for cutting back on the cost of rent while being able to interact day-to-day. These offices are excellent for startups and self-employed entrepreneurs–especially since they seem to attract a multitude of creative talent. They’re popular for numerous reasons like the versatility they offer.

If you decide to find the perfect coworking office, there are some things you’ll want to consider keeping yourself and those around you productive.

1.  Make Sure The Space Will Work for You Before You Commit

When shopping around and scoping out potential coworking office, make sure you find an environment that will work for you and your business. When you walk into a new space, it can overwhelm the sense, be sure to pay careful attention to:

  • Color: Is the office light, bright, and airy, or is it dim and cavelike? What works better for you? Most people prefer to work in light, bright offices. If you have your own space, you can ask if you can change the wall color to brighten things up.

Coloring and lighting can make you more or less productive. Make sure the lighting inspires you to work.

  • Size: Find out how many people will be working in the office and what the space is like when everyone is working diligently. Ask what peak hours are in the office. You can always schedule yourself before everyone gets in for the day or after everyone leaves.

Will you have enough space for everything you need? Many of us only use a laptop and a wireless mouse, but some people also need notebooks, files, and other bulkier items. Are you allocated enough room to work comfortably?

  • Storage: If you run an e-commerce site or have files to store, you’ll want to ask if the office space comes with secure storage, if you have to rent additional space in the office, or if you have to find storage elsewhere. This can be a deal breaker if you logistically need a bit more room.

 Internet Speed: If you run an online business or work as a freelancer, make sure your internet can keep up with your pace. This is another aspect you may want to try out before committing to renting space. Ask if you can come in for a trial then see is the internet is able to keep up.

  • Room to Grow Your Business: You may run a startup or simply be a self-employed writer, but you don’t know exactly what your business will look like in one year. If you need to bring another person into your business, will there be room for them, too? What if you need to increase inventory? Will the office space accommodate 100 more t-shirts?

2. Time Management is a Priority

While getting used a shared office can be excited, be sure to set aside time to tend to your business–especially when you first move into the office. When you first get into your new office, everyone will greet you with open arms and huge smiles. Make sure you’re just as friendly but establish time boundaries to keep you on track with everything you need to accomplish.

Try to keep regular hours. I don’t mean you need to work from 9 to 5, in fact, businesses often prosper when your hours a bit more untraditional. But you should establish a schedule and stay with it. It’s easy to miss out when you don’t have a definite in-time.

Keep a daily schedule or to-do list, too. If you need to update your website, that’s a priority if your income relies on it, make sure you have it written down so you don’t get distracted. If you’re just starting your business, register your domain name and spend time curating your e-commerce site and updating orders.

Always take the time at the end of your day to tidy up your area. This isn’t just courteous to your coworkers, but it will give you a clean slate for the next day. And factor breaks into your workday. Taking a quick break will reenergize you and help you be more productive in the long run.

3. Keep Sight of Your Goals and How to Accomplish Them

One of the best qualities of a coworking office is that everyone is there for a reason. Everyone is accomplishing goals and dreams. Let your coworkers’ ventures and successes inspire you and never lose sight of your goals.

Make your goals your priority. If you find yourself socializing too much, remind yourself that you’re at work to fulfill a goal, to make your business better and more profitable. You may want to hang a chalkboard, dry-erase board, or a calendar to help you keep track of your goals in the short term and long term.

Try to find a positive office with an inspiring group of people. Avoid negativity if it arises, it will drain your energy and your time.

Your business deserves a great workspace where your ideas and dreams can grow a flourish. Use these tips to help keep you on track for success if you’re searching or found great coworking offices. Keep your e-commerce site up-to-date and your freelance clients happy and you’ll be able to enjoy the productive environment of shared space.

If you need help finding the right coworking offices, contact us. It is what we do.

5 Tips for Picking the Perfect Office Location for Your Business

A business’ office location is crucial to its success.

It’s a decision that can impact sales, brand image, employee satisfaction and even the ease with which a business can grow.

This is obviously a big call that packs significant logistical considerations too. For example, in some US cities, the cost of renting an office can rack up to around $95 per square foot, per year. That’s a serious commitment if you’re a business that needs a lot of space!

Perfect office space

Clearly, picking the perfect location for your office requires careful consideration. The wrong choice can have serious implications. How do you make the right decision?

Keep reading to discover 5 tips that’ll ensure you do.

5 Tips for Picking Your Business’ Office Location

Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when deciding where to set up shop with your offices.

1. Consider the Cost

Cost considerations are almost always a factor for businesses. The same goes when deciding your office location.

The prices will vary widely depending on where you want to set up shop. You need to think about your budget and see how far it can stretch to accommodate your other office location requirements.

This holds true whether you decide to lease or buy. However, it’s crucial to consider business rates tax too that’ll vary depending on your location.

Oh, and if you’re renting then absolutely ascertain the stability of your rent. Will it increase exponentially over time?

2. Don’t Think (Or Buy) Too Small

There’s no point in buying a small office location if you expect your business to grow quickly.

Obviously, it’s hard to tell the future. But plan ahead sensibly anyway.

You could choose to rent initially in order to get a feel for your potential growth. If things move rapidly and you find yourself expanding, then a purchase of a larger office space could be justified.

Remember, if you buy then you’ll steadily build equity in your property too.

3. Consider Ease of Access

It’s important to think about your office’s accessibility.

How straightforward is it for your potential customers and clients to find? And what about your employees?

Your company could work in fields as varied as student loan refinancing, public relations, marketing, or any other number of professions!

But in order to attract custom and make it easier for your employees, you want to ensure the office is easily accessible. For instance, it’s always good to be close to transport links and sees lots of people pass by every day during business hours.

It’ll depend a little on your business’s office operations though. If customers/clients will rarely (if ever) visit your office, then accessibility will only really be an issue for employees.

4. Make Sure It’s Not Overly Competitive

Choosing an office that’s surrounded by competitors can set your business back from the outset.

Some competition’s healthy and may even help your business expand. But you can be competed out of the market when it’s too extreme and the competition’s too well established.

5. Consider Your Brand Image

Finally, your office space speaks volumes about your business.

It’s like the clothes you wear on your back. Your company location sends signals to those in your environment, including your customers and competition.

A lush, wealthy-looking location can at once impress your customers or make them question if they’re paying you too much! A drab, outdated area can indicate your business is struggling.

Be sure to think about how your office space will be interpreted from the outside.

Time to Wrap Up

There you have it: 5 Tips for picking the perfect office location for your business.

This is a crucial call with a lot riding on it. You want to make the right decision.

Hopefully, these tips have helped. Remember, think about the cost (and your budget) and accessibility of the property, as well as the potential growth in the coming years. Next, make sure the location isn’t overly competitive and that it sends the right signal about your business.

With these things in mind, you’ll be on your way to renting an office in the perfect location in no time.

Now we’d like to hear from you! What’s your primary concern in choosing your renting an office? Let us know in the comments!

And be sure to contact us to learn how we can help you find the ideal office space.

5 Things to Look for When You’re Trying to Find Office Space

Trying to find office space can be a pretty difficult task, but it doesn’t have to be. Learn what you need to look for in your future office.

So your business is growing and now it’s time for you to find office space that fits your business needs. That’s great! It’s an exciting time for any business, but you need to make sure you find the right office space.

Small businesses in the US are growing and getting more successful, and it’s great that yours is one of them. It’s important to find an office space where you and your employees can be more productive.

find office space like this

Wondering how to find office space that’s right for you? Here are 5 tips to help you.

1. Location, Location, Location

It’s not all about the actual office space, the location of it is important too. You want to make sure it’s easy for people to get to and not too far out.

Does public transport run nearby? Is it in a safe area of town? What about customers, is your office near to them? These things matter and can make a huge impact on your business.

Find office space somewhere that gets natural light and isn’t too far out. It’ll make for a better working experience and employees and clients can access it with ease.

2. How Much Can You Afford?

You could find the perfect office space in the perfect location. But it won’t matter if it’s out of your budget.

You don’t want to be out of pocket paying for office space. It’s counter-intuitive and is bad for business. Be aware of hidden costs like utilities and parking. Think of how much you need them for business. For example, if you run a media planning business, you’ll need high-speed internet at all times.

Calculate these costs and see how much you can afford. If the space costs too much, you may need to re-evaluate whether now is the right time to rent.

3. What Are the Facilities?

The facilities in the building are important to consider as well. They make a bigger difference than you think.

Does it come with telephones or computers? Is there a burglar and fire alarm? Is it a secure access building? How about the kitchen, does it have a microwave or refrigerator? Does it have a break room or vending machines?

These things matter and can help make your and your employees working days a lot easier.

4. Beware of Competitors

Make sure to scope out the area for competitors before you commit to a space. Are there any nearby which are a direct competitor?

If there are, think about how it will affect your business. If they attract your customers to come to them, you could damage your prospects.

Consider how much competition there is nearby and if it poses a threat. Find somewhere else if it’s too much.

5. Does it Feel Right?

The most important thing about finding the right office space for you is for it to feel right. It could have a lot of great points, but it could be wrong for your business in the long run.

If the ambiance is wrong, it affects the mood of your workplace. If the place is untidy, dark or generally bad environment, it will have an impact.

If the environment feels right though, it will be a better place to work and sell from. It will boost morale and productivity so it’s very important to consider.

Find Office Space That Works for You

When you find office space that ticks these boxes, you boost your business a lot. Don’t overspend on space and find somewhere with the right facilities and location. When you have these things, you’re on track for even more success.

Looking for an office space? Get in touch to see how we can help.

Is Coworking Space really just an Executive Suite?

Coworking spaceThere is quite a bit of public confusion over the terminology used in the office space industry regarding executive suites and coworking space. Many still believe that an executive suite describes the suite of offices on or near the top floor of a skyscraper where the top executives of a company used to work; including only the president or chief executive officer, various vice presidents and their staff. In other words, only the top brass. While coworking space is a relatively new phenomenon and many do not understand what it is. Here is some information that will hopefully clear up the confusion.

Essentially, what they both are is shared serviced offices operated by a management firm that house multiple companies. They have different styles to accommodate different workplace goals. Coworking space has become an extension of the executive suite concept with a different spin. Originally coworking space was intended to serve like kinds of businesses that could work together while still being independent. They have morphed into offices with networking opportunities with other occupants. Here is another article on the idea “WeWork Is Basically Regus With A Paint Job.” WeWork is the largest Cowork provider and Regus the largest Exeutive Suite Provider.

The executive suite / coworking centers are an excellent option for small companies, branches or companies that need flexible lease lengths. Many firms, large and small, choose to operate their business or satellite offices from an executive suite.

Executive suites and coworking spaces are both essentially shared offices with services provided by a management firm. They are a great way for small or growing companies to get off to a fast and low-risk start and a great way for a fast-growing company to have the flexibility for rapid growth. Whether you choose to go with the more conventional executive suite style or the newer coworking trend with depending on the way you want to work.

Generally, executive suites cater to those companies looking for privacy in their workplace; Businesses or individuals who want to be in offices. Coworking space is more suited to those looking to create synergy and network with other companies or individuals located in the space.

They both offer features such as utilities and janitorial, receptionist, secretarial,  personalized telephone answering, mail handling and coffee and food service on-site. There are still a lot more of services that you can avail. They are very much customizable depending on your style, budget and needs.

In an Executive Suite or coworking office, your efforts can be dedicated entirely to your business, while the management company is responsible for typical office management. You will enjoy a professional reception and support personnel without the headaches of hiring, training and employee benefits; state-of-the-art business equipment without purchasing and maintenance problems, and; a staff attentive to both you and your client’s needs.

Executive Suites, along with coworking office space, allows you the added flexibility of short term or long term obligations – both from a planning and a financial statement point of view. Other benefits include:

  • Convenience – A small office near home or the people you do business with every day.
  • Cost – Attractive, professional office accommodations at roughly 30-50% of the
    cost of equipping and staffing conventional office space.
  • Flexibility –  Full or part-time accommodations are generally available (hourly, daily,
    weekly, monthly, annually).
  • No capital investment – There is no need to buy or lease office equipment or furniture. Private offices can be completely furnished as well.
  • Control of operating costs – Offer state-of-the-art business support services which are billed to clients.
  • Higher productivity  – By leaving the operation of your office to a staff of trained professionals, your company personnel can concentrate on managing and marketing your business.
  • Enhanced technology and services – Most Executive Suites / Coworking space provide enhanced Internet technology and first-class concierge handling of business needs.

If you are interested in estimating the cost of an executive suite or coworking space, give our executive suite calculator a try. It will compare your costs at an executive suite type space with that of a conventional office space.

If you are looking for an office, we’d love to help. It is what we do day in and day out. We not only find the right space for your business but also negotiate the deal with you to ensure no mistakes are made and that you get the best deal possible. Contact us for your no obligation meeting.

6 Key Factors to Finding Great Office Space for Your Business

Great Office Space to WOWA great office space can WOW visitors, increases employee productivity, and promotes your business’ image. Choose the wrong space and you may find yourself with lackluster sales, low employee morale, and a floundering business. The key to finding the perfect office space, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, is to perform a comprehensive assessment of potential locations. Make a list of “must have” attributes. Check out our office space planning checklist to help yourself focus your search.

1. Know the Zoning Laws

Zoning laws vary considerably by location, so it’s essential to become familiar with the regulations in your area. In general, you cannot construct a commercial building in an area zoned for residential property, the SBA notes. To check how a potential property is zoned, contact the planning agency for your municipality. Work with city officials to pay necessary fees, apply for licenses, and complete other paperwork to comply with zoning codes. If you run into trouble, hire a land use attorney to help you navigate complicated local regulations.

2. Understand the State and Local Taxes

Make sure you have a clear understanding of the taxes that you will owe to both the state and local authorities. These can vary significantly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. You can usually find out information on the jurisdiction’s website or  consult your accountant.

3. Consider Your Visitors and Clients

Think about what types of people will be visiting your space. Will the office be used solely by employees, or will you hold client meetings there? Do you need teleconferencing capability? Does it need to meet industry regulations (such as those set by OSHA or another agency)?

The answers to these questions vary widely based on your business plan, but they significantly influence the type of office space you need. For example, if you want to impress new clients, consider an easily accessible downtown location or a luxurious entrance with a blazing fast internet connection

4. Choose a Location That’s Convenient for Employees

Your business can only be as great as the people working for it. To retain the best employees, carefully consider your office location. If you live in a city with a strong public transportation network, choose an office space near prominent bus or train lines. To make your office commuter-friendly, find a location with ample parking. Also consider perks that improve employee satisfaction, such as an on-site fitness room or a well-equipped break room, suggests Forbes. Thinking about your employees’ needs before you hire them will allow you to attract and retain the best candidates.

5. Decide on a Floor Plan That Complements Your Business Model

When possible, find an office space that requires the least possible renovation to save on costs. To achieve this goal, think about the type of office floor plan that makes most sense for your company. A tech start-up developing a new smartphone app might benefit from an open floor plan that allows employees to easily share new concepts. In contrast, your tax accounting firm may require private offices for each worker in order to increase client confidentiality.

When touring a potential property, consider your desired floor plan and whether it is possible to execute in the space “as is” or if you will need tenant improvements. According to the Harvard Business Review, the most effective floor plans bring employees together to share ideas while providing some private space. Think about the placement of executive offices, conference rooms, bathroom facilities, the reception area, and break rooms. Consider hiring an industrial-organizational psychologist or consultant for tips on how to best use office space to maximize employee efficiency.

6. Get Help From a Professional

There are specialists in your market who specialize in helping business not only find the right space, but also ensure they negotiate the best possible deal. They are known as tenant representatives. Like residential real estate brokers, they represent the buyer (or lessee) who is looking for property, but get paid by the landlord. In other words, there is no cost to you for their services and they are looking after your best interest. They only get paid once you are happy with your selection and make a purchase or sign a lease. They are an invaluable asset and in important team member for any company looking for office space.

While these are not the only factors to take into consideration when looking for office space, taking these 6 factors into account will help smooth out the process.

If you need help finding and negotiating for office space, please contact us. Our services and the services of our member tenant reps won’t cost you anything.

Tips and Tricks To Negotiating the Best Office Space Lease

office space leasePerhaps you operate a small start-up business that has outgrown your home office. Maybe your company is mid-sized and is growing out of the office space you occupy. Or, you may head a large organization that needs an additional facility to support a new contract. Whatever your situation, you’ve realized that you need to lease some office space.

You are now in one of the most exciting and challenging parts of your growing company, acquiring an office space, but alos one that is priime for making expensive mistakes. An office space lease is usually the second biggest expenses after salaries for a business. There are ways that you can do it to get the best office for your business without compromising your budget or other aspects of your business’ growth.

You’ve begun the search for space. You may have used an online commercial office location service such as OfficeFinder.com, a local commercial real estate broker or you may have searched by driving by empty facilities.  Whatever method you used, you’ve found the perfect option for your every need. It is in a strategic location, plenty of space for employees and clients, good security and good facilities.

During the process you have analyzed and understand your business needs for space, not only for the present but for the future too. You know how you will use the space, what are the amenities needed and identified your priorities.

Finally, you’ve decided. You are now ready to move on to the next phase of acquiring an office space, negotiating the best office space lease.

Understanding the Office Space Lease: LEASE 101

An Office Space Lease has three main forms:

Lease is an agreement between the property owner or landlord and the tenant. It has three forms:

  • Full-Service Lease – the rent is all-inclusive. The pay covers all of the expenses associated with the property, such as insurance, maintenance, taxes and even janitorial services.
  • Net Lease – the landlord charges a lower base rent for the space and all of the usual costs that related to operations, maintenance and use that the landlord pays. Net lease also comes in three types:
    • Triple net lease – you share the three additional costs about the base rent. Taxes, insurance and maintenance.
    • Double net lease – two additional costs are added on the base rent, taxes and insurance costs.
    • Single net lease – some of the landlord costs will be charged to the tenant upon negotiation.
  • Gross Lease – this could the most favorable lease for the tenant. The landlord shoulders all of the property expenses that would come across in a net lease.

To obtain a lease for the office space, you should have an experienced guide who will have your best interest at heart and who has negotiated many successful office space leases in the past. A tenant rep broker is a necessity. It’s a sure bet that the landlord or property management company offering the lease has plenty of experienced assistance to help them get an advantage. Shouldn’t you have an expert on your side too? After all, there is no cost to you for their services. It would seem to be a no-brainer.

Protect yourself by following some important guidelines
that can help you negotiate successfully.

Always remember that in negotiating an office space lease, the more knowledge and power you have, the better the outcome. Even with a tenant rep, you will need to stay involved. Find out about the space. Is anyone else looking at it? Has it been vacant for a long time. Aside from having a tenant representative or a broker, it is still important that you are hands-on with the search and you are aware of the important factors, factors that may somehow make a change on a burdensome leasing terms made by landlord throughout the lease process.

Once you’ve told the office property owner that you want to locate your business in their property, you are likely to be presented with a standard lease package. Do not sign any papers at this point but accept the lease for review. Explain to the landlord that you must review the lease with care so that you completely understand it.

Your specific needs are unique and may require significant changes in the office space lease  during negations. Here are a few specific points that any tenant should look for in the standard lease package:

  • An accurate description of the office space should be clearly listed in the lease.
  • How much is the rent and exactly when is it due? Are there any late charges if not paid on the correct date?
  • Is there a security deposit and how much is it? Under what conditions is this deposit repaid upon vacating the commercial office space and what conditions permit the landlord to refuse to return the security deposit?
  • What is the lease period and are there provisions to facilitate lease renewal if desired?
  • What are the terms in the lease regarding vacating the premises early? Do you have the right to move into another, larger office space owned by the landlord without penalty? Do you have any rights to rent additional space if your business grows more rapidly than anticipated?
  • Is there a cleaning deposit for preparing the space for the next tenant when you vacate the premises and is this fee returned if you leave the premises in the same condition as upon delivery?
  • Identify verbiage defining how much parking may be used by the tenant and what, if any, number of spaces can be marked as reserved.
  • Review all references to use of common space. You should have the right to enter and egress at any time of day or night and access to all common spaces unless specific restrictions are contained in the lease. Also, watch out for clauses regarding common space upkeep or charges.
  • The lease should clearly state what utilities are the responsibility of the tenant as well as what should be paid by the landlord. The same goes for charges for maintenance and repairs for any problems not the result of misuse or neglect on the part of the tenant.
  • Is there are space in the lease or reference to an addendum where notes regarding the condition of the property at delivery may be noted.
  • Is there any defined allowance for tenant improvements?
  • What rights to signage are included in the office space lease?
  • Does the lease provide for delivery of a punch list after tenant improvements are accomplished?

Some suggestions to help you become a little more of a lease-expert

Length of Lease and Renewal Options:

The initial office lease period should give you enough time to settle in and determine how this location works for your business but not so long that you must pay a stiff penalty if you decide to move on after two or three years. Try to negotiate a shorter-term lease with a renewal options. Keep in mind that your company’s needs may change, you might get sucked into an office space lease that is too big or small, or with a rent that is above-market if demand for space later drops.

Rent Increases

Watch out for the clause that establishes the amount or percentage at which rent can go up and the specific periods at which this change can occur. Rent should not increase more than annually and should have a reasonable cap set on it so that the cost of leasing the office space does not become outrageous in a short period of time. Usually, landlords refer the annual increases on the percentage increases in Consumer Price Index or CPI, try to arrange for a CPI rent increase that does not set in for at least the first two years of the term. Then, you can try to have the cap on the amount of each year’s increase.

Cost Transferal

Be sure you and your office lease broker understand exactly what costs can be passed long to you or what percentage of those costs can be passed along. Examples can include property tax increases, specific repair costs not caused by your occupancy and the increasing cost of services to the building. Your rent increase should cover the costs associated with increased service costs or taxes and only those building repairs caused by you should be passed along to you.

Landlord’s Right to Early Termination

Check what verbiage is used regarding what, if any, rights the landlord has to terminate your office space lease early and what conditions must be met to justify such early termination. If this clause is too liberal in favor of the landlord, you could easily find yourself seeking different office space much sooner than your business plan set forth. This can be expensive and time consuming for your business and can be avoided with the right wording in this area of the lease.

Repairs, replacements and improvements:

Be mindful about the office space lease clause that says that the tenant must restore the property to its original condition. If this was mentioned to the agreement, try to state that it will be returned to in same condition at the beginning of the least EXCLUDING (1) ordinary wear and tear, (2) damage by fire and untoward incidents, loss or casualty not the fault of the  tenant, (3) improvements approved by the Landlords.

Payment from Corporate Owners:

Watch out for verbiage indicating payment can be sought from the corporate owners rather than the corporation itself.  While some office space owners like to have this protection in the event a business becomes financially insolvent, it does give a landlord too much recourse into the business owners’ private finances to allow entry into the final lease.

One-Sided Lease Provisions:

Be cautious about the landlords that use form lease agreement that can be one-sided. Negotiate on the provisions that are favorable to the landlord. Below are the common types of provisions that one-sided and landlord favorable:

  • Passing on to the tenants, without limit, increased operating costs like property taxes, repairs and or insurance expenses.
  • Landlords disclaiming responsibility for compliance with environmental laws or government act (e.g., disabilities acts)
  • Requiring tenants to pay for tax increases
  • Landlords reserving rights to terminate the lease at their convenience.
  • Prohibiting subletting and assignments.

These are only a few of the clauses that an office space renter should be on the alert for. Turn to your office space broker for the best possible advice on all areas of the lease and lease negotiation process.

There are dozens of additional points that will stand out in the lease. Some of them may be points you do not understand. Make sure to highlight these for investigation. Another verbiage may better meet your needs. Highlight each portion of the lease that either is unclear, misleading or requires negotiation. These are items that you will need to cover with the help of your leasing team, especially your tenant rep.

When negotiating an office space lease or rental, you will find that the devil is hiding in the details and these can cost you lots of money over the life of the lease. Turn to your office lease broker, tenant represetnative, for experienced advice regarding how to negotiate out these demons before signing an office space lease. An old idiom says “God is in the details” which means that attention paid to small things has big rewards. In this case, your goal is to turn those devilish little hidden clauses into the best possible agreement with the landlord for your office space so that everyone can live with the lease for the life of the lease.

We are here to help. It is what we do every day. If you want an expert to help you get the right space with the best possible terms, contact us. We’d be happy to help

Big Mistakes to Avoid When Leasing Office Space

leasing office space Mistakes OopsDeciding to lease office space is an exciting step for your business. The way you choose and decide which office space to lease is important to ensure you avoid making big mistakes when leasing office space. You need to make sure that your office is productive for your team, to you and most of especially to your clients. You also need to make sure that the office you choose it will make you and your business grow and flourish.

Considering these factors in leasing office space will affect your business productivity and overall success. Below are some of the bigger mistakes to avoid in leasing an office space.

NOT ENGAGING A TENANT REPRESENTATIVE

You might think we are being self serving on this, but we have seen the mistakes businesses make that do not use a tenant rep. Considering that there is no cost to you, it does not make sense to not have one. The biggest mistake made by tenants in leasing office space is not engaging the services of a tenant representative; thinking it will cost them money. It doesn’t.  A good tenant representative, like the ones we have at OfficeFinder, is invaluable in making sure you find the right alternative, negotiate the best possible deal and avoid costly mistakes. They do this every day and only get paid when you get what you want. And you don’t even have to pay them. It costs you nothing. Most Landlords hire listing agents and the tenant rep will share in that fee.  If there is no tenant rep, the listing agent keeps the entire fee and you are on your own. Tenant rep services will save you money by making sure you do it right with solid information and advice.

 RUSHING

The second biggest mistake made by tenants looking for office space is not allowing enough time for the process.  Far too often tenants will not get started early enough and have to settle for less than they could have had otherwise. This applies to tenants who are looking for conventional space and not executive suite, virtual office space, or co-working space. Typically, a tenant can be in these spaces as soon as the next day or at least within the month. Tenants looking for conventional office space under 5,000 should get started 6 to 9 months prior to their move in date. Larger businesses should start at least 1 year in advance. This will allow enough time to find some good alternatives, negotiate the best deal and have any tenant improvements completed for an on time move-in. This is true even in a soft market. In fact, even more so since there will be many more possibilities to investigate.

Make sure you don’t rush into a decision, remember that this is a big step for your business. If the deals and negotiations did not match your plans, move on and try to look for other alternatives. There will always be a property that will perfectly suit your requirements. Sometimes, DIY is okay, but note that it is very time consuming and may take a lot of your time, time that you’d rather spend it to your daily operation and development of your business. Experts or tenant representatives are the best people to help you. They know the markets inside out and can assist you throughout the process, especially when it comes to negotiations. Viewing, choosing and negotiating when leasing office space can be a long process and time consuming. If you are unsure of what you are doing, your mistakes can get very expensive.

LACK OF COMMITMENT

Keep in mind that leasing an office space is a commitment. there will be a legal contract that will hold an agreement for given length of time. Leasing is a big responsibility, make sure that you study your business and you are “ready” to take new obligation to step up for this new stage of your business. Otherwise, it will just you may end up losing a lot of money on space you don’t need.

NOT UNDERSTANDING THE COSTS

There are more costs involved in leasing office space than just the rent.  Many of these costs are quoted in different fashions so it can all get quite complicated when comparing alternatives. It becomes difficult to compare proposals on an apple-to-apples basis. In fact, it can even become difficult for an inexperienced tenant representative to decipher the various costs involved in comparing different office space alternatives.  Moreover, be prepared for these: Monthly cost, service charges, maintenance costs, insurance and daily operating costs.

Don’t settle to an office that is going to empty your banks and put your business into debt and that will hinder its growth. Make sure you know all of the costs involved.

UNEVALUATED LOCATION

Evaluate all aspects of the office space you are interested in leasing. These will include geographical location, space layout and type of the building to insure a perfect fit for your business. Don’t forget to evaluate for safety, too. There are other factors to consider in deciding about the location. One of the important factors is it good for your employees; make sure it is close enough for employees to commute, near public transportation, restaurants and cafés are conveniently accessible for your team’s lunch break or a simple coffee breaks. Or if you don’t have a team yet, choose a location that has a good population for your potential resources. Evaluate the size of the space that will commit, it is always to good to have exact number of employees to get a large enough space for your team members and an extra meeting or receiving area for clients/visitors.

Another important aspect to consider are your clients. Remember, your office gives a first impression to your clients and it sends messages to them about your business. If you’re in a building that is falling apart, your client may interpret that your business is struggling. Other way, if you are spending extravagantly for your office, clients may think that you are just charging them too much and money just goes to a lavish office space. Safety of the building is also a big factor, make sure that your building has measures being followed for times of emergencies such as fires or earthquakes. Check if the building is guarded for the safety of everyone as well as your physical assets. Not considering these factors may just bring damage to your business rather than growth.

UNCLEAR LEASE TERMS

Make sure that provisions are clearly stated out in the lease. You don’t want to be surprised with the hidden charges, one example is that sometimes landlord will say that utilities are not included with what you have paid and you will need to pay extra for it since it was not officially specified in your lease. Take note that every office is lease is different, but frequently written in favour of the landlord. Think what office lease terms are best for you as a tenant, study the entire lease including rental rates, renewal options, rules and regulations, break clauses, etc. Know what you can customize it before signing a contract. Make sure to check what you’re allowed to do to the space without getting charged for damages.

We hope these tips could finding a great space for your business. Of course, there is a lot more to consider and a good tenant rep, like the ones we have at OfficeFinder, will help make sure you don’t make any big mistakes. Please contact us if we can be of assitance.

WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID ABOUT OFFICEFINDER

We’d also want to share actual feedbacks and experiences of businesses who have taken advantage of using an OfficeFinder Tenant Representatives

“Our OfficeFinder rep did more than I ever thought that this free service would. I hope that this man gets a Raise. He really went above and beyond the call of duty. I thank him very much.”

-Elizabeth P – Phoenix, Az

“The amount of information I received and the professionalism of our OfficeFinder rep was astounding.  His knowledge and understanding of what I needed was overwhelming. He will always have my business, and I have no need to recommend anyone else.”

-Chris V – Level 7 Productions – Los Angeles, Ca

“I have never rated anyone at this high of a level but Jeff, our OfficeFinder Rep is exceptional.  I don’t know how he could exceed the level of service he has provided for us. I will not only recommend him to others, I will look for opportunities to recommend him.”

-Michael S – New Life Outpatient Center – Davenport, Ia

“Thanks for your follow up.  Our OfficeFinder rep has been extremely helpful in assisting us to find the proper offices over the last several months.  We are now in our new location and I frankly don’t know how we would have done it without him.”

-Jenny M- Xinify Technologies, Inc – San Ramon, Ca