So, you move your business or start a new one and need some place for your office, demo room, or whatever. Renting seems easy as you just go through rental sites. But there are risks. How to make sure you rent the right property in the right place and for the right price? Does the property comply with your requirements, like enough office room, an industrial toilet, and easy access? This is what you should consider before actually signing the contract.
When you install new software, you may scroll down the license agreement without reading it. Drop this habit; the contract must be read carefully. Both your and the landlord’s personal data should be entered correctly. There should be as few ambiguous phrases as possible, and all the potential problems and issues (rent prolongation or cancellation, penalties for violating the terms, parties’ rights and duties) should be written in the most indiscreet manner. If you and the landlord don’t speak the same language, find an interpreter you both trust.
There is more to the price than just a figure. You should also clarify the order of payments, by which day of the month they should be done if paid monthly, and which methods are acceptable. Other expenses (like utilities, maintenance, extra furniture and equipment necessary, etc.) should also be clarified, so it’s defined which side is responsible for paying them.
Utilities are a separate thing, though. Usually, the list includes electricity, water, gas, and trash removal. For commercial property, often the “triple net” scheme is used that obliges the tenant to pay all of these. In addition to the utilities, “triple net” makes the tenant responsible for insurance, real estate taxes, and general maintenance. If you didn’t know what these seemingly innocent words mean, now you know, so you need to be careful before agreeing to it.
When it comes to business property, the popular image of a greedy landlord threatening to throw the tenants out is rarely true. Business clients are usually treated better than that. Yet there might be some flaws in the property that you find out about only later. So, you better contact the landlord’s other tenants and ask them to share their experience.
A tip: unsatisfied clients and customers are likelier to share their experience online, so potential issues will appear sooner or later. Thus, you may want to do an online reconnaissance before you contact the landlord in person. It won’t take long but may save you a lot of time if you discover some deal-breaking details in advance. If you find the landlord trustworthy, you may now start the talks and take a look at the property itself.
It’s like the Goldilocks zone. If it’s too small, it will be insufficient for all your employees, visitors, and equipment. If it’s too large, you’ll overpay. So, you should first consider the scale of your business activity, the number of employees and visitors realistically possible, and workspace requirements. Thus, you can calculate the space you need. You should also make an approximate plan and see whether the property fits it. If you need to make some changes, they should be approved by the owner. And don’t forget that at the end of the lease period, they may require that you undo all the changes you have made at your own expense (though this is negotiable).
It may be a good idea to rent a place that can host one or two workplaces more, in case you suddenly need another full-day employee you didn’t foresee. But, again, it depends on your business scale and specifics.
For some businesses, it doesn’t matter much, especially if you sell digital products. For others, it does, especially if your customers may need to visit you in person. The closer it is to the area you want to serve, the better. If you’re going to expand, you may need some properties elsewhere, so the inconvenience (unless it’s deal-breaking) may be just temporary.
On the other hand, if the location is crucial, it makes sense to rent a more expensive property if it’s located where you want it. This will pay, especially if your business requires a lot of face-to-face communication.
Guests Must Flow
If your office is supposed to accept visitors frequently, you will need to be prepared. The visitor-friendly property should have the following amenities:
- A convenient waiting area. If there are more visitors than you may take at the moment, there should be a place where they can feel comfortable before they enter.
- An industrial toilet. It’s a must if there is high human traffic at your office. The toilet should be well durable and water-saving; otherwise, water bills or maintenance may surprise you unpleasantly.
- An entrance for persons with disabilities (unless you’re completely sure there’ll be none among your customers). There should be ramps, a properly equipped elevator if you’re not on the ground floor and some handrails along the walls.
- When renting a property for your business, give it enough time. Usually, a month is enough to consider different options, make your choice, and finalize the deal.
- Consult your lawyer. It’s a good idea to take the lawyer with you if you feel unsure about even the slightest detail. Fine print deserves more attention than it usually catches.
- The same applies to any field where you don’t feel sure. A consultation from a pro will cost you less than your potential losses if anything goes wrong. If anything – the toilet, the heating, the conditioning, etc. – looks suspicious, you better have it checked by someone competent.
- Everything is negotiable. You don’t have to put up with anything you’re not good with.
We hope these tips will be helpful when you get to search for the property and make the deal. If so, leave your reaction down below.