Renting Office Space? Heres What You Should Know Beforehand
Renting or leasing your first office space is a big deal. It's a significant milestone in the progress of a business, one that can also help you legitimize and grow your business. Whereas before you might have relied solely on ecommerce, or remote communication, you all of a sudden have a physical centre of operations. But how you choose that space, and what you do with it, can have a profound effect on your business.
Before renting office space, there are a few things to think about: Location, amenities, expenses and growth opportunity. Each of these points should be carefully considered - with clients, employees and bottom line in mind - before signing any papers.
You know what they always say: location, location, location! For most city businesses, it is best to plant yourself somewhere relatively central, that way your clients/customers and employees don't have to traverse a great distance to reach you. Also, a central location may factor into the way your business is perceived; oftentimes businesses in central or affluent areas are seen as more legitimate and professional, whereas businesses in the out metro areas of a city are perceived as serving their immediate community.
All that said, you don't want a commercial space that is going to bankrupt you, which is why it's of key importance to research the relative tenant expenses of each place you consider. Most maintenance falls to tenants in commercial leases, such as plumbing, electric, HVAC, etc., so it is also important, at this point, to form relationships with various tradesmen. Seek out professional commercial plumbing experts as well as a commercial electrical company and commercial HVAC services and ask them about their services, rates and estimate process.
Amenities here refer to all the small things in an office that make it a comfortable work environment. Is there a functioning kitchen, well-kept washrooms, natural light, outdoor space? Are there enough distinct rooms that you can have meeting spaces, rec spaces, working quarters? Amenity needs change from business to business, so make a quick list of things you think your office needs, and start from there.
You don't know where you will be in a few years. You could expand to take on more employees, more stock or more equipment, in which case you might outgrow your office. Better than moving your office every few years (which leaves you at the mercy of rising lease prices, and can be jarring for employees and clients), find a place initially that can accommodate some growth. You have to think a few years in the future when choosing a commercial space.
You've done the difficult work of choosing a great location with fantastic amenities; you have budgeted for expenses and formed relationships with tradespeople; and you have left room for your business to grow. Now it's time to sit back at your desk, take it all in, and then start the next exciting chapter of your business' journey.