“Location, location, location!” is a cliché we often hear about real estate matters. If you’re looking to rent an office for a small business, you’re probably considering several factors like budget, convenience, and, of course, location. Or perhaps you’re unsure what to prioritize. Don’t worry, we’ve put together a checklist of considerations to go through before you sign any lease.
The first thing is knowing how much square foot of office space is needed for a small business. The ideal amount of space per person is generally around 100 sq ft, providing enough room for desk space and communal areas. Naturally, this also depends on the type of work you do. For instance, a therapist’s office may only have two people in it at a time but require more space than an administrative team who can hot desk.
Any small business owner needs to have a solid understanding of their target customer and unique selling proposition. Locating in an upscale neighborhood may be necessary to attract higher-paying clientele, but rent will cost more. Less upscale areas may offer tax incentives and be cheaper but aren’t always as safe.
It also depends on if your business is client-facing or not. If most of your work takes place online, you may not need a space that accommodates clients at all. With no definitive solution, it’s more about weighing up the pros and cons and doing what’s best for your business. For instance, leasing in an upscale area sometimes improves client acquisition, so costlier rent no longer becomes an issue.
Before you get carried away by scrolling through attractive property listings, you should determine your budget. It’s a good idea to look at office space 10% below and above your ideal budget to gauge what’s out there. Remember that your budget should be comprehensive and not just cover rent. Factoring in possible furniture purchases, transportation, and business running costs will give you a clear idea of what you can afford.
Availability of Parking
Any business that needs a brick-and-mortar location must consider parking because it's the first touchpoint a client has with the company. Unfortunately, more parking experiences can make clients frustrated before they’ve walked through your office door. Does the parking space meet you and your client’s needs? How secure is it? Is there handicapped parking, and what are the costs?
Accessibility of Public Transport
If there’s limited parking, a small business office space should at least be near public transport. Businesses close to public transport are attractive to employees and clients because they’re easily accessible. And, more often than not, the surrounding area will likely be filled with social and commercial spaces like bars, restaurants, and shopping malls, all of which make life and business convenient.
Possibility of Alterations
If you want to rent a location for your business, you should also consider its physical potential. Will the landlord allow alterations as your business needs grow? This could be as simple as taking down partitions or knocking down a wall to increase workspace. Always get permission in writing and see if you can negotiate a reduction in rental payments if you decide to pay for the remodeling work.
Inflation increases every year. Be sure to include any future costs like rental and utility increases, moving expenses, any construction, and the potential of a growing workforce. Always factor these costs into the duration of your lease period to ensure there are no surprises down the road.
As a small business owner, you want to get a good idea of who your tenants are and their experience with the landlord. Find out how long they have been leasing for and if they’ve had any challenges with the body corporate or landlord. You should also inquire about insurance premiums, cleaning, and general maintenance services.
Does the office complex meet ADA standards, and is it accessible? Make sure it adheres to handicap regulations and has the correct ratio of bathroom facilities. Emergency exits and fire escapes should remain unobstructed at all times, and normal entrances and exits must be easy to get to. Having an accessible office space makes a huge difference for people with limited mobility or visual or hearing impairments and benefits everyone.
There’s a lot to consider, but 620 N Lasalle hope this brief guide on how to find office space for small businesses has been helpful. If you have a small business and want to rent an office, it might be worth your while to take a look at our small office spaces in River North, Chicago.
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